Another wonderful day in paradise

Interview by Carly Miller, Illustration by Nancy Cuervo

For Solitaire Macfoy, every day is “another wonderful day in paradise.”

What are your greatest challenges and successes in the hot room?

To get as far in every pose as possible. I have a limitation: i can’t bend the right leg because it’s fixed at the knee. Balance is an amazing thing. I can now balance on either leg, on the atrophied leg or good leg, and I have achieved the whole posture of standing head to knee.

It’s also very hard, it hurts. The hips, thighs, gluts, knees, all just hurt. It’s just the way the arthritis is deposited now. It used to hurt in all of my joints, but now it’s getting a lot better. This [Bikram Yoga] has made the pain much less in my shoulders, wrists, elbows, I can almost ignore them now. My hip joint still bothers me, but I’m walking.

How did you find Bikram Yoga?

Someone in my squad at the Park Slope Food Coop recommended Bikram Yoga, even though I had been doing Vinyasa yoga 5-6 times a week before. When I came to the studio I was greeted by Michelle A who said, ‘whatever causes you to walk on your crutches, come to Bikram Yoga and it will help.’

On my first day I saw Natalie, who is my good friend now, doing Ardachandrasana, her body at a right angle and thought, “you expect me to do that?” I couldn’t even get my arms to go straight.

It’s great that you had a sense of humor about it…

It was plainly obvious I wasn’t doing that right then and there, but it didn’t stop me going for it. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Robbin, you know, she would be very encouraging, telling stories and talking to people, she generally had the room. She is phenomenal.

What role does your Bikram Yoga practice play in your daily life?

Awareness, mindfulness, consciousness, are all aspects of making the community that you’re in, people that you’re with. Making mindful choices, being present, it’s all yoga.

You certainly contribute to making this place a community!

The real deal is what’s in the Vedic scriptures by Pantanjali: the essence of anybody is everybody else. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about the community. That’s who we are, and to expand that: the more you embrace community, the more of you is in everyone else. Serve other people, and they will be more in you.

What drives you back to the hot room, day after day?

I come every day because it’s the best thing I can do any day. If this improvement continues it will come to a point where i can get a connection with my body, in every muscle and every pore, then there must be a way to levitate. And that is a pain free state. So that’s my goal – to get my body right, to get my body light, to take flight. It’s clear to me that it’s mind over matter. If I get my mind right, and practice with focus, concentration, and meditation…I mean, the things I do now, two years ago, were not happening!

I got into the habit of counting when 1,000 days will be – and by then I should levitate. Just take it 500 days at a time.