Leilani Parker

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Leilani Parker battles more than her fair share of health challenges-she's been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, lupus, and colitis, plus she's a cancer survivor. Many people in this situation might opt to take it easy, but not Leilani. "I'm an exercise junkie," she says. "I walked, lifted weights, all sorts of different things. Exercise simply makes me feel better." 

Last year Leilani read a newspaper article about Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas and figured she'd check it out. "I was looking for something with a little lower impact because of my chronic illnesses," she explains. "I came and tried it and felt better my very first time. I decided to do the 21 for $21, and if I still felt as good, I'd be in." 

A year later, Leilani is definitely still in, faithfully attending classes several times a week. "I have more muscle strength," she observes. "I have strength in muscles I didn't even know I had! And that excites me because strength is definitely something I seek. I also feel less fatigued and have more energy, which is huge for me. Plus, I'm a half-inch taller than when I started yoga, which also thrills me because I have a goal to be six feet tall-I only have nine and a half inches left. Go, yoga!" 

Leilani loves the convenience of Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas; she rides the train to her work most mornings after attending class. And she enjoys the feeling of support and encouragement she has found in the Bikram Yoga community. "I'd still come even if people weren't friendly," she says. "But they are-that's just an added bonus!" 

Leilani is currently involved in the Slow & Steady Challenge. "It's not so much about the intensity for me as it is the consistency," she says. "I've seen people go for something gung ho--like maybe run 20 miles every day for a week--and they tend to burn out. I'm a turtle; I take it slow and steady, so that's the perfect challenge for me." 

Even after she finishes the six-month challenge, Leilani plans on continuing her slow and steady approach to Bikram Yoga. "I can't imagine giving it up," she says. "It's calming; it keeps my body healthy and gives my brain a rest. Every time I go I walk out feeling better than when I went in. Why wouldn't I keep doing that?"