Yoga for every body
Beatriz Helena Ramirez – Osteopath, Yoga & Pilates instructor
Colombian-born Beatriz Helena Ramirez first came to Spain to study theatre, however a fateful holiday in Ibiza in 1998 ultimately led to love and marriage. Her heart had been captured, not only by her husband, but also by the beautiful island she now calls home. They live together with their four-year-old son in the idyllic mountains outside San Jose, from where Bea runs her mobile Osteopathy and Pilates business. A certified yoga teacher since 2007, Bea takes regular classes at Hot Yoga Ibiza and also steps in as a guest teacher on occasion.
What first attracted you to Bikram yoga?
I started doing Bikram in 2005. I liked other classes and had been to many but none of them really grabbed me. A lot of people find the heat very challenging but maybe because I come from a place where it’s always hot, the heat actually really appealed to me. After that first time, it became very important in my life.
How would you describe Bikram to someone who has never tried it?
In a way, Bikram is almost like an introduction to yoga. It’s good for people of all different physical capacities.
What did you find the most challenging when you first started?
Keeping concentration was very challenging. In the beginning, I would lose concentration very quickly. My wandering mind was the hardest thing to overcome. There are times when I’m in total concentration and I am able to listen to the teacher and my body. That’s when I arrive at a moment of meditation. It doesn’t always go that way; sometimes it takes me a lot more effort to silence my mind.
How do you silence your inner chatter?
A lot depends on external influences. After a great day with no stress, you can concentrate really easily. But when things in life are unfavourable, your worries rob you of concentration. Sebas always says: “Take your mind back to the dialogue.” You start to breathe, connect with Sebas and there you are. You permit the teacher to move your body via the dialogue. If I really put myself in the studio, then it doesn’t matter what’s happening outside.
What physical changes did you notice in the beginning?
It was a total change. I was always flexible but never had any strength. When I found Bikram I was unbalanced in my body and a little bit overweight. After starting to practice, I lost a lot of weight and I changed my diet because my body was craving healthier things. I changed because my body was asking me to. And I soon found I had more strength than flexibility.
How has your practice affected your emotional life?
Emotionally it has affected me 100-percent. When we find ourselves – especially women – hormonally unbalanced, we are also emotionally unbalanced. I think that in some way when you enter the studio, it regulates the hormonal production and you do find yourself feeling better. Maybe it’s the breath, the poses, who knows? But it happens and not just with Bikram, but all yoga. When I was undergoing IVF treatment, I experienced a huge range of hormonal changes but I had still balance and peace.
How did yoga help during IVF treatment and conception of your son?
In IVF they fill you up with hormones, so it feels like you’re constantly on your period. The doctor’s waiting room was full of women going through the same thing, talking about how hard it was and how emotional they were feeling. Yet, I was totally calm. I had this powerful tool to help me. I felt different, of course, but I had Bikram. My practice was so important to me at that time. I felt very in harmony.
Has yoga benefited your family life?
Yoga makes you look in the mirror and see your errors and development. It helps you understand you are responsible for your life. Since I started yoga I think I have become a better person, partner, mother and friend. I communicate with my son all the time about how I am feeling – today mama is a bit sad or has little patience. As I express myself, he learns how to express himself. Now he is able to tell me about his feelings, which gives me the opportunity to help him drive his own emotions.
And what about other relationships?
Yoga helps you understand that happiness doesn’t come from anywhere but yourself. It has helped so much with my husband. If I am feeling low I can say to him, “Honey, today I am really sensitive – can you speak with me more gently?” and he thanks me for letting him know. We can express ourselves in a way that doesn’t create blame. To communicate without placing blame on the other changes everything and it all comes from yoga.
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Yoga was so impactful for me. The transformation and wellbeing I experienced made me passionate. It was this incredible tool to help people and I knew I wanted to teach. I worked nights and took out a bank loan to pay for the training and I do not regret it for a second.
How does your background in osteopathy and Pilates inform your yoga instruction?
I have worked as a Pilates instructor and osteopath for a long time and I combine the two to treat people with injury or pain. One day, Sebastien asked me to give some yoga classes at Hot Yoga Ibiza. I added things about physiology and my knowledge of anatomy to the dialogue in class, especially in relation to some poses and injuries people might be experiencing. The three tools are very complementary.
How do these tools help people when practiced in combination?
I take various tools that I have studied for many years. If you come to me with an injury, I might start with chiro-massage to figure out the physiology. The body quickly compensates for an injury, which leads to bad posture and further pain. So I help recuperate the body using all the tools I have available.
How would you describe Sebastien’s teaching style?
Sebastien makes you confront a lot of things in the studio. He’s a professional in getting the most out of you. The ego is the thing that complains (‘get me out of this pose, why are you talking like that? I don’t like it!’) but if you get over that, you go and go and go. Once your ego stops, you get to full concentration and your body goes even further because Sebastien is pulling the most out of you. If you have confidence in him he can take you very far.
How would you describe your relationship with him?
We’ve known each other a long time. I love and adore him. He’s like my brother. But as a teacher, he has taken me to lots of different places.
How often do you practice?
I go as much as I can week by week. There are times when my work will only allow me to go once or twice and other times I can go every day. Yoga is medicine for me. My husband notices when I haven’t been and tells me to go!
Where do you see your practice going in the future?
I see myself becoming one of those super grandmothers. A 90-year-old super yogi! At the moment, I have obligations as a mother but as I move forward, I want to keep practicing and teaching more. Not just physically but also spiritually. I want to go really far with my practice. I’m going to be old but no one will notice because my body and mind will be so healthy and flexible.