Why Certified Bikram Teachers?
Bonnie Kuykendall writes:
"It takes more than a hot room and a list of postures to make your Bikram Method Yoga practice a safe, rewarding experience. Bikram Method Yoga is a specialized form of yoga, requiring appropriate training and knowledge to teach it effectively.
"Bikram Choudhury, the creator of Bikram Yoga, personally trains and certifies his instructors to ensure that his methods and philosophy are preserved and properly taught. To be certified as an instructor in the Bikram Method of Yoga,an instructor must complete an intensive nine-week training session requiring over 500 hours of study. A studio guided by a Certified Instructor provides the best possible instruction in the Bikram Method. Certified Instructors have a continuing connection to Bikram Choudhury and his training staff, allowing the Certified Studio to draw from all of the resources Bikram’s training center has to offer. This includes special seminars, posture clinics, guest instructors, and answers to questions which may arise in a particular practitioner’s Bikram Yoga practice.
"Many can claim that they teach 'Bikram Yoga' but unless there is a Certified Instructor supervising how and what is taught at that studio, you are not getting the true Bikram Yoga."
Born and raised in Red Deer, I spent my twenties experimenting with several different lifestyles and yoga styles on Canada’s west coast. I also completed my B.A. (Hons.) in English at the University of Victoria, traveled in India and South-East Asia, and earned my M.A. at Queen’s University.
I seemed to swing perpetually from one extreme to the next and despite my mix of experiences and accomplishments, I was without a real sense of purpose or fulfillment. This changed when I took my first Bikram Hot Yoga class and embarked on a more heart-centered path.
After finishing my first class, I knew that Bikram Yoga was the most challenging physical activity that I had ever done (even harder than surfing!). I also knew that I had never felt such a sense of physical and emotional well being in my life – my feet barely touched the ground! I committed to a daily practice, and began to experience the healing benefits of Bikram Yoga on every level of being: I became physically leaner, stronger, and felt more energized; I was able to focus and stay grounded amidst the stress of grad school; I felt more emotionally balanced and confident when faced with life’s ups and downs; I became more attuned to my body and naturally gave up my self-sabotaging habits and beliefs, making healthier choices all around. After a lot of sweat, hard work, and facing myself in the mirror of the hot room every day, I eventually began to truly like myself, love myself, and take care of myself, perhaps for the first time in my life. Bikram Yoga became the healthiest addiction I’ve ever had: I knew that to continue to feel so good, I needed to practice this yoga every day and fully integrate it into my life.
I completed the intensive 9 week Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Acapulco in the fall of 2008 with an amazing sense of accomplishment. Since then, I’ve been teaching full time in Ontario, BC, and Alberta, and practicing Bikram Yoga every day (even through my pregnancy!). I’ve also deepened my understanding of mind-body healing by completing the Hoffman Quadrinity Process and taking courses in Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure and Thai Yoga Massage. As a teacher, I strive to infuse this knowledge and my passion for Bikram Yoga into every class.
My personal journey has prepared me to return to Red Deer to embark on a more family and community oriented path. Josh and I are excited to open the city’s first certified Bikram Hot Yoga studio! Our goal at Bikram Yoga Red Deer is to create an inviting space in which families can come to experience the most effective yoga series in the world, improve their overall sense of well-being, relax, heal, have fun, and feel a sense of community.
In September 2011 I attended the first ever Pregnancy Yoga seminar with Bikram’s wife, Rajashree Choudhury, at the Kripalu Centre. I look forward to teaching the Pregnancy Series and welcome expecting moms and children to attend classes at our studio.
In the craziness of daily life in which we North Americans live, many important values are being lost: community, health, self-love, and continuing education. I have found myself feeling lost in my own quarter life crisis. Growing up in small town BC limited my experiential options, so like any good Canadian boy I followed my aspirations of becoming a hockey player.
For nearly 5 years I put my body through war playing in junior hockey leagues. After aging out of Juniors, I lived abroad working in Marine Biology, teaching SCUBA diving, developing small businesses, and managing international projects. Although the experiences were amazing and important, it wasn’t until more recently I found a centering practice: Bikram Yoga.
