Prior to Bikram Yoga, Bill smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, chewed tobacco, and was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 Diabetes. Not to mention, when Bill came to Bikram Yoga, he had a bulging disc in his neck as well as back, knee, and elbow problems that go along with the work he does as a carpenter.
After just 6 months of practice, Bill is off the medication, off the cigarettes and tobacco, and down at least 100 pounds. WOW!!!
"Learning to breathe is the biggest benefit," Bill says. "Also, the pain relief in my body, the recovery it gives me from work and other activities."
My therapist probably thinks she's a genius. But my friends, family, and colleagues know that it's largely been Bikram yoga that has changed so many aspects of my life for the better. Not that counseling is useless, by any means, but Bikram yoga has probably been more effective in making me feel lighter, stronger, more confident, less stressed, and more peaceful than anything else I've ever done. What's more, it's a great workout. Although the practice does get easier, it never stops being challenging, which for me, means that it never gets boring. And the results never "plateau." I've been doing this yoga for three years straight, and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.
When I started Bikram, my life was generally okay, but hitting midlife I found that I needed to live healthier. Bikram yoga has improved my sleep, toned my body, and slowed down theaging process. It detoxifies your organs, cleanses your skin, erases aches and pains, improves your posture, and makes you feel righteous about wearing short shorts and sweating buckets. Mentally, I have more clarity, I'm more comfortable with my emotions, I enjoy my daily life more, and I can roll with the punches, even in traffic on Route 9 every day. My students think I am "nicer," while at the same time, they drive me less crazy!
Logically, I know that this yoga is not really making me taller and smarter, and it can't possibly be making my teeth whiter, but sometimes I wonder...
I'm an installation artist and my work is really physical. I'm constantly bending over, craning my neck and contorting myself into silly positions. Bikram Yoga has given me strength - especially in my hands - and stamina. While working, I'm often thinking, "Okay, this hurts/I can't hold onto this for much longer, I can't keep doing this repetitive motion, etc.," and then I think of how hard Bikram Yoga is and remind myself that, if I can do this yoga, I can do my work. It puts things into perspective and stops my whining! Equally as important as the physical benefits are the mental ones. Because I'm relaxed in the hot room, especially during savasana, countless ideas come to me. It's where I often have "Aha" moments.
I started practicing Bikram yoga when I was laid off from a job I loved. My youngest child had also started college, leaving the nest empty. I was feeling so overwhelmed, out of control and so lost. I really needed something that would center me, help me focus and regroup. I could't run any more after breaking my ankle several years ago and my doctor told me that I needed to do something other than swimming that was more weight bearing to maintain strong bones. I had been doing little bits of yoga with DVD's but it just wasn't' giving me the inner peace I was searching for. One day, I drove by the road sign advertising Bikram Yoga Natick and thought I'd check it out. I took my first class then napped for 2 hours! Bikram Yoga has touched every part of my life in a very positive way. Almost immediately it calmed me enough to gain the clarity and focus I needed to move forward in a new career. My ankle soon started to feel more flexible and less bothersome. I now sleep better, I eat better and most of all have a restored inner peace (at least most days!). My golf swing is so much better, too! Lastly, Bikram Yoga has made me a better nurse practitioner. I not only talk the talk with my patients about self- care, I walk the walk.
I started practicing Bikram Yoga when I was preparing for my wedding and looking for a new work out "routine". I have never enjoyed running or had the motivation to go to the gym. If I did find the motivation to get to the gym, I would quickly find an excuse to leave and not actually work out much beyond a few minutes on the treadmill. Several of my friends were practicing yoga and kept on telling me how great it made them feel. It took a month or so before my curiosity got the best of me and I took my first class. High cholesterol and triglycerides run on both sides of my family and I always thought that I too was going to be stuck taking cholesterol medication as I got older. The last time I had blood work done, my doctor told me that my cholesterol was high and that my triglycerides were so high that some of the blood results could not be accurately measured. However, my doctor said that she thought I was too young to be put on a life-long medication. When I received my results from this year's blood work, I was more than pleased to learn that my cholesterol had gone from 211 to 176 (I was within the"normal" range for the first time in my adult life!) and my triglycerides had dropped from 534 to 180. I also noticed from several doctor's appointments that my blood pressure has gone from being high (no medication but the nurse and doctor would comment on how high it was at every appointment) to nearly perfect. Overall, I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally from practicing Bikram Yoga. While my health, body and practice will always be "works in progress", Bikram Yoga has really had huge, positive effects on my health, body, and mind in a short amount of time.
