Diane Ducharme was the first Bikram Yoga College of India graduate to open a Bikram Yoga studio in Massachusetts. Yoga for You was established in West Roxbury in October 1995.

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Director, Diane Ducharme Gardner: “I took my first Bikram yoga class in 1985 with my original teacher Madelyn Mederois. I knew from that very first class that this yoga would be part of my life forever and that I would teach it. I began teaching the yoga shortly after I learned it and long before teacher training. There were no Bikram certified teachers in Massachusetts at that time. I did many practices on my own or with groups of people as I taught them.”

“Bikram started his certification program in 1994. I rearranged my life and went to his second training in January 1995. There were only 30 people in my training. I felt an instant connection with Bikram. In posture clinics I was taught directly by Bikram how to read bodies (when to correct, how to correct, how much the individual body is capable of doing), how to teach people with positive outcomes, and how important this yoga is to the human body, mind, and soul.”

“I am committed to teaching Bikram yoga the very same way I was taught. I continue my study of this incredible series. I conduct seminars, workshops, and posture clinics around the world. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for more information on conducting a seminar in your school.”

“I am grateful to my teachers and especially to my students who help me to continue to grow.”

Melanie Dolan

Melanie Dolan walked into her first Bikram Yoga class with no idea how much her mind was craving the 90 minute meditation. With no serious injuries, the physical aspects of the yoga were not what hooked her (of course, it was nice to loosen up tight shoulders, strengthen weak muscles, and get a cleansing sweat). Nothing on this earth compared to the mental lift she received from Bikram Yoga. At a transition period in her life, Melanie was unsure of just about everything, apart from her love (at this point, obsession) with Bikram Yoga. After graduating college, Melanie began a 30 day challenge that turned into a 120 day challenge, which made the decision to attend Bikram’s Teacher Training in Los Angles in the Fall of 2012 crystal clear. Melanie is so grateful for her sister who took her to her first yoga class and that the yoga has spread through her family. “Bikram yoga has given me so much more than the ‘good sweat’ I went in looking for. I hope to inspire the love and gratitude I feel for my practice in every student.”

Sarah Follen

I first encountered Bikram Yoga up the street from my mom’s house about 13 years ago. I only took a few classes at that time, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression. When I needed a break from outdoor running in Mexico City four years ago, the memory of those sweaty classes returned. I found a Bikram studio not too far from where I was living and began practicing almost daily.

Later that year I came back to Boston for the summer, and Diane and some of her teachers talked to me about the Bikram Yoga teacher training program. I didn’t quite know why, but I knew I would become a teacher. It just felt right. And in the fall of 2012 I graduated from my training, which took place in Los Angeles. It was an intense and crazy experience, and one of the most challenging and rewarding of my life.

One of the great rewards of teaching this yoga has been experiencing a class from the “other side” of the podium. Witnessing the amazing strength and grace of the human body, the determination of the human mind and the softness and stories behind the eyes of the students have been the best parts of teaching for me. Talking and relating to students after class provides me with a daily reminder of how connected we all really are and of how nobody is alone, even when we are in a hot room, independently working through all of our stuff.

My favorite quote, which comes from a bottlecap, and I think has a great deal to do with my ideas about yoga and healing is: “The choice has always been yours.” I took my first Bikram class in 2001, but I wasn’t ready to feel good at that time. The universe planted the seed however, and when I was ready, I made the choice. I´m so happy and thankful that I did.


I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and I am a bodyworker by profession. Becoming a Bikram Yoga Teachers in 2013 was a natural step on my path. I was hooked after my first class in 2010 and I believe in the healing power of this yoga. It increases the quality of life of the people who practice it and the more we teach it the right way, the more we will be able to positively impact our world. I love the way the postures are arranged in the series, the way the body moves along the three planes of space with meticulous precision, the heat which gives the body the edge it needs to break the vicious cycle of sedentariness, the intense focus required, and the deep and profound relaxation that comes after the practice.

Nadia Lehmejian

Nadia began practicing Bikram Yoga in February 2003. “I was 25 years old, and I didn’t think anything could make me sweat more than running a marathon or taking a spin class! I was wrong! It was very challenging, but I really loved my first class. When I would run long distances, I would think, sort out my life, and make plans in my head the whole time.  When I practiced yoga, I thought it was hard, unique and invaluable how much I had to stay present and focused throughout. I knew this was a practice I needed, and I kept coming back for more.”  Bikram Yoga has helped me work through knee pain, sciatica, and other running-related injuries.  Nadia graduated in Spring 2009 from Bikram Yoga College of India teacher training in Palm Desert. The daily practice is a powerful self-realization tool that can help us love ourselves and others more, find clarity, realize we’re so much stronger and amazing than we ever dreamed possible, and get into good physical shape in the process. She believes that once we learn to focus and control the mind, to look ourselves square in the eye and truly meditate for a full 90 minutes, we can do ANYTHING we set our minds to. Nadia is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this process in students’ lives.

