I hear all the time from other students who see Brandon’s practice, “Wow, that guy is so flexible/talented/awesome.” And he is.
Brandon is an amazing yogi. But behind all the great flexibility and balance, is a story of great healing. It may not look this way, but Brandon has a titanium rod in his femur!
What is your occupation?
Music/Linguistics Student at Cal State Fullerton
How long have been practicing yoga?
Bikram yoga was the first type of yoga I started practicing and I started my practice on September 11, 2011.
How often do you practice?
I try to practice as often as I am able to around school and work.
Do you have an injury or health condition that yoga has relieved or healed?
I was in a car accident on July 2, 2011.
I had an open dislocation of my ankle and a broken femur, both on my right leg. I now have a titanium rod in my femur and my ankle is often very tight. There were also some other minor injuries, but those healed quickly.
I started practicing Bikram yoga shortly after my doctor cleared me to start walking again. When I began my practice, I was unable to put my entire weight on my leg and the teachers had to either help me stand or allowed me to use the wall to gradually increase the amount of weight and pressure.
Within a couple months I was able to walk normally, and finally I was dancing again by the new year.
My doctor said he had never seen anyone heal as quickly as I had. He begrudgingly told me that he had not expected me to be able to run again without pain, let alone dance. I attribute the vast majority of my healing process to practicing Bikram yoga and have recommended it to anyone willing to listen.
What daily activities has yoga made a difference in?
Bikram Yoga has helped me develop the focus an discipline required in the world of music.
Holding a difficult posture, while my body is tired and it’s hard to breathe, has prepared me for similar moments in a performance when a difficult passage comes up, or I feel out of breath. I have to remain calm and breathe to make the passage sound effortless.
The breath control that we practice in a Bikram class relates directly to the breath control that I need to play my instrument and to sing. Most aspects of Bikram can relate to my life as a music student.
How is your yoga practice contributing to the rest of your life?
My yoga practice has made me very aware of my body, my mind, my thoughts and feelings. It’s even helped my daily posture outside of class.
If yoga has taught me one thing, it’s that you don’t DO yoga, you practice it. And your practice will never be perfect because there is always another way to grow. Applying that to my life has helped me let go of things that are out of my control.
Do you have a “favorite posture?” “Least favorite?”
I don’t have a favorite or least favorite posture because it seems to me that if I have a favorite, the rest are somehow less important.
If I’m enjoying a posture one day, it could just be that my body was in a place that made the posture easier for that day. If I dislike a posture, my body may be in a place that day that has made it difficult. Every day is different, so a posture I enjoy one day might be the posture that I struggle with the next.
It’s easy to practice the postures that come easy to you in the moment. But the real growth comes from finding the willpower to practice the postures that are difficult for you.
What is your most memorable experience in class?
One of my most memorable classes is also the most foreign class I’ve taken so far. I traveled to Paris last summer and took a Bikram class in French. Even though I had taught myself basic French already, nothing prepared me for hearing the dialogue in a different language. The only two words I could understand were “inhale” and “exhale.” I would greatly enjoy the chance to take a class in every language.
What has been your most difficult experience with your yoga practice?
Finding a balance between all of my weekly activities. During busy semesters, yoga has to take a lower position on my priorities list, which I always regret later, because practicing always seems to level out the stress in my life.
Finding that balance of when to come to class and when to sleep in an extra hour is something I struggle with. But as I continue to improve my mind-body connection that balance becomes easier.
I also struggle with feeling lopsided physically because of the injuries from my accident. One leg is always more flexible, and the other leg is always stronger. I’m working to balance the two.
Any additional comments that you would like to mention?
I would like to thank Kaiyan and the rest of the Bikram Yoga Fullerton staff, as well as the staff at my original studio in Pleasanton. I have been able to learn from every teacher I’ve ever taken class from. Just as your body is different each day, each teacher is able to give different feedback each day.
I hope to become a Bikram instructor one day because the teachers have inspired me to give back to others in the same way.