“Bikram said to me: “Your brother’s a smart man. You should thank him…he saved your life.”
Playing golf is a major passion of Walter Bow ’s, and if you ask him how often he plays, he’ll tell you “not often enough.” But one thing Walter does with consistency is Bikram Yoga. Walter generally teaches the 7 a.m. weekday class before going on to his other profession, truck driving, for the rest of the day. “I go from one extreme to the other,” Walter says.
Walter has been teaching Bikram Yoga since July 2007, and he still remembers the date of his graduation – June 16, 2007. Why? “It was intense,” says Walter, looking back on the required two-a-day practices, posture clinics, and group of 315 in his class. “It was fun, but it was work, too. A life-changing experience.”
But Walter is grateful for it. Bikram Yoga could not have arrived in Walter’s life at a better time: he wasn’t exercising, didn’t drink water, and he had just quit smoking after 30 years. It was a challenge, and it took nearly four years. “I told myself that as long as I don’t quit quitting, I’ll be able to do it some day,” he says. Walter likens having that kind of persistence and dedication to practicing Bikram Yoga. “As long as you keep trying and you continue to push yourself a little more each time you come, you’ll get better.”
Walter says the best thing about teaching Bikram Yoga is helping his students become healthier, and, ultimately, changing their lives. “Just to see the change in people’s lives is unbelievable – from when they first begin to after they finish a 30-day challenge to three months later after they first started. It’s amazing,” he says.
Walter bore witness to one remarkable about-face, however, that didn’t involve one of his students. “There was this older guy who stayed in the hotel with us during teacher training. He wasn’t there for Bikram Yoga, but he would watch us through the doors. He told me that there was no way he’d ever try Bikram Yoga in all his life. Well, I told him that if they [doctors] told you that you have three months to live, you’d be right in there with us. And the man replied, ‘You know what? You’re right.’”
Walter has one daughter, Chanelle, and comes from a large family of eight sisters and three brothers. In fact, Walter credits his brother, Arden, also an instructor at Bikram Yoga Plymouth, with introducing him to Bikram Yoga in 2003. What started as a good-natured brotherly wager ended up having a lasting impact on Walter: Arden told Walter that if Walter tried Bikram Yoga, then Arden would give golf a try. The bet succeeded in getting Walter into the studio, and when he went to Bikram’s teacher training, Walter told Bikram the story. “Bikram said to me: ‘Your brother’s a smart man. You should thank him…he saved your life,’” Walter remembers.
It’s a good story with a happy ending, but don’t stick a fork in the bet just yet: Arden has yet to try golf. But Walter remains optimistic: “This is the year I’m going to get him to try it.”