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Bikram Yoga Langley Students of the Month (November): Giovanni & Araceli Dinicola

Gianni (John) and Araceli are 72 and 51 years young, respectively. And getting younger every day, thanks to Bikram yoga!

Araceli, who just completed the Back to School 30-day Challenge, lost 5 pounds without changing her eating habits. "I notice my skin is more toned; the aura of my face is healthier. Everyone thinks I lost so much weight, actually I don't feel it, but I am more happy, productive and energized. Often I get the compliment that the more I age, I get younger," she laughs. Giovanni also has an newfound youthful glow: "I can see the improvement in my body &and in my face. The skin peels off - I come to yoga and my skin is rejuvenated. I look great – I look young!" He adds that he's not the only one who thinks so, "Everyone in my office says, 'Gianni, you look wonderful.'"

Araceli wanted to run for health, but found "I run one day, I have knee complaints." She also tried the gym, but says "It feels like my adrenaline is so high that I feel I am going to have a heart attack, so I don't enjoy going to the gym." Araceli has tried Bikram yoga first in Whiterock, "I started as guest of my friend's daughter, then I signed up for two weeks unlimited. I started enjoying it." However, she couldn't work a membership into her budget at that time. Then she started practicing at Kitsilano, because many of her clients are there. Finally she moved to Langley.

A doctor's ultimatum brought her to Bikram Yoga Langley: "I went for a check-up and had an ultra sound to check on my liver function. The doctor's advice was either take medication or do exercise. So, I chose Bikram yoga."

Gianni says that Araceli was his motivation to attend his first Bikram yoga class. "She bugged me for a year: “We have to go to yoga.” I didn’t know what it’s all about. She loves it. I hope to come not every day, every second day."

One thing that Gianni and Araceli like the most about Bikram yoga Langley are the people: "Bikram 360 is fun for me and John. The staff are very supportive; it's a healthy environment. John enjoys everyone; because of his hearing disability sometime he does not get the instructions, but what he find most impressive is the caring of the teachers." Gianni has lots of positive comments - "We come there and everyone is very friendly. Other places are not the same." - about the staff teachers and particularly the studio owners, Candice and Mary: "It is such a joy to see you guys there. You are the best of the best!"

Both Gianni and Araceli like that they can participate in the class at their own pace. "The heat kind of bothered me a bit because I'm not used to it. The way I see it, there’s nothing really stressful. Yes, you have to do it. When you start up, your body’s out of shape, so you have to do a little at a time. There’s no pushing, no demand that you have to do that. It’s really simple and really wonderful," Gianni states.

Araceli notes that taking control over her mind in yoga class, applies outside of the yoga room as well. "My first class, I felt like I wanted to run away because of the heat. I felt suffocated. When the teacher said, 'listen to your body; stay in a room as much possible,' it stuck in my head to stay in the room. It occurred to me that I control my own mind."

Araceli, who is a financial planner, and Gianni own and operate two businesses together. Gianni hopes to retire in the next four to five years, but he wants to make sure he'll be in great health to enjoy his retirement with Araceli, whom he married recently. "As I am very busy with career, busy managing my son's hockey team, hosting international student at my home, being a single mom - life is too busy for me," Araceli explains, "I had no time for anything until one day I goy very ill and came to realize that I need to change." The motivation - greater health and longevity - is there, but how does this busy couple make the time? "You need to dedicate yourself to saying, 'yes, I want to get myself better. When you think like this you’ll do it.'" Gianni also give Araceli her due: "Araceli is wonderful – she pushes me. If she goes in the morning, and it becomes four in the afternoon, she says, 'C’mon Gianni, you gotta go.'"

Araceli motivates herself as well. "Trust me," she sighs, "time used to be my biggest issue. Like what said, I am super busy mom! Here's the tip that I can share that I've learned: time management. Pre-plan for yourself daily, weekly and monthly. My daily schedule is very hectic. I already know that! I work on getting up early and doing something for myself first. So, I go yoga at 6:00 a.m. I have to do a list everyday! Then I number my priorities. Yoga is my first priority. At the end of the day, I check mark what I've done. And for those that I didn't get done, I add to my next day's schedule."

Relaxation is especially important for busy people, like Gianni and Araceli. Gianni has noticed lots of positive effects from his Bikram yoga practice: "Physically I feel more relaxed when I come out of yoga and afterwards. My body is totally rejuvenated – not depressed, just floppy, but rejuvenated and younger." He adds, "I drink a lot of water. I lost quite a bit of weight already, and I don’t even come that often," he exclaims. Araceli counts increased flexibility, posture-awareness, concentration and focus among the benefits she's experienced. "With my posture, I didn't think I can do it. When I bend, I'm more flexible now. When I do the stretching all I can hear the cracking noise from my joints - I was born with only 6 vertebrae. The alignment of my posture has improved a lot. I would never think I could do it."

Gianni has also noticed increased flexibility and vitality. "My goal is to come all the time and lose weight. My goal is to do this so that I’ll feel good and enjoy life better - especially to enjoy my life with Araceli. I don’t wanna get sluggish and sleep all the time – I want to get younger," he asserts. "Some older people I spoke to at yoga feel much better when they come. I think yoga is the solution for us to keep healthy, to keep things in order and keep young."

Araceli also has weight loss and enjoying life among her goals: "My goal is to lose 20 pounds before January 2015, to stay focused on improving my health. My goal by next summer is to run a half-marathon. Hopefully, I will can also backpack for 7 days hiking on the Sunshine Coast." Thinking long-term, Araceli hopes to, one day, be a yoga teacher.

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