Have you signed up yet for the Master Class with John Salvatore on Saturday, January 21? It’s always illuminating to practice with a teacher whose class you’ve never taken, and when that teacher is as experienced, enthusiastic, and vibrant as “Johnnie Sal,” you’re sure to gain a whole new perspective on the yoga series we know and love.
You can read more about John’s background and what to expect at the Master Class here.
John very kindly agreed to an interview. Read his answers and then sign up to learn from him in person!
Tell us what you remember about your first ever Bikram Yoga Class.
What I remember about my first Bikram yoga class back in February 2000 in NYC, was being completely exhausted and elated at the same time. I was fascinated how the postures in combination with the heat and humidity brought me to such a visceral state of freedom.
What kept you coming back?
I kept coming back for that feeling, but also because I had never felt so physically fantastic and invigorated and so emotionally calm and content. As a dancer, I always enjoyed those endorphins that were released during and after a workout, so I was in heaven.
What were you like as a beginning student?
I must say that as a beginner, I was very competitive with myself and probably worked harder than I needed to. I was very driven. As this was my introduction to any yoga at all, I had no concept of listening to my body or pacing myself.
When did you know you were “hooked”?
I knew I was hooked after just about three classes. I was thrilled and excited about this new found discovery and pretty soon went from 3 classes a week to 6 or 7. My teachers and the studio owners were encouraging me to go to the training, as they knew how much I loved the yoga and how my passion for the practice was evident to those around me.
When did you go to Teacher Training? What made you want to be a teacher?
I went to the training in the spring of 2001 in Los Angeles. Initially, I don’t think I had much of a desire to be a teacher, but knew that I loved it and if I got certified, I would be able to practice for free when I got home! Pretty soon after I arrived at the training however, I really took to learning the dialogue and delivering it. As a performer, it came very natural to me and I began to get invested in every aspect of the training.
What do you love about teaching?
What I love most about teaching is giving back. To give is to receive and there is no better satisfaction then watching your students grow and change and prosper in their practice and their life.
What do you love most about this yoga?
What I love about my practice is that it keeps me in check; physically, emotionally and spiritually. The process of going through those 90 minutes is often agitating, uncomfortable and challenging, but it is all worth it at the end. It’s like sifting out the bad flour and clearing the cobwebs. It take as a lot of courage for anyone to come into that room, to stay in that room and to come back in to that room. It’s truth. It’s clarity. It’s unapologetic.
Do you have a favorite posture?
My favorite posture changes from week to week, day to day. Over a period of years it went from standing head to knee, then bow, then rabbit, then camel. Now its half moon and back bend. Go figure.
Are there things you still struggle with, even after all these years?
In my own practice I sometimes struggle with my injuries and letting go of perfection; learning to let go of ego and being good to my body.
If we painted a quote by you on the wall of the lobby, what would you want it to be?
BE THE PERSON YOUR DOG THINKS YOU ARE.
Or ACCEPTANCE IS THE ANSWER.
What do you do for fun when you’re not in the hot room?
When not teaching/practicing, I love to read, study, play words with friends, and I love to spin, too!
Thanks, John! See you soon in the Hot Room!
— Ellen Olson-Brown, Bikram Yoga Chelmsford