You MUST take a moment and read about our amazing young Yogi of the Month Madison Skelton. She hasn't even been practicing a full year yet but has accomplished 2 challenges and can go much deeper into the postures than when she started. She inspires us ALL!!!
1. How long have you been practicing?
I began practicing 10 months ago because my mom has been a student for 6 years and encouraged me to at least try a few classes since yoga has helped her in her life. I was a little hesitant at first, but once I discovered what this practice offers (even for me, who is the least sportive person you will ever meet), such as strength, patience, and a better understanding of Self, I couldn't wait to come back. I've heard so many people say that this practice is absolutely like no other and they couldn't be more correct.
2. What changes have you seen as a result?
I have seen many changes after practicing yoga and pilates. In yoga, I have gained so much mental strength by remaining calm and just breathing through it. From pilates I now know how to fight and power through tough times. I'm also in the best physical shape I've been in my whole life!
�3. Favorite and least favorite postures and why?
My favorite pose is Triangle because not only is that a good time for a water break, but the pose itself is the pose we work towards during the whole standing series. I used to make all the excuses I could to sit out one set of Triangle: "My shoulders hurt," "I'm out of breath and need to sit down," "I don't think I can do it, so I'm just going to skip this one set." But one day I told myself I could do it, so I stopped "half-stepping" and just did it. I ended up feeling great and eventually taught myself how to get through the pose. As the instructors say: "Even if you can't go fully into the pose, you are still getting 100% benefit."
My least favorite posture is Bow Pose because I can never seem to get it right. I usually have a hard time keeping my feet and knees six inches apart, as well as adjusting my weight. I have a habit of keeping my weight on my lower belly and straining my lower back which is the opposite of what you're supposed to do. Hopefully one day I'll have that "Aha!" moment and feel great doing it for both sets!
4. What changes have you seen as a result?
I've seen a breakthrough in all of my poses, but especially Standing Head to Knee. One day I just happened to straighten my legs in the shape of "L as in Linda," bent my elbows below my calf and touched my forehead to my knee! I fell out a second later but the fact I made it that far was so satisfying. Every time I come to class, I find myself so much closer to the full extent of the poses, even if it's just a millimeter.
5. What advice do you have for new students?
Stay patient and determined. Your first class will be difficult, but like the saying goes "Nothing in life is easy," especially if you want to make changes in your life. Changes are difficult because you are trying something you are completely unfamiliar with, but the fact that you are trying and that you made it to the studio is a very important first step! Once you make it to the studio, stay calm and have fun! After your first class, remember to hydrate so you can come back for another round. The more you attend class, the stronger you become and who doesn't want to become healthy and strong?
6. Where do you hope to see your practice 5 years from now?
I hope that in 5 years I will be even stronger and more flexible than I am today. Even though Bikram yoga is a lifelong practice, my goal is to be able to get into every pose 100% and hopefully 5 years will be a great first step to get there.
7. What is something about you that most don't know?
I'm a pretty big nerd when it comes to reading and watching anything suspenseful! I've been called a "suspense junky" considering I love suspenseful books like "The Shining" (the book was WAY better than the movie!), "Doctor Sleep," everything by Harlan Coben, and anything that keeps me on the edge of my seat, continuously turning the pages for more. As for TV shows, I've grown up watching "Law & Order" all my life and still watch re-runs today.
I BIKRAM BECAUSE...
I Bikram because before I started it was difficult to tie my shoes or touch my toes. I used to roll out of bed. Now, I hop out of bed.
