I took my first Bikram yoga class in April of 2001 at the Old Town studio here in San Diego. I loved it and hated it. I STILL FEEL THE SAME WAY! I continued to practice there and other San Diego schools for the next two years. I was involved in long distance running known as endurance races (including 100 mile races). Crazy- I know! The yoga helped me in all ways including preventing injuries. I moved to Hawaii to train and race in one of the toughest races in the world because of the high elevation gain and the terrain. Amazingly I managed to take third place a couple of times. I could not have done it without the yoga. My path took me to the Bikram teacher training in Los Angeles. I then taught in Hawaii until March 2008 when I returned to San Diego and became director of this school. While living and teaching in Hawaii, the training site was moved there for two sessions and I regularly attended class. The teacher training brings in a lot of senior teachers and the best teachers from around the world and I did have the good fortune and opportunity to take advantage of that. I have had a lot of excellent teachers. I represented Hawaii in 2007 and 2008, and Southern California in 2009 in the national championships. I’m a person that never gives up. Sometimes I want to but I don’t.
The Bikram yoga will teach you to always think positive and never allow negativity to enter your mind. With this simple principle, how could you possibly fall short of your capabilities and full potential? Whatever you set your mind on, it can become reality because you have learned the art of concentration and harnessed the power of focusing your mind. THIS IS THE YOGA.
If I can do this, you can do this. When I started I was not good but I kept trying time and time again. Every time I went to class I fell completely apart within minutes. I could not comprehend how I could run 100 miles without stopping yet couldn’t do five minutes of Bikram Yoga without falling apart and practically dying! I got yelled at a lot. My balance was terrible and I was the guy that was hopping all over the room trying to stand still and lock my knee. I was the one that was hyperventilating all the time and crawling to the door to get out and get a breath of fresh air. Somehow I worked past all of that. I knew who was good and I put myself as close to them as possible and watched them and learned to do as they did. I knew it was going to take a lot of work and time. I’m still at it. My responsibilities are much greater these days. I have to bring you all the knowledge that Bikram has given me and all the teachers I have worked with and under. I have to give you a good place to practice this very important thing, this way of life, this yoga. I always strive for the best, and I will help you to achieve the same for yourself. Work hard my friends. Namaste
DAVE SCHUTZ, CERTIFIED 1999
Dave Schutz was born in Long Beach, California and raised in San Diego. Dave has worked as a chef and restaurant owner. Today, when Dave isn’t in the hot room teaching class, he works as a landscape designer and installer. Dave has been practicing yoga for twelve years, and teaching in San Diego for over ten years. Bikram says that it takes ten years for one to become a true Bikram Yoga Teacher and Dave is there… Dave’s great personality, sense of humor, and way with words makes those 90 minutes in the hot room seem like a piece of cake. Dave’s favorite posture is which ever one we are currently doing.
LONNIE HOUSTON, CERTIFIED SPRING 2006
I began practicing Hatha yoga in the early 70′s. I used a book for instruction. I had never heard of a yoga class. I liked the way I felt concentrating on certain parts of my body. During the 80′s & 90′s, I started running and I loved that as well. I began to experience pain in my back, legs and feet. I came to my first Bikram class in 2001, and I knew something great was happening in that class. I wanted to be a part of it. After a few months, I realized I wanted to be an instructior. In Spring of 2006, I became certified. I still practice regularly and love watching students go beyond what they ever thought possible.
NELIA PECK, CERTIFIED SPRING 2009
Nelia started practicing Bikram-style yoga in 2006, becoming quite dedicated to it, and completed Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in June 2009 as her way of taking her practice to a higher level. Nelia has been teaching since then in BYEC and to a group of friends in Salmon, Idaho. Nelia is an avid swimmer and a constant Tai Chi practitioner even when she worked full-time as a project engineer and contracts manager in California’s Silicon Valley. Nelia finds Bikram-style yoga very challenging and satisfying in terms of the rigor and precision and rewarding in terms of the health benefits of getting focused, fit, strong, flexible with some weight, cholesterol, thyroid and hormonal control.
