BYL Teacher Feature – Justine Poulter11 May 2018
BIKRAM YOGA AND INFERNO PILATES MAKE A HEADY COMBINATION!
Each week, experienced BYL teacher Justine, guides a growing number of BYL students through full-on Bikram and Inferno Pilates classes at our two London studios. Inferno Pilates is a hot HIIT class based on Pilates principles, where you’ll work core muscles you never knew existed, and burn up to 900 calories in one hour! Read about her journey into both!
How did you come across the Bikram series?
I found Bikram Yoga through a friend who did her training back in 2002. But didn’t really start my Bikram journey until 2012 around the time the London Olympics!
What were you doing before you started teaching?
I had previously been involved in the health and fitness industry until I became a busy mum of 5 children which took up most of my waking hours and a few of my sleeping ones too!
What inspired you to become a Bikram teacher and how soon after starting as a newbie did you make that decision?
Having spent most of my adulthood pushing and punishing my body through the challenges of marathons, triathlons, trekking and climbing, I stumbled into Iyengar yoga which changed my perception that I could be kind and nourishing to my body not only physically but mentally and after 10 years, this lead me back to Bikram. Having spent years before motherhood teaching aerobics, step, body conditioning to name but a few the natural thought process for me was “could I teach Bikram?” I waited until my children were old enough to leave for 9 weeks and then I set off to see if I had what it would take to be a Bikram teacher.
How has Bikram yoga changed or impacted you personally?
Bikram for me will always be a continuous journey as I’ve realized it’s not about always chasing and pushing for the posture, pushing for the heat but allowing your body when its ready to find the pose, explore the possibilities no matter what size, shape or age you are.
What’s your most memorable moment in the hot room?
I don’t really have a most memorable moment, but what was and still is memorable for me is the dialogue. When I started training I really didn’t see the point of a dialogue but at training I began to love the dialogue (apart from the odd “Japanese ham sandwich”!) and understood how useful it was to have in my toolbox. When teaching you often see that little light bulb moment in students when suddenly they hear and understand part of the dialogue that they have been listening to for weeks, months or years.
Let’s talk about your new passion! When and why did you decide to become an Inferno Pilates teacher?
Inferno Hot Pilates takes me back to my gym days. When I met [Inferno Pilates founder] Gabby it only seemed natural that this high-energy class would be such fun to teach and a real compliment to a Bikram practice, combining those elements of flexibility and breath with strength and breath. The students in every class make it a joy to teach and always give 100% and this relationship has a positive effect on how you feel, act and at the same time builds lovely friendships.
What do you love most about teaching?
It’s the students and watching their journeys, their transformations, and their dedication. I continue to learn so much from them. Teaching also that yoga is not just about asanas or sets but has so much more to offer off the mat as well.
What are your favourite Bikram and Inferno postures?
Standing Bow in Bikram, and Mountain Climbers in Inferno Pilates. Each represents an element of grace and power.
What’s your least favourite pose or most challenging Bikram pose? What do you do to improve it?
My least favourite pose is Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose. I just see what shows up for me in class, find my breath and maybe one day my head will get to my knee instead of my shin!
What else do you do inside and outside practicing and teaching?
Apart from teaching Bikram, Inferno, Vinyasa (and also Yin yoga) classes, I am a qualified Level 2 netball coach and love inspiring young girls to fall in love with the game. It was so exciting watching the England Netball team win the Commonwealth Games against Australia this month; hopefully we’ll see more coverage on TV.
What advice would you give to your students?
Commit to yourself through your practice, make it part of your daily routine, even if you can’t make class everyday, take whatever time you have available whether its 5 minutes or more to get on your mat, to breath, move, meditate and connect.