Strengthening You Inside & Out: An Interview with Yours Truly

One of my students, Ajay, interviewed me a few weeks ago for an assignment for his journalism class. We had a long conversation, a few tidbits of which are included below. Mostly, I’m always gratified to discover I do make sense when I’m talking. My favorite part of the interview: in discussing challenging situations in the room, I mentioned how yoga allows me to be patient with crazy students as well as patient with myself when I get angry or frustrated at aforementioned students’ behavior. Ajay exclaimed that he’d never seen me get angry in class, and was shocked to think sometime I was. My answer? “Good! That means I’m doing my job right!” It’s not about me. I never want to express or take out my negative feelings on my students.

In any case, here is the result. I have edited out the parts introducing Bikram Yoga, since hopefully you are all already aware of the practice.

Triangle PoseEnthusiasm







“It requires a lot of vigilance to avoid injury-which is the nature of any physical activity–and vigilance is one of the things that is continuously being taught in the room,” was her reply when she was questioned whether somebody could hurt themselves in the hot room. After hearing her reply, I was able to gather the reason as to why so much emphasis was always laid on being alert of your body. The vigilance in class supported safe practice of yoga.

She told me that having been practicing yoga 4-5 times a week has not only made her a stronger version of herself but has also made her more patient and compassionate. “It makes me a lot kinder towards myself and other people” she adds. When pushed into revealing more benefits of Bikram Yoga other than the obvious she jokingly replies that now she has got a “crap ton” more flexibility.

When the question arose as to whether the students should try to push themselves in the hot room in order to receive more benefits from their practice, she advises that students should try to improve every single class but they should also be aware of their own capabilities. Hence as long as you were performing with proper form and not with your ego you were receiving the benefits. “You never win an ego contest. Never, ever.”

When asked if there was any secret behind having a great class, she replies, “If you can smile in here (in class) you can smile anywhere.” Now I could figure out as to why she always had on her 1000-volt smile. I was sure that everyone who did hot yoga could completely relate to what she was saying because if a person who was trying to do a yoga posture against odds such as heat, humidity, sweat, mind-boggling thoughts etc. and still could smile, then it could be made damn sure that person could smile on the face of any challenges that faced in the outside world. After this our conversation ended and her words of wisdom kept ringing in my ears even after a few days literally (well not that literally but you should get the meaning by now).


4 responses to “Strengthening You Inside & Out: An Interview with Yours Truly

  1. Ha, love the crazy student comment. I always wondered how teachers dealt with that. There’s a token student that comes to my studio that as students, we are very conscious of. We often wonder what the instructors think of her….I often change my spot because I can’t take her….she leaves class often, primps in the mirror, bangs into the wall and makes exaggerated noises coming in and out of postures. The best is when you pull up to the studio you see her laid out across her red Mercedes with her boobs hanging out. The teachers never seem to say anything to her, but I get it’s a business too….

    • Part of it is that it is a business, but from my perspective as a teacher and sometimes fellow practitioner (as opposed to studio owner, who would necessarily be more driven by the business aspect), I want those students to be at yoga. They clearly need this yoga, to help develop an inkling of self-awareness and empathy. And this is usually what I remind myself when they are creating distractions in class. On good days, I can laugh at the silliness of how difficult they make the practice for themselves and others. Other days, I struggle and get frustrated, annoyed, and impatient. Such is the nature of being human. 🙂

      Glad it resonated with you! At least they make for good stories, eh?

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