Creating Yoga Memories

The Nyberg Family-Creating Yoga Memories Eli Nyberg's uncle is only six months older than Eli, who is 13, but he's 6'4", almost a foot taller. The two have wrestled since they were little, and Eli always loses. That extra height always gave him an added advantage.

Until recently. A few weeks ago, Eli pinned his uncle. "He was kind of mad," recalls Eli, with a big grin. "So then he went to wrestle my little brother, Abe."

Now Eli has an advantage--he's stronger. And that strength, says Eli, is thanks to Bikram Yoga. In March last year, Eli and his younger brother and sister (Abe and Leah), along with his mom and dad, started working out at Bikram Yoga at Thanksgiving Point. It hasn't been easy. The Nybergs live in Spanish Fork, and by the time they drive, prep, attend class, and return home, the whole workout takes about four hours. But it's worth it, say parents Zak and Sarah.

"We first heard about Bikram Yoga from some friends," said Sarah. "They warned us that the first class would be hard and that during that class we might be wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. But they also said afterwards we'd feel great. And that's pretty much what happened to me. I'm the kind of person who, when I decide to do something, I do it all the way, so I've always done every single pose and never left the room. It was hard and it was exhausting, but afterwards, I wanted to keep doing it. But I was sure Zak was going to hate it."

Sarah was wrong. Unlike many first-timers, Zak instantly fell in love with Bikram Yoga.

"From that first time, I've loved every minute of it," says Zak, who has lost 20 pounds, is more flexible, and also feels stronger. "Even when I come and think maybe this time I'll take it easy, I don't. I push myself as hard as I can, and I try to make the most of every class. Like one of our instructors said, we're building our future bodies, and I can feel the shape of my body changing. I'm always looking ahead six months or a year, setting goals, so I can get better a little bit at a time. There's always a challenge, and it's always rewarding."

Sarah had been dealing with a lot of chronic pain and was just generally tired. "At the end of that first class, even though it was hard, I felt so good," she observes. "And the next day, when I thought about going again, I had this excited feeling. Even though I knew it was going to be hard, I also knew it was going to be positive and help me. Bikram Yoga made me feel alive again."

The Nybergs brought their children with them for that first class--they do pretty much everything together. The children are homeschooled, and Bikram Yoga is their PE class. "It's part of our family culture," says Zak. "We want to create family memories and teach our children that doing things together and supporting each other is just what we do as a family."

Eleven-year-old Abe gets that. He may be the least enthusiastic yogi in the Nyberg family, but he comes with a smile on his face. The fresh smoothie waiting at home after a workout may be part of it, but mostly it's because even at a young age Abe is learning the power of self-discipline and following through on commitments.

"I don't really like it," he admits. "But I do feel good afterward, and I know it's good for me."

The smile never leaves 9-year-old Leah's face when she talks about yoga. Although Leah didn't really enjoy it at first, her enthusiasm has grown over the past year. The instructors sometimes use her to demonstrate certain poses because she's so flexible, and she earned a bright pink Bikram Yoga hydro-flask--a special prize that Joanne offered her for staying in the hot room for an entire class.

"She also saw this video of this lady doing yoga on YouTube," says Sarah. "She was really good at it, and Leah was inspired by that. What's really neat is we realized later that that lady is an instructor here at Brick Canvas." Both Zak and Sarah say they couldn't make this long-term commitment without the support and encouragement from the Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas community. "They are so good to work with," Zak notes. "From the very beginning, they've understood if the kids need to leave class for a few minutes to cool off, and they've made our whole family feel welcome and comfortable."

Being physically fit was the one area where the family had been searching for an answer, Sarah points out. "We tried rollerblading and biking and running, but we didn't stick with anything. I finally feel like we've accomplished that part of our lives; we're finally fully healthy."