~Charles Teamer, Age 72, Practicing for 5 Years
THE POWER OF BIKRAM YOGA & AYURVEDA TOGETHER
My Ayuverdic Journey with Christine. I have done detox/cleanses before and they were all very harsh and in the long run only accomplished short term gains. I have been doing Bikram
Yoga for over a year now and I have seen it transform me from 265lbs pre diabetic, high blood pressure, with back problems, into someone who has none of those health issues but was struggling to lose that last bit of weight and was feeling stressed out by life. The cost was very fair and quite frankly for as much as I used to eat cheaper than a normal week for me. Christine explained the detox/cleanse in a way that made sense and laid out a simple outline of what we needed to do and when. This made it seem less formidable and much more manageable. I could tell she had put a lot of work into getting everything ready. More importantly I could tell she believed in it and gave off a quiet confidence. She had some of the food prepared for us kitarchi and tea and it was all very good. We filled out a profile of symptoms we were experiencing and she explained the imbalances that were going on and how the new diet and herbs would help. For instance I’m always hungry after I eat and that was because I ate too many meals during the day and needed to stick to three meals to give my digestion a chance to work properly. I needed to change many things that I needed to change in order to make this work because I wasn’t where I wanted to be mentally physically and emotionally and was at the point where I was willing to try something new. I gave up ice in my drinks, caffeine, sweets (sugar), processed food, the microwave (ouch), my smoothies, snacking especially late at night (still guilty of this but its dates and raisins). I was hoping that the power of this new diet/lifestyle would carry me through being able to be consistent with this diet. In the past it was always easy to start a diet but not finish it or be very inconsistent and thus get poor results. When I gave up ice I think I lost a pound or two and started to feel a change in my digestion. The first thing I felt within a day or two was that my lower belly felt like it was tightening up feeling flatter, less bloated and I was eating a lot because everything tasted so good and I was hungry because I wasn’t snacking . The oil massage also at first felt weird but I noticed my skin was drinking up the oil where I had skin that was itchy it was itchy no longer and over the week I could see it healing a small blemish I had on my leg. Then I started feeling my sinuses open up from the Nayasa oil the area under my eyes was less puffy and the skin tighter. I wasn’t sleeping much longer but my mind wasn’t racing when I woke up early. I was able to work out and go to yoga the first 5 days and then I got tired and took two days off. I was able to nap when tired which is a change. I didn’t expect to lose weight with all that I was eating but did lose 5 lbs. Then after about 6 days I could really tell my digestion was working well because when I had to go to the bathroom and my body felt empty, clean and complete. Since I have started the rejuvenating stage, a sense of well being and calm was starting to take hold especially in the morning. On 10/29 I felt the best for the whole day than I can remember and had a great yoga session where I had a ton of energy and positive spirit. And when the stress started to come back I was able to quickly brush it aside. The breathing technique is awesome though I don’t do that as much as I should or as long as I should but it practice not perfection. My bicep tendinitis is starting to heal. My sleep is better where I feel more refreshed in the morning, but I am still waking up between 3-4am depending on when I go to sleep and have troubles falling back asleep. I am out of a rut and on a new road.
Meet Ed, he's been practicing Bikram Yoga for nearly two years.
* His blood pressure lowered by 30 points and is now managed by Bikram Yoga.
* Ruptured L5 and bulging disk (his doctor recommended immediate surgery) but since practicing Bikram Yoga it's been cured.
* Diet and eating habits have changed.
* Sleeps better.
* Overall feeling of WELL BEING.
* Relationships have strengthened.
* Development of forgiveness, compassion, and surrender.
This rockstar yogi recently completed his second 30-day challenge!
How long have you been practicing?
18 months. My first class was on Feb 1, 2012.
What changes have you seen as a result of the yoga?
I’ve lost about 35 lbs. My blood pressure and cholesterol are much improved. I am much more flexible than I was when I started. Also, I could not sleep through the night prior to starting Bikram; now, I can sleep well. My tension/stress level has decreased dramatically.
Favorite and least favorite postures and why?
Selfishly, my favorite posture is “Savasana” because when we reach the first savasana after the standing series, in my mind, it’s halftime. I am a former football player, so I see this as the opportunity to regroup, refocus, and recharge for the second half.
My least favorite posture is “Standing Head to Knee” (Dandayamana-Janushirasana). It is one that I have yet to conquer because of a lower back injury from weightlifting, but I am still working on it.
Biggest breakthrough in class?
My biggest breakthrough in class has been in doing “Fixed Firm” pose (Supta-Vajrasana). Most wouldn’t expect a big football guy to be flexible enough to do this posture, but with coming in regularly (on average 3 times/week) I’ve improved my flexibility and can now do this pose without any strain or pain to my knees, ankles, or back. That is an accomplishment from when I first began practicing.
Advice to new students?
Make Bikram Yoga a part of your weekly fitness routine. Find ways to get better in and outside of class. I watch some YouTube videos and subscribe to a yoga blog. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Be in constant pursuit of getting better. It takes time for us all to move from where we may be today to where we ultimately want to be one day. Hydrate.
