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I am in class 18 of my Bikram Hot Yoga Albuquerque 30 Day Challenge. And frankly, starting to struggle. The doubts are setting in and I need some encouragement and maybe I can pass on the gift of this yoga to others and see some friendly faces in class. Come take a class for free on my account. Just tell the front desk - Lee's 30 day challenge and the class is on me! Here's why...
So, I had let my yoga practice slip in the last months of 2013 and found things in my life unraveling quickly as a result - Focus, patience, sleep, food, temperament, tolerance, relationships, and then the body, the back pain, the 10 lbs, ok 25 lbs! and then the most important, the loss of serenity, the connection to God, and the creeping in of the negative thought loops and the bad habits. I have a bad back like my dad who passed at 58, a 9 year old daughter and I am 43 years old. This shit had to stop. I knew what had worked, but was afraid of the commitment. This yoga at Bikram Yoga Albuquerque is challenging for me even after more than 4 years. I will be honest, that it was difficult to get back to that first class after months of irregular practice and then a few weeks of no yoga at all. I accepted any excuse not to get back into that hot, humid room where I had to face myself in the mirror, afraid that I wasn't in shape anymore and I couldn't do all the postures, or even just finish the class. It was like starting over again, but worse, because my mind knew what I could once do, but my body just wasn't there yet, and frankly my will was weak. It took a couple classes of seeing the friendly faces, the encouraging teachers, sweating and struggling next to one another, each of us not quitting as best we could, that I came out and grabbed a challenge sheet, dated, signed it and put my sticker on the first day. And another student did the same beside me which was cool. A day at time, sometime a posture at a time, a breath at time. Got my gratitude back.
The free class, yeah that's for real. It's on me if you want it, maybe you need it as bad as I did. Up for the challenge? Grab a sheet.
I was very honored when asked if I would share my Bikram Yoga story....
My name is Brenda Grier and I am well into the 5th year of my practice. I was never an athlete or very physically in shape, and I pretty much spent the whole decade of my 20's pregnant with my 4 children. I loved that time in my life, but it didn't allow any time for me. I gained a whopping 65 pounds with my 4th baby -- a lot of weight, especially on my body frame. I was able to lose most of it, but my body never really felt strong. I knew I wanted to do something, but wasn't sure what. Going to a gym just didn't feel right for me. A friend of ours had gotten my husband to go to yoga and it really impacted him. He kept telling me that I should try it. It sounded so scary and way out of my league. Something about it intrigued me though, and my gut feeling was to go check it out. Scared as hell, I went anyway. Opening the door to the yoga room for the first time and having that wall of heat hit me in the face was... an interesting sensation, to say the least! I survived the class and wasn't sure what to think of how I felt. It was a feeling my body had never experienced before, that's for sure! A little voice kept telling me to go back, so I did-- even on days when I was so sore and couldn't move. Go back! Go back! I kept going back. I really loved knowing that for 90 minutes, I didn't have to focus on or think about anything but myself. It was "me" time.
I couldn't really tell you at what point I began to benefit from the peace part of yoga -- the body, mind, spirit aspect -- but let me tell you, that has been the biggest benefit for me. I have always been a worrier and could easily get stressed before, but I soon found that I was becoming a much calmer person through practicing yoga -- a happier person.
I was also someone who suffered from frequent headaches. I had tried everything to help manage them, without much success. But guess what? YOGA! For some reason, I made myself go to class when I woke up with a pounding headache one day... I thought I was probably going to die, but went anyway just for the distraction, and I walked out that day without a headache. I couldn't believe it! I rarely suffer from headaches anymore like I used to, and when I feel one coming, I head straight into class. Works every time!
I work very hard in class and give it my all, and I'm very proud of how far I have come. People ask me how I make it look effortless and for me, here's my advice: learn to breathe. Really focus on your breath. Our instructors harp on that and say it a million times, but it's true. It took a long time before I realized they were right. And it's not just breathing properly in class-- it's breathing deeply and thoughtfully throughout your day that will bring change in your life.
At 41, I am in the best shape physically and mentally I've ever been in my life and I am so grateful for my wonderful husband and children, who have supported my yoga journey. I am also so grateful to my yoga family-- because within this community, I have made such great friendships that I will cherish always...
I hope to share class with all of you soon!
~ Brenda Grier
My name is Isaac Monk, age 37
I started Bikram Yoga March of 2011. I initially tried it with the intention of loosing weight and possibly joining. So I signed up with two of my coworkers on the two week living social, thinking how hard could this be some heat with a little stretching, “cake”.
So as I was signing my paperwork the yoga instructor was telling me my only goal was to stay in the room. I’m thinking to myself, hell if staying in a room is a goal how simple life is, “show me this room lady”. Lol. Talk about “shock” 20 minutes in I was thinking, “What in the hell have I got myself into?” I was thinking two weeks, No! I have 70 minutes and this BS is over with for life, pending me making it out of this room! All I could think about was how that little goal of staying in this room was not so little.
To make along story short I made it through the 90 minutes. It wasn’t pretty but I did it. I stayed true to my word momentarily, Oh yeah, I quit at-least I thought I did! After this first day I told one of my coworkers that I wasn’t going back, that those people in there were not normal and that “you know what” is not for a person who weighs 257lbs. So I didn’t go back for a few days but yeah I had to go back. Something that felt so bad had a weird affect on me that it felt so good once it was over. So I came back again, again and again. I couldn’t get enough of that good feeling.
And yes it works to loose weight. Last time I weighed myself was probably 6 months ago and I weighed 232 at that time, I think I weigh less than that now but I want to surprise myself later down the road.
I was surprised to find out that Bikram yoga has also benefited me in several other ways. It has helped me to sleep really well, before starting Bikram Yoga I was taking ambien to sleep at night. No more ambien for over a year now and I sleep fine without it. I was also taking two high blood pressure pills and so far for the last 4 months my blood pressure has been fine with no medications. I played basketball since I was 5 years old and could no longer play after my freshman year in college because of this nagging thing called Jumpers knee, a form of tendonitis in the knee. It has been pain-full to even put my knees on the floor but since doing Bikram Yoga I am able to bend my knees well, as well as putting them on the floor. Last but not least it has helped me to focus! I don’t know what instructor would always say if you can balance in here, you could balance your life outside of Bikram yoga. It works but I think what adds to it is staying positive. And it even helps with staying positive.
Don’t ask me how these changes take place because honestly I don’t know. I just report to class 4 times a week usually and the work gets done. I also learned a new word since being there NAASTE!!!!!!!
Isaac A. Monk
Most Yogis’ seem to write their testimonials in the first year of practice. I thought I had missed the window of opportunity.
However, a recent occurrence caused me to reconsider.
First, a little history;Randi and I started our practice nearly 5 years ago, Labor Day weekend 2007, we went each day of the weekend. I could barely stand up in the heat and they expected me to balance on one foot, LOL. It took at least a month of regular attendance before I could complete a whole class without sitting or lying down during at least one pose. We kept at it, I entered a study of a drug to treat a chronic condition and a side effect was total fatigue – couldn’t even walk the dog – so I missed 7 months in 2008. Today I most often complete the whole class without needing to drop. Chronic lower back and neck pain are things of the past. My skin is clearer, and I seldom get even a little sick with a cold or the flu – knock on wood. I’ve had the pleasure of many different and varied instructors although, the yogi that taught my first class, oh so long ago, is Cathy. That may make her my all-time favorite instructor but after some classes I might pick one of the others ;-). Today, I am committed to practice in the morning, the Saturday 7:00AM feels almost late to me.
Now to that occurrence I mentioned earlier; a couple of weeks ago I got a call from the editor in chief of “Albuquerque – The Magazine”. We know each other from some fund raising activities we’ve both been involved in and a motorcycle group I ride with some. He mentioned that they publish a “Hot Singles” issue each year and my name had come up. He realized he didn’t know my marital status. I had to explain that I wouldn’t qualify as Randi and I have been married for 33+ years. I have to tell you that was likely the best ego boost I could have gotten in this my 60th year, to be considered for the “Albuquerque – The Magazine” Hot Singles issue. I owe it all to Bikram’s Yoga Albuquerque, and my lovely wife.
