Ashley is one of BYV’s newest teachers. When she’s not out walking her dog Lou, skateboarding or snowboarding, she’s in the hot room building up her strength – both physical and mental. Her best tip for students: RELAX. Read more…

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …

My first class was in May 2010. I was going to another yoga studio, doing a different kind of “warm” yoga and, since I loved the heat, a buddy of mine told me to try Bikram Yoga. I will never forget my first class. It was crazy, hard, intense and HOT – I thought it was never going to end. Straight up torture! Laurie, who taught that class, will always have a “special” place in my heart …

Wow, so it wasn’t long before you became a teacher. What made you decide?

Since Day 1, Bikram Yoga became a regular practice in my life and, within the first few months of practising I was already thinking about going to Teacher Training. It was the first form of exercise, for both my body and my mind, that had such a powerful impact on my life, and I wanted to play as big of a part in helping more and more people get involved as I could.

What was teacher training like for you?

I met amazing people who were as obsessed with yoga as me! I loved Bikram; he showed me love, taught me so much and made me laugh every day. The low dose of sleep was tough for me, but at least we had Half Tortoise Pose to keep us going!

Did going to training help you perfect your practice, or are there still some aspects you’re working on?

You definitely don’t come back from Teacher Training a superstar yogi! But you do come back with a new perspective and greater respect, plus more focused. The high intensity of training showed me where I need more strength and re-alignment in my body. My old hockey injuries came out at training, so I guess you could say I came back a bit broken; now, I am building myself back up again.

Are there any specific challenges to teaching Bikram Yoga?

To be a good teacher you have to show people your real self, so the students feel comfortable showing you their real selves. You must give people everything you’ve got to gain trust and respect. In the hot room everyone must tell the truth. Every class that I teach, I learn more and gain more respect and gratitude for the practice, my students and myself.

Got any advice for students, no matter their level?

My number 1 tip would be: remember to relax, focus, concentrate and meditate. This is not just a physical practice. It is so hard to control the monkey mind. Practise building your mental strength in the hot room; it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the physical practice. Eventually, in the future, hopefully you can achieve a level of meditation where you can actually turn you brain off and just RELAX.

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