Teacher Spotlight: Mayu Halgren

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

 I originally come from Tokyo, Japan, but I have lived in Torrance since 2002. I came to the US to study English so I could have more job opportunities in Japan. However, I met my husband here and got married, so I am still in the US.

 I love beaches, yoga, and dogs—these make me happy. I also like drinking occasionally and enjoy eating meat and fish (yup, I am not a vegetarian—sorry!), so if anyone throws a party with nice drinks and food, let me know!

2. What brought you to your first Bikram Yoga Class? 

When I was in college, I realized I did not have any hobbies and invited my friends to find a hobby together. At first, we played tennis but did not like it very much, so we next attended a yoga class at Bikram Yoga. I honestly did not like it because I felt it was too tough for me. My friend told me, “We have to go at least 2 or 3 times more because we paid $20 for a one-week intro,” and I thought, “Damn!” Nevertheless, I went 3 times during the intro period and started feeling, “This is good for me even though I feel like hell during class.” After that, I started taking Bikram classes regularly, and from this experience, I learned the lesson of DO NOT TRUST YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION.

3. What made you want to attend Bikram Yoga Teacher Training?

I started liking Bikram because all of my teachers were wonderful. They corrected, encouraged, and motivated me. Through my practice of Bikram yoga, I had the thought to be like them in order to help other students. If I were to become a Bikram teacher, I could help students improve their postures and their health, and this would lead to their enjoyment of yoga. I wanted to make more students happy and healthy, and that’s why I decided to go to the teacher training. 

4. What are the greatest benefits you have experienced from your practice and teaching?

Teaching and practicing are all connected for me. I learn about different kinds of bodies from teaching, and I also learn how to teach from my practice. I want to practice what I preach. I don’t mind if students look at me while I take classes because I want to be a better model for my students. Of course I am not perfect and my poses are not the best, but I want to try hard in every single class I take. I believe the best students are the best teachers.

I also know that everyone is different in terms of flexibility, strength, and conditions they have (including injuries). I cannot ask too much of students who have severe injuries, so I do my best to help them not to injure themselves further and, at the same time, reduce their pain through yoga.

5. How has this practice changed your life? Any emotional or other benefits?

The greatest change I have experienced from yoga is that I trust myself more than before. At the beginning, I did not think Bikram Yoga was for me. Before I started doing Bikram Yoga, I was never an athlete and didn’t like sports. I did not think I could even balance or lift my leg above my head at all. Through yoga practice, slowly but surely, I saw my body improve, and I could see my postures were getting better, so I started believing in myself. That’s why I always believe that some students think the same way I did. Some students think they can’t do it, so I sometimes tell them how horrible I was at the beginning and ask them to trust themselves: they will have more balance and get more flexibility in the future through their practice.

6. Do you have a favorite posture or one that causes you frustration?

I can’t find only one favorite. I love standing head to knee, standing bow, balancing stick, triangle, tree and toe stand, and savasana (of course).

I also don’t have any poses that frustrate me or are non-favorites. I tell students not to have a non-favorite, so I don’t have any non-favorites, but my rabbit pose is not very good, if you really want to know.


Categories: Yoga lifestyle

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