how i became a bikram teacher

I began to experiment with stuff, if only to look less slutty :\

It’s 2006. That year, I’d gotten quite a bit done: I graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s in poli sci. I received a fellowship from Princeton in Asia, and my destination was Japan. It’s why I’d applied in the first place; I had felt an insatiable need to learn Japanese. I’d also managed to get my diploma without accumulating any student loans, and even saved enough money for a plane ticket to my next endeavor.

Things took a turn, though, as they often do.

A family friend came back into my life, and invited me to come out to London. Convinced me, actually. “Japan? Who does that? Come to Britain.” So I did. No agenda other than an open mind, I bought a one-way to London.

A series of things then happened. I wanted to keep up my running practice, so I hit the park every morning. About two weeks in, I fuck up my ankle. So badly, I winced my way back home in total agony. Funny thing though is that that morning, my ankle felt a little funny as i began to jog. It was hurting for sure. “Oh, maybe i just need to keep going so I warm up some more,” I convinced myself. Worst piece of advice I ever gave to myself.

So there I am, bedridden with my foot propped up on a mountain of pillows, watching the gorgeous summer roll by my window. Reading Crime and Punishment. Depressing.

Until I remembered… I remembered and I thought perhaps there’s a local yoga studio I can hit up (which is funny because since then, the yoga school has been my doctor’s office, which is also how its considered in India.*)

I googled “fulham yoga”. Hot Yoga Bikram Fulham popped up first on the search list; I went to their site. New students! 10 pounds for 10 days! Mmm, okay. So I made my way over. I paid my 10 quid. 

So there I am, at Bikram Yoga Fulham. I look around and it looks really different from the studios I’d practiced at in New York (shout out to ViraYoga and, well, the original studio on the UWS before Yogaworks took it over.) Unlike those places, this studio looked kinda… clinical. Bright flourescent lights, carpet, mirror. No wooden floors, no incense, no buddha. “Okay,” I thought. “Open mind, open mind.”

I must admit I was not particularly impressed. I did the class, and I felt like I completed the class as best as I could, and it was okay, but like I said, I wasn’t impressed. But my thought was, “I’m gonna get my 10 pound’s worth. I’m gonna come every day.”

Ha. The 10 days turned into a 30 day challenge. By the end of the 30 day challenge, I had sent in my application for the following year’s Bikram teacher training. I was curious, I was hungry, I wanted to know more, so I figured, why not go to the source? I took the plunge.

This practice grew on me, and like just about everyone, I became totally hooked. 

I came back to New York, and when I told my parents I was going to go to a yoga teacher training, my mom flipped on me. She could not comprehend WHY I would want to spend my time and money doing that. When there were so many wonderful and lucrative things I could perhaps involve myself in?

Anyway, I went to teacher training, totally wiping out my savings. Funny enough, around this time, my mom began to practice, and became hooked as well. With a little nudging, I encouraged her to go to the next training. And guess what, she did. 

My mom tells me her life changed for the absolute better after that. I have to admit, I agree with her. It’s changed my life for the best, too. Not so much the training itself (I would not give the Bikram teacher training 5 stars), but the magic of this sequence and how it’s helped open my body and really love myself, and the really cool people I’ve met along the way. I love sharing this practice and what I know about it with others; this love is what fuels my teaching. I fucking love teaching Bikram Yoga...

…maybe I’ll go to Japan in the future, or in another life.


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.