Meet Chuck Woodward, February’s Yogi of the Month! When you walk in the door of Bikram Yoga Kelowna you might be surprised to find out that the guy at the front desk is not only the yoga teacher but also the owner of the studio.Chuck Woodward is not your typical yogi. At 6’5”, looking more like a professional basketball player than yogi, Chuck Woodward breaks the stereotypes of what it means to be a yogi.Chuck came to Bikram Yoga in a search for something that would help heal his many injuries from years of playing sports. Shortly after practicing Bikram yoga, Chuck was so excited about the results that he enrolled in the intense 9-week Teacher Training and then bought the downtown Bikram Yoga Kelowna studio. Chuck makes every student feel that yoga is for them. It’s never too late, you’re never too old or too sick start from scratch he says. Passionate about Bikram Yoga, Chuck uses his own experiences of healing his body from multiple sports injuries to inspire others and bring yoga to the people. If you haven’t met Chuck head his way!
Yoga means so many things to me. It is a way of life as it has done so many amazing things for me. The healing in the body with the help of relieving arthritis pain, giving the mobility and strength back to my knee. The stress relief and the way it has helped me relax and learn about myself is immeasurable. Yoga is amazing and not something I would want to be without.
2 When did you start yoga and how did that come to be?
I started Bikram yoga on Jan 4/2009 on the recommendation of a friend who thought it would really help with all the sports injuries I had accumulated over the years and the arthritis I had and boy she was right.
3 Where and with whom did you study with?
I did my 9 week Bikram yoga teacher training in the fall of 2010 with Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury, Emmy cleaves and many of the other senior teachers. It was an awesome experience learning so much about yoga and myself.
4 What kept you coming back to the mat and has that changed over time?
What kept me coming back to the mat is the way the yoga makes me feel and the amazing benefits. Over time the only thing that has changed is wanting to learn more about the yoga so I can benefit from it and help share that knowledge
Yoga has brought so many amazing benefits from the pain relief of the osteoarthritis, to bringing balance back to the mind and body. Also all the amazing people I have met, so many great yogis out there.
6 How has your practice evolved?
My practice has evolved a lot as I develop more flexibility of which I had none at all when I started. Learning the breath control to go deeper into the postures and continue to evolve as I learn more about the yoga and myself.
7 How might you and/or your life be different if you hadn’t found Yoga?
I would not even want imagine my life without the yoga. I can only imagine that I would still be in a lot of pain, stressed out and still doing a job that I did not enjoy anywhere near as much as the yoga.
8 What is your “can’t do without” favorite pose?
Right now I would say standing head to knee pose (Dandayamana Janushirasana) I love it as it continually challenges me both mentally and physically.
Toe stand would be one I really struggle with as having had knee surgery and arthritis in the hip and ankle. It makes it hard but the postures has helped bring strength and flexibility back to my knee.
10 You inspire so many, who inspires you?
So many people have inspired me but I would Joseph Encinia would be one that stands out. With all he went through as a child to see what Bikram Yoga has done for him, he is a great example of how the yoga can really heal the body with hard work and perseverance.
11 What tips can you offer beginning students for a safe practice?
Whatever type of yoga you practice when you start go slow and listen to your
body (even before the teacher) your body will always tell you when to back off and when to push a little deeper. In the end the object of the yoga is to bring balance back to the body and mind and not about doing a perfect posture.
12 How about guidance for beginning teachers?
Be yourself! There are so many great teachers to learn from, take the knowledge you learn and teach your class. Do not try to be anyone else.
13 What few steps do you think a yogi can take today to tremendously improve their practice?
Be consistent maintain the frequency in which you practice. Always focus on the precision and alignment of the posture not the depth. Listen to your body and give the best effort your body will allow on that day. Have fun in the end it is just yoga.
I teach at Bikram Yoga Kelowna
555 Lawrence Ave