“People make comments on how I can look so good after having three children,” says Jenny, a mother of three children under 10, a family nurse practitioner and UBC Masters of Nursing lecturer, “One word sums it up: Bikram.”
Jenny wasn’t always so enviably toned: “Bikram yoga completely changed my body: I lost 20 pounds; I had definition and shape. After years of going to the gym and running on a treadmill, I never saw results like I saw after only 4 months of Bikram yoga.” “Mind you,” she adds, “I was going 4-5 days per week.”
“It was very hard. I had been a gymnast as a child for many years and was frustrated when I couldn’t even balance on one leg. I was using muscles I had never used before,” she exclaims. “I was determined to one day be in the front row and mastering standing bow,” she asserts.
“I did my first Bikram class in 2001... And never went back,” she admits. After that rocky start, Jenny committed to a regular yoga practice in 2004. When she moved to Los Angeles, she and her husband, Jason, took the opportunity to do intensive classes with Bikram himself.
“I personally enjoy that there are no candles or chanting and more time is spent on moving and challenging your body. You find the meditation in the peak of holding a pose and then pushing through and never giving up. ” Jenny find new challenges in her yoga practice all the time, “No class is ever the same for me and it never gets easy. It’s always a challenge, and I embrace that.” Even though she has doing the same postures in the same order for 10 years, she doesn’t find it repetitive. “Each class, I want to see where my body can go given how I am feeling that day. If it ever got to a place of complacency, then that would be dull and boring, but I don’t see Bikram like that.” While she is always working on her postures from the beginning series, she has also started doing the Mastercore Intermediate class. “Starting the advanced series has been new and amazing – another challenge I look forward to taking on.”
“My goal is to always be capable and to do yoga until I’m 100. I’m not kidding!” Jenny exclaims. “I don’t ever want to be dependent on a walker or wheelchair.” Prior to starting Bikram yoga, Jenny had three knee surgeries and avoided further surgeries through a conscientious yoga practice. Jenny experienced other health benefits as well, “my cardiovascular endurance became stronger; I was more limber; I’m able to play with my kids at their level and not groan with every crouching position.”
Jenny knows that Bikram yoga will be part of her life, and her family’s life, forever. “I will never not do yoga. After having children my time is obviously more limited, so my goal is 2-3 days per week. You have to make time for your health. We have full-time jobs and three children, so some days you don’t sleep as much, but it’s important that we allow ourselves the time, even if it’s only two days per week.”
Speaking of children, “I was back in the studio within 2 weeks of the birth of all three children and lost 40 pounds in 6 months.” Jenny knows that it is important to model a healthy lifestyle for her children, “My 8 year-old loves yoga, and it is so beneficial for children to see their parents fit and active and taking care of their health.” The yoga bug is nurse-approved, “It’s contagious and so necessary for the next generation.”
Thinking especially of working moms like her, Jenny offers this advice: “No excuses. I know there are days you don’t feel up to it, but the hardest part is getting there. Once you are there and your class is completed, you feel such a sense of achievement, confidence and happiness – you did it! And then go back – every day if you can, and you will see the results.”