Wow, I can't believe I have completed my Bikram 101 Challenge. 101 Bikram classes in 100 days.
How did I get here?
I had come a long way up from my bottom two years ago before I found the yoga. In September 2009 I was the stay at home mom of 3 small children who was over 100 pounds heavier than I am now and very depressed. I can't totally explain how I had arrived at such a bad place, and I was at a loss for how to change things. Even with my incredible and beautiful family I was really struggling. I had totally lost myself in the process of having kids and motherhood. I felt very alone and isolated. Here I was, this highly educated former Air Force Officer and college basketball player who couldn't even take care of myself. It was really humiliating and embarrassing, and I knew I had to do something drastic to turn things around. So with my wonderful wife Rachel's blessing I went to Phoenix and had lap band surgery. It was the best decision and gave me that little tool I needed to start to turn things around. It was no magic bullet, and I have worked my ass off (literally) the past two years to try and get back to some semblance of the physical shape I used to be in....first walking, then cycling, then running. My program was working, and I lost 100 pounds. I felt the cloud of depression slowly starting to lift. The problem was all the exercise I was doing had created some nagging injuries and I was having to lay off a lot because of this. In December 2011 I pinched a nerve in my neck and experienced terrible pain and numbness in my left arm and hand. I was unable to exercise at all during November and I was still having a lot of pain when trying to work out through the holidays. Anxiety and doubt were creeping in each day, and I was so afraid I was going to back to the place I had been two years prior. I thought going back to yoga might be a solution to my injury issues. I had tried other forms of yoga in the past and always enjoyed it. I had always wanted to try Bikram Yoga but it was too scary. I thought it was only for the super fit, extra bendy, "young and beautiful" people. But I was desperate to heal my injury and I knew I needed more than the "gentle stretching" of other forms of yoga to keep my fitness goals on track. I decided that I would try one class on Jan 2 this year. I am so glad I found the courage to walk through that door the first day.
My first class was very challenging. I was proud of myself for just staying in the room and not passing out or throwing up. I decided to try the 14 day beginner package. The staff told me to come back the next day. I did and I felt a little better. They said to come back again the next day. I did, but I had a splitting headache. They gave me a coconut water and said to come back the next day. I did. I just kept showing up, and at about day 7 I was starting to think this yoga might be for me. The pain in my arm and hand "hurt like hell" in half moon, but after class as I went about my day it was much better. My neck and back were starting to feel loose and supple, something I hadn't felt in years. I was feeling calmer at home, and my family was noticing a big difference. Rachel started to go to yoga too. (She even finished her own "60 Day Challenge. GO RACHEL!!) Even though we couldn't practice at the same time, we worked it out so we both made it to a class a day. This was added motivation. I finished my 14 day package having gone each day. Now I was really proud of myself. Then I started hearing people at the studio talk about 30 and 60 Day Challenges. "What? Are you freakin' kidding me? 30 classes in 30 days! Drink pickle juice and take Epsom Salt baths to keep going. That is nuts! ....and 60days....forget about it! You people have a screw lose or something." Well, it just so happens that I KNOW I have some loose screws, so I decided I was going for 30 Days.
I made it to 30 days, then told everyone that I was "probably" done. I didn't want there to be any expectations or pressure on me. At 45 days, everyone knew I was still going daily so Jeanette finally asked me to make it official and fill out a challenge sheet to keep track of my days. Somewhere between 45 and 60 I had a really good class, and that same day found out from my friend Meg that she had done 100 days at one time. Is that REALLY possible? Because I felt particularly good that day, I made a crazy mental commitment to myself to do the 100 day challenge (plus the extra day to make 101....just to be sure I am still "committed" after I finish... or maybe need to be committed!). I finished the challenge on April 9, 2012! Party Time!...and boy, did we celebrate! I cannot totally explain all the benefits I have experienced because of the yoga. First, the numbers: I have dropped another 15 pounds and built muscle strength I never even had when I played basketball. I am pain free almost all the time now. I have lost 3 inches off my waist. My blood pressure, which was never high but was steadily creeping up over the past few years, is 102/54 and my resting pulse is 52. No more sinus issues or sinus headaches. The numbers are great, and I am very pleased with them. But the thing that is so difficult to explain is the inner peace and strength I have developed. This wonderfully challenging "90 minute moving meditation" has lifted my depression and replaced it with a totally different type of energy that I have never experienced before. I think the experts might call it "happiness!" One benefit that was really unexpected is the relationships I have developed with all the incredible yogis who practice regularly at our studio. My "10 O'Clock Tigers" are some of the best people I have ever met and I am so thankful to have them in my life. I could not have done this challenge without them. To Jeanette and all the teachers, you have changed my life and I can never thank you enough. You were there for me at every turn of this wonderful and sometimes wacky beginning to my yoga experience. Thank you to my family, who sacrificed a lot so I could make it to class everyday. My kids are even yogis now, taking Kids Yoga at our studio! It is so much fun to be a part of the Bikram community, and to know that extends beyond our studio to the rest of the world. There is something so comforting in knowing that other yogis of all walks of life are practicing the same yoga that I am practicing here at Bikram Yoga Albuquerque. I know I can walk into a Bikram studio anywhere in the world and, though there may be subtle studio differences, the yoga is always the same. So POWERFUL! I want to extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to begin this journey or has taken a hiatus and wants to return to Bikram Yoga. We are saving a spot for you. See you on the mat with toes on the line!
My name is Vanessa, and this is my testimonial. Back in November of 2010 my body hit a wall. I was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital for a cardiac angiogram, which thankfully showed no abnormalities. I was however diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder. I was put on 2 medications to help with this. After the first 8 months I was able to get off one of the drugs, but still remained on the other. I started to learn meditation with the help of Bellaruth Naperstak CD’s. I was still trying to find my “center”. Then a friend suggested Bikram Yoga. I had my first class in August of 2011, and dove in headfirst with the 30 day challenge. I saw my doctor the beginning of September 2011, and he was pleased about the yoga, and wanted to see me in 3 months. Upon the next doctor visit, and after many, many yoga classes, I learned that my waist measurement went from a 38 to a 33. Yay!! I am so thrilled to have found my Bikram family and look forward to our journey together. Thanks so much to the instructors, the fellow students who have my back!
Namaste and Peace,
P.S. I think I’ve found my center! LOL
This is my friend who pointed me in the Bikram direction.
I was a super fat and out of shape mom of two chronically sick kids and in an unfixable very unhappy marriage when I realized I was only a few pounds away from 300!! eek!! Something snapped and I started walking. Building up to 7 miles a day, I lost over 100 pounds in 2009/10. Around May of 2010 I saw an ad for Bikram Yoga and decided to kick my own ass for two weeks for $20. I only missed one class and I was hooked. The amount of stress relief yoga provides me is insurmountable.
I credit yoga for a lot more... for building my mental strength and confidence enough to move away from unnecessary stress and negative situations in my life. I credit yoga for building my muscular strength. The last time I was able to fit into my size 10 jeans I weighed 135. Now at 175 I fit in the same jeans and more comfortably. So I credit yoga for allowing me to eat more… and who wouldn't like that! haha! Yoga has made me more comfortable in my pants and in my head. Because of Yoga I can now run and run and run and run....only stopping because my legs are tired and not because I am out of breath. Yoga taught me how to breathe....in more ways than one.
My first exposure to Bikram’s Hot Yoga was six months before I started practicing on a regular basis. A friend of mine convinced me to join him in what he described as “the most intense physical and mental workout” he has ever done. I was curious, so I joined him for a class and afterwards swore that I would never step foot into a hot yoga place again. It kicked my ass!
