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Spreading the word in Manchester about Bikram yoga: Pubali Campbell

MANCHESTER - In the Queen City, there is exactly one place that combines the contortions of yoga with a piping hot room.

Bringing that unique brand of yoga to Manchester, as well as an intense focus on volunteering to better the lives of the city's girls, is why Pubali Campbell was selected to the 2013 New Hampshire Union Leader 40 Under Forty.

"I was absolutely shocked; pleasantly shocked," she said. Campbell, who opened Bikram Yoga in January 2005, said she'd always admired the 40 Under Forty program and realized its status.

For the uninitiated, Bikram yoga is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises performed in a highly heated room. Campbell said the heat has three purposes: safety (she said the heat provides "a safe route to flexibility"), sweating ("it cleans out the system and cleans out the body") and presents a unique mental challenge.

"I'm sorry to say the vast majority of people still possess negative, preconceived notions and unnecessary fears which deter them from pursuing the practice of Bikram yoga - or any yoga for that matter," Campbell said, calling that a great challenge. "Thus, my greatest challenge is to seek out avenues through which I can objectively educate my community so they do not blindly disqualify a yoga practice from their lives."

Her studio at the Millyard is the only one in Manchester.

"It was the largest city in the state and it had no studio," she said of her reason for choosing to move to Manchester in 2004. "It seemed to me to be a no-brainer."

But Campbell has also found time to volunteer with such organizations as Stay Work Play and Girls Inc. New Hampshire, where she serves as vice chairman of the board of directors and said she receives the most personal satisfaction from her volunteer work.

The organization helps "girls achieve their personal best through one-on-one attention, leadership development, a talented staff and volunteers, a wide range of enrichment programs and a caring family environment," according to its website.

"My mission as a professional is to see young women achieve to the point I have achieved in my life," she said.

In 2010, Campbell was selected as one of five Remarkable Women in Healthcare by New Hampshire Magazine.

When asked her favorite place in New Hampshire, she said, "On any given day, any time of year, the back porch of the Mount Washington Hotel."


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