I started practicing in June of 2012, and I remember it because a friend took me to my first class as a birthday present. I had never done yoga before, but I was actively looking for exercises that I enjoyed (I hate the gym!) so I was excited to try it. Working with the body I have in a given class is almost always difficult. Getting rid of the ego is challenging too. In high school and college, I was used to working multiple jobs while balancing school work so if I wasn't pulling my hair out, I felt like I wasn't working hard enough! The yoga is teaching me to work 'smart,' rather than working hard. My practice is very important because cardiovascular disease runs in my family, I lost my mom to a heart attack when I was 17. When you're young you may not necessarily think about whether or not you will have heart problems someday. It was really important for me to get healthy and stay that way for the long run so that my risk is lower. This yoga helped me to achieve my health and fitness goals and make a habit out of it. Bikram Yoga has improved my life because I have learned to let go of what doesn't serve me. When I put more consideration into my mental and physical health, other things in my life began to fall together. The Yoga helped me to control some anxiety issues I had, something I never thought I'd be able to manage. It was really unexpected because I thought of hot yoga as exercise, but it's so much more than that.
I began a dialog with Maria after I noticed the Bikram Yoga Natick Facebook page. I followed closely, and waited patiently for the studio to open its doors. I was looking forward to taking up Bikram Yoga again but I had no idea what was ahead or how powerful my practice would become to me.
I have always struggled to keep physically fit. My personal struggle became more serious when I was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy - a disease that deposits my body’s proteins into my kidneys, causing damage. There is no cure and I was advised to try to slow the disease’s progression with a restricted diet, monitored exercise, and medication. Without question, I dove headfirst into my Bikram practice!
In the beginning, I needed the emotional benefits to escape from the painful reality of my diagnosis. I managed my anger and aggression by holding a posture and staring down myself in the mirror. I was impatient and frustrated at times – I didn’t realize that I’d already taken control by getting myself into the hot room.
With several months of regular practice, I have gained many things, among them patience with myself and with my body. Mastering these intense postures is an incredible feeling that cannot be discounted. The peace that has grown within me through this yoga cannot be described! Knowing that the postures and the dialog remain the same at each session has enabled me to accept what my body and my mind offer me to work with each day. It has allowed me to heal and grow in ways I never knew a workout could.
I’m happy to report, and my lab results confirm, that I am making huge strides toward slowing the disease and preventing complications! I’m confident that much of the success I am experiencing in fighting this fight has everything to do with Bikram Yoga Natick.
I cannot speak more highly of Bikram Yoga Natick. Maria and her team of instructors are absolutely amazing! We all have our own struggle and we come to the hot room for different reasons. The team at Bikram Yoga Natick is there for you, whatever your reason for showing up.
As an installation artist, my work is really physical; I spend a lot of time bending, crouching and contorting myself into various positions, and am always working with my hands. I recently spent 12 hours placing more than 1,000 tablespoon-sized mounds of flour on a table for a one-day exhibit and, as my hands and back started "talking" to me, I literally said, out loud, "Shut it! You think this hurts?! You're lucky we do Bikram, because, if we didn't, we'd know the true meaning of pain!" Maria + Bikram Yoga Natick = my secret weapon!
I have always been a basic cardio kind of exerciser. I have practiced yoga a handful of times, albeit inconsistently, but I have never stuck with it. Yoga just didn’t measure up. After trying Bikram Yoga, I had a complete change of heart. I made it through my first session – sweating more than I have ever done in my life and feeling like I had no idea what I was doing, and realized that I wanted to come back for more. I started making Bikram Yoga fit
into my schedule and saw dramatic changes in my life. Most notably, I slept through the night. Prior to that I couldn’t turn my brain off and would be up planning or worrying about something.
