- Exercise & Fitness
Welcome to Bikram Yoga Calgary South
Owner Lyndsay Gieck’s Journey with Bikram Yoga
Originally born and raised in Calgary, Lyndsay Gieck’s journey with Bikram Yoga was initiated when she left Calgary after high school. In Grade 11, her mother’s passing from pancreatic cancer was the traumatic experience that triggered a series of events in her life. After graduating from high school, she drove to the U.S. to attend College, thinking she would never return to Canada again. “I wanted to create my life, discover new experiences and my life path,” explains Lyndsay.
With dancing as a major part of her life, she continued this journey at Santa Monica College in California. She originally planned to obtain a degree in Dance Choreography and perhaps move to New York City to attend New York University (NYU). Though she didn’t end up at NYU, she did however audition for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and got accepted. She completed the strenuous demands of this two year musical theatre course.
Across the street from the Academy was a Bikram Yoga studio. This was not the first time she was in close proximity to a Bikram Yoga studio. She also drove past a Bikram studio every day when she lived in California. However, she didn’t really connect with Bikram Yoga until she moved to Vancouver BC, Canada after she completed her degree. Lyndsay became the typical waitress/actress, performing and enjoying the fact that she made people feel good but she soon realized that acting was a very selfish competitive path. “Others might see it differently, but I didn’t feel as if I could affect the masses with joy in such a way. Something was missing.”
Lyndsay made good use of her spare time in Vancouver by taking one yoga class after another. “The first class I took was Vinyasa. I thought it was fantastic, challenging and satisfying all at the same time. I then ventured two blocks away to Bikram Yoga. Funny thing is I didn’t know it was hot in the room. My first class was amazing! The teacher cued the students smoothly and efficiently into postures. It was hard. The heat was a challenge but the teacher Marcus Rummery made it easy,” Lyndsay explains.
She never did make it to other yoga studios in Vancouver to try other styles of yoga. “I was hooked,” admits Lyndsay. She started going every second day, then everyday and after seventy-six classes in a row, she knew there was something to Bikram Yoga. One of her teachers suggested she attend the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training certification course that was taught over a period of nine weeks in Los Angeles. The course consisted of two classes a day five days a week and one class on Saturday morning. Plus, she had to memorize dialogue as part of the instruction.
She taught her first class at the Bikram Yoga headquarters in Los Angeles and then continued to teach in California for a month. Following this teaching experience, she traveled and had the opportunity to teach Bikram Yoga in Maui, Australia, Europe, British Colombia and now in Calgary. Her opinion of teaching is a positive one. “I love every minute of it,” expresses Lyndsay.
The Emergence of Bikram Yoga
Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™, was born in Calcutta in 1946. Bikram began Yoga at the age of four with India's most-renowned physical culturist at that time, Bishnu Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of the most popular book on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram was very disciplined as he practiced yoga four to six hours every day at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education in Calcutta. His discipline paid off on both a personal and professional level when at the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. After being undefeated for the following three years, he retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion. However, at the age of seventeen, as if fate tested this young man’s resilience and faith, he incurred a debilitating knee injury during a weight-lifting accident. The best European doctors proclaimed that he would never walk again. Bikram refused to accept their diagnosis and so with bravery and determination, he had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh’s College.
Bikram’s knee injury not only tested him on a personal level, but also it was a testament to the healing power of yoga. If anyone could heal him, it was his teacher Ghosh through in-depth instruction and Bikram’s dedicated practice. Six months later, his knee had totally healed. Ghosh was a celebrated physical culturist, the first to scientifically document the ability of a yoga practice to assist in the healing of chronic physical ailments.
As a result of his knee injury and subsequent healing, fate sent Bikram in a direction he had not anticipated when Ghosh asked him to start several yoga schools in India. He followed his teacher’s advice and gave back to the people what yoga had taught him about healing. The schools were so successful Bishnu requested that Bikram travel to Japan and open two more schools. Since then, Bikram has shared his curative methods of yoga therapy worldwide reflected in the number of studios that offer his type of yoga.
