At her first national yoga competition, Brandy fell out of a posture and didn’t even place. Devastated, she announced to everyone who would listen—including yoga founder Bikram Choudhury himself—that the next year she was going to win. “Most competitors take a break after the competition,” she says, “but I started training the next day.”
It’s that kind of commitment and determination that sets Brandy apart, even in a world where dedication is the norm. A yogi for more than 15 years, Brandy attended her first class when her mother told her about the unique form of yoga and encouraged her to give it a try. “Like most people, I was miserable the first few classes, then I sort of fell in love,” she recalls. “I grew up as a dancer, so the discipline and flexibility came natural to me, but I had to work on the strength and endurance.”
Brandy attended her first classes in Arizona, and then moved back to Utah (she’d graduated from high school here), where she kept up her practice. In 2006, she attended teacher training, determined to learn everything she could. “Teaching has always been close to my heart,” she says, “and in the early years, I sought out as much information as possible, and I sought it from the masters.” She worked closely with Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga; his wife, Rajashree; and principal teacher Emmy Cleaves.
“I placed myself in a position to learn everything I could, both in my own practice as well as how to teach,” Brandy explains. “I think that’s how you learn as a teacher—find people who are doing it well and doing it the way you want to do it, then put yourself in front of them and ask lots of questions. I’ve always been that way.”
Her passion and commitment paid off. After graduating from teacher training, she taught in South Korea, then returned to the United States, teaching in Salt Lake and Vegas. Ultimately, she ended up working directly with Bikram, first on staff and then managing his school in India.
When she won the national and international yoga championships, she ended up traveling the world. “I taught and demonstrated and spread the yoga word,” she explains. “That’s both your gift and duty as a champion—you get to tell everyone about yoga.”
After her whirlwind experience as champion, Brandy settled down, first in Seattle and then back in Utah. Her focus is now on being the best mommy she can be to her three-year-old and one-year-old sons—but she’s thrilled to be back teaching too.
“I always knew I’d start teaching again,” she notes, “and the only place I wanted to teach was with Joanne. I’ve been in close to 100 studios, and I can almost always pick out the studio owner within a few minutes because the atmosphere of the studio takes on the personality of the owner. Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas is a perfect reflection of Joanne; she keeps it clean, honest, warm, and friendly. I wouldn’t teach for anyone else.”