That improvement alone would have been reason enough to keep coming back. However, there were other positive changes. I feel more calm and more relaxed overall, which has helped me in both my personal and professional life. The breathing alone is therapeutic and stress-reducing. Physically, I have lost weight, improved my posture and flexibility, and overall have more energy.
The Bikram Yoga Natick studio has a warm, welcoming vibe with talented instructors who bring their own personality and expertise to class. I am forever grateful to have Bikram Yoga in my life. It continues to make me healthy, happy and balanced.
I needed a place where I could clear my mind and not think about work, and I was also motivated by my health. I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches for years. For all three conditions I have been encouraged by doctors to practice yoga.
Maria’s 30-day challenge invited me to see what Bikram Yoga could do for me when practiced on a regular basis. I made it to 24 classes - often arranging my day around getting to the studio. I certainly noticed changes in my mood, physical comfort, and appearance throughout the month.
The biggest surprise came three weeks into the challenge, when I visited my rheumatologist for a routine appointment. My exam showed that my blood pressure and pulse rate were down, my flexibility was greatly increased, and I had pain in just one of my 15 regular “pain points.” My doctor was amazed, and we were both laughing with excitement and joy at the marked change.
The true testament to what Bikram Yoga has done is in my lab results: my sedimentation rate (the measure of how much inflammation/arthritis is in one’s joints) was normal for the first time in my life. It went from a high of 65 down to 18 (normal is 0-20). The only lifestyle change I had made was practicing Bikram Yoga. It is the only thing to which I can attribute this incredible and nearly unbelievable change. On top of that, in my 30 days of yoga I lost 20 pounds – yet another reason to feel fantastic!
And that calm, clear state of mind I was looking for in the beginning? The peace that I have found in the practice extends far beyond the hot room, and has been noticed by friends and colleagues alike. I have been kinder to myself and to others since beginning regular practice. The struggle in the hot room is definitely paying off outside of it!
When I was a teenager, a drunk driver hit me as I crossed the street, leaving me severely injured. Weeks passed, jam-packed with surgery, radiology tests, laboratory tests, and diagnoses. I changed into someone with whom I could no longer identify.>/span>
Once my health became stable, I was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital and was soon able to move around independently - in a wheel chair. The first time I stood up, excruciating pain surged through my body. Twelve years later I am still healing physically and emotionally. Reminiscent pain still comes and goes in my legs. But it is something I have tolerated well in the years since and it has never stopped me from wanting to become stronger and more athletic.
One of the permanent injuries from the car accident is spondylolysis - a tiny fracture to a section in my spinal column. While working out with a personal trainer one afternoon, I suddenly felt unbearable pain in my lower back. I went to the emergency room that night. The doctor didn’t see anything remarkable on my X-rays, so I was discharged with prescription narcotics for pain.
Later that month I made an appointment to see my orthopedist who said that I must have “aggravated the injury.” He suggested I try physical therapy and a prescription dosage of Ibuprofen, which only made the pain more tolerable. I left his office feeling depressed and abandoned.
That’s its dharma, its nature...[running, jogging, biking, and dancing] creates over use injuries.” In the book, author Bikram Choudhury reassures readers that it’s never too late to “repair the damage by switching to the right kind of exercise, applying the right kind of treatment.”
Once Billy returned from training, I decided to take one of his classes. I trusted him because he knew of my physical injuries and limitations. I felt safe to explore Bikram Yoga’s potential to heal the pain caused by spondylolysis. I trusted Bikram more than any specialist I had ever seen.
After doing six months of Bikram Yoga, the pain is gone. I feel amazing just from going to the studio one to two times a week! Bikram Yoga prides itself at being able to detoxify the body, as well as provide a safe physical activity that can prolong someone’s life. It even helped Bikram himself overcome a physical injury and I am shocked that Western medicine has not caught on to its healing potential.
