In July 1997 I made the decision to take up Bikram Yoga. The owner of the X Gym where I was working out recommended the Green Lake Yoga Studio in Seattle. She used Bikram Yoga to supplement her own exercise regime. It took me a while to get up the nerve to walk the steps leading to the studio, but once I completed my first class, I was hooked.
At first I always attended the earliest morning class. I found that if I didn’t make the morning class, I would talk myself out of going later on in the day. What a contrast to how I feel about practicing now. Every day, one of the first things I do is plan how and when I will get my yoga class in. I have succeeded in attending at least one class every day since August 2008.
The first years were a test. Because I traveled extensively and studios were not as abundant as they are now, I often practiced to one of Bikram’s cassette-recorded classes in my hotel room. I would ask for a heater or two when I checked in and then practice on my own. Sometimes I even did a silent class.
Soon after I enrolled at the Green Lake studio the owners moved it to its current location in Fremont (Seattle). Kevin and Kathy are both great teachers. I was very fortunate to have them help me develop a good base from which to build. It is my goal to give the students I teach the same opportunity.
One of the reasons I took up the yoga was to improve my golf game. Whenever I would swing my club, my last thought would be, “My back is going to hurt.” These days that thought does not enter my mind. Not only does my back not hurt anymore, my swing has improved so much that people who don’t know my game think I carry a 3 or 4 handicap.
In April, 2009, I headed for Palm Desert to take part in Bikram’s Teacher training, a grueling nine-week course. I thought, “How difficult can it be? I have practiced this yoga for years. I must know how to do this.” It was not that easy. The training was one of the most difficult things I have ever encountered. There is much more to teaching than I ever imagined. Bikram says it takes ten years to become a good teacher and I believe him.
These days I am both practicing and teaching yoga. I love it. My current plan is to travel, teach and life-coach all over the world. So far I have practiced in over a hundred studios world-wide and have taught in ten. These numbers will continue to grow.
The rewards of practicing and teaching are many. Besides achieving ultimate health—mind, body and soul—through yoga, I have the opportunity to so meet many dedicated and inspirational people from all walks of life. I have seen first hand what Bikram Yoga can do, not only for me, but for others as well—witnessed how it changes lives for the better. It empowers us to grow beyond what we thought was possible for ourselves. To have even a small part in assisting others in their own unfoldment through yoga is incredibly rewarding.
Please click on the play button below to hear Jake teaching a live class: