Back pain and degenerative disc disease first brought Alison, a claims administrator for Co-operators Insurance, to Bikram Yoga. "I was told not to do the high impact aerobics that I had been doing. I tried low impact aerobics, Aquacize, Pilates, regular yoga - nothing helped. My massage therapist recommended that I try Bikram yoga - that was six years ago, and I haven't stopped since." Alison adds, "My back pain is gone."
She did have to go through the 'painful' experience of her first Bikram yoga class before getting rid of her back pain through her practice: "My first class was really hard, I could not believe how much I sweated during that 90 minutes. I remember distinctly doing forward bending and noticing that even my legs were sweating - I had never seen them sweat before." She quickly adds that there were positive aspects to even her very first class, "I also felt energized and never looked back."
Alison started out doing Bikram yoga with her daughter, Erin, who now lives in Vanderhoof, BC, and hosts a morning radio program. "We really miss her being so far away, but we talk daily. I really miss doing yoga with her at Bikram Yoga Langley," Alison laments.
Besides having relief from the pain of degenerative disc disease, Alison has noticed that her golf game has improved and that her husband thinks she's nicer after her class. "I don't play much golf, and I'd like to play more, but the first time I played after becoming a yogi, I noticed I could hit the ball further than before." Alison lists some other benefits she has experienced since starting Bikram yoga: "increased energy, drinking more water, eating less junk food, getting rid of back pain and becoming a happier person overall."
Alison says that what she likes the most about Bikram yoga is how she feels after class, and, increasingly, how she feels during class. "I often feel very privileged and grateful that I am able to do this for myself." Her regular routine is weekends at 10 AM and weekdays at 6 PM, except for Friday night date night with her husband of 28 years, and book club Mondays.
Alison has a lot to keep her busy, aside from her regular yoga practice, job, and other hobbies, she recently took up autocross racing with her 2003 Corvette. "I've always loved driving and this is just a new twist on that," she says.
Alison clearly likes taking on new challenges and she had come to embrace challenges in her Bikram yoga practice as well. "I remember the first competition I watched in 2009 and thinking, 'I'll never be able to do that.' If I look at an advanced posture now, I think, 'I'd like to be able to do that one day,'" Alison muses. In fact, doing more Master Core Intermediate classes and getting better at those postures is one of Alison's goals. She explains her commitment to challenging herself and sticking with her Bikram yoga practice: "My mum is 82 years old and quite fragile physically. I hope that at 82 I will still be doing Bikram yoga."