A lifelong practice and passion.
Visionary Denise DuBarry brought to the development of our studio more than 35 years of experience in the yoga industry. In many ways, BYPCV is a manifestation of her impressive lifelong practice and passion. Denise is a Certified Bikram instructor who has been practicing Bikram Yoga since 1979.
When she was just 19, Denise became an actress and felt more aware of her body. She did both dance and aerobics, including being a regular at Richard Simmons’ “Roughage and Anatomy Asylum.” When she was cast to play a leading role in a mini-series with an allstar cast, she shared a dressing room with Paula Prentiss and Elke Sommer. Only 22, Denise was amazed to see Paula Prentiss’s physique, already in her 40s: her body, as Denise likes to say, “was better than mine!” Paula revealed her secret: Bikram Yoga. Denise went to Bikram’s studio, then a small postage-stamp in Beverly Hills at the corner of Doheny and Sunset. But it was filled with A-listers: everyone from Martin Sheen and Quincy Jones to Raquel Welch and Candace Bergen (Jeff Bridges).
She says she soon understood why they all looked so great: the practice was exceedingly difficult. The yoga worked every muscle, stretched every ligament and tendon, twisted and aligned the spine, and massaged internal organs while burning calories. Many of them. Fast forward 30 years later: she is still at it, and has become an expert in her own right.
Denise believes you can’t take yourself too seriously and says the older you are when you begin, the better sense of humor you’ll need. In truth, yoga can change your body dramatically but it takes time and a measure of patience. Denise says that yoga does for your joints, spine and bones what braces do for your teeth. She knows that when she does yoga regularly, she’s happier, her body feels amazing and she has fewer aches and pains.
It’s a bit easier to practice now than when she drove from Malibu to Beverly Hills to take Bikram’s classes (he was personally teaching every class then). Over the years, she took thousands of classes with him. After deciding to practice at home, she had friends interested in taking yoga. Having seen the tangible results on fellow celebrities, she was convinced of the benefits.
Malibu Yoga was born in 1986, drawing a great clientele with plenty of celebrities and athletes. There was even a kid’s class. Her daughter, Samantha Lockwood, began doing yoga at age five. Later, she would follow in her mother’s footsteps, becoming the youngest Certified Bikram Yoga instructor at the age of 17. Samantha now has her own studio Bikram Yoga Kauai in Kapaa, Kauai.
Year after year, Denise has witnessed the “miracles of yoga” in a multitude of people. From a wheelchair-bound woman who was able to walk again after doing yoga to a tenacious one-armed student who completed the teacher training with one arm, able to do every posture beautifully with only slight modification. She has seen many who were suffering desperately from health issues who listened to Bikram’s advice: “you’ve got nothing to lose because you are starting with nothing, so do your yoga. The pain kills the pain.”
Her personal miracles have included the following: an MRI in her neck showed bulging discs pressing against nerves, which caused extreme pain, forcing her back to yoga. After 15 classes, the pain vanished. Add to that sciatic pain from a water skiing accident: gently working the area in class helped her cure the pain. She also experienced quick recovery from shingles’ residential nerve damage and pain. And finally, a derrière that looks 20 years younger than she does (and she looks pretty amazing!).
When Denise found herself “too busy” in the 1990s and halted her practice for several years, she later made the decision to return to yoga. She says it was humbling to begin anew, yet she committed to practicing three times a week. By 2005, she had earned her official Bikram teaching certificate even though she’d taught thousands of classes before the official training was available. She wanted to reopen a studio, so she opened Bikram Yoga University Village with her former yoga business partner, Kim Tang. Now, the studio is freshly renovated and better than ever, reborn as Bikram Yoga Plus Coachella Valley.
You’ll find Denise’s entire family doing yoga at the studio including her mother, father, sisters, husband and children. She believes that you will be healthier, live longer and have a genuinely better quality of life if you make yoga a part of your daily living.