After being made redundent from his job as a magazine editor in the summer of 2011, Tim decided it was now or never, and headed off to training in the spring of 2012 for what would be nine of the most remarkable weeks of his life. He taught his first class in June 2012, and continues to marvel at everything the yoga has brought to his life – the gift of health, the opportunity to teach, and the friendship of some of the most incredible people he’s ever met.
What’s your favourite/least favourite Bikram posture?
My favourite…? Hmmm, it’s a toss up between Standing Bow and Toe Stand. Standing Bow is always a challenge – if I’m a little tight it looks horrific; if I’m feeling more open, it can be great. It’s a beautiful posture to look at when it’s done right (in general, I mean, not just when I do it – I’m not that egotistical!), which is probably why I beat myself up when I’m not at my most flexible! But I love the ongoing challenge of trying to perfect it.
Toe Stand is one of the postures I felt I really mastered when I was still relatively new to Bikram. For some reason it feels like one of those postures that kind of screams yoga – the balancing on just five toes is as close to levitation as I think I’ll ever come.
As for my least favourite… I don’t really know. It used to be Standing Head to Knee but I’ve really started to embrace that now and look forward to doing it. I think my rabbit needs work, so we’ll go with that. But ask me again next week and I’ll probably say something different!
How did you discover Bikram Yoga?
I had a car accident in April 2009 where I was sitting stationary at the tail end of a traffic jam and was hit from behind by someone moving at high speed. I ended up with a pretty bad whiplash injury that resulted in the muscles in my back and neck going into spasm. I was left with constant headaches, backache and an inability to turn my head to the right. Months of physiotherapy did nothing, so I decided I’d try some yoga. I hated the idea of anything that involved chanting or meditation, which ultimately led me to finding out about Bikram, which I’d heard described as ‘Rock ‘n Roll yoga’. I was working in Hammersmith at the time, so it was easy for me to get to BYC on my way home.
I took my first class on a Saturday morning in June 2009 (it was with the lovely Fran Rytlewski) and I was blown away. I felt incredible afterwards – like I’d had a really good work out that left me energised rather than worn out. I made as much use of my introduction offer as I could, and within two weeks virtually all signs of the whiplash were gone. I decided I would do one more month of Bikram before getting back to running, but then it turned into an addiction … and four and half years later, I’m still doing it!
What did you do before you became a Bikram Yoga teacher?
I’d been working in publishing ever since I left school, and was managing editor at small publishing company in Hammersmith. By the time I started the yoga I was beginning to get a little bit bored; I was too comfortable, I could do the job in my sleep, and I was tired of sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. And then in the summer of 2011 I was made redundant. Around the same time, Mandy and Hels told me that they were planning on opening Bikram Yoga Surbiton in the spring of 2012, and everything just kind of fell into place, like it was somehow meant to be. It’s kind of spooky how it all worked out, but I’m incredibly grateful it did, so I won’t question it too much!
Best Bikram moment to date – personal or professional?
I’m going to be cheeky here and list three. Probably my most memorable was during the first week of Teacher Training when I got up in front of Bikram to present the Half Moon dialogue. It was nerve-wracking, because not only was I standing up in front of the guy (the legend!) that created this series, but also the 400 or so other people who were with me on the training. So anyway, I get up on the stage grab the microphone and, pretty certain that I’m going to forget *something* important, rattle through Half Moon. When I’m done I turn to face Bikram, who’s sitting there stony faced on his orange throne glaring at me while I turn increasingly deeper shades of red. Then he opens his mouth and – I’ll never forget these words – says: “Excellent. Faultless. No correction. Thank you Boss. NEXT!”
But there’s always some new best moment when you’re teaching. It can be an expression on someone’s face mid-class when they have that breakthrough in a posture that they never thought they’d have, or that moment when people come out of class all hot and sweaty, looking like they’ve just run a marathon and they just look at you and mouth the words ‘thank you’ like you’ve just saved their life. It’s truly humbling, each and every time.
And finally, the best Bikram moment for me personally was the day I met Mandy Free and Helen Currie. They fixed me when I needed help, they welcomed me wholeheartedly into their lives, and they have nurtured and encouraged me to be the best Bikram Yoga teacher I can be. They are two of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and they literally changed my life.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Cheeky, loyal, charming.