This month, we got Tony Perone who practices at Bikram Yoga Andersonville in Chicago, IL.
MH: Hi there Tony! So very excited to hear about your journey & your 30 day challenge. Let's start with the basics: how did you hear about Bikram Yoga?
TP: I had done other forms of yoga before like Ashtanga and I had heard of Bikram yoga. I had also passed by the Andersonville studio frequently on my walks around my neighborhood, and always said to myself, or whomever was with me at the time, "I wanna try that someday."
Nice! Setting your intention by saying it out loud! So when did that "someday" finally happen? Did you come alone? Or did someone say to you, "Oh yeah? Why someday? Let's go RIGHT NOW!"
My roommate at the time had tried Bikram in his hometown and his experience really got me interested in trying it. I finally decided to try it on my 38th birthday in January 2010. My roommate and I went for the first time together that day.
I totally love that you went on your birthday. What an extraordinary thing to gift yourself. Tell me a bit about your first class.
I was expecting it to be like a sauna, with steam coming out of radiators. While it was hot, I instantly felt comfortable. Well, until the class started, that is! I don't recall too much of what or how well I did but I do remember my teacher being supportive and calm. And I just did the best I could and stayed in the room.
Oh really, no steam? That's odd because not only do we have steam coming out of radiators but also flames. Tee-hee just kidding. It sounds like you had a good experience if you stayed. That's really the main goal on your first day. But why did you come back?
As soon as my roommate and I left the studio, I said to him, "That was great. I feel awesome. I'm going back."
Yay. Oh, that post-class kick-ass-conquer-the-world feeling is so amazing ain't it? Enough to keep you coming back. Tell me, what inspired you to come for 30 days in a row?
It had been something I had been toying with for a few months before committing to it. I was being wishy-washy about it, thinking that I'd just go as many days as I could and see if it turned into 30 days. I knew I wanted to try it and I knew it would improve my practice and overall quality of life but something was holding me back from going for it. I am so grateful that one of my teachers encouraged me to declare the challenge and commit to it. She was so right. Now, I'm planning on going beyond the 30 days!
A big YES to all the teachers out there! So great. By the way, are there any injuries you are working with?
Well, I bring certain conditions to heal in my practice, like: asthma/allergies, tight hips, lower back pain, flat feet, and weak knees. I have improved on all of these conditions and more since starting Bikram yoga.
Wonderful. That's really great to hear. What are the things that you like or dislike about the practice?
I love the focus on myself and the way this practice has encouraged me to choose healthier possibilities for my body, mind, and spirit. Since I live my life doing a lot of thinking, sitting, and talking, it's great to let those inclinations go, and while I am in class, just listen to the dialogue, honor my body for however it is at that moment, and BREATHE. I am so lucky to have found this practice and such a supportive community with whom to share growth and change! I don't really have any dislikes about the practice except that I need to do my laundry more often. And buy more towels.
I hear you loud and clear. Though to be fair, girls have it worse. You guys just need to wash pair of shorts. We gotta wash whole outfits! But a small price to pay indeed. Can you tell me what are your intentions for completing this challenge?
First, I'd like to honor my body each day for what it can do. Second, I'd like to continue to marvel in the growth and changes that come from this practice. Third, I'd like to inspire others to go after a goal, stick to it, and flourish, be it a goal of Bikram yoga or otherwise.
Those are lofty! Very inspiring! And lastly, share with us your favorite and least favorite posture.
It varies. It used to be that my favorite ones were the 2nd part of Awkward and Standing Bow because I was feeling balanced and stronger in my thighs and knees. Now it's Fixed Firm, since my hips finally are all the way on the floor! My least favorite has always been Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose. I guess I really need this one!
You know, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee was also amongst my least favorite. Until I started applying one very important detail: really stretching your arms, shoulders, scapula as you come down. This stretching actually and finally allowed me to touch forehead to knee and balance. Anyway, SO nice meeting you Tony. Good luck and thanks for sharing!
Lauren is a Michigan native who now lives & works in New York. She practices in the NYC studio in Midtown.