In January 2011, I started thinking about my fast approaching 50th birthday. As birthdays came and went, I never mentally felt any older, but physically kept “getting older exponentially”. At the rate things were going, I was scared of what I was going to feel like two, five, ten years down the road. I decided that I needed to make some changes before it become impossible to. I remembered my first Bikram’s experience and decided to give it another chance (partially because I don’t like getting my ass kicked, but more importantly, for all of the benefits Bikram’s provides. Since then, I have practiced two to three times a week. I have lost weight, lowered my blood pressure, increased my flexibility, improved my “eating and drinking” habits and have enjoyed the mental benefits yoga has provided (even though, on occasions, it still kicks my ass). In March, my wife Jeaneatte saw what Bikram's was doing for me and decided to try it for herself. She has been practicing two to three times a week. We both struggle at times, but with the encouragement, support and knowledge from the instructors and fellow students, continue to practice and enjoy the benefits of Bikram's. We appreciate the opportunity to spend time together, all along improving both of ours’ mental and physical health. We want to thank the owners, instructors and fellow practitioners and look forward to continuing our yoga practice.
Ralph and Jeanette
First of all, I would like to thank Bikram Choudhury and the well-trained and professional teaching staff at Bikram’s Hot Yoga of Albuquerque for giving me the opportunity to experience Bikram’s hot yoga. The only regret I have is that I did not discover it sooner. I have worked out with weights much of my life, but finally found the total inside and outer body workout that can be done on a daily basis if desired and still remain a great challenge, as each day is always different. No workout partner needed, as it is an individual workout but with the added motivation, strength, determination, concentration and will of other practitioners/teachers that is an immense motivator. The truth about it all is that I love the class and each time I leave I feel that I gave it my all. Thanks again to Bikram’s hot yoga for the transformation of a new me.
As I begin the new year, I ask myself what I would have done, had I not started doing Yoga about four year ago. At that time I was very sick with lupus. I was very weak, my body ached all over, my lungs were damaged, and my skin was very irritated. The only relief I had from the disease was using predisone. My daughter, Cathy, got me to begin yoga at this studio. I have been doing it regularly now for four years. As a result of the yoga, my condition slowly improved. I stopped all medications about three years ago, and now I have almost no symptoms of lupus!
Bikram's yoga has been my salvation. It has given me back my health, and a positive outlook for the future!
Ever heard the story about the guy who kept banging his head against the wall? Someone walking by stopped and asked him why he was doing it. He replied, “Because it feels so good when I stop!” Well, that’s kind of the way I felt when I first started this crazy yoga thing.
It was hot, it was hard, it was hot, the teachers were like drill sergeants - did I mention it was hot? But what I found after nearly completing the 10 day introductory special was that my body was craving all the above! And the “good” that I felt when class was over was not just relief – it was energy and a pleasing muscle fatigue and a sense of accomplishment. The “good” also extended beyond immediately after class. I slept better, I felt stronger and more flexible. More than a year prior to starting my practice, I suffered a fractured pelvis due to a riding fall. Months of physical therapy did not give me the relief that I experienced after my first few classes. The vicious cycle of muscle spasms causing my pelvis to be out of line was broken by the heat, stretching and alignment corrections that happen in every class. I’ve had plantar fasciitis for years and couldn’t even go barefoot around the house without my feet hurting. Awkward pose has taken care of that! Years of aerobics classes had worn out my knees, and I felt like I was running out of options to stay in shape. I’ve finally found something that doesn’t cause wear and tear on my body and I’m so grateful to my friend and Bikram instructor, Zia, for introducing me to this fantastic yoga. While I must admit that I still have moments in class when I wonder why the heck I’m here, this is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life!
My Introduction To: ”Your Back Is Going To Hurt Like Hell”
Gasping for breath and sweating profusely, I was determined to stay in the room and finish my first Bikram Yoga class. Yes, just staying in the room that first class was a challenge! I had practiced a similar form of yoga in a hot room & high humidity before in San Diego, but was not prepared for the impact the higher altitude would have on my workouts here.
I’ll admit, I was not the “spring chicken” I was ten years before when, at 55, I was giving free aerobics classes to the Camp Pendleton Marines on my lunch hour, putting these “macho men” with bulging muscles through the floor because they could not stretch well or do cardio workouts. I was old enough to be their mother and chided them for it. Back then, I would run an easy 5 miler with many of the Marines in the hills, and would ride a bike several times a week, all while working full time and keeping the home fires burning as my husband was overseas most of the time. Yes, I am a former Type A personality.
After 5 years of that regimen, I let go, little by little of my workouts until I was only walking a couple of miles a day and sitting at the computer, writing. I gained 20 pounds and started to feel sluggish in mind as well as body. Hindsight now says: Never stop exercising!
After retiring from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and moving to Albuquerque, I went to several different yoga studios looking for the hot yoga…with the mirrored studio type I had liked so much in California. Finally, I found Bikram’s 4 years ago….exactly what I wanted. Then, David Rogers was the awesome owner/instructor, and I found the camaraderie inviting and positive. Over the years I have seen almost all of the present teachers off to their Bikram training and have been inspired by their dedication and positive corrections of my practice.
Things DO Get Better! - We all have challenges to overcome, and I have had my own. Whooping cough as a 3yr old left me with a lowered lung capacity and Rheumatic Fever challenged me with a heart murmur & achy joints. “Older age” (I’m now 69) has brought on interesting thyroid and cholesterol adjustments, but my Doc says: “Don’t stop doing yoga! It is the best thing you can do for your body.”
My “scrappy” determination overcame these challenges and I have been “getting better every day” with my yoga practice. I started out coming twice a week…and going home and napping an hour afterward. Eventually, I have worked up to a 4 times a week practice, and after 4 years, (I am a slow learner) I can finally kick my leg out in Standing Head To Knee pose rather than just bend my knee & “hang five”(toes) in the air! YeeeHaaa!
My biggest challenge is getting my head to knee in any of those poses, but I will never say “never.” We all have body differences: while those tall, long limbed yogis are graceful, and I am stuck in a short limbed body, we all seem to adjust as best we can with what we were born with. The human body is amazingly responsive to our determination and repetitive practicing. Like the Energizer Bunny” we all have a choice to keep on “keeping on.”
Getting A Little Personal - Personally, I feel I have had a magical life. I have been privileged to have moved 37 times to various parts of the US. I have lived in eight states, visited all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. I have traveled all throughout Europe, Japan, Thailand, Nepal, India, and Cambodia. I didn’t realize it at the time, but traveling in Cambodia would give me a taste of what Bikram Hot Yoga would be like: very hot and very humid! I have gained great appreciation for those people who live in such weather. International travel gives one an expanded appreciation for the world’s different cultures and Earth’s beauties.
I have been privileged to have been kissed by a killer whale, played with a cougar, bobcat, bear, and wolf. I have witnessed a plane crash and survived a near death experience. I have been in the presence of several Presidents (while working in DC) and was at the burial of President Kennedy, standing just across from President DeGaulle of France & Emperor Hailie Salassie of Ethiopia. I have worked as a college janitor, computer programmer, bank manager, and financial counselor. I went to college to become a medical doctor and know just enough to be dangerous…but I am a Reiki Master.
In my spare time, when not doing yoga, I enjoy writing, drawing, calligraphy, music, hiking the Sandias, walking my terriers, Jocko & Merlin, going to the opera, and volunteering. I have two children, Lisa, 45, a physical therapist assistant, in CA, a son, Erik, 36, an Environmental Biologist with the State of Arizona, and 3 grandchildren….the delights of my life.
Gratitude is the Attitude- I am so thankful for all I have received, and one of my greatest gifts is the Bikram Hot Yoga Studio. I am thankful for the start that David Rogers created, and that Jeanette has taken the studio and opened it to a more beautiful place to practice….like a Flower Petal Blooming! Jeanette is truly an inspiration of dedication and “can do” attitude. She, and all her staff, create an open hearted atmosphere where we all bloom at our own pace .And to all of you with whom I practice, thank you for being such wonderful companions. It is with the laughter and positive reinforcements that we all survive that challenging 90 minutes of Yoga!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Janice back to top
When I stepped into the studio for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. I was nearing a "big" birthday and wanted to celebrate by doing something good for myself. I remembered reading somewhere that Bikram yoga emphasizes both strength and flexibility, and so I decided to give it a try. What I remember most about my first class is the intense heat and humidity, the relentless dialogue, and the seemingly effortless, graceful movements of everyone around me while I stumbled through as many postures as I could before collapsing on my mat, gasping for air.