Description and Benefits of Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga or hot yoga is a series of yoga poses done in a room that is usually maintained at a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or approximately 40 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the body is kept very warm and therefore makes it more flexible. This type of yoga creates profuse sweating and is very effective in releasing toxins from the body.
Participants are guided through a series of twenty-six postures where the same dialogue and poses remain the same for each class; there is no room for deviation. Bikram strictly enforces these rules for specific reasons. It is a constant that helps focus the body as this particular type of yoga works toward maintaining wellness, facilitating restoration and rejuvenation. Bikram Yoga was designed to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joint and organ of the body. The heated room enables the body more flexibility when stretching, prevents injury and also relieves the stress of daily living.
When applying the twenty-six yoga postures, the heart, lungs, circulation, muscles, brain activity and mental capacity are all affected. Lyndsay explains, “There are two descriptions of the twenty-six exercises: asanas or postures and pranayama or breathing exercises. Both of these rely on each other to deliver positive results. According to Bikram, many people only use up to 50 percent of their lung capacity, and just like any muscle, the lungs must be stretched through practice in order to withstand holding more oxygen. When one is practicing the pranayama she or he will eventually be able to enhance oxygen conversion and absorption, as well as improve blood circulation.”
Bikram Yoga is also based on the premise that there is a volume change and influx of fresh blood through increased circulation and the two processes called Extension and Compression. Lyndsay defines this process in detail: “These two dynamics are said to work together to deliver fresh oxygen to every joint, muscle, and organ within the human body. While performing a specific asana, the body is stretching or compressing a certain part of the body, thus, cutting off circulation temporarily. This restriction of circulation causes the heart to pump more blood in reaction to the shortage. The pumping of excess, fresh blood is called Extension. Once the asana is complete, and the individual comes out of the posture, then the new oxygenated blood is able to rejuvenate the arteries that were being compressed.” This process of Extension and Compression is what enables the release of any infection, bacteria or toxin in the body.
Lyndsay has witnessed all sorts of disease and disorders heal. “In my years of teaching, I have seen people lessen their blood pressure medication, be freed from their addictions or substance abuse, alleviate sciatica, relieve arthritis, heal eating disorders and depression, heal asthma and allergies, find inner peace from the result of having the ability to meditate, heal broken bones and sprains faster than doctors can imagine, cure insomnia, alleviate back pain and the list goes on. Everyday a student comes up to me and expresses their relief from their physical ailments because of this yoga class.”
Lyndsay doesn’t know of any precautions that should be taken with Bikram Yoga. “I have never heard of a condition where Bikram could not be practiced. Pregnant women can practice too. If they were doing the yoga before their pregnancy it is safe to continue to practice through their pregnancy.”
Bikram Yoga is a Traditional Practice
Bikram Yoga is one of the only traditional yoga practices left according to Lyndsay. There are many types of yoga practices but Bikram remains true to the original methods taught in India. The purpose of honoring yoga in the most traditional way and doing the postures correctly is that only then can you receive the complete scientifically proven benefit. Lyndsay insists, “The idea behind Bikram Yoga is to try the right way. There is no need to change the posture for your body; you must learn to change your body to fit the posture and it’s the posture that is proven to heal you.” It is the consistency of the postures that helps the inconsistencies in the body shift, thereby bringing it into a more balanced state. This ultimately brings peace and harmony to the whole being.
For example, one of the poses used to create homeostasis in Bikram Yoga is the Dead Body pose or Savasasana that allows the body to heal through stillness. This posture is done many times in the Bikram practice as it allows the respiratory system to positively affect the circulatory system and in turn accelerates the healing process.
Bikram Teacher Training Certification
Lyndsay received her training from Bikram Choudhury in Los Angeles California, 2006. Anyone interested in teaching Bikram Yoga must have at least 6 months practice at a Bikram Studio before attending Bikram’s intense Yoga Teacher Training certification course. Following this prerequisite, the student would then receive a letter of recommendation from the studio owner where the practice was completed.
