Since 2004, Bikram Yoga Richmond has been graced with the inspirational and motivating teachings of Carol Ip. Despite carrying the reputation as a “tough” yoga instructor, Carol’s classes are often jam-packed with students who are willing to rise to the challenge.
Carol, a Hong Kong native, began practicing Bikram yoga in 2002. The old Alexandra Street BYR studio had only been open for a couple years, and Carol was looking for something new to add to her exercise regimen. A girlfriend suggested that she check out Bikram yoga, and from her very first class, Carol’s life was transformed. After practicing consistently for two years, Carol wanted to challenge her practice and build up her confidence even more.
In 2004, Carol, along with fellow BYR teacher Michelle Lee, spent the summer in Los Angeles for three months of Teachers Training. While the program was grueling and physically exhausting (Carol once experienced paralyzing muscle cramps after hours of sweating in the hot room), she knew that she had found her calling. She was excited to return to her hometown and share Bikram yoga with as many people as possible.
Carol is the first to promote the healing benefits of this yoga. In 2006, she suffered a serious bicycle accident that had physicians worried about the long-term functionality of her joints. Slowly but surely, Carol persisted in her yoga practice, to the point where she now feels stronger than ever. It was yoga, she explains, that changed her life from “hell to heaven. I learned to love my body, even with all my injuries from the accident.”
Practicing proper form is one of Carol’s main principles. She knows firsthand how important it is to get into the postures correctly, especially if you’re dealing with injuries. “When I teach, I focus on self-discipline and I always encourage my students to practice form before depth,” she says. While this may mean a slower route to recovery or depth, the end result comes from being true to your body and self.
“The thing I love most about yoga is that it brings out the best of me–things I never knew about myself. I always teach with my heart and I am grateful to see students working their best in my class.”
An avid traveler, cyclist and fitness trainer, Carol sees yoga as a foundation in her life. Whether she is exploring tropical islands or hiking the Grouse Grind, Carol carries the lessons of the hot room close to her heart: “to be true and real to yourself and others. And, of course, to breathe and smile!”
Carol Ip teaches at Bikram Yoga Richmond several times a week.
- Sandra Gin