I signed up for the intro special, and committed to attending for all ten days. The first few classes were the hardest; I left each class exhausted, only to come back the next day with aches and pains in muscles I didn't even know existed. After four or five classes, my complexion started to improve and my skin felt softer and smoother. I was sleeping more deeply and feeling rested when I awoke. As I acclimated to the heat, my endurance increased and I began to notice ever-so-slight improvements in many of the postures. Most significantly, the chronic hip and back pain I struggled with for most of my life began to lessen.
My ten-day intro became a 60-day challenge, then a 100-day challenge. Today I completed my 117th consecutive yoga class. I feel blessed that I've been able arrange the rest of my life in a way that allows my yoga practice to be a top priority. As I look back on my first few weeks of yoga, I celebrate all the positive changes that have come about. Physically, I am stronger and more fit than I've been in a long time. I have more energy, more focus and awareness, and more compassion for myself and those around me. As I look to the future, I know that I have a long way to go. One of the best things about Bikram yoga is the way it constantly challenges me to improve myself, both on and off the mat.
I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the instructors here; each one has a different teaching style and approach to the yoga, but they are all knowledgeable and helpful. They inspire me, as do the yogis and yoginis who share the practice with me, always giving their best. I'm grateful for my yoga community, and look forward to the continued evolution of my journey.
I started coming to the Bikram’s Yoga Albuquerque studio on April 19th. I have just completed the 60-day Bikram Yoga Challenge and feel great. I understand why they call it a “Challenge,” its not easy. I have peeled my self out of bed every morning at about 5:30 a.m., which is no small task considering that I work a full-time job and a part-time job and normally get home about 9:00 p. m. There were days when I barely made it to the studio in time to take the class. Bikram Yoga is physically and mentally challenging. There were times my legs hurt, my back hurt, and I thought I was going to faint. I said to my self, “Can I really do this?” Bikram stresses being mindful (being in the moment) and this is difficult in a room heated to 105 degrees with humidifiers on. It is a challenge to relax and stay present while sweat is streaming down your face. It is challenging to calm a noisy mind and balance on one leg so early in the morning. Struggling to wake-up, fighting with fatigue, and trying to focus inward became a part of my daily routine. Many of my friends and family posed the question “Why.” Yes, there were times during the challenge that I wanted to give-up, but I remembered the wise words of my teachers, “If you put maximum effort into your practice, you will get maximum benefits.”
Although I’m sure that everyone who comes into this challenge has his or her own reasons for doing so, my desire to go through the challenge is somewhat complicated. To really understand we must look back about four years. In September 2006, I weighed 510.4 pounds. At this weight daily life was a struggle. Activities such as walking and sleeping became a struggle for me. I made the decision. I had to do something. I started a weight loss program, and with support and education, I lost 290 pounds. Then after smoking for 14 years, I quit smoking in December of 2007. Shortly after quitting smoking I got into a relationship with a guy who I really cared about and we moved in together. I maintained abstinence from smoking for a year and half and maintained most of my weight loss. I felt like I was on top of the world, but slowly some of the weight came back on, and because I had been overweight for so many years, I had developed joint pain, which made my body stiff, achy, and inflexible. Then about a year ago my partner broke-up with me. I had to move out and start all over. My world was turned up-side-down very quickly. I was devastated and started smoking again. Matters were made worse when I realized that I had gained back about 40 pounds.
It takes some time to get over a break-up and I felt I needed to do something that would help me get my life back on track. I had taken some Bikram Yoga classes in the past and had heard about the 30-day challenge. I made a commitment take on the challenge. I knew it was my responsibility to get my life back together and thought this was a great way to start. From the very first day I noticed changes. My joints were less achy and my skin was softer. I was able to fall asleep faster and felt more comfortable. I also found my self wanting to eat better. It just didn’t make sense to do Bikram and then eat a high calorie, high fat meal. Even though it was hard, I kept going. When I got closer to my 30th day, I realized I wanted to go on and do another 30 days. Making it through the 30 day challenge gave me confidence to tackle another challenge: smoking. I smoked my last cigarette 30 days ago today and I’m committed to staying smoke free.
The benefits have just increased over the past month. My breathing is better and I feel more relaxed, more comfortable in my body than I have in years. I am smoke free. I have also lost 15 pounds and about 4 inches off my waistline. My skin is better, my health is better, my flexibility is better, and my life is better. Bikram has helped me learn how to be more present in life and in my body. It has helped me to be more in the moment. Things are much better for me. Yes, I have more weight to lose, and yes, I still get cravings to smoke a cigarette. I am truly a work in progress. I am not perfect and that’s okay. I am using yoga to enhance and improve my life. This challenge has been a rewarding and beautiful journey and I know it has just begun. I plan to continue practicing at least four times a week. I am thankful to the Bikram’s Yoga Albuquerque studio and to all the students and teachers for their patience, determination, encouragement, and for the example they have set for me. This is more than just a yoga studio, it a community that promotes health and wellbeing and I am grateful!
Karate, Kickboxing, Aerobics, Running – you name it, I loved it. I found motivation and self-discipline in these activities as well as a sense of well-being. I looked forward to every day and new things. Then in 2004 I had to have foot surgery due to a problem with a joint, and the surgery failed. Karate? Kickboxing? Ha! Just walking was a chore. After three more surgeries to correct the first one, the doctor finally said ‘it is what it is.’ All the activities I had enjoyed so much were now impossible. Not surprisingly, I slowly began gaining weight, became depressed and couldn’t sleep. This was my life for almost five years. By the time 2009 arrived, I was on three different kinds of anti-depressants and taking sleeping pills just to get through every day.
I began attending Bikram yoga approximately one year ago, in 2009. My fiancé had found out about it, but I was too afraid to just dive in. So after driving by (3 times!) and peering through the window (oh, yes, I did.) I saw all these lovely women and thought, “I want to look like that!” I was attending three to four times per week, and though I enjoyed it, I found myself experiencing another bout of depression in October and quit attending altogether. Would I ever get back to the person I used to be? Would I every be able to enjoy life again?
With a new year approaching, I decided to give Bikram yoga another try. In January I took the 30-day challenge - and I did it! In the process, I lost 15 pounds AND I was able to completely stop taking the anti-depressants and sleeping pills – in the first 30 days! Now I was motivated and feeling unstoppable. I took on the 60 day challenge - and I did that too! I am now on day 95 of the 100-day challenge and look forward to putting that notch on my belt as well. I plan on completing a personal 180-day challenge and can truly say that this process has changed my life. New Mind, New Body, New Life – I am living proof and could not be more thankful for the support and encouragement I have been given.
I started practicing Bikram about 9 months ago. My daughter introduced me to this type of yoga and I’m going to have to come up with something truly amazing to even begin to pay her back! :) I’ve been thinking about what I love and what I don’t love about this practice and they tend to be the same thing. I love (and don’t love) the heat, the intensity, the required focus, the incredible determination it takes sometimes, the really hard days, and of course, the completely crazy phrasing of the dialogue!
I’ve had some pretty serious physical injuries in the last 15 years. I’ve had a total joint replacement in my left knee. I’ve had a spinal fusion done in my lower back. I’ve discovered I have chronic Hepatitis C. But I truly believe that this practice has helped each of these conditions and will continue to do so. I couldn’t even grab my left leg behind me for Standing Bow when I first started and now I can see my foot behind my head in the mirror! My backbend has definitely improved, I can feel the flexibility build weekly. Overall, my muscle tone and definition is better and I can sort of go back in Fixed Firm! But I think the best results I’ve seen are the ones most people can’t see. I feel so much stronger, so much calmer. I have SO much more patience, especially with myself. (My husband has commented on that last one several times in the past couple of months.) I’m really happy (most days) and I’m an actual eater now! Pretty cool.
