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Karma Spotlight: John Vitale

My Bikram Yoga journey began 4 1/2 years ago practicing at various Bikram studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan, finally finding a home at bodē NYC.

As a fitness buff in my 20’s and 30’s; karate, distance running, and weight training was a big part of daily life. Early in my 40’s I was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own systems.  Chronic muscle cramps, joint pain, and fatigue eliminated those activities at the level I was used to. Dejected with my inability to exercise as I once did, I basically “tread water” for years waiting for something to change.

The Bikram practice answered that call and has treated my symptoms magically. My personal practice is now between 3-5 days a week. I was practicing 5-6 days for a good while but my life felt unbalanced. Work, traveling to and fro, recovery from class, I found I was not spending enough time with home responsibilities.

I started in the Karma program here about 3 years ago, primarily working at the UWS but also filling in at all studios as my schedule allows.  I thought that the idea of receiving yoga classes in exchange for a few hours of work (Karma) was a fabulous trade, but I also wanted to get closer to the practice and get to know the instructors better as well, so I signed up.

While the cleaning aspect is never glamorous, I take pride it doing it because as a practitioner I want a clean, safe, and special place to come to after a hard day. A funny thing about my days at Karma shift that I often reflect on is that when I was a kid on a “chore”, my mom had myself and my brother doing similar types of cleaning that I do here. Early Karma training I guess. I’m a natural.

On a serious note the program is a great way to give to the students, staff, and to oneself.  As a member of the karma program I see students before and after class, and it’s great to see their stress release after class. Instant good feelings.

For the last 9 years I have worked for NYC Transit in the Department of Security, and prior to that had a career in law enforcement and as a paramedic.

Some personal interests : sports and fitness, cooking, animal lover, grandkids.

Namaste,
John Vitale

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