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Bikram Yoga Langley Student of the Month (September): Colleen

 
What first brought Colleen, a recently retired medical receptionist and mother to two grown children and six grandchildren to Bikram yoga at the age of 65? Well, it seems the stars aligned when her desire to take charge of her health collided with a happy, healthy and talkative Bikram yogi: “I wanted to fix myself and get off medications,” Colleen explains. “I was curling one night, and I was talking with a guy from another team. He had just done Bikram yoga before the game.” Her new friend went on to explain that Bikram yoga gave him flexibility that he couldn’t get from weight lifting – it loosened him up. He also added that it worked wonders for his marriage, too: “If either her or his wife was cranky, they would tell each other, ‘you’d better go to Bikram tonight.’”
“From what he told me, I had to go,” so Colleen, who suffers from an auto-immune disease that causes inflammation of the joints, followed his advice. “A few days later I looked online and there was an open house, so I went,” she concludes dramatically, “and it almost killed me.” She elaborates: “It was quite excruciating. I thought I was going to throw up half way through it. It was just packed, so there was no escape – no path to the door. I didn’t know how I was going to go back. The slogan above the desk, ‘You're never too old; it's never too late…’ gave me the encouragement I needed to sign up for the one month introductory package.”
 
Now, six months later, she has made Bikram yoga a daily practice and is seeing some significant changes to her health and her yoga practice: “My shoulder and knee pain has reduced a lot - almost gone. I could hardly bend down, which previously affected curling, now I can bend without snapping and cracking my knee joints. My back still hurts me lots, but I’m just going to keep doing Bikram yoga until I feel good all over.” She adds that her daily yoga practice “just makes me feel peaceful.”
Colleen has bid farewell to her medications and acupuncture treatments, “I’d rather do yoga than needles,” she laughs. “I still go for massage,” she admits, “but she says the knots in my shoulders are so much looser. I feel a lot better. I have more energy; I feel like I get satisfaction in my class.”

Colleen notes that the constant and measurable progress in her Bikram practice is one thing that motivates her to keep coming back. “I like the steady progress. You feel like, ‘oh, whoa, that’s what it’s supposed to feel like.’ Like in standing head to knee – I just feel really happy when I can feel one more muscle fall into place and stop working against me and relax into the pose.” Colleen noticed some changes in a fairly short period of time: “I have gradually developed better balance and flexibility. Through increased concentration and focus, I am able to make continual progress on holding the poses.” She knows her yoga journey isn’t going to end soon, or even at all: “It’s ongoing forever. It won’t be like, ‘I’ve got it, and I’m done.”
 
But what gets Colleen out of bed for her early morning classes? “I did the 30 day challenge in May, which got me into the habit of attending classes every day.  I find the 6:00 a.m. class starts my day off with a sense of accomplishment and makes the rest of my day seem smooth and easy.” She adds, “Nothing else has ever gotten me up; I never got up at 5:00 a.m. for anything.” Colleen notes that besides the sense of accomplishment, she doesn’t let herself off the hook and has even convinced herself she likes her 6:00 classes. “I like the 6:00 a.m. class and I never make excuses not to go.” She also notes, “I like to go early, so I can go in and stretch my back out – at least 15 minutes early.” 

Collen hasn’t seen too much impact on her other activities, golf and curling, but can’t wait to see the flexibility and strength she’s developed in yoga play out. “I haven’t curled yet. I’m going to a curling meeting tonight, and curling starts the middle of September. I think my yoga practice will really help my focus when I’m doing my sports.”
 
If you think Colleen is amazing, you’re not alone. Other people in her classes find her an inspiration - “Some people at yoga have said I have a lot of flexibility, and I was surprised. They are impressed that I’ve started yoga at my age.”- and she can’t believe herself that’s she a daily yogi: “I still can’t imagine that I’m even doing this. I’m just starting.”

For the doubters, she has these thoughts: “Some people think I’m over-doing it because I go every day. I don’t think I’m overdoing it. I feel good. They just don’t realize how beneficial it is to me.”

Colleen says that her steady progress has motivated her to come back day after day: “When I was first getting results, I thought ‘I can’t wait to go tomorrow, and I’m gonna do it!’” And, now she is doing things that she thought were impossible only a few months ago: “I just knew that I’d never do that one - camel – but now I’m doing it,” she says with delight.

                             

 

 


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