Probably the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I started Bikram though is my decision to go to Teacher Training. I’ve been so inspired by all the wonderful teachers in this studio and I am thankful to each one of them. I’m REALLY psyched and more than a little nervous. I think that being able to teach and assist people as they practice this yoga will bring even more benefits and growth to my life, and hopefully to theirs as well! I know that it’s a crazy intense experience and I hope I can live up to the challenge! So while I’m gone for those 9 weeks from April to June cross your fingers for me!! (or when I get back I’ll hold you in Triangle forever!!) Just kidding....
"I had not practiced any form of yoga but I was intrigued and interested to learn more about Bikram's Yoga. However, I needed to be realistic about practicing in extreme warm temperatures because I have Multiple Sclerosis. I feared that my practice in a studio heated to 105 degrees would initiate one of many MS symptoms and I would have to stop my yoga practice. Given my fear and my thirty-five year history with MS I sadly let go of the idea of becoming a Bikram's Yoga student.
"One morning this little voice in my head told me to just try a Bikram's Yoga class. Yoga was unfamiliar to me but I cautiously stepped into the studio and began my practice. At first I attended class once or twice per week. Amazingly, I enjoyed my practice and wanted to attend as much as I could. After each class my body felt stronger and my mind was more at ease. I increased my practice to four or five days per week. Over time I observed changes to my body, a sense of strength, steadiness, flexibility, and I experienced less pain within my body. I fell in love with practicing Bikram's Yoga.
"One day David asked if I ever thought about participating in the 60 Day Challenge. I responded negatively because I felt I was doing enough yoga by participating 5-6 days/week and that served as my challenge. David was persistent and felt I should consider doing the Challenge. I pondered David's suggestion for many days and within that time I realized I was facing a couple of my fears; that the postures would be too challenging, and/or my MS symptoms would surface and halt my practice.
"October 2, 2004 I went to yoga and committed to practicing the 60 Day Bikram's Yoga Challenge. I had faith in myself and knew I could complete the Challenge, but as I began the Challenge something felt different. While I was cruising along, practicing yoga 5-6 days per week I realized that I was becoming complacent, simply satisfied with daily accomplishments. I began the 60 Day Challenge and noted that I had relaxed my yoga focus. I gained a new focus, used the yoga postures to achieve balance between my mind, body, spirit, and found that I could go deeper into some of the postures. I am a very proud, 60 year old yogini! Thanks David for your gentle suggestion!
"Many thanks to David, Shea and Letitia for their knowledge, professionalism, and compassion. They provided a unique experience for my first yoga practice, and more specifically, continue to guide my journey into Bikram's Yoga."back to top
This month marks my two year anniversary for my practice. I recall two years ago during our Thanksgiving visit to my sister’s in Washington D.C.; she invited me to a Bikram hot yoga class so that we could burn off our thanksgiving calories. I felt like I was having an asthma attack, constantly gasping for air, but I made it through the entire class.
As soon as we returned, I signed up, and I’ve been coming ever since. I had to take full ownership of my own wellbeing, and I made up my mind to make an investment in my own health. It started out a couple times a week and I’ve been consistently coming 5 to 6 times a week. My motto is simple: “Just Show Up!” Over a period of consistent practice and a lot of aches, pains and bruises I am amazed at the overall results: I have lost 25 pounds, my blood pressure is great, I have low cholesterol, and my resting pulse is in the low 50’s. I now can even do postures that I’ve never thought I could do.
I like going to class, since everyone is different, it’s inspirational to see others in their own practice which gives me the energy to keep going on the days that I have no energy. I also get to learn from others and from their experiences which helps me. But, most of all, I get some great teachings from our teachers and I try to listen and do it. I am truly grateful for the studio‘s authentic Bikram teaching and all the other great practitioners. Not only is Bikram very therapeutic and detoxifying for me, it’s also the perfect balance between mind and body, yin and yan, strength and balance. I get a whole workout all the way down to the cellular level which I had never experienced before. Over time I have really grown to appreciate my practice more and more every day.
I came to my first class in September 2007 because my daughter, Cathy had just gotten back from teacher training and had been insisting that I try the yoga. I finally gave in. Two years earlier I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and as a result was on many prescription medications including prednisone. I hurt badly in that first class, probably detoxifying my body from all of the medications I had been taking. I was so hot and uncomfortable: I had never done anything like it before. After my first class I was not sure about the yoga. However, being so sick at that time I wanted to give this form of healing an honest try since nothing had worked so far. I kept coming to class, about 4 times during those 10 days, hoping that this could possibly help my health. Perhaps 2 weeks in to my regular practice, I began to notice improvements, my rheumatoid arthritis was hurting less, the swelling in my joints had come down. Suddenly I had a sense of hope that maybe I could feel well again! Over the course of the next year, I gradually weaned myself off of the medications I was taking.
To date I have done several challenges, my longest run was 103 classes. I have stuck to my yoga because I keep experiencing the benefits. In little ways, my body continues to heal with every class I take. For someone who had almost given up and thought that I would spend the rest of my life in chronic illness, I can honestly say it has been a blessing (and quality of life saver) to find Bikram yoga. Thanks to all of my teachers and classmates for all of their support. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not found you and the yoga. back to top
"Doing the challenge, coming to the studio consistently, finding new friends, learning to be more open to differences, is teaching me that strength alone will kill me. I need to add flexibility and balance to my life - physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Each day as I begin my practice I question why I am doing this, when will this torture be over - yet each day I come back. If these questionings do not disappear after a few postures I remind myself why I made the Bikram commitment in the first place. The commitment came during one practice when I was so unhappy with myself that I was thinking I should just leave. But I did not because I decided that I only need one reason to show up and to do my best - and that one reason is my family. The only gift I have control over is how healthy I can become. My commitment is to do all I can to be healthy (no strokes) so that I can be present for Jane, my children, their partners, and my grandchildren - to not be a burden - to be energetic - to be caring - to be the person I want to be."
I'll cut to the chase: Bikram's Yoga simply works for me. I became a Bikram's "regular" back in December of 2008. As a competitive runner, I've definitely heard plenty of advice on the benefits of core strength, not only for injury prevention, but all-around health. I feel that Bikram gives me the perfect balance of all-around strength and fitness and lays the foundation upon which I can progress in abilities as an athlete. One of the best things I like about the routine is that in order to get an excellent flexibility and strength workout, I don't need to devise an elaborate routine and debate about how long I should keep in each posture. Simply show up and do what the instructor says. I had actually been to a Bikram's class over a year earlier (at the downtown location back in 2007, when there were still two in town) and remember drinking so much water during that session that the instructor felt bad for me and actually went out of the room to refill my bottle halfway through - aw! It was so difficult for me that I just never worked up the courage to give it another shot. Jump forward to over a year later - my fiance (now wife!) and I were seeking out some activities we could do together. We started regular practice in late December, and two days after Christmas, I decided to give the 60 day challenge a go. It kicked my butt at times (especially the "makeup" days where I went twice) but was really good for me. At times I thought I might be the only grad student alive pulling myself out of bed at 5:30 to hit that 6 am class, but it's definitely a good feeling once you're done. Life as a grad student at UNM definitely takes its toll on my free time (I'm studying Electrical & Computer Engineering), but I've found that you can always make time for the things that are really important to you.
Anyone who's watched me do spine twisting posture will know how hopelessly inflexible I am, though I can do awkward posture with the best of them. (I should really challenge James to an awkward-off, that would be fun.) Wait... what does that say about me if the only posture I can do well is called awkward??? But the lack of flexibility is all the more reason for me to keep at it. I believe that what I lack in flexibility, I strive to make up for in effort in each and every class. I try to carry that philosophy over to the rest of my life - in my relationships, my running, and my work.
