Student of the Month: Declan Keenan
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 55 years old, moved here from Ireland in 1990. I’m married with three adult children, work as a machinist. Like to travel and enjoy the odd walk, swim and bike ride.
2.Have you done other styles of Yoga other then Bikram Yoga?
No. I did do some martial arts before (in my twenties) and was interested in the preparatory stretching exercises which we did. Would like to have taken yoga classes at an earlier stage but the opportunity didn’t present itself.
3.What made you decide to take your first Bikram Class?
The main reason would have to be that I have some lower back issues, herniated/ degenerating discs. I was also starting to get neck pain. Rather than succumb to having back pain and being uncomfortable in the future, I decided to try and remedy the situation. Aside from this I like the idea of being strong, flexible and generally in good physical shape. It fascinates me that the human body can, with persistence, be gradually persuaded to bend and twist in almost unimaginable ways.
4.Why did you choose Thavma Bikram Yoga Studio?
On seeing it from the outside for the first time, the studio looked like a very nice, modern facility (and near my house!). Inside proved to be the same. Very clean, well designed and equipped. When Marina told me that Bikram yoga would do wonders for my back I was completely sold. I liked the idea of the heat aspect, figured it would help with stretching and getting everything loosened up.
5.What was your first Bikram yoga experience like?
Initially on entering the yoga room I was taken aback by the heat and humidity and hoped I would be able to endure it. On asking someone if it was going to be as bad as I thought, I got a resounding, “Yeah!” The first class was tough but not too bad. I was (surprisingly) able to make a reasonable attempt at most of the postures and could already see that Bikram yoga was going to be something beneficial for my spine and my overall fitness. I wondered how my back would bear up to all the bending, twisting and general rigorous activity. Thought I might not be able to move on waking the next morning. Was fine as it turned out, the spine is more durable than I’d suspected.
6.What makes you come back?
Apart from the wonderful instructors, my back feels better! Stronger and more resilient to the rigors of everyday life. Though it can be tough, this yoga is also enjoyable. You get a sense of comradery, of being all in this together. I want to build on the progress I’ve already made, get deeper into the postures and continue to improve strength, balance and flexibility.
7.How long have you been practicing?
It must be circa six months now.
8.What changes have you seen since you began the practice?
Feel mentally and physically improved. Neck issues are completely gone, which is wonderful.
( Not fun waking up with clamped neck muscles). My back is doing significantly better. Less stiff and sore in the morning. Have more energy, feel more alert. Able to stay more calm in potentially stressful situations. Get better quality sleep. Body feels/is lighter, more toned.
9.Where have you seen that it helps you?
It gives you a certain confidence knowing that you can strenuously exercise in that hot environment, while staying calm and focused. Also it induces you to have a more healthy diet as this will help your ability to practice.
10.What is your Favorite pose?
Difficult to choose as I like them all, especially those in the spine strengthening series. Each one hurls something different at you.
Going to go with Awkward Pose. It’s been good to me. I pop into it now and then throughout the day to reset my discs.
11.What is your Least favorite pose?
Standing Head to Knee. Find it so difficult and feel it has progressed little over time. One of these days…