Our very own archer

Claudia Eisenmann

“We’ve all had a first day, and it can be hot and aggravating.”

Claudia Eisenmann clearly remembers her first day at BYCF. She took Chris Fluck’s class on a Saturday morning. She recalls standing there shaking her head, with her jaw hanging open, thinking she had lost her mind. And wondering how she would ever be able to make it through 90 minutes. The second class was better, and the third was just as horrible as the first.

Today, Eisenmann can’t imagine not practicing. She practices at least four times a week. Bikram’s class is on her iPod, so she can practice at home. When she travels, Claudia seeks out local Bikram studios.

Eisenmann first heard about Bikram yoga while listening to a Wayne Dyer CD. At the time, she was running a hospital in a remote area of North Dakota, and yoga studios were scarce.

When she moved here, she started looking for something to supplement her fitness program. She googled ‘Bikram Yoga’ and found BYCF shortly after we opened in February.

“This is a whole different kind of fitness. You can live your life, and do exactly what you need to do. Weight lifting and running are each one-dimensional. Bikram yoga covers everything.” Claudia says she really needs the mental stimulation—something that completely engages her mind and presents a personal challenge. The practice also relieves her work-related stress. “I come in here, and it all just falls away.”

Most surprising, though, is that Claudia’s knees feel better than they did even 15 years ago. She has more range of motion and much less pain. Although she has three herniated discs, Claudia doesn’t even feel two of them. Back pain no longer wakes her at night.

At the moment, Balancing Stick is her favorite pose. “You can really feel EVERYTHING working, all the muscles contracting.”

Most frustrating is Standing Bow. Claudia is an archer. “I have spent my whole life piddling around with bows and arrows. Oh, God. I want Standing Bow so badly.” To Eisenmann, a solid Standing Bow posture will be symbolic. It will mean that my back is better.”

On a delicate silver necklace, Claudia wears a tiny figure in Standing-Bow posture. Just as a reminder.

Already, moving meditation has improved Eisenmann’s level of concentration. Archery is a physical practice that involves the mind. Better mental focus is translating into increased skill with bow and arrow. “You have to project all of your energy–everything you have got, your whole being–into a TINY little target that is VERY far away.”

Claudia thinks about health on a continual basis. She runs a local hospital. Many of the chronic health conditions she sees in patients are self-created. She believes very deeply in personal responsibility. “The hard way IS the right way.” Eisenmann’s dad used to say that ‘can’t’ means ‘don’t want to’. Claudia believes that we can achieve almost anything we put our minds to. “You can’t do anything if you quit. It takes about a month of regular practice to see results,” she says.

Eisenmann knows what she’s talking about. In her younger days, Claudia weighed 210 pounds. She reframed her expectations of herself and has been fit ever since.

Eisenmann regularly practices in the front row (right side), typically at the 6:30pm classes. Say “Hi” next time you see her. She’s fabulous!

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