Jeremy, one of our Bikram Yoga (Kitsilano) regulars, has many hobbies, including hockey, hiking, running, water-skiing and box lacrosse. But his first and foremost passion these days is his daughter, Amelia Shae, who celebrates her first birthday this month! We asked Jeremy what it’s like being a new dad, and how he manages to fit a consistent yoga practice into his hectic schedule.

 Why did you first start practising Bikram Yoga?

I started to practise Bikram Yoga to try and rehab several nagging injuries so I could resume playing box lacrosse for the Vancouver Burrards. I had previously tried to play through the pain but it was unbearable, and I actually wasted an entire year, frustrated, with no success in terms of healing. My body was suffering from years of playing competitive, high-impact sports. My doctor told me I needed a rest and advised me no more hockey or lacrosse until I fully recovered. That’s when I took my first class, and I eventually fell in love with the yoga because it was an intense workout where my body actually felt better afterward.

Do you remember your first class?
I remember thinking, “This is awesome; everyone is naked!” Then, while attempting the postures for the first time, it was very painful and I was surprised at how un-flexible I had become. The workout was much more intense and challenging than I thought it would be. Yoga kicked my ass and, since I hate losing, I figured if I came again it would be easier the next time. I’m still waiting for that to happen …

How long did it take you after that first class to really get into Bikram Yoga, to the point that you were practising on a regular basis?
In 2008 I bought a 40-class card for my wife and I to share. A year later we had only used two of the 40 classes and the card was about to expire. Lacrosse was over and I had a few weeks before hockey started – I needed something to do. So, in September 2009, I got back into yoga and finished the rest of the 38 classes by December. By then I was addicted and purchased a year unlimited pass because it was the closest thing to actually living at the studio!

How does it feel to be a dad for the first time?
Being a dad is 10 times more work than I anticipated, but Amelia is an absolute joy and I love her more than anything. The hardest part of my day is leaving her to go to work every morning and the best part is returning home at night to see her again.

How often were you practising Bikram Yoga before your daughter was born?
I was a yoga junkie, practising between six and seven times a week. I actually completed a 30-day challenge and tried doing doubles. I was thinking about doing triples, quadruples – how about a complete day of yoga?! My perfect day consisted of doing the Grouse Grind followed immediately by a Bikram Yoga class to loosen me up for hockey later that evening!

How did your yoga practice change after your daughter was born?
I still practice a lot, but now it’s three or four times a week. I love my daughter more than anything, but I now appreciate all the free time I had before I became a dad (take advantage, all you singles!). Right now, family and being at home have become my biggest priorities. I still love yoga as much as I did before; I just see it more as a necessary luxury. I actually feel lucky to have a wife who understands me and my desire to do yoga so often.

How do you juggle being a new parent and fitting Bikram Yoga in on a regular basis?
Are you sure you really want to know? This may scare some people who live actively and are thinking about having kids …

Yes, we really want to know!
Well, my wife, Claire, is a personal trainer and a fitness addict just like me but, unlike me, she gets her fix at the gym. Before Amelia was born, we used to be able to get off work at the same time and she would head to the gym while I went off to yoga. Then we’d meet at home for dinner, go to bed and do it all again the next day.

Now, one of us always has to be home with our daughter. So to make it all work our home is kind of like an airport. Basically, as I am arriving Claire hands me Amelia before she takes off to the gym, and vice versa. We don’t often eat dinner together anymore, but one of us usually makes dinner for the other. We often see each other late at night just in time to connect for five minutes or so, at which time it’s usually a race to hit the pillow and fall asleep.
The exception is Sunday, which is designated as family day, and once a month we commit to having a date night. Both are important to us as a couple and to our little family, and we cherish these times.

As a new parent, why is it important to you to keep coming to Bikram Yoga?
Besides the obvious mental and physical benefits of Bikram Yoga, which are a necessity to living a long a healthy life, I think it’s important as a parent to still be yourself and do the things in life that make you happy, even if you do them less. You still need to make the effort and do them – you owe it to yourself.

As a new parent specifically, what benefits does Bikram Yoga offer you?
For me, doing yoga as a parent is like pushing a much-needed reset button. There is often no time in the day to myself, and I appreciate the 90 minutes I spend in the hot room now more than ever because it’s a time when nothing else matters except me. I am very thankful there are Bikram Yoga studios worldwide so I can still do yoga even when travelling or on vacation.

Will you one day encourage your daughter to try yoga?
Even before she was born I was already looking forward to the day Amelia is old enough to try yoga with me. She can already fit both her feet in her mouth at the same time, plus she can hold downward dog for almost a minute! Talk about a proud dad! I tease my wife that our daughter is already a yogi.

Any more tips for parents trying to fit Bikram Yoga into their schedules?
Every minute being a parent is precious, so I use a day-timer to stay organized and on track. I also use it to write down my daily, weekly and yearly goals, which of course include Bikram Yoga. I’d also say that it’s a huge challenge to find balance for yourself and for your family; Claire and I are constantly tweaking our lives/schedules as Amelia grows through various stages, but my best advice for new parents is to hire a sleep coach for your baby. We did when Amelia was around three months old. Soon after, she started sleeping 12 hours a night and, like a switch, we had our life back!
Got more tips on being a new mom or dad and making time for yoga? Leave a comment, let us know!

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