Student Feature: Mario

Mario was one of BYF’s first students back in 2014.  I started seeing Mario at the studio pretty frequently a few months ago near the end of 2016. 


Then I started seeing him A LOT so decided to check out his profile to see just how often he was practicing.  Turns out he had been practicing almost every day for a couple months, sometimes twice a day. One day he sat me down and said, “Because of Bikram Yoga, I’m no longer pre-diabetic.”


What????  Okay, yeah, you had me at pre-diabetic.  


Read on for a true story of will power, some jaw-dropping numbers, and pure inspiration.


Name:  Mario J Villanueva


Occupation: COII at Solvay Aerospace


How long have you been practicing yoga?

I have been practicing for a few years, on and off.  At first I did it here and there when I had time, or when I could find someone to go with me.  It was very inconsistent.


How often do you practice? 

I gave myself a 30 day challenge, that turned into a 60 day challenge.  Now I’m just enthralled by it and I have to go daily.  7x a week.


What changes have you noticed in your practice?  

So many ways from flexibility, energy, circadian rhythm adjustments.  The yoga helps me have more patience.


Do you have an injury or health condition that yoga has relieved or healed?  

I got some bad news last October from my doctor.  He diagnosed me with obesity, pre-diabetes, and sleep apnea.  I knew it was time for a change so I started practicing more frequently.


What daily activities has yoga made a difference in?  

From being more active with my dogs to simply being able to look under the bed without having to “huff and puff.”  I have more strength and stamina at work.  I’m able to go to sleep naturally without the aid of a CPAP machine.


How is your yoga practice contributing to the rest of your life? 

Overall I’ve lost about 46kg (101 LBS!!!) and since starting my daily yoga routine I’ve lost 11kg (24 LBS!!). I feel amazing and rejuvenated. I did Bikram to enhance my health, and weight loss is just an added benefit.

My skin is clearing up as well. I breathe better.  Being able to stay in there the full 90 minutes shows me I can do whatever I set my mind to.  No matter how uncomfortable it is.  As long as I breathe and focus I can make it through.


Do you have a “favorite posture?”   “Least favorite?”

I don’t know if I can say one of them is my “favorite” they’re all a work in progress.  It gets easier but it’s never easy.  I’d say Standing Head to Knee is my greatest struggle.


What is your most memorable experience in class?

The day I made it through practice and not once did I think, “it’s hot.”  Also, having Kristin and the class sing me Happy Birthday twice.  This studio cares about its yogis.


What has been your most difficult experience with your yoga practice?

The heat. Definitely dealing with the temperature was my greatest struggle. On my first day of practice I was 136 Kg (300 lbs) and I absolutely HATED the heat.  It was intense, it was uncomfortable, it was overwhelming.

One day I realized that I pretty much felt the same way about work but I still did it because it paid me.  Well, Bikram Yoga is paying me in years of life.  Even more with the quality of life it is allowing me to pursue.  Like most other uncomfortable things, if we do them plenty of times, we learn how to better deal with them.

Money comes and goes, usually goes, and usually not for us.  By practicing yoga, I am investing in myself.  No one can take my health from me.


Any additional comments that you would like to mention? 

It’s hot.  As soon as you deal with that, you can progress smoothly. I’ve been to many Bikram studios in Socal and Kaiyan by far has the best one.  Extremely friendly staff.  Teachers are Amazing.



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