Category Archives: Q & A

Q & A with Lisa McInnis, Ontario’s newest studio owner

Meet Lisa McInnis, a Bikram Yoga teacher from the Spring 2008 training who is moving fast to open the first Bikram Yoga studio in Mississauga. Her perfect smile and friendly charms won her the crown of Miss Niagra in 2001, which is now her nick name among friends and co-workers who often borrow her tiara at dinner parties. Here is your first introduction to Ontario’s newest studio owner….

Is it Betty Crocker? Nope, thats Lisa McInnis owner and director of Bikram Yoga Mississauga

OMB: What was your first class experience, and what did you think after?

My first class was in August 2008; although I did not return and fully commit until November 2008. The class was tough to say the least. I couldn’t wait for it to be over! Perhaps this is why it took me so long to come back.

It was my experience after the class that was the most memorable

A student came up to me and said, “welcome to your new life.”  I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but once I committed to a regular practice and began experiencing the health-boosting benefits, I quickly understood.

Today, with the dream of Bikram Yoga Mississauga coming into fruition, the words spoken to me on that first day seem all the more powerful

OMB: Why do you like it hot?

I am otherwise always so cold!  I have always loved the heat and am thrilled to have found a way to spend such extended periods of time in it!

OMB: What was it like teaching your first class?

80% exciting; 20% scary – or 80% scary, 20% exciting – I am not too sure. All I know is that many emotions were present!  Overall, nerves aside, I loved it!  As always, the students at Bikram Yoga Beaches were incredibly supportive.

OMB: What did you do before you were a yoga teacher?

I have a Business undergrad and was working as a Marketing Manager

OMB: Why open a studio?

I love Bikram Yoga, simply put. It has had a profound impact on my own health and well being and I want nothing more than to help spread this powerful, therapeutic yoga to as many people as possible.  Opening a studio is a great way to bring the Yoga to a community where it is not yet available

OMB: Why Mississauga?

It is a community where it is not yet available 🙂

OMB: What is the inspiration behind your space?

I want my space to be welcoming and calming, as the yoga studio has always been a relaxing, safe place for me.  I want to create a space that will allow people to leave their world behind them for a short period of time and focus on improving their health and well-being in a caring, supportive environment.

OMB: What do you envision your studio becoming?

An amazing community of people sharing and growing together.

OMB: Why should Mississaugans ditch their fitness routine and join BYM?

It is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally.  The only way to truly understand is to do it!  Mississauga, you HAVE TO try this yoga!!

OMB: What is the best and worst part of being a yoga instructor?

Best part: Hearing incredible stories from students about how the yoga is helping to improve their lives

Worst part:  How can I say anything bad about what is arguably the greatest job in the world!

OMB: What is your favorite song?

What a Wonderful World – my wedding song 🙂

OMB: What is your most prized possession?

Forrest – My 2-year old Golden Retriever

OMB: What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

Either my husband, Mike, or my dog, Forrest.  Depending on which way I am facing, one of their faces is the first thing I see when I open my eyes 🙂  Where your eyes go, your mind will follow.

OMB: What do you want to be when you grow up?

A Bikram Yogi

OMB: You’re stuck in an elevator by yourself with one song playing on repeat, and one snack to pass the time. What song and what snack is it?

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing by Jack Johnson – after all, that is exactly what I would be doing!

My favourite snack to help pass the time would definitely be licorice

OMB: What is your most embarrassing yoga moment?

Face diving into the carpet at teachers training, trying way too hard to touch my head to the floor during Standing Separate Leg Stretching!  I had a very noticeable scratch above my lip from weeks 3 through 5!

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Guest Blog: Demistifying Advanced Class

by Juliana Olmstead

Guest blogger Juliana Olmstead joins us from the blogs “Lock the Knee” and “Bikram 101” to demystify the advanced series. A Bikram student since 2004, Juliana dispatches to us from California where she will attend teacher training this April. She first learned the advanced series in 2007, attended the advanced seminar in Palm Springs last summer, and practices advanced in LA with Emmy as often as she can. Here she addresses the most common asked questions about advanced class…

Bikram 101


“There’s an advanced Bikram yoga class??”

I hear this question a lot.

There are plenty of students who have no idea that such a thing exists, and there seem to be even more who have heard of it but don’t know a thing about it, except for whispers and rumors.  As a student who has practiced the advanced series for years, sometimes I find myself thinking, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Juliana Olmstead in Dancers Pose

Mystery does add spice to life, but I think that the advanced class just gets more interesting as you learn more about it.