My name is Jane Ridsdel Cox. I will be 75 in Febuary of 2013. I am a runner and am training for my second full Marathon, the St. Jude’s on December 1, 2012. I started Bikram Yoga six weeks ago. I knew I would love it and I did. Actually, I have trouble staying away and have done it four or five times a week since I started. I already know the instructors and am finding them very helpful and supportive. The class is hard. Some of the poses are impossible for me but I am improving every single time and can do some things I thought would be impossible. l love the challenge and feeling of my body being increasingly under my control. At my age, many things are deteriorating and it is lovely to have parts of my body that is improving. Bikram Yoga claims to help fix whatever ails you. I have already noticed a huge change in my sleep – something I have been trying to improve for 30 years. My achilles tendonitis that has bothered my since last December has almost disappeared. I am much for relaxed and am feeling in better control of a tendency to over eat. I ran a five mile race this morning and had one of my best times for this distance. More importantly, at the finish line I was barely tired, my legs felt stronger. I was more relaxed during the race and enjoyed the whole thing instead of focusing on going as fast as I could. I am hoping to see improvement in several areas. Bikram Yoga may help with my hypothyroidism, my rheumatoid arthritis, my very impaired balance, difficulty with concentration and my lack of flexibility. Big order! That said, there are poses that I can do and give me reason to be proud of my aging body. Bikram Yoga has a way of improving a person’s self esteem and self-confidence. At the end of the day, I am doing Bikram Yoga because I fell in love with it. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Jane C
THANK YOU BIKRAM YOGA! I was asked to comment on postive ways that Bikram Yoga has changed my life. I wanted to credit this yoga for the incredible home birth of my son who was born Dec. 8, 2009. I practiced Bikram Yoga 3 times a week while I was pregnant. It was an amazing experience for both of us. My son is extremely healthy and at 2 yrs and 8 months, has not really been sick his entire life. I have just started back to yoga regularyly and after 6 classes in 2 weeks I feel sooooooo different!!! Although my life is so busy as a single mom, I know that I need to continue to fit it in because it helps me in every way! Sincerely, Jennifer P
HEALED KNEE & A NEW ME: "I have been coming to Bikram yoga off and on for 15 years. As an avid yogi, I always enjoyed variety in my practice: hatha yoga, power yoga, vinyasa yoga, etc. Bikram was another medium in my yoga practice that I truly enjoyed, but would not discover its true value until many years after I began my practice. The real value of Bikram, and what was truly the hook that keeps me craving the practice, was when I blew my knee out 4 years ago. After a freak misstep, I tore some cartilage in the anterior part of my knee and found that not only could I NOT exercise, but I had to use crutches to get around. I had become quite depressed during the first few weeks after this incident because I had spent that entire summer and fall getting in some of the best shape of my life (running, P90X). And now the gloom of winter was approaching and I had no outlet for exercise. Or at least that's what I allowed myself to believe. Having been out of the yoga scene most of the year to focus on getting a 'beach body' I decided to consult the local Bikram studio owner about my situation. I was desperate to sweat, and I thought for sure she'd tell me to steer clear of yoga too, but she said it would be the perfect healing outlet for my situation. She promised me that if I came everyday for 60 days I would be running again by spring. Well, she lied. I was running again in 6 weeks in the middle of winter. I showed up everyday (or minimum of 5 days a week) for 60 days and I transformed every facet of my being, inside and out. Another interesting thing happened also as huge bonus: I experienced almost NO seasonal depression whatsoever during my winter practice. The usual hopelessness and sadness that comes in the winter months disappeared. Typically I've had to consume copious amounts of wine to survive the winter months, until after my first couple of weeks of Bikram I was able to eliminate alcohol with the greatest of ease. Over the years, Bikram has sharpened my focus, alleviated years of chronic depression, and made me a better athlete than I've ever been... I'm almost 40." Kevin
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, CHOLESTEROL, BACK PAIN: Bikram yoga has changed my life. I am a 41 year old man and have always considered myself to be a healthy, active man. In the fall of 2007 I had a routine physical exam that revealed I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had also gained weight. My physician recommended that I lose 10 pounds and return for a follow up visit in six months. Considering a family history of heart disease and cancer, he was very concerned. We discussed medications I may need if I did not take this seriously. He did state though that even losing a few pounds may help me a great deal. My wife was also worried about me and suggested that I try a Bikram yoga class. Yoga for a guy, “no way” I thought.
After some gentle nudging from my wife, I started taking Bikram yoga classes in November of 2007. What I found immediately was that this 90 minute Bikram Yoga class was extremely challenging, and I considered this the hardest workout I had ever done. I also found dedicated instructors and fellow students and friends who supported me and provided needed encouragement during this life changing transition. I have committed myself to practicing Bikram Yoga at least three times per week and have been sticking with it for over a year and a half. I have found the challenge to be a bit addictive. Yes, it is a hard workout, but it is also a 90 minute break from everything else. Putting this time aside for myself actually allows me to give more of myself to others in my life now. You can do more when you feel great. I feel great.
Prior to Bikram Yoga I was also experiencing lower back pain, upper back pain, and loss of flexibility. My spine was hunched over. I could not touch my toes without bending my knees. My back hurt if I tried to bend down, and especially hurt after doing regular household chores such as raking leaves or mowing the lawn. It even hurt during my sleep – and kept me awake many nights. I had inflammation of the temporomandibular joint which was probably related to all of these stresses I was feeling. I also have a long history of environmental allergies.
Currently I am in very good physical and mental condition. I have gained incredible physical strength and ability, and my core is stronger. My physical appearance and muscular definition have improved. BP is normal and cholesterol is down 40 points with no meds, regardless of family history. I have lost and am maintaining 40 pounds of weight loss without starving or neglecting myself. I can keep up with my children. I am much more flexible and rarely experience back pain. My spine is much straighter and I notice improvements and more movement in this area all of the time. Temporomandibular joint issues are gone. My allergies have even improved.
Most important - I am happy. I feel like I can do anything again. I intend to still be skiing at 80. Hope to see you there. The choice is yours!"
COUPLES WHO PRACTICE TOGETHER, THRIVE TOGETHER!
1. How long have you been married?
Cathy: 17 years.
Craig: 18 years in August of this year.
2. How long have each of you been practicing Bikram Yoