Meet Septembers Student of the Month: Susan Forness
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a wife and mother, first and foremost. In addition, I am a National Account Executive for a global firm and travel throughout the U.S. most weeks, with quite a hectic schedule. We moved to the Parrish area about 3 years ago to get away from the snow and cold of Lake Erie.
2. Have you done other styles of Yoga other than Bikram Yoga?
Over the years I have tried Vinyasa and Hatha, but nothing really resonated with me.
3. What made you decide to take your first Bikram Class?
Honestly, I was dealing with some health issues such as high cholesterol, increased weight that put me in a pre-diabetic state, and a recent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
More significantly was the fact that I was coming to terms with a long standing addiction to alcohol. I needed a program that not only addressed my physical needs, but more importantly, my mental and emotional needs.
- 4. Why did you choose Thavma Bikram Yoga Studio?
It was relatively close to home. I had actually started during Thavma’s inaugural year. Being hung over and dehydrated was not conducive to practicing Bikram on any level and I quickly realized that I needed to work on some other aspects of my life before going at this seriously. However, I always remembered the warmth and welcoming at Thavma’s studio and when I did get sober, it was one of the first things I wanted to revisit.
5. What was your first Bikram yoga experience like?
It was probably one the hardest things I had ever done! Just staying in the room and tolerating the heat was an accomplishment, let alone doing any of the poses. I remember thinking “how long is this class?” But when it was all done, I felt like I had really experienced something special.
- 6. What makes you come back?
The feeling of accomplishment at the end of each class keeps me coming back. I may be all sweaty and gross, but it is the happiest part of my day. I feel safe to let my thoughts go, clear my head, and give myself the gift of letting go.
7. How long have you been practicing?
For my second go round, I have been practicing about 7 months.
8. What changes have you seen since you began the practice?
I have definitely seen a huge improvement in my flexibility and have lost roughly 14 lbs. I am no longer considered pre-diabetic, my cholesterol is down and my clothes fit me differently. The biggest change is in my RA symptoms. Before, I was in tremendous pain, especially in my elbows and hands. Some nights I would wake up and cry because the pain was so bad. Since practicing regularly, I am totally pain free and on no medications!
9. Where have you seen that it helps you?
It is definitely about the emotional and mental aspect. Bikram has given me strength to manage triggers that previously drove me to drink. It has benefited me immensely to be able to go into the room and learn to listen to myself and what I may be feeling on any given day. Bikram practice has taught me that I have the ability to handle whatever is thrown my way and to breathe through it. I am learning how to trust myself again and to forget the past, not anticipate the future, and learn to live in the moment.
10. What is your Favorite pose?
Ha! Ha! You’re kidding, right? Savasana of course!
11. What is your Least favorite pose?
I would have to say Camel because I am not there yet in opening up my heart to the world. That may take some time, but I am determined to keep trying.
12. What do you like most about Thavma Bikram Yoga?
Everything! Marina and all the instructors are so helpful and encouraging. The entire place feels like a community where we are all sharing great energy. My favorite moments are Marina’s meditations at the end of class. They really allow me to just be.
This journey into sobriety has been a challenge and Thavma Bikram Yoga has made it a bit easier. It has taught me so much about myself and that I have the power to overcome things I thought were impossible. For this and so much more, I am forever grateful!