Greg and Jamesina
"Everyone who walks through the door to take their 1st Bikram's class has some doubts as to whether this might be a good fit into their exercise program. For me, I was very concerned about my knees. Having had 4 sugeries involving both knees, I am left with advanced arthritis and a displaced kneecap on the right and surgical removal of my left kneecap. In addition to doubt, I had fear that doing this series of poses would result in another surgery. Thanks to the personal interest and tremendous encouragement from the staff, consistent practice of Bikram's yoga has healed my knees to a degree I never thought possible.
"I have had to learn patience, as healing 54 yr old arthritic knees doesn't happen overnight. One of the most challenging "knee" poses has taken me a year to see significant progress. I find it amusing now that my knees begin to ache when I miss more than 2-3 days between classes.
"Another wonderful benefit of Bikram's yoga that I wasn't even looking for is learning how to completely clear my mind. Like most people, my professional and home life are full of "multi-tasking" taking care of my needs and others' needs. For 90 minutes, I have the opportunity to empty my brain of everything and focus only on listening to the instructor and doing what is said. It is extremely difficult to keep the mental clutter from seeping in. When I get through a class with close to 100% focus, I feel overwhelmed with the accomplishment. It adds another level of discipline to my life that I can practice at any time. I look forward to ongoing benefits of this tremendous and consistently challenging class as I live my life."
"When I first contemplated starting Bikram's yoga several months ago, I did so with a good deal of skepticism and trepidation. Skepticism because I felt I could not do it because of a serious back problem and trepidation that I would hurt my back. When I was 15, I had a major operation to correct a severe case of scoliosis. My spine was fused from my chest to my hips and a fifteen-inch metal rod was implanted in my spine. Since the operation, I have had constant back pain and frequent headaches. If I lifted something heavy, or exercised too rigorously, I would experience excruciating shooting pains in my head. Since I have been doing Bikram's yoga, my back pain has virtually disappeared, and I have not had one headache. This summer I went camping a number of times and for the first time since my operation, I did not experience any back pain. I rafted, mountain biked, hiked, and lifted very heavy equipment and ice chests, with no deleterious effect. I am still exploring my limits in most of the postures and need to make some accommodations, but my back feels better than it has for 45 years. My tennis elbow and two sore knees have also improved significantly"
At first, I was attracted to yoga because I thought it would make me flexible. I knew increased flexibility would improve my running, and ever since I had participated in middle school gymnastics, I was particularly excited about being able to do the splits (which I still have never quite accomplished). I started out by going to a college gym for yoga. It was... as could be expected from a gym yoga class. Over the next couple years, however, yoga was becoming more popular and mainstream, and before long there were 4 different yoga instructors and a slew of classes offered. At least then it was in a separate private room, instead of in the middle of the basketball courts. Emily quickly became my favorite teacher. She had studied Jivamukti Yoga under David and Shannon in New York City. I was vegetarian at he time and quite excited about the "spread love and peace to all beings" aspect of Jivamukti. But more than anything, her classes were much more intense and rewarding than any of the other generic American hatha yoga classes.
When I moved to Albuquerque, I was lost without my gym yoga and rather randomly decided to give a Bikram yoga class a try. I can't say I liked it the first time. I attended classes sporadically the first 6 months. The heat level was annoying. But after my husband rather immediately decided to attempt the 60-day challenge, I couldn't let this newbie to yoga out-do me, and I started attending more regularly. Wow, am I glad I did! Not only has my posture improved, but for once yoga is increasing my flexibility at a faster rate than my marathon training is stiffening me up. Not to mention all of the internal benefits we all can tell is going on during and after a Bikram class. I really can't wait to experience what the next year and hopefully lifetime of Bikram classes will do for me. Who knows...maybe I'll even go to teacher training someday.
WOW.... what a difference!
After wearing 40lbs of equipment for years my back and body started to feel like a stiff and broken machine. I was experiencing stabbing pain in my upper back that was keeping me from enjoying my life and keeping up with my one year old daughter. After only a few classes my pain has decreased and I feel like standing up straighter without trying. I had concerns on fitting in or not getting any results for along time. I was amazed that the classes are filled with people of all levels and backgrounds. The staff was very helpful and understanding ! My wife and I are here only for a short time for a job contract. I plan on making Yoga a part of my life so I can be the best husband and dad I can be. Any guys out there that come from the macho Police,Fire,Military crowd. Give it a try! It will help balance your weight training or any sport that you enjoy doing. I want to thank the staff for introducing me to a great way of life!
Yoga! Stretching! Are you kidding? I am a triathlete, not a chanting contortionist! So what if I can’t touch my toes, and truth be told, I can barely touch my knees, but still Yoga? I don’t care if my friend and animal rock climber Sarah swears by it, just leave me out of it!
Yes, that was me last July, and while I know no other men are stubborn like that, even I acquiesced after one more running injury bollixed most of my racing season. I still remember my first class. I came early and let my mat mates know that I was a jock and pretty skeptical about this whole thing. Well on one side was Wes, who has run something like 8000 marathons, and on the other Linda, who has a physique that clearly has athlete written all over it. Hmm, I remember thinking, maybe there is something to this!
So off we go. First posture. Yes, I know how to breathe. Can’t we get a move on? Uh oh, second set, why are my triceps feeling this? Why am I tipping over? Second posture. Why can’t I elongate like the others? And, backward bend. Arg, are they kidding? Then head to knee with hands under my heels. Whoops almost fell over. Hey, this is hard!
And that was in the first ten minutes! Ninety minutes later I was a dripping mess, grinning from ear to ear. My legs shook like they had a mind of their own during several postures, and my entire body had said “no mas” several times, but all the areas those years of running and cycling had made so brittle had been worked hard in a way that I knew was restorative. My heart that so proudly rests at 36 beats a minute had topped out like I was sprinting up La Luz. Yes, I was hooked.
So where am I seven months into this? I still love it after averaging 5-6 classes a week, including the logistically “impossible” 60 day challenge. A more difficult challenge is capturing the essence of what it has meant for me. Yes, the physical benefits are nothing less than transformational. Yes, it demands focus. To even try and “check out” will leave you at the mercy of the all-knowing instructors. And how do they always know?
Yet, like so many of us who work so hard to fit this into our schedules, I know it is more. This is one of the most thoughtful and kind communities you will ever find. Totally dedicated to improving themselves, they are at the same time incredibly compassionate and selfless in their energy. I know first-hand, as this crew has been there for me as my life has taken some fairly unusual tacks these days.
So while I am glad to report that my hands can wander within striking distance of my toes, and I am running, cycling, and swimming injury free, the “why” of it for me is the other crazy people in that room. They are beacons of life and living, and as such, a community that I am thrilled and proud to be a part of.
Tedback to top
This coming November it will be five years that I have been coming to the studio. I still remember coming in that first time and David Rogers showing me around and telling me about all the benefits of the postures and explaining the hot room. I definitely knew I had some past injuries that I needed to work through and that my flexibility could stand improvement. Why not give it a try?
I found the first six months of classes extremely challenging. There were postures I couldn’t even come close to doing and times when I realized the hard way what was best to eat and drink during the time leading up to class. At the time of time of this writing, I have just completed two back to back 60 day challenges. But why? I realized at the end of 2008 that my practice wasn’t as strong as it should be after four years. In fact my attendance had dropped to only a couple of times a week due to travel. I decided it was time to improve my practice and try to get to that next level. I started with a 30 day challenge because this sounded easier than a 60 day challenge. I then added subsequent 30 day challenges. I have never felt better. I have lost weight, and have noticed marked improvement in my strength, muscle tone, and endurance. My health has also been excellent.
There are still postures I struggle with but there are none that I think are impossible. The key, as we are all told, is to come in and do the best you can do every class. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be big differences in classes from one day to the next. In fact I am amazed at how different classes can be. I am however finding that as my practice improves that I have more days that I feel super afterwards.
I am so happy to be part of a studio where the owner strives to make this a studio we all can be proud of. This is reflected in a nice environment to practice and through instructors that “walk the walk.” All of the instructors are encouraging, knowledgeable, and believe in what they are doing. There are also few classes that you don’t see instructors taking classes along with everyone else.
