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Chul Lee

September 2018

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

My name is Chul. I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea but I went to schools in Texas, NY and finally Syracuse. I graduated from SU Law School and went back to Korea and practiced with a law firm there for 5 years. I am interested in, of course, yoga, tennis, running, classical music and cooking.

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga? 

I grew up playing the violin from age 6 and eventually minored in music in college. Music gave me great opportunities but at the same time playing the violin most of my life came with some tendonitis issues. Besides, the law firm life was brutal and was starting to have detrimental effects on my health. In 2004, about 2 years after I started working at the law firm, my gym, which was right next door to my law firm, entered into an agreement with Bikram. The club built a hot room and Bikram supplied teachers. I gave it a try and got hooked right after the first class. Bikram sent us very good teachers including the 2008 Bikram International Asana Champion, Ball Rattanapong, and I was intrigued to learn more about Bikram yoga every day.

How often do you practice? 

When I lived in Seoul, my gym had about a dozen teachers and had two classrooms. So, there was a class starting every hour from 6:30 AM till late in the evening. I am a morning person so I always tried to squeeze in at least one yoga a day early in the morning, took a shower and ran to my meeting in the office just around the corner. One day I did yoga on a hot summer day and went to my meeting. Thought I’d showered, I perspired during the whole meeting, which was quite embarrassing. In 2007, before I moved back to the US, I resigned from the law firm and had about 2 months I didn’t work. I went to yoga twice a day every day one in the morning and later in the afternoon for two months. I could do a lot of poses I can no longer do. One day my teacher made me do advance camel and that was the only time I could do it. Now, since I live in Syracuse, I can’t practice as often. But I try to come up to Oswego once or twice a week. Winter can be challenging to come up, but there’s always my bathroom that can be turned into a lukewarm room.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I still have the tendonitis problem that flares up once in a while, but now I know what to do. Locust pose helps me a lot, especially. It not only stretches my arms that have the tendonitis problem but it also relaxes my shoulders as my shoulders tend to tighten due to long hours at the computer. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Mindfulness is the great benefit. One might think think Bikram is purely hatha and hatha is purely physical. But as I practice Bikram continually for more than a decade, I see the mental dimension being added and getting stronger.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

When I first started Bikram in 2004, I spent average 12 hours in the office every day, frequently brought home work and regularly went into the office on Saturdays. I had constant back pain and tight shoulders. Now I don’t work that extensive hours but still my job requires extended period of time at the computer and it still causes aches and pains here and there. However, since I found Bikram, I know where to go to relieve that and if I can’t go to hot room, I can always do a few poses every now and again to relax my muscles.

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

I like everything about Bikram Yoga Oswego except the distance from my house.  I especially like the warm and welcoming environment that Sandy and Judy always make sure to create.  I’ve been coming to Bikram Yoga Oswego for almost 10 years and I miss some of the regulars when I can’t make it up there for a while in winter.  

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