I was dragged to my first Bikram Hot Yoga class (kicking and screaming) by my wife. In western culture, just the word “yoga” often entices the image of some airy-fairy, soft-talking, stretching class in a candlelit room, where the only people who seem to be able to do it are double jointed. So, as a self-viewed hardcore athlete with little to no flexibility and a small book of old injuries, my assumptions were limited: I would either be annoyed with the ease and uselessness of the class, or experience extreme embarrassment. However, Jenna did ultimately convince me to try Bikram Yoga with an open mind. My first class was actually a blur, but I do remember thinking: “Wow, I didn’t know anyone could sweat this much!” and “I’m getting my ass kicked by the world’s only 80 pound Commander”. I realized that there had to be more to it. I started practicing regularly, even daily, and it took no time at all before I began to feel an incredible sense of wellness: I lost 10 pounds, toned up, gained significant flexibility, reduced pain and increased mobility in my knees and back, and felt inspired to make healthier lifestyle choices. To have a healthy mind you need a healthy body.
I completed Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in the spring of 2010 so that I could share this experience with others. The grueling 9 weeks of training is one of the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever done. I’ve since been teaching full time in Victoria BC, Edmonton and Calgary AB, and love it.
Our next step includes goals larger than just the yoga. By opening the first Bikram Hot Yoga Studio in central Alberta, Jenna and I hope to create a true community hub: a safe place in which people can connect with each other, create a sense of individual well-being and self-worth, and continue to learn about themselves and life.
Breanna McCubbin (Co-Director)
I took my first Bikram yoga class in Victoria, BC during the Fall of 2006. After fumbling through group sports in high school and dance lessons in my younger years, I knew I needed to find something active in order to supplement my sanity through university. I was drawn to the idea of yoga because it was popular.
I figured if everyone could do it, I could too. My first class was hot, hard and humbling. Learning to breathe in front the mirror was the first place I started to see myself. Through practicing I got to know my strengths and my weaknesses, and work through numerous mental and physical barriers through cultivating a greater sense of purpose, self-love and awareness. Two years after I began practising I attended teacher training in the fall of 2008. Teaching my first class was hot, hard, and humbling. I feel very blessed to be able to experience both sides of this amazing practice, and to help students realize their full potential to learn and believe in themselves. I believe that yoga should be fun. I like my students to work hard and challenge themselves in class. My job is to make you believe you can do what I know you can do; one breathe, one posture, one class at a time. I can’t wait to see you in the hot room!
I began my practice of Bikram’s Yoga because I wanted to make changes within my life.
Not seeing the intention and heart with myself, I decided to take the initiative and transform my future into one with potential. I began teaching in December of 2005, and haven’t looked back since.
Born in Edmonton, I grew up like other Canadian boys wanting to be a NHL hockey player. Seeing Gretzky, Coffey, Messier, Kurri, Anderson and others float on the ice made it look so easy. During my late-teens, I became aware of the health issues that my parents and grandparents were struggling with and wanted to become a health professional.
I graduated from the University of Alberta with an honour’s degree in Neuroscience. Continuing on in my academic studies, I graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery from New York University. A year after graduation, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on my 30th birthday. I still say it’s the best present ever.
When you’re faced with a life threatening illness, you quickly realize what you are made of. Your character, determination, will power, strength, attitude quickly comes to the forefront. I believed every minute that I would survive. My mind, body, spirit were all linked and ready to fight. Cancer had no idea who it was messing with; it didn’t have a chance to take my life from me. I wouldn’t let it.
Once fully recovered, my journey in life took me to Los Angeles, where I began on Orofascial Pain Residency at the University of California Los Angeles. I was treating numerous types of pain symptoms; migraines, headaches, nerve and muscle disorders. In LA, I had the opportunity to practice at headquarters and realized the amazing life changing health benefits of Bikram Yoga in me and others. In overcoming my health issues; reconstructive knee surgery (tore my ACL, MCL and medial meniscus) chronic back pain and cancer and through my experiences with patients, I realized there is only one simple rule in health. You must work hard to be healthy. It’s something we take for granted. We work hard to be successful in our studies, careers, relationships. Our health is no exception. In fact, our health should be our number one priority.