And let us not forget all the other students and their friendly faces. I am inspired and encouraged not only by those that have been coming for a while but also by those that can stay in the room during that first class. After all, we all started with a first class.
Today I turned 55, and I feel fantastic! When I came to Bikram’s Yoga 10 months ago, I was one of those people who after the first class said, “That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!” followed by, “When’s the next class?” For exercise, I had been running 5 days a week, but after some time (and a dog-walking mishap) my hips and knees were really bothering me. I knew that I needed to do something to increase my flexibility as well as strength, and have found that this yoga accomplishes both of those needs for me.
I’m also one of those people who stores tension in my neck and shoulder area, but after a few months of practicing Bikram’s, even my chiropractor commented on how much my upper body strength and musculature have improved. I’m becoming more self aware and in tune with my body, and now don’t need to get chiropractic adjustments as often. Every day I am becoming stronger and feeling more balanced, both physically and mentally.
Recently, I finished the 60 day challenge thanks to the help and encouragement of all the teachers and the kind support of my classmates. What a great sense of accomplishment that was!
Though I still have days when I feel like the proverbial canary in the coal mine (does anyone else in here feeling like they’re going to die?!), I can usually take a few long, slow breaths and the panic subsides.
I am thankful that I have finally found a holistic exercise regime that I will be able to do for the rest of my life. I love this hot, sweaty, satisfying Bikram’s Yoga!!!
Wow! It’s been a year since I started my Bikram Yoga practice, and what a year it’s been. If anyone had told me last December what Bikram yoga would do for me, I would have laughed (it would be one of the few things I would have to laugh about).
My sister, Diana, had some serious talking to do to convince me to try out the ”crazy” yoga that she heard about to help with her unflexible knee. She told me I had nothing to lose, she would even pay for my first 10 classes. I told her she was crazy! My sciatica was so bad I couldn’t even stand for five minutes, and the rest of my spine was in such bad shape I couldn’t stand straight and it hurt to sit. How was I going to do 90 minutes of yoga? I finally ran out of excuses, so I gave in and we went to our first class.
Heather taught my first class. She said the goal for the first class was just to stay in the room for the 90 minutes. But her energetic, enthusiastic, calming way of teaching had me trying all the postures. My Balancing Stick was very much a broken umbrella, the backbends were no more than letting my head drop backward, and the spine strengthening series only got a couple of inches off the ground, but I stayed in the room!
I went to eight of my first tem classes. After day five I decided that I was not going to die and I actually felt better. So I decided if this didn’t kill me, it just might heal me. By the end of December I was able to start getting off some of the medication I was taking for the deteriorating disks in my cervical spine and in the lumbar. At the end of January, I was off both my pain meds, my muscle relaxers, sleeping pill and even most of my allergy meds! I was also able to start weaning off a particularly nasty medication I was on for the nerve damage done to the ulnar nerves in both hands. By the end of March, I was off all my meds, except for my blood pressure (the doctor was resistant to me quitting that one). My blood pressure was down from 142/94 to 120/75 though, and I was down 15 pounds.
Then in April I was hit with a setback. I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and high cholesterol. I was able to convince my doctor to give me some time to try and get them down without medication. Three months later my fasting blood sugar was down from 142 to 110, and my post meal was down from 194 to about 105 and my cholesterol was down from 242 to 138! I was now almost normal with my blood sugar and normal with my cholesterol. I didn’t have to go on medication. By September my blood sugar had dropped into normal ranges of 95 fasting and 100 post meal and my weight was now down 26 lbs (not to mention that my tight size 10 clothes were now a loose size 4).
I am very happy to say that at the end of my first year of Bikram Yoga, I have met my goal of getting off my medications for my weak, deteriorating spine and I am relatively pain free. I have also had the added side benefits of the weight loss and a much firmer body, more energy, I sleep great, my body and spine are much stronger and I have controlled a new disease without medication!
I am looking forward to the continued progress I know I will make in 2009, and will lose the last 15 pounds that I want to. My outlook on life is much more positive which gives me the encouragement to do what I want. I friend told me last week that I have a sparkle in my eyes that has not been there for a long time. Wow! What a year it’s been!
Roseback to top
My first inspiration was, Mary, a friend I hadn’t seen in about a year. I almost didn’t recognize her. She looked physically transformed. What had she done? She told me about her months in Bikram’s Beginning Yoga classes, how she had lost weight and that her health overall continued to improve. If Bikram’s yoga had worked for Mary, maybe it could help me. At the age of 51, after failing at all different forms of exercise and various health regimes, little did I know when I hobbled into my first yoga class with a broken right foot, exhausted and desperate to lose weight that encouragement was on its way. My goal was to just get through the first day.
The next thing I knew it was a week later and I was seven pounds lighter. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I had my motivation to get through the next week. I started noticing other changes. I didn’t eat as much. My clothes fit differently. With each class, I was feeling a little stronger than the day before. But by the third week, the changes in my body took another turn. The heat during some classes accelerated hot flashes, which made me nauseated. I couldn’t do all the postures because my foot hurt. But every instructor encouraged me to continue, to press through, to remain in class even if it meant that some days were not as good as others. Once I made it to thirty days, I made up my mind to finish the 60 Day Challenge!
I am happy to report that at the end of sixty day, I’ve lost twenty pounds and more than ten inches cumulatively. I have energy again and physical movement I haven’t had in my body since before two major abdominal surgeries five years ago. Last week my podiatrist told me that my broken foot is almost healed and that I had remarkable flexibility. My goal now is to lose the remaining twenty pounds. Many thanks to all the instructors who’ve helped me make Bikram’s Yoga a lifestyle.
Rebeccaback to top
"I have noticed significant strength and flexibility improvements in my body since I started Bikram's Yoga. It has also provided me with a sense of emotional and spiritual stability in a trying time. I look forward to practicing for years to come. This is just the beginning. Thanks, Bikram's Yoga!"
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"It's said that the best part of a Bikram's Yoga class is when it's over. My husband and I have been practicing Bikram's Yoga for almost a year now, and we agree. But it's what keeps us coming back – we love the results. It's is the toughest thing we've ever done – this is not incense-burning, bell-chiming yoga, it's more like boot-camp yoga - a strenuous, full body workout, and the more you do it, the more you learn about yourself, your body and your capabilities.
"Allan suffered acute neck and back pain for years and tried drugs, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, even whining, but nothing consistently worked. In March I tried a Bikram's class and was so impressed he agreed to go the next day. I never thought I'd see my fighter pilot/airline pilot husband try yoga, but he was at his wits end. After that first class he felt relief, and even though we don't come as consistently as we'd like because our jobs as pilots take us away, he is virtually pain-free and we've both been amazed at our progress.
"We'd weight trained for years, but in the last year I haven't lifted a barbell. My muscles are still strong and my body is far more balanced. We feel healthy from the inside out. It's been a great thing to do as a couple.
"In my travels I've had the opportunity to take Bikram's classes in Australia, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and around the US. I love the worldwide accessibility of this discipline, but of course there's nothing like your home studio – David and Letitia, Shea and Brian have all been such great mentors. We're total converts."
Alison and Allan
"I have been consistently practicing Bikram Yoga for more than three years now. In that time, I have seen amazing transformations in both my body and mind. I've been an athlete all my life, mostly as a runner. Before practicing Bikram I began to notice the wear and tear on my body, especially in my knees. My first few classes were brutal, but I kept at it. With every class I noticed how much more I could do and how much better I felt during the session and throughout the rest of the day.
Recently, I flew to Los Angeles to have a series of fitness testes done. The trainers who took me through the testing were amazed at my physical conditioning. They said that I am in the condition of an elite athlete. My resting heart rate is under 49. I told them it is due to Bikram Yoga!
At this point, Bikram is such a part of my life that I visit other studios wherever I travel and I always try to recruit friends and family to experience the same benefits I have from the practice."