In the cold months, I go to Bikram Yoga three times each week to alleviate my chronic back pain. I can walk pain free, stand pain free, and sleep pain free. Bikram Yoga gave me back my life and inspired confidence in myself. The exercises reintroduced me to a body I had become frightened of and estranged with; it also made me see that I am fully capable of managing any stressful situation. I stand right in front of the mirror: 26 basic postures in 105-degree heat for 90 minutes of moving meditation. I loosen my mind and my body, from bones to skin and coccyx to the neck. I leave the studio full of vigor and feeling capable of accomplishing anything.
After five months of ineffective treatments that included two nerve block procedures, I was becoming more depressed and lost hope that I would ever escape the sharp pain that was screaming inside of me. My doctor was stumped and said that this may be something I’ll have to “learn to live with.”
The following week I saw my friend Billy, who was on his way to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles. He told me Bikram Yoga helped improve his health. I had done this type of yoga a few times before and I enjoyed it, but had never considered it as anything more than an intense workout.
I went to a local bookstore to find a book about Bikram Yoga. I couldn’t believe it when I saw spondylolysis in the book’s index. There it was in black and white: Posture No. 17, the Full Locust Pose, and Posture No. 21, the Camel Pose, were beneficial for my type of injury. I continued to read: “The purpose of yoga is to heal, using the body to create health.
I am a 64 year old man whose best years as an athlete are well in the past. In my life I have enjoyed participating in many sports and I have the back and knee issues to prove it. My lifetime love has been golf. I had always planned to continue to play into my later years. Unfortunately, knee and back issues forced me to give up golf and other forms of exercise.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to try Bikram Yoga. I was just hoping to get some exercise to combat my sedentary lifestyle, but I ended up getting much more. My back is now pain-free and stronger than it has been in 30 years. My knees are far more flexible. My legs are stronger, making my knees more stable. While there is plenty of room to improve my yoga postures, I have progressed in my practice and it has truly improved my life. I have been able to get back into golf and found that my shoulder-turn is better than it has been in years. I have also lost some weight and I just feel better. I know that I will not be as good of an athlete as I was in my prime, but I do look forward to continually improving in my practice of Bikram Yoga and extending the benefits I feel into my coming years.
I started practicing Bikram Yoga after an arduous journey. Many life-changing events occurred during the last eight months of the year and I was miserable. After the new-year came, I decided I needed to make a positive change in my life and turn all my frowns upside down!
A very good friend and co-worker had suggested I go to yoga with her. It seemed exciting -- I love heat and humidity but I was a little hesitant about actually attending a class. One cold January day I went with her to my first Bikram Yoga class. I felt confidant and well prepared walking into the studio. When I walked into the yoga room, my heart started racing and I became really nervous! The class went well despite my nerves, and I have never gotten such a good night sleep before in my life! I felt really great the next day and was excited that I tried it out.
A few days went by and I decided to go again, by myself. I attended 10 classes in a row and it was great. My friend had been practicing in at Bikram Yoga Natick and told me I should really check the studio out. I was born and raised in Natick and continue to work and live there, so I decided to check it out. When I discovered that Maria, whom I have known my whole life, was the studio owner I was surprised and happy! I jumped at the opportunity to go to the studio and take my first class.
I was immediately amazed by the teachers and atmosphere of the studio. I am not an athletic person and I don't go to the gym, so it was hard for me to be comfortable in a room with all these people when I had no idea what was going on. The great people that teach and practice in Natick put me at ease quickly.
Practicing Yoga has changed my life in so many wonderful and amazing ways. I am always in a good mood and I just feel great. The high point of my day is coming to the studio to practice. Seeing all the students and teachers really lifts my spirits.
Patience is the biggest benefit I have gained from Yoga. I have always been impatient. With Bikram Yoga there is constant improvement and I just need to take it day by day. This idea of patience has pervaded other areas of my life and I am able to help other people who struggle, by keeping calm and taking things one thing at a time.
Bikram Yoga is great and it will always be a fixture in my life. I can't imagine not doing it! This studio is exceptional! Great teachers and students alike.