STEFAN TALIAN, CERTIFIED SPRING 2009
I was born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia. My schooling consisted of culinary art, hotel management and marketing. After I earned all of my degrees, I decided to visit the “world”. I came to the U.S. as a chef. I enjoyed it a lot and was working towards opening my own restaurant one day. At the same time, I was doing some modeling which required a lot of time in the gym. Chef and model was not the best combination. One personal trainer told me I needed to stretch more. I knew it, but I didn’t have time for it. When my trainer told me she goes to some yoga class that is done in some kind of sauna, I was in. In my first Bikram Yoga class I almost died, but that night I found the answer, and I was hooked. I practiced a lot; I was less and less in the gym. People started asking me what I was doing different, because whatever it was, it was working. I had a hard time explaining how and why it worked. Less than a year later in Spring of 2009, I decided to go to Teacher Training in Palm Desert. I spent 9 weeks of the best time of my life. When I came back to Vermont, where I was still chef, I realized that people in restaurants love me for about 90 minutes when they are enjoying my food and having fun, but then when they leave stuffed and feeling guilty, they kind of hate me for awhile. In yoga, people hate me for 90 minutes when I’m telling them to do things with their bodies that they either don’t want to do or don’t think they can do. Plus, cooking people is much more fun! So a couple months later, I decided to quit my job, and I became a traveling yoga teacher. I was traveling and teaching for about four months and my last “stop” was San Diego. I planned to stay for a few weeks, but somehow I’m here already more than year. I guess I found what I was looking for; I’m home! I’m loving my new life. It’s awesome to be able to share with people all what I learned from Bikram and to see how their lives change. I still have a lot to learn and I’m willing to do so step by step, one breath at the time. I hope to see you all in the hot room soon. NAMASTE
JAKE GOERTZEN, CERTIFIED SPRING 2009
Over 14 years ago Jake climbed the stairs that led to the Greenlake Bikram Yoga studio in Seattle, knees probably shaking, in search for his first ever yoga class. Since then he has practiced in 123 different studios all over the Bikram world and is proud to have graduated from the Teacher Training in Palm Desert Spring ’09. A Canadian-American, Jake moved to San Diego from Seattle on September 1, 2010 and loves the yoga community in this area. “Teaching Bikram Yoga full time is a dream come true. There is something special about being part of people getting the yoga,” says Jake. “The positive overall change Bikram Yoga brings to a person’s life is incredible and unique to the individual.” Jake was involved in hockey for thirty years and was part of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning before becoming a Bikram Yoga instructor.
CLAUDIA NEELEY, CERTIFIED SPRING 2007
I graduated from teacher training in the spring of 2007. I was living in Hawaii when I started practicing Bikram yoga in 1998. I was already doing hatha yoga but was looking for a more aerobic workout when a friend suggested trying Bikram yoga. I was reluctant because at the time, I didn’t think I liked to sweat! By then, my sciatica was so bad that I was barely able to sit and drive a car. I finally took a Bikram yoga class and I felt great aftwards! Plus I learned that sweating actually felt good and it was as if I had sweated for the very first time. I began to practice regularly in Hawaii where Anthony was one of my favorite teachers, and my sciatica pain gradually subsided. My regular practice has been instrumental in maintaining my mental and spiritual well-being. I’m thrilled to be back in my hometown and teaching with Anthony again.