We all have the ability to heal ourselves. Everything we need is already within us. Practicing yoga asanas allows the body to realign, reorganize and revitalize itself. It allows the body to heal from within. The pills I prescribed to patients only masked the symptoms; none of these pills ever cured their illness. There is no magic pill, nor will there ever be. Once again there is only one rule to achieve health, a simple rule but not an easy one. You must work hard to be healthy. Only with a healthy mind, body and spirit can we achieve everything we want in this world.
I was awarded a scholarship to attend the fall 2011 Bikram Teacher Training in LA. Life is a ride and what a phenomenal rollercoaster it is during those 9 weeks. I couldn’t be happier teaching at Bikram Yoga Red Deer, sharing my enthusiasm and passion with so many dedicated students. Cannot wait to see your smiling happy faces in class!
Human nature defines us as habitual beings who strive for acceptance, love & reassurance. We crave these things and try to nourish the need with anything that will satisfy. Very rarely do we even think to look inside ourselves to accommodate this need and satisfy our craving.
We are constantly looking outside ourselves and filling the need with people and substances that don’t benefit our growth. Bikram Yoga has taught me – well, lets be real – forced me to look inside and search for acceptance, love & reassurance; 90 minutes with my eyes locked in a mirror, beads of sweat speeding down my face, a teacher telling my body what to do and an unquestionable trust in the process.
My Yoga journey began in 2008 in India where I stayed at an ashram practicing Sivananda Yoga. When I returned home I continued to practice, but never felt completely satisfied. I knew when I took my first class at Bikram Yoga Red Deer I found true love, if I could marry yoga I would. Bikram Yoga for me has been the most physically and mentally challenging activity that I have ever experienced. I’m still learning how to let go of expectations in the hot room (and outside of the room), as every day is different and my body is constantly changing. However, there is one thing that stays the same after every class and it is the feeling of renewal, clarity and peace of mind that is achieved after the 90 minutes. Bikram says, “Yoga will not only save your life, it will save your soul.”
I always knew I would teach yoga, but I didn’t know when. I went to the University of Calgary and obtained my Bachelor of Social Work and as soon as I graduated, I left for teacher training in LA in the fall of 2012: one of the greatest experiences of my life, being with 443 practitioners (for 9 weeks!) who share the same love and passion for Bikram Yoga as me! My aspiration is to combine Social Work practice and Bikram Yoga as a means to support people in making conscious choices that encourage positive growth. If you are willing to invest the time and dedicate 100% of the effort while you are in the hot room, this yoga will change your life and your character will be strengthened beyond what you could ever imagine. I can’t wait to see you at the studio!
Jackie Kurylo (Co-Director)
I first heard of Bikram Yoga in 2008 through an article in the Readers Digest. It was about a woman named Tara Moore who was a seaman in the Canadian Navy who, badly injured after a parachuting accident was using Bikram Yoga as a tool in her recovery.
I remember thinking ‘now isn’t that smart – using heat and yoga together for healing’. I knew at that moment one day I would practice Bikram Yoga. At that point, I had tried several different types of yoga but none of them fit. I always felt like I was a silly westerner trying to impersonate an Indian yogi. I continued to bounce from practice to practice and from one type of exercise fad to the next (remember Tae Bo?). Meanwhile, my overall health was deteriorating as my work became more and more stressful and I became less and less able to manage it.
When the student is ready the teacher appears. Enter BYRD where I learned a whole new way to manage stress. First I fell in love with the heat. Second I learned that it was OK to turn off the world for 90 minutes; then I learned HOW to turn it off. I started to look in the mirror, to see myself, to accept myself and love myself. I have never once felt like an imposter in a Bikram class - awkward at times, absolutely – but never an imposter. The benefits have touched every corner of my life. I regained control of my health. The migraines I was used to struggling through almost daily disappeared. Week long bouts of vertigo (diagnosed as Menieres disease) stopped. I handle myself and let others handle themselves. I wake up every day with a sense of calm, faith and purpose.
I am well on my way to being the person I always knew I was. The great part is that I know this is just the start. I am excited to have found my path and to be a part of BYRD. See you in the studio!
