The Bikram Yoga Chelmsford community is filled with welcoming, dedicated yogis. We all share the same practice, but everyone’s path is a little different, and we have so much to learn from one another. Every month we choose a new BYC student to interview and honor with the title of BYC Hotshot. We hope you enjoy these “behind the scenes” glimpses into the yoga practices of your fellow students!!
This month’s BYC Hotshot is Jasmine Bou-Nassif. (Click here to see Jasmine demonstrating the Sit-up, our January 2017 Posture of the Month!) The force is strong with this one! If you’ve had the chance to practice near Jasmine or if you saw her compete in the New England Regional Yoga Championships this past October, you know that she is a dedicated yogi with a strong practice and a friendly smile. We admire her quiet intensity and awesome attitude, in and out of the hot room!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I just moved back to Billerica in May after graduating from Boston University. I work as a graphic designer.
I went to my first Bikram yoga class in May 2016.
What do you remember about your first class?
I went to an open house in Burlington, and I remember thinking that the instructor was pretty much wearing a leopard print bikini. Once I got over my surprise, I remember being uncomfortable. I didn’t like the smell of the room, and I thought all of the Savasanas during the floor series were a waste of time.
What keeps you coming to class?
I was a dancer for a long time and it was a big passion of mine. I lost touch with dance in college, and after graduation I wanted to find something similar that was easier on my body. When I started doing this yoga, I wasn’t sure I found the right fit. But when I started noticing that my hips didn’t bother me when I walked long distances and that my back was getting stronger, I wanted to keep seeing what this yoga could do for me.
What therapeutic benefits and changes have you seen as a result of your practice?
I started practicing Bikram yoga when I was looking for a job. After being a student my whole life, I didn’t know what my next steps were, and not having a plan really freaked me out. I needed something else to do besides worry about the future. Going to class became something consistent and a reason to start my day. Yoga helped me get through that confusing time by giving me something else to focus on for 90 minutes so I could clear my head for the day. Just getting out of the house and doing something good for my body and mind made all the difference. Yoga has definitely helped me calm down and relax. And now it relaxes me after a busy day at work.
Has anything surprised you about your practice?
I’m surprised I kept going to class! I really didn’t love my first one, but I’m glad I tried it again. It’s also really amazing how quickly you can feel your body change. After just a few weeks you adapt to the heat, you feel stronger and more flexible, and your mind is a little calmer.
How has this yoga affected your life outside the hot room?
I’ve really learned that yoga is as much of a mental exercise as it is a physical one. I love that for 90 minutes (or at least 75) I can’t think about anything else except what I’m doing. It can still be a struggle for me to not let my mind wander, but it gets a little easier with every class. This challenge of staying focused and not worrying about anything else for a period of time is helping me to not sweat the small stuff in life.
What is your most challenging posture? Why?
Triangle Pose and I have a love/hate relationship. I have open hips from my dance background, and I tend to overcompensate flexibility for strength. I’m still trying to find the right balance between the two in this posture.
Do you have a favorite posture? What do you like about it?
My favorite posture changes a lit. Once I start to notice that I can go deeper into a posture, I have the urge to work on that one, and it becomes a favorite. Right now I’m really into the spine strengthening series, especially Full Locust and Bow. I like the process that led me to what I can do today. It’s exciting to see a posture transform over time.
What is one tip you would give to a new student at Bikram Yoga Chelmsford?
Have an open mind. Your first few classes are in no way easy, but once you start to notice that your back doesn’t hurt anymore, or you don’t carry as much tension in your shoulders, you’ll see that the pros outweigh being uncomfortable for 90 minutes.
What other activities do you enjoy when you’re not practicing?
I love exploring Boston and spending time with my family and friends. I also love cooking and baking when I have time. I am still working on a goal to make all of the recipes I have saved on Pinterest.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I really love a quote I’ve been hearing during Sunny’s class. It’s about how yoga is called a practice because you’re not expected to be perfect at it. Instead, you’re supposed to do your best during every class with the body you have, then come back and continue where you left off. This has been helping me not take my practice too seriously or turn yoga into something competitive. There’s too much competition in today’s world; yoga is my time away from all of that.