After college I worked in PR but realized early on it wasn’t for me. Becoming an instructor got me to leave the 9 to 5 world behind, and I have never looked back. I find so much more satisfaction from watching a student’s practice evolve than I ever did from getting a client’s name in the newspaper! I started teaching at Bikram Yoga Rockville 9 years ago, and it has been my pleasure to meet so many kind, enthusiastic and hardworking people over the years. I had been teaching for only a year when I came to Rockville, and I am thankful for the supportive community that welcomed me and allowed me to grow as a teacher. I would also like to thank Diana and Wonjoo who have become my ‘work sister’, ‘work mom’, mentors and friends over the years. This amazing community, that we all love so much, is thanks to them!
I started practicing bikram yoga in 2006 at the suggestion of my brother and a close friend. After establishing a regular practice I not only grew passionate about the yoga but used it to establish new hobbies and accomplish feats that I had not previously imagined like climbing Mount Rainier and surviving teacher training Spring 2008. After studying under Diana and a handful of other senior Bikram instructors I now wish to help others to believe in the more impactful self that this yoga can help us attain.
Teaching yoga brought many of the practical changes I expected (even though, as yoga teachers, we discourage expectations). I make my own schedule. Most days, I don’t set an alarm. I can go to Target on weekday mornings. I take on more freelance acting work. The world does not stop if I have to take a day or week off. With freedom comes responsibility, so I’ve had to learn to organize my life better. This is still a work in progress. None of my work time is filler. My work clothes are more casual (if that word can describe sweaty shorts) than my everyday clothes. I could move across the world, and still find a job and community. I make less money, but enjoy my work more – and believe in it one-hundred percent.
Here’s what I didn’t expect. Simply surviving teacher training changes your ideas of what is possible. You come out feeling everything-proof, as Bikram promised. There is no more fear of pursuing what you want in life. None of this means you really know how to teach. You feel like an inspired bad-ass when you’re one of a few hundred trainees. Then you stand in a room of people who want you to change their lives, or at least make them forget their significant discomfort. Some resent the fact that they’re even in the room. Some have injuries that you’ve never heard of. Some sway in terror. Some, you’re pretty sure, are waiting for the right moment to take you down and teach the class themselves. One is trying to do something with his foot that you’re just not sure is yoga. And the only words you can muster are “lock the knee.” This is where the unexpected changes begin.
I now listen more carefully to other teachers. I pay closer attention to my own practice – not just what I do, but why. I’ve started to address lifelong alignment problems, which is a lengthy exercise in humility and gratitude. I’ve learned more patience (except when I drive). Sometimes, I have to let go of teacher mode and just let myself be a student. But teaching and practice feed each other. Generosity in my practice allows me to be more generous as a teacher. And once I say something in the yoga room, I realize it probably applies to my own practice – and to the rest of my life.
Barb began practicing Bikram yoga in 2009. Forty-nine years of dancing, hiking and living had taken its toll leading to chronic knee, hip and back pain. Immediately hooked as the pain disappeared, the benefits of a regular practice were realized. As a RN, Barb is a die-hard advocate of Bikram yoga as a therapy for chronic disease and all health related issues. “If it was a pill, everyone would take it.” But it is the mental benefits of a regular practice she touts even more. “I was a Type A personality. Bikram yoga has made me a Type B- and I have never been happier! Trying to lock your knee in the hot room quiets the mind and has deep, far reaching benefits into everyday life.” But be forewarned…..Bikram yoga will change the trajectory of your life! Over the last 3 years Barb has remarried, relocated, started a new career and embraced her natural hair color! She credit/blames all of this on the yoga.
In the Spring of 2012 Barb’s ¾ life crisis was in full swing as she left her job and family to head to LA for Bikram’s nine week teacher training. Upon returning to DC she was very fortunate to find Bikram Yoga Rockville to mentor and support her as she began teaching. “The BYR community is so INCREDIBLE. The staff is wise and nurturing and the practitioners are beyond compare. I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from this studio. It is amazing so many awesome people can be in one place."