Lyndsay has good memories of her Teacher Training certification course in Bikram Yoga. “Doing the Teacher Training is the hardest most satisfying experience ever. You learn how to fall in love with yourself, with your life and all the wonderful things around you. Since you experience this difficult journey you truly learn about yourself and continue to blossom like a flower throughout the rest of your life.” A person learns to control his or her own mind through the physical body with Bikram Yoga. Life becomes easier and more enjoyable because you are more balanced and in tune with yourself.
The greatest lesson Lyndsay learned in class one day was when Bikram asked the students, “What is the most important thing in your life?” We would answer, “Family? Friends?” Someone replied, “Success?” Bikram simply replied, “Your life. Nothing else matters but your life journey of making yourself a better person because then you become a beacon for others to do the same. On your journey there are stops and starts along the way. People might deter you from your truth, but never let anyone steal your peace for if you do, you are the loser.”
To find out more about the Teacher Training certification course at Bikram’s Yoga College of India in Los Angeles go to: http://www.bikramyoga.com.
Bikram Yoga Calgary South
After returning to Calgary, Lyndsay opened the Bikram Yoga Calgary South studio with the assistance of her partner Morgan. As the General Manager, he helped build and assist Lyndsay through this life changing adventure. Morgan will also be attending the Teacher Training course at Bikram’s Yoga College of India, Los Angeles in the spring of 2010.
Though Bikram Yoga is an affiliation, it is not yet a franchise. Bikram Yoga Calgary South is the only true, original hot yoga in Calgary according to Lyndsay. All other styles of hot yoga are derived from Bikram Yoga. If it is not titled Bikram Yoga, it is not the original true series.
Lyndsay has taught in many studios throughout the world and she realized that no matter where there is a studio, the integrity and character are the same. “Everyone loves this yoga because it works. For some reason we have become the quick fix society in the western world. Questions like, ‘How fast can I lose weight? I want to get more muscle mass, more flexibility and I want it all now. After your first class you can actually feel your body beginning to heal. Then when you come back and attend the next day, you have a double flush of toxins leave your body. The more and more you come the quicker you see the results. A dedicated practice offers the most benefit and result,” admits Lyndsay.
Lyndsay had a great response to opening Bikram Yoga Calgary South. “Even prior to opening we received over three hundred emails of interest. Everyday is steadily getting busier. However we have anticipated for the large numbers of people wanting to attend the studio. We have two yoga rooms that can fit up to sixty people each. We have twenty-four classes on the schedule per week at the moment, but we have the potential to have up to eighty classes per week,” explains Lyndsay. The community and popularity of having a yoga studio of this kind in the neighborhood is building already. “I am so honored to have such wonderful people come to the studio to feel great, heal, strengthen, find balance and find peace. It would be fun to open another, we will see.”
Bikram Yoga Life Lessons
Lyndsay has some words of wisdom for anyone wanting to go on the Bikram Yoga journey. Her greatest lesson that she will retain from the practice of Bikram Yoga is that “yoga is healing mentally, physically and spiritually. Everyone should set aside time every day for a little bit of TLC.”
Bikram Yoga has also changed Lyndsay as a person. She has learned to live her life from an intuitive perspective. “Bikram Yoga has made me a more patient person. I always wanted everything done now now now. I was constantly on a search for my life purpose and constantly asking who am I, why am I here? I was intuitively compelled to be of service, to be a teacher and bring this healing yoga to as many people as possible. I love my life purpose and am so grateful that this is what was chosen for me.”
Bikram Yoga will always be an integral part of Lyndsay’s life long journey. “Bikram Yoga will always be a part of the ride. One thing that I have learned is to be in the present moment and relish every minute, every experience that comes my way. I am just riding the joy that this yoga brings. Who knows what will happen in the future,” concludes Lyndsay.
Bikram Yoga Calgary South website can be accessed at:
Bikram Yoga Calgary South is located at:
#7-240 Midpark Way SE, Calgary, AB T2X 1N4
Special prices for students under 30 and seniors are available. Membership rates and packages are also offered.
Bikram Yoga Calgary South offers a number of products as well as clothing for the community.