January 2017 Student of the Month

Jackie Guess

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” -Willie Nelson

Silmi MerchantPlease tell us a little about yourself.
Originally I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and moved to Reno, Nevada where I attended college, married my husband and lived for 33 years. I have always been physically active enjoying a variety of outdoor activities such as backpacking, snow/water skiing and mountain biking. To make all these outdoor activities more enjoyable, about 25 year ago I adopted a life-time routine physical activity regimen. I started with aerobics and various dance classes.
Around 2011, I felt I needed to add more stretching to my physical activity program. This is when I became captivated with Bikram Yoga. In February 2013, I transferred from the Reno VA Hospital to the San Antonio VA Hospital working as a Nurse Practitioner. Before I accepted the transfer, I made sure that there was a Bikram Yoga Studio near my home and work place. I remember wondering if the Bikram Community in San Antonio could ever be as impressive as the Reno Community. It did not take long for me to realize that the Yoga Community in San Antonio surpassed that of Reno with wonderful facilities, compassionate instructors and friendly students.
What brought you to the yoga practice? Crossfit?
When I came to Yoga practice in 2011 a close friend and colleague of mine recommended Bikram Yoga for the therapeutic value. I came just expecting to improve my flexibility and posture. I had not thought of the other benefits such as improving my mind, emotional well-being and making new friends.
How often do you take class?
I try to attend classes 2 to 3 times per week. My goal for 2017 is to attend 4 to 5 classes per week, incorporating some Power Yoga and Inferno Hot Pilates into my practice.
What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?
My physical issues relate to sitting at a computer most of the day at work. They include chronic neck, upper back and shoulder tightness all of which affect my posture.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
Physically this practice has helped improve my posture as well as my overall flexibility. Emotionally It has also helped me remain centered, calm and to breath normally in everyday life situations. Whether I am driving in heavy traffic, dealing with a challenging patient at work, or waiting in long lines spiritually this practice has helped me find peace of mind.
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?
This practice has challenged me both physically and mentally. It has pushed me out of my “comfort zone” I have come to realize that I can make small positive improvements in my practice and in my life every single day.
What is your favorite part of the yoga and or Crossfit?
My favorite part of Yoga is the last savasana because at this moment I know I have made it through another class and feel great physically, emotionally and spiritually.