My first Bikram Yoga class was not Bikram at all but “hot yoga.” I didn’t know who Bikram was but found this amazing practice more than 6 years ago at my local gym. After a couple of years, my local gym changed hands twice and turned into an awful corporate gym. They decided that all yoga classes would only be one hour so I did some research and in the process found out more about the man, the yoga, and that there were Bikram dedicated yoga studios fairly close to my house at the time.
My first Bikram Yoga class was January 6, 2007, 4pm Saturday class at the Sellwood studio. A girlfriend and I went together as we used to practice together at our gym. We signed up for the intro package and thought, why not? I don’t think my friend even made it through the standing series, she left the room! We were right next to each other and she just picked everything up and left! OMG – she left me “alone!” Nevermind the 30+ other people in the room (New Year’s resolutions = bigger classes!), my friend was leaving me to fend for myself in this hotter than hot room. Well, I made it through (we always do) and was instantly hooked. In that first month of my intro package I practiced 17 times and never looked back.
The journey has been an interesting one for me. I grew up playing some sports but found myself drawn to the dance. At 13 I found ballet and became obsessed about dancing. I studied seriously and consistently until I moved to Portland at the age of 22. Coming to a totally new place and learning to live on my own was overwhelming and I lost dance in the process. It will always be in my heart and Bikram Yoga is the closest thing I have found that makes me feel just as amazing as dancing used to. The strength and beauty that this practice brings is truly amazing and I admire each and every person that makes it to class each day. In the beginning, it was just all about getting used to the heat. There were days I wanted to run out screaming and there were days I didn’t think I could make it through. After many years of a fairly consistent practice, I find that classes now are so peaceful and relaxing. Even when my heart rate gets going it’s all okay because I always know how good I am going to feel when we hit that final savasana.
The Sellwood studio will always be my home and I have made some very amazing friends in the process of practicing there. I also got one of my very closest friends (Elizabeth – blonde with me in picture) to join me at this studio and it’s just so much fun to share that practice with her. The friend that originally came to class with me? Well, let’s just say that her practice didn’t last and neither did our friendship. One of the most amazing things I have noticed through my Bikram journey is how much it changes you; not just on the outside but most definitely on the inside. You start vibrating differently and different people start migrating to you and vice versa. It brings about change in making a stronger YOU and you more easily realize who you are, what you want to be, and how you want to reach your goals. I am thankful for each and every time I enter that hot room.
January 2010 I joined the worldwide “Bikram 101″ challenge and successfully completed 100 classes in 100 days. It was probably the most eye-opening, life-changing experience for me. I learned things about myself and my capabilities and ability to sacrifice and adapt. I learned about commitment and friendship, devotion and love. It was amazing and I will always have that as I know I will always have Bikram. One month break? No problem, Bikram is there as it always is, very much like a good friend.
-Heidi M. Koenigsmann.