What made you decide to try Bikram Yoga?
I was already doing lots of types of yoga. I went to visit my daughter in North Carolina and she was going to a Bikram Yoga class and thought I would like it.
How was your first Class?
From the get go, you are taught to breathe!!!!! Yoga classes always talk about the importance of the breath, but it was not until after I had done the opening breathing sequence that I was able to really understand what breathing deeply felt like. I also liked the way the class was designed. Instead of trying to copy the way the instructor does the poses, the dialogue guides you into the expression of the pose appropriate for you at that time. I also liked the way each pose was a preparation for the next pose. All leading to the focus on the spine stretching on the floor. As an aside, I have done classes at various studios all over the U.S. and London, and the classes were always the same sequence. So, at 65 years old, I can do Bikram Yoga anywhere!
What are the benefits you have received from your Bikram Yoga practice?
In 2010, I was diagnosed with stage one invasive breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and underwent nine weeks of radiation. I remember thinking about how lucky I was that I already had this discipline in place. I went to yoga every day and it became my place of sanctuary. It was in the room that I could get to moments when I would not be thinking about all the struggles I was dealing with. The last five years I have been on a cancer medication with some pretty nasty side effects. One side effect being achy muscles and joints. The hot room and the poses made me feel better. If I missed a class I could feel the difference immediately. I had decided that the best thing I could do would be to get my body and mind in the best physical shape possible to maintain my immune system as its highest level. Bikram yoga did that for me.
What would you tell someone who is brand new to the yoga practice?
COME BACK!!!!!! Give yourself time to figure out the process. The class can seem overwhelming because there is a lot going on. It’s HOT, however after a few classes your body will adjust. Gradually you will begin to use the heat as a tool in your poses. It is confusing at first that no one is “showing” you how to do a pose. That is because the dialogue is specifically telling you “how” to do each pose. Even after seven years, there are times when I hear something in the dialogue that helps. The learning process is ongoing. Just looking at myself in the mirror the whole time was an adjustment for me.
What is your favorite posture and why?
My favorite posture is Standing Bow because for me as it represents everything I come to yoga for. It helps me build on the ability to focus and concentrate when everything else around me is falling apart. The pose forces you to achieve a total balance within your body by using just the proper amount of push and pull. I get to a place where I am at my center and out of my head and all the distractions around me fall away. I try to apply this balance and focus to my outside life.
Anything else you would like to let us know?
I am an artist. I do acrylic New Mexico landscape paintings (barbaradushane.com). I have two wonderful grown children. Kevin, 34, who is a chef at Papa Hayden and lives with his wife Amy in Portland, Oregon. Allison, 37, who is a Ph.D. in 18th Century Romanticism and lives with her husband Mike in Tucson, Arizona. I am so grateful for my husband, Gary, who came to yoga every day with me after my surgery and treatments to give me support and continues his practice now.
Lastly, my thanks to Kristin for maintaining this studio at a high standard of excellence. Also, many thanks to all the teachers for their hard work and dedication to this Yoga. I have learned something special from each one of you.