In honour of Father’s Day (Sunday, June 17), we’re profiling amazing dads and (in this case) their daughters! Meet Urs – a 60-year-old (in July!) gastroenterologist at VGH – and his 23-year-old daughter, Nicole. Together they tell us why practising as a dad-daughter duo only makes their bond – in and out of the hot room – stronger!

When did you start practising Bikram Yoga, and why?

Nicole: A family friend convinced my mom and I to try Bikram Yoga with her in September of 2009. I loved the challenge of it right from my first class, and decided it would be a great way to cross-train for ultimate (Frisbee), as well as make carrying canoes during the summer more comfortable (I’ve spent the past 11 summers in the northern Ontario wilderness, where I set myself up with a lifelong love for canoe tripping). Since then, my focus has shifted more and more toward practising yoga for yoga’s sake, and these days I try to practise as often as I can, though it changes with the time of year. I’ve finally enjoyed my first full winter practising a few times per week. At the moment, when I’m in the city I try to make it to three or four classes per week.

Urs: In 2010 I tagged along with my daughter and wife to a class. My initial goal was to build core body strength and flexibility for skating. Two years later and I’m still practising Bikram Yoga – three times a week, when possible. Of those classes, Nicole and I practise together once or twice a week.

What are some of the best benefits you’ve gained from Bikram Yoga?

Urs: Among the many benefits I’ve received: increased core strength, balance, flexibility, inner peace and, of course, that endorphin high!

Nicole: As if those endorphins weren’t enough, I feel stronger, more flexible, more aware and more focused, I breathe better … all of these benefits translate outside the hot room into other spheres, whether it’s the classroom, the office or the backcountry.

What do you like most about sharing the yoga experience with each other?

Nicole: It’s really, really fun to do something you love with someone you love (it helps when they love it, too!). It’s a privilege for me to go into the hot room with my dad. Bikram Yoga works perfectly for both of us because we like to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. The added bonus is that we are all sunshine and rainbows after class!

Urs: What I enjoy most is being able to share the pain/pleasure of 100% effort in Bikram Yoga with Nicole, and to learn from her determination, flexibility and passion for doing each position as well as possible with total intensity and commitment. My daughter is an amazing young woman, whose maturity, wisdom, character and selflessness is inspiring to her parents. She has wonderful flexibility and strength, and is a great model and example for yoga practice.

Nicole, in honour of Father’s Day, what do you admire most about your dad?

My dad is an inspiration to me in so many ways – too many to name them all. Fortunately, he is true to his character inside and outside the yoga studio. Some of the elements I admire in my dad’s practice are his incredible work ethic and dedication. I think it would be impossible for him to not give his all in everything he does. The fact that I know he is always trying 110% makes it impossible for me to not work as hard as I can, too. He is a true athlete in that he accepts nothing less than his best in every single posture. I have loved watching his practice evolve, and I am lucky to call him my dad!

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