"I began my Bikram's practice in July of 2004, with the intent to heal running-related injuries caused from putting in so much mileage from the track season. After all of the physical therapy and seeing the athletic trainer, these injuries were still hampering my performance. I asked my mom, a physical therapist, what else I could do and she replied, 'Try this yoga called Bikram's.' At first I thought to myself, 'Yoga, come on, I need something that will actually work.' I had this stereotype in my mind that yoga was not something a twenty year-old male would do but was and only for older people. I decided to try it and in my first class, I just about killed myself.
It was nothing like what I had expected. I must have sweated out a gallon of fluids and I left that room dizzy and my extremities were tingling. Besides the fact that it was the most intense hour and a half of stretching I had ever done, it gave me a serious muscular workout. I was sore the next day! Continuing my practice on a regular basis has provided me increased flexibility, strength and definition.
"More important than strength and flexibility is the mental strength that I get from Bikram's. I am currently in the Navy going through BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL Training) in San Diego, CA. I have gone through some of the most challenging moments of my life at this training and there are surely more to come. I could not have made it through Hellweek and do what we do everyday if not for the way Bikram's has shaped how I conduct myself. One thing that David said to me that I think about when I am in a tough spot is, 'your greatest source of strength and stamina is your own breath. When you're in a tough spot, follow your breath deep inside, slow it down, and build the internal sense of peace that is the true source of your strength'."
Craigback to top
"I started practicing Bikram's Yoga over a year ago to supplement my karate classes. I recently competed in a Karate Point Fighting Tournament in the 40+ black belt division. Several people commented on my flexibility and the height of my kicks, which I don't think my competition appreciated much. I have to admit I did spend the next day recovering, but not from aches and pains but from just being at a tournament 12 hours. I look forward to continuing to improve. I have a long way to go but have made a lot of progress too!"
"After practicing Bikram Yoga for a year and feeling my body begin to change for the better I decided to start a great adventure: 60 days in a row of Bikram Yoga. The first 20 days went by for me pretty easily. I was psyched-up now and actually made progress. The middle 20 days were where the amazing wisdom of Bikram came to light for me. This was when yoga, Bikram's Yoga, began to visit and change every sports injury I had ever suffered. I had not been able to lock out my left knee and balance on that leg because of a torn ligament. In doing this yoga every day I became more and more able to balance on that leg. It was as if a genie were inside my body gradually reworking it. The torn fascia of one foot prevented me from standing on my toes but gradually I am getting able to stand on my toes. The mangled wrist that prevented me from using my thumb in many ways is actually straightening out and my dexterity is improving. That wrist is on the same arm where I broke the forearm. The range of motion in that arm was restricted but it is improving. The arthritis in my shoulder from rotating large martial arts weapons is bothering me less and less as the muscles become stronger. As a matter of fact , now that I think of it, all of these changes seem to be related to more muscle strength.
The middle 20 days were the hardest. This was when the mind began saying that this whole thing was crazy, and that I didn't really have to do this. However, during these days the genie was at work not only in my body but in my mind. Concentration and determination were building just like deltoids and biceps. The need for concentration during every minute of the classes in order to breathe was becoming fixed and long-term for me. This was a time when my usual zazen began to be replaced by single point meditation for 90 minutes of every day.
Bottom line, The 60 Day Challenge changed all of me for the better. I finished the last day of my challenge two weeks before my 71st birthday."
"I decided to commit to take yoga class every day for sixty days as a way to prepare for the Bikram Yoga teacher training program. I had already practiced for 30 consecutive days, and I thought it would be good to do the Bikram Challenge - 60 days in a row!
I really liked having an excuse to go every day for sixty days. I appreciated knowing I’d have that time for myself. I’m at home full time with our two and five year old daughters, so carving out the time for yoga and setting up good care for them while I was in class was a challenge in itself. I’d like to keep up the daily yoga schedule but I know I can’t. One of my life challenges is balancing my time and energy and focus on the myriad of things I enjoy and love in my life.
Two years ago I left my career as a Manager at Sandia Labs to be home. I kind of lost touch with who I am – often only referred to as "Lauren's Mom", or "Halie’s Mom" or even just “Mom” by strangers. The 60 day challenge helped me reconnect to myself and what I need. I also learned that the days when I take care of myself through yoga I feel better prepared and happier to take care of my family."
Robynback to top
"In January of 2005, I made my personal resolution using the motto 'Looking Great @ 48!'. Many aspects of my life have changed due to my resolution. But the change that had the most impact on my overall health has been my practice of Bikram's Yoga. At the beginning of the year my blood sugar level was within the diabetic zone. It is now in the safe zone. I was having hot flashes and other lovely middle age womanly symptoms - I don't have these anymore. My weight is at its lowest point since I was 30. I am wearing a size sometimes 2 sizes smaller than I was at the beginning of the year, fitting into some clothes that I thought I would never wear again.
"I am stronger physcially and mentally than I have been in years. My stress level is balanced - I am so calm at times, especially after class, when I am almost comatose. I don't have regular need for chiropractic or massage therapy, although I still do them as part of my overall health maintenance program. I feel so cleansed and toxin-free and have had no illnesses in 6 moths. Besides all of these physical and mental benefits, I have also increased my social realm with the circle of Bikram Yoga friends, as we all support one another with energy through our practices along with motivational words of wisdom from David.
"So what's next? I will continue to commit myself to Bikram's Yoga with the purchase of an unlimited one year membership. I will continue to tell all my friends, family, co-workers, students and whomever else will listen about the benefits of Biram's Yoga. And for my 2006 personal resolution I will use the motto, 'Super Fine @ 49!'."
"By forcing me to make time for my yoga practice every day - even when my life felt too hectic to handle it - the challenge helped me to rearrange my schedule and priorities, so that they now accommodate a regular yoga practice. It is also an excellent way to become familiar with the Bikram series.
"One year ago I would have denied vehemently that it was physically possible for me to carve out two or more hours a day for yoga, or for anything outside of my home, family and career. Working my schedule to get to the studio was really the challenge. Once I was there, the energy of the studio, teachers and fellow practioners took over, and I felt lucky and happy to be doing this amazing practice. I felt physical improvements daily. I overcame pain and limitations from injuries that were still present after years of body work and other therapies. I have not felt this close to 25 since I was 30. Bikram Yoga has truly taken years off my body's history, making room for a fuller experience of my life.
"Completing the Bikram Challenge helped me begin a lifestyle of yoga practice integrated into my life, creating balance, health and well-being."
"As the days went by I felt so much stronger, both physically and spiritually. I felt more confident, and during stressful moments my yoga practice helped me find a deeper calm to replace the tension. I am now grateful for the painful experience because it brought me to practice yoga and to learn the lessons I needed to learn. Thank you so much to all 10 teachers I have had class with: David, Bruce, Molly, Letitia, Radhi, Tara, Tina, Siri-Om, Shea and one from Arizona".
"Marathon training teaches you patience. Bikram yoga has taught me to be even more patient with myself. When you're running and feel lousy, you can put headphones on to distract yourself. You can't do that in Bikram yoga. It's just you and your concentration and breath... Bikram yoga makes me humble, too. Every class is different. One day I can execute a flawless awkward pose, back straight, heels up, slow as molasses. The next day I'm bobbing and weaving like I went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson... I have experienced lots of thrilling breakthroughs in Bikram yoga. My body is strong and flexible. I have made many new yoga friends. I am learning to be patient and humble. Oh yeah - one more thing... Completing 100 Bikram yoga classes has me fitting in size 6 clothes!"
"When our Bikram's studio opened I had been doing other types of yoga fairly regularly for several years. I gave Bikram's a try out of curiosity, liked it more than I could have imagined, and have been coming several times a week ever since. At first I thought that doing the exact same sequence every class could become boring, but I have found quite the opposite. The healing that I experienced in the first few months, especially in my knees, was quite remarkable. Since then the changes have been much more subtle and gradual, but still satisfying. On good days the whole class feels like a moving meditation and I come away both relaxed and energized. Even on the tough days I feel certain that I have done something good for myself."
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