So without further ado, here is my humble attempt to answer some of the most common questions based on the information and experience that I have.

Q: What’s the advanced class LIKE?

Instead of 26 postures in 90 minutes, it’s 84 postures in about 90-120 minutes.

Right away you’ll notice, holy shit, that’s a lot more postures!  Yup!

Advanced practice is very different from beginners class, and one of the biggest differences is the pace.  The pace is fast. It’s not like beginner’s class, where you get to try each pose twice and hold it for up to a minute.  For most of the poses in advanced, you get one good try and then you move on.  And you don’t get to take savasana after every pose, only after mini-series of poses.

For example, instead of “cobra-savasana-cobra-savasana-locust-savasana-locust-savasana…” the spine strengthening series is “cobra-locust-full-locust-bow-LONG savasana while your heart stops beating out of your chest.”

That means it’s not as much of a healing practice as the beginner’s class; it’s a practice for uninjured yogis who are interested in opening and strengthening their bodies in new ways.

It’s also a led class; the teacher does the postures instead of teaching by dialogue.

Q: What postures do you do?

A: All 26 postures from the beginning series are in the advanced series.

More accurately, all the postures in the beginning series come from the advanced series, which is the original set of postures that Bikram studied and practiced in India with Bishnu Ghosh.

So, it’s the 26 postures you know, plus the 58 that Bikram didn’t think you (Westerners) would need in your daily practice.

These include:

  • sun salutations (yep!)
  • a bunch of postures in lotus position
  • splits
  • arm balances (like crow)
  • shoulder stand,
  • really deep backbends (like full camel, full bow, and wheel),
  • headstands,
  • forearm stands
  • handstands

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The 30 Day Debate…what do you think?

Last week, teacher Paul Askew created quite the stir and debate on Facebook about the 30 Challenge. Here is a peek at what went down. OMB wants to know what you think about the 30 Day Challenge…

The comment that started it all:

Paul : I was just pondering the 30 day challenge. Isn’t it 30 DAYS? Not 30 classes? So, shouldn’t it be 30 consecutive days — not 30 classes whenever I can fit them in? It’s not called the “30 Class Challenge” after-all!

Summer: A purist. I like it!

Carola: Yeah, I have actually ALWAYS wondered that too

Annie: Actually, Senior Semantics, the terminology is “30 classes in 30 days” now shortened to be called the “30 day challenge.”

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Filed under Bikram Yoga Centre, Bikram Yoga East, Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Bikram Yoga Issues, Bikram Yoga Red Tree, Bikram Yoga Toronto, Q & A, Yoga Challenge

Toronto Hatha Yoga Competition

by Barbora Simek

Its been a little over a week since Toronto’s yoga community came together at the Review Cinema to cheer on the competitors in the Eastern Hatha Yoga Competition. In front of a sold-out 240 person crowd, competitors came up one by one to show off months of training in the form of three-minute routines.

With last years crowd barely reaching the 40 person mark, selling out the theater was a huge success for the community and organizers of the event. With boosted attendance came boosted curiosity, and OhMyBikram is here to answer the three most frequently asked competition questions.

Q: How do you compete in yoga?

Competitors compete by performing a 3 minute routine of 5 compulsory and two optional postures. compulsory postures are:

  1. Standing head-to-knee pose
  2. Standing bow-pulling pose
  3. Bow pose
  4. Rabbit pose
  5. Forward stretching pose

Optional postures are chosen individually from the advanced series

Q: How is the competition judged?

A panel of judges marks each competitor on the following criteria

  • Grace
  • Walk
  • Movement
  • Style
  • Steadiness – points are deducted for wobbling or a fall
  • General Appearance – this includes costume, hair, clarity of skin and eyes
  • Preformance of Postures each pose is marked out of ten, with more points given for challenging poses

Q: Isn’t yoga competition a paradox?

Yoga competition has a rich history in India. Still there are many people who are outspoken against yoga competition. While some argue that yoga is about achieving peace which competition contradicts, enthusiasts say that true yoga competition is less about competing with each other but rather about achieving personal bests. Competition occurs within hatha yoga, and is a measurement of the physical practice, and in no way seeks to crown the best yogi but rather crowns the yogi with the most accomplished physical practice.

Did you attend the event? What did you think?

Share your thoughts about hatha yoga competition below!

Mari Dickey, 2009 Western Canadian Hatha Yoga Champion by Ron Solidon

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