Briana Roberge

I started Bikram yoga as a freshman in college. I played sports throughout high school and college, and as a result was suffering from serious sciatic pain that was preventing me from walking comfortably, let alone running and training for games. My first class was fun, even though I barely heard anything! I only remember looking at another student in the middle of the room and thinking, “Wow, how is she touching her forehead to the floor?” From that day on I started going to yoga as often as possible. As my sciatic pain began to dissipate, I was able to run and play sports without pain, but I had more desire to be in the hot room than on the field. During my first year of Bikram Yoga I saw my body change, felt my body and mind coming together, and noticed a real change in my mindset. I went to Los Angeles for the Fall 2011 training. I love this yoga so much, I believe in the healing powers of yoga. I hope to inspire in students a desire to show up, work hard, smile, and open the door to the youth and longevity that this yoga provides.

Scott Robinson

I started practicing Bikram Yoga in August 2005 and I graduated from teacher training in Spring 2007 (Hawaii). I became a teacher as an adjunct to my career as a hospital nurse. As a yoga teacher I feel like my job is to guide others who are willing to work hard to help themselves. Students are constantly inspiring me to continue to grow in my own practice. My favorite thing about teaching is the “we’re all in this together” feeling I get while on the podium. Even while in front of the room, I still feel like a part of the class drawing from the energy and effort of everyone working and breathing to create change in their lives. It’s so inspiring and energizing to see students change and grow in the practice. Perhaps it’s an obvious thing to say, but “just breathe, everything else is optional” sums it up for me, both in the hot room and in life. Just as my practice has changed over the years, so has my teaching. I teach from a place of curiosity and compassion as well as the belief that with both patience and determination, anything is possible!!!


Bikram Yoga has opened my eyes to a whole other world that I never knew existed. I will never forget my first class October 27th 2009. A day that changed my life. I was pushed in a way that I had never been before. Being very competitive in almost everything I had done prior, this class kicked my ass! I kept coming because I needed to change, something had to give. This yoga gave me hope and helped me achieve what I never even dreamed possible. Slowly over time, things got easier; the breathing, balance, heat, the ability to look at myself in the mirror. It was incredible watching the transformation happen, while teaching me to fall in love with the girl staring back in the mirror, conquering my fears and making me a strong person, as well as giving me that mind and body connection. I know what Bikram Yoga has done for me, which is why I changed my whole life around to become a Bikram yoga teacher. I attended teacher training in LA in Spring 2013 so that I could bring my passion and love to help others in whatever way they need this healing yoga. Mind over matter – just step into the hot room and let the magic happen.

Margie Topf

I love practicing and teaching Bikram yoga. I am deeply committed to sharing my passion for this yoga, which has healed me on physical, emotional and spiritual levels very deeply. After becoming certified as a Bikram Yoga Teacher, I traveled extensively to gain teaching experience and to deepen my own practice. My background includes dancer, educator, choreographer, and founder of the MJT Dance Company. I began practicing Bikram yoga in 2001 as the start of a new mid-life journey and graduated Teacher Training in Los Angeles, California in January, 2004. The teacher training experience was the most difficult and amazing period in my life, and I will always be grateful for this life-changing opportunity. I enjoy teaching and I bring my passion for movement and body awareness into each class experience.

Joanne Zimmerman

In 2005 I decided to find out what Bikram Hot Yoga was all about and I immediately fell in love with the practice! I found myself trying to figure out how I could get to the studio everyday and what I needed to do to adjust my schedule around it. The physical and mental aspects of the workout intrigued and invigorated me as my body and mind were being transformed. I have always been active and enjoyed many physical things like running, biking, swimming, paddle boarding, skiing and skating. I completed my first triathlon in 2010. My Bikram yoga practice has made me stronger and more flexible in both body and mind and provides me greater success in all my physical activities outside of the yoga room as well as benefiting my challenging daily schedule of working from home, being a mom to two children, volunteering, and managing a busy household. For years I aspired to be able to attend teacher training in order to share my passion for this yoga with others. Six years after my first class, I attended the Yoga College of India (Spring 2011 Teacher Training in Los Angeles, CA). I am thrilled that I accomplished my goal and can now assist others with their Bikram yoga practice.