Lilly Tripp says she’s always been on the lookout for the best exercise routine. “You should see my garage. I’ve spent a small fortune on exercise equipment. Some worked; others are not worth anything.”
“I was an infomercial junkie,” she admits. But Bikram yoga cured her.
In fact, Lilly first discovered yoga while channel surfing. “I came across a yoga class and decided to do the poses, and within a few minutes I was sweating. The instructor didn't talk about breathing or the benefits of each pose, but I was intrigued by how easily and quickly I started to sweat. So I Googled hot yoga and came across the Bikram Yoga Richmond website.”
Lilly says at first her goal was just to lose some weight, which she accomplished, losing about nine pounds in three months. “But now I want to do more than that. I want to get healthier as I age and lose weight.”
Born in Munich in 1957, Lilly was was a year old when the family moved back to Mississippi, where her mother grew up. “My grandfather had a farm, which I loved,” Lilly says. “You couldn't keep us in the house. I'm the oldest of three girls, and we are close in age, so we were always together. We have a lot of cousins as well. We went fishing in the pond, worked in the family garden, played in sawdust, had rotten apple battles, rode horses, donkeys and pigs. Our imagination was endless.”
Her childhood continued to be an adventure. “I relate my years of growth by my years in school,”Lilly says. Fourth grade was spent in St. Louis. “I remember the Golden Arch to the West was just finished.” Her fifth- and sixth-grade years were spent in Memphis, which she recalls was both frightening—she was there when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated—and entertaining: “We went to see Elvis's mansion.” In seventh grade the family was living in a small town in Pennsylvania, where Lilly’s stepfather was a forest ranger.
“We lived at the bottom of a mountain with a creek across the road. We would burn a tire on the iced over creek and ice skate. We had all kinds of wildlife in our yard, bears and deer mostly. Loved that place.”
Eighth grade found the family in Richmond, the year that busing was initiated. “I was an honor roll student and had perfect attendance until we moved to Richmond,” Lilly recalls. “It was such a shock be thrown into this situation. But I survived and have had a pretty successful life since then.”
Over the years, she’s worked in customer service, marketing, accounting, business administration and sales. “I'm what is called old school in that I have a good work ethic and will do whatever is needed to get the job done, sometimes to a fault. I've put my job before my family occasionally, but I realized quickly what I was doing and had to step back. I guess my vocation is to make sure I could support myself and my girls without having to depend on anyone, which I did.”
Lilly has two daughters, seven grandchildren, one stepdaughter and one stepson. She and her husband, Mike, have recently decided to purchase bikes and explore the new trail along Route 5 between Richmond and Williamsburg.
“I feel really blessed and am so grateful to be so healthy.” For this she adds, “Thank you, yoga family.”
“I keep coming back because I realize that my yoga is my release. My mind is free for 90 minutes and for some time afterward. I feel euphoric for hours. I've never had that feeling from any other practice.”
Best of all, Lilly says, are the yogi friends she’s found. “I love the camaraderie. And it's more fun to practice yoga with a group than in front of the TV.”