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					I did my first Bikram class 9 or 10 years ago, while in Vancouver with my sister. I didn’t go back
until 2007 when my daughter Shauna told me she was going to teacher training. I figured that I
should really find out what this yoga was all about.
Thus began my Bikram yoga journey. A very flexible person, I soon discovered I was lacking in
strength and stamina. I practiced once or twice a week for the first few years, and then, as it
happens to many of us, I found myself scheduling my days around my yoga classes. Soon my
second daughter Leanne was off to teacher training and I stepped up my practice to 3-4 times a
week. I saw many improvements and changes in my body, my leg strength was amazing and
this last summer, climbing up a mountain for 2 hours was no problem. Even my husband was
impressed with my stamina, and all I do for exercise is Bikram Yoga!
During the last 3 years, menopause hit me full force. Frustrated with the hot flashes, I said to
my body, “you want to sweat??? Here we go!” I believe that my regular practice helped me to
deal with the flashes that would hit randomly day and night.
I eventually sought out alternative treatments, and was pleasantly surprised when, after a
series of blood tests, the nurse practitioner commented on my excellent thyroid result. She said
that most women my age, going through menopause, have thyroid problems. I told her about
my regular practice, now 5 classes a week, and the fact that in Bikram yoga many of the poses
include compression of the thyroid gland. Thank you Leanne for reminding me in class to “get
your forehead on your knee!”
This year I decided, with the support of my daughters, to compete in the Asana Championships.
Talk about a great way to improve your practice!! Now, instead of dogging it through standing
head to knee, I HAD to do it! I wanted to show the audience that an “older, gray haired, not so
slender person” can practice yoga, especially Bikram yoga, and enjoy all the fantastic benefits it
has to offer.
Although I didn’t win a prize at the competition, I accomplished my goals I set out for myself and
I did get the loudest applause of any other competitor!!

Jill Tomanek

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