TONYA NOVAK, CERTIFIED 2000
A native from South Dakota, I moved to San Diego in 1999 for a change of pace from a small town in the midwest. I began my yoga journey at the age of 22. After Taking my First Bikram Yoga class, my body was in shock. I was overwhelmed by the fact that just 90 minutes of stretching in a heated room could be so beneficial. Honestly, I didn’t “enjoy” my first, second, or even third class. With the help and encouragement from the instructor and a few others I decided to take the challenge of seven consecutive days. By the end of the seventh class, I was hooked and knew I would use this “key to the kingdom of health” for the rest of my life. Within the following year, I took the Fall 2000 Teacher Training, managed to overcome the challenge and went forward to open a Bikram Yoga studio in El Cajon. I have moved on from owning a studio but continue my practice as a student as well as an instructor on a daily basis using, “you don’t use it, you lose it” mentality. When I am not in the yoga room, I enjoy my other passion with Food & Beverage as well as traveling. This yoga has developed patience within myself using the learning technique of learning how to breathe and staying calm in certain situations that may arise. It has given me the strength and energy to stay healthy and make better choices. As an instructor it is such an honor to share this yoga with each of you in class. I look forward to seeing you all very soon! -Namaste
CHARLENE AULD, CERTIFIED FALL 2011
In 2005 I took my first Bikram class. I was skeptical about doing yoga because I originally thought it wasn’t a “real workout”, but I was wrong. After my first class I was in love with the way I felt inside and out and how challenging class was! I never thought becoming a teacher was something I could do until one day at work, after being stressed out and miserable for far too long, I thought to myself ‘there had to be something better than this.’ I needed to do something with my life that made me happy, healthy, and that I enjoyed. After talks with other instructors, friends, family, and my own self evaluation I decided to take a leap of faith and go to teacher training in Fall 2011. In the beginning I was very worried if I was doing the right thing or not, but I soon realized I had nothing to lose and only more chances to improve my life. I haven’t looked back since.
MONICA MAHDION, CERTIFIED FALL 2011
Not being a California native, I came here from a place where the people are warm but the winters are Cold! People there like to say ‘I’ll try anything once …..twice if I like it!”—and if it’s good for you –Why not? That’s exactly how I ended up here! I tried San Diego once on a February getaway and was warmed by the spacious Pacific shoreline, friendly weather, and diversity.— Well, after finishing up college studies of Public Relations and Marketing I found myself trying it twice and, with exception of a stop for a hiking adventure in the Colorado Rockies, I was rolling out here cross country in a VW bug. Interestingly enough it’s the similar story with Bikram yoga!—Before trying a Bikram yoga class my thoughts on yoga was ‘hmm…. Definitely not worth my time!’ Throw in the word ‘Hot’ and….’ok– NOW I’m curious!’. After my first class I was convinced it was not just good for me but Fantastic! My inner vitality was percolating from head to toe and for me no other form of exercise had been this rewarding which made it definitely ’worth my time’. January 1st, 2010 I committed to a daily practice. Three months later I was modestly thinking about teaching. By Fall 2011 it all came together and now I can share the energy, which has a positive ripple effect outside the hot room for everyone! So if you love life and it’s good for you, ‘Try anything once …twice if you like it!’……..namaste!
STEPHANIE ANDERSON, CERTIFIED SPRING 2011
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. After graduating from San Diego State, I moved to Los Angeles where I met my husband and had my first son. I began practicing Bikram Yoga eleven years ago, after the birth of my second son in Kirkland, WA (I now have three sons!). I saw the steaming, sweaty figures coming out of the Bikram studio on cold winter evenings and I was intrigued. After my first class, I thought that I was going to die but secretly I knew that I was hooked. One by one; running, weight lifting and spinning fell by the wayside and I have never looked back. I have also lived and practiced in Columbus, OH and Ann Arbor, MI. I graduated from Teacher Training in the Spring of 2011. Bikram Yoga appeals to me because it is extremely physically challenging and it is very satisfying because of its precision and need for absolute focus. There is nothing more important than combining physical strength with flexibility to foster a healthy mind and body. The benefits of this intensive sequence of yoga postures are amazing and are readily available to anyone who wants them enough to work for them. Never think that you are too old to start Bikram Yoga; as your spine and hips open and you gain flexibility the small aches and pains will melt away and you will feel ten years younger. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain, come in and try it!
Koko Adams, Certified Spring 2012
I am originally from Japan and moved to California and started Bikram yoga five years ago. The first time I attended a yoga class, I was very exhausted but I told my self I would attend another class. Though it was a challenge the first time, I wanted perfection. My competitive spirit made me attend many more classes. I completed a 30-day challenge and also 100-day challenge. I needed to take a next step so I attended Bikram yoga teacher training. As an instructor, I am still aiming for perfection. I have influenced my friends and family to attend Bikram yoga. I never get sick anymore because of Bikram yoga. It keeps me very healthy inside and out! I graduated as a Bikram yoga teacher in spring 2012. Since then I’m have been teaching in San Diego.