As I’ve been mentioning (and quite possibly annoying you with) all over my blog and social media, I was chosen as a Yoga Challenge Leader for prAna’s #TaketheLeap 30 Day Yoga Challenge. I’ve been taking my role VERY seriously; not just because prAna rocks and I want to do a good job for them, but because I think the message they are trying to send is such an important one. I’m thrilled to be included in anything that might help get people interested in yoga. It has changed my life, after all.
When I found out about the Challenge it got my mind working on more things I could do – more posts I could write – to shine an even brighter light on how marvelous yoga is. That’s when I came up with this little series that I’m kicking off today…let’s call it KICK ASANA! Because I’m a huge dork and I love puns.
For this series I have interviewed 4 yoga teachers and will be featuring their interviews over the next 4 Thursdays. I am so inspired by these women and I’m happy to be able to call each of them a friend. I hope you enjoy hearing about what yoga means to them! I bet you’ll be inspired too.
I’m kicking (hee hee) off the series with an awesome lady whom I have known for quite a few years. I credit her with making me fall in love with Bikram yoga. Even though we always worked hard in class, her fun sense of humor and teaching style always kept me coming back.
Please welcome Karen Shinnick to Run Salt Run!
Salt: How long have you been practicing & how did you get started?
Karen: All together I’ve been practicing yoga for about 13 years. I first started with various types of yoga at the local YMCA when I received a knee injury from training for a marathon. I was introduced to Bikram Yoga 11 years ago. After my first class I knew this was the yoga for me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I went every day of my intro week and from that point dropped everything else I was doing. I was hooked!
Salt: What do you enjoy most about Bikram?
Karen: I love the fact that the class is always the same but the way my body responds to the heat, the instructor, the people around me and to a different spot in the room always changes. No two classes are alike and there’s always something to work on whether it be physical, mental or emotional.
Salt: What do you love most about teaching?
Karen: I absolutely love to see the light in people’s eyes when they understand a correction. When their mind body connects and they understand what a posture is all about. I love to see how proud they are of themselves. I learn just as much from teaching my clients as they learn from me.
Salt: What has yoga done for you as a person?
Karen: Where do I begin! It’s made me calmer, more humble and open to change. For the past year and a half my family has been through many major life stresses. Bikram Yoga has been my rock. My one point of stability. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my practice and without my yoga family.
Salt: In your opinion what are the greatest health benefits of a regular practice?
Karen: Less dependence on pharmaceutical drugs. I’ve had clients who’ve lowered their blood pressure medicine, cholesterol meds, insulin..so many drugs all from a regular practice. I think just the mental and emotional clarity alone are well worth practicing everyday.
Salt: Do you have any words of advice for someone who may be contemplating going to a class?
Karen: I think before starting any type of yoga you should come to class with an open mind. Let go of any preconceived notion of what the class may be like. Take more than one class. You can’t decide after just one class if this is for you or not. Be prepared to feel better and just have fun.
Doesn’t this just make you want to get to a Bikram class right now?! Hearing Karen’s responses put the BIGGEST smile on my face. It must be such a wonderful feeling as a teacher to watch people understand and feel pride in their practice. I completely agree with her stance on health benefits as well. Over the years yoga has helped me in ways that doctors or prescriptions couldn’t.
Thank you so much to Karen for taking the time to answer my questions and for just being such an all around great person. (YOU ROCK, KAREN!) And if you are ever in the Baltimore area and looking to take a Bikram class either for the first or thousandth time, look her up! You will love every hot minute.