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Dan Carroll

August 2011

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a CNY "lifer." I grew up in Fulton, as did both my family and wife, Jennifer's. Our families have been in the area for several generations and I love the shared sense of family history and celebration that comes from being here for so long. 

In my work life, I'm a Horticulturist, and have worked in the world of plants ever since I was a kid... it's been a profession that has immersed me in the outdoors. I really enjoy the connection to nature that working with plants provides. Pretty much, I just like being alive. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

Well... a couple of yeas ago my wife, Jennifer, started coming to the Oswego studio and raved about the class. She suggested (with great passion!) that I try a few classes. I'd taken some yoga before but never a Bikram class. I had no idea what to expect. Even though someone can try their best to describe it, you really need to just try it yourself. 

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?

I could talk forever about this question. As I mentioned, my wife suggested I try a class. At that time, I was adjusting/transitioning to a new path in life. I've always been very active, and have been a competitive runner for the better part of 40 years. By competitive, I mean personally, ... always wanting to get better, faster, run longer... always wanting to get deeper into the activity. Running 40, 50, 60 miles a week was a constant, intimate part of my life. It carried me from grade school until my late 40's, around and around the seasons, on the streets, in the woods, with best friends, family, and most favorite of all... dogs! Being able to run was the steadying rudder of my life, both physically and mentally. Physical issues, however, made it very difficult to continue the  way I wanted. I guess my "issue" was I would never have that feeling of joy that one experiences  from having the ability to pursue a passion. I was very sad that I had "lost" a very important part of my life. But I must say (very happily) that discovering Bikram has been wonderful. Now, if I had the time, I'd come everyday of the week! By typically, 4-5 days a week is average. I'm looking forward to the next 40 years!What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

As the teachers will often say whenever there is a new student, "You never forget your first class." And it's true! Walking into the room for the first time is a bit intimidating and nerve wracking... it's hot as hell and you have no idea what to do. But by the time I was a few poses in, I was hooked! I felt stronger, healthier and happier after that very first class. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The progression of the class... always being the same sequence of poses is very calming. Of course, and what I like the most, is the fact that you have to work hard at it. Like during Balancing Stick, when you feel like your chest is going to burst open! Your heart is pounding, the sweat is pouring off... and then, instant stillness. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the concept of the class as a moving meditation... because you wonder to yourself, "How can I meditate when I'm so blasted tired!?" But it works- your mind gets stronger, along with your body, and now, after class is over, it feels like I've clicked a reset button and both my mind and body feel better. 

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

These are all tough questions, as I believe yoga is a very personal pursuit. I guess I can just simply say it makes me incredibly happy!

What is your favorite part about Oswego Bikram yoga?

That's like asking someone what's your favorite part about Christmastime! Everything! The class is 90 minutes long, which is awesome. With the pace of life so rapid and crazed, there is something very relaxing and satisfying about making the time to practice. It's a personal commitment to yourself, your fellow students and instructors, and to yoga itself. One of the things I loved about running, was the feeling of being in a pack of other runners, the mass of people moving as one yet each individual immersed in self, working hard. It's really a great feeling when there is a large class... you can really be "moved" along by the energy of all the students. And the class is hard! Really, really hard! A physical and mental challenge to get as deep into a pose as you can, and then return to a state of stillness. You have to listen to the dialogue, "to challenge yourself" as the teachers implore us all to do, but each within the confines of our own abilities. 

I also love the fact that my wife and I can take classes together. Time together as a couple, real time, is hard to find. Having yoga as an integral part of our lives has become a very rewarding experience for both of us. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Kill yourself for 90 minutes! It's worth it just for the washcloth!

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