My first Bikram yoga class was in 2009. All I remember is thinking how can everyone be so quiet for an hour and a half, that I was wearing way too much clothing and being amazed at the places my body had managed to sweat. I remember walking out and thinking that it was the most challenging and exhilarating thing I’d ever done, I was hooked.
Just like most young teenage girls who struggle with body image, mine became a little more extreme. I first went into treatment when I was 16 for anorexia and continued to be in and out of treatment and struggling for the next 8 years. It wasn’t until I started practicing the yoga that I was truly able to see myself and appreciate my body for what it was capable of. Not just looking in the mirror and judging every imperfection of myself, I learned to appreciate those imperfections and be grateful for who I was and what I had to offer to the world. After a consistent practice, I was able to get off of any medication given to me to numb me through life. I had not only began to like myself but actually began to love myself. You truly see yourself in the room and discover your true potential. Some days it might not be easy, but I always leave feeling stronger and that it is exactly where I need to be. The beauty of this practice is that even though every class is the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, no two classes are the same. Every day that you go in, you challenge yourself in a different way and get out of that class what ever your body and mind are needing for that moment.
After knowing I wanted to be a teacher very early on into my practice, I finally had the opportunity to attend Teacher Training Spring 2012. The craziest, humbling, most challenging 9 weeks of my life but also the most rewarding. Spending 9 weeks with people so passionate and full of love about something I felt so strongly about was truly an honor. I am so thankful to be able to do what I love and to be able to share my passion of yoga with others. It is such a gift to see people work so hard and transform in front of your eyes every day. I am so happy to be back in Red Deer teaching in my hometown and look forward to seeing you in the hot room!
I started my practice at BYRD in 2012, I am forever grateful for my mother dragging me into the studio because from that day forward my life became more meaningful to me. Everything in my life began to shift and it started with me, my perception changed and I let go of my negative patterns and became more disciplined and focused in my life.
I grew up in a small town in Northern BC, my family always very busy. I took advantage of my freedom and gained quite a few negative habits by living an unhealthy lifestyle. I moved to Red Deer in 2011, where I discovered Bikram yoga for the first time. I had never experienced anything like it, it was by far the most challenging thing I have ever done. My practice reflected into other areas of my life- my thoughts became more clear and positive as I started to discover myself deeper. I no longer desired external satisfaction, as I thrived from within.
Feeling confident in my life, I accepted a job opportunity in the Oil and Gas industry in Northern, BC. I attempted to sustain my practice but I lacked the inspiration and discipline to continue on. After a long year in a stressful work environment and no self exploration, I found myself falling back into an unhealthy lifestyle. I realized how ungrounded I was and I longed for the sense of wellbeing as I once felt when I practiced Bikram yoga regularly. Everything fell into place when I set my intention to go to teacher training that following spring to further my practice. I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my passion and teach this yoga!
After moving back to Red Deer I needed to find something I could really get into. I was looking online when I came across Bikram Hot Yoga (BYRD). I took my first class in the fall of 2011. At the age of 16 this was my first experience of doing any kind of yoga and I immediately fell in love. I just knew that I had found something more powerful than I could comprehend in that moment.
I soon discovered that Bikram yoga gave me the opportunity to connect with my entire body, mind, and soul. I was amazed at how this yoga reminded me of how powerful I already was, and all through the simplicity of conscious movement, breathe, and stillness.
In the beginning of my yoga journey I was dealing with the pressure of what I truly wanted to do once I graduated from high school. I contemplated many different ideas. I knew whatever I chose that it had to be something significant that resonated with my own truth and belief system. Then one day when I was lying in Savasana it came to me, and I knew then that it was yoga that I wanted to teach. It was something I was personally passionate about and really believed in. I knew that supporting others in the yoga community by becoming a teacher was my answer.
I went to the teacher training in the spring of 2015 in Thailand. To say I had butterflies before teaching my first class is an understatement, but I loved it! Now not only am I in love with practicing, but I have fallen in love with teaching yoga as well. I am truly grateful to be a part of the Bikram Yoga community and I look forward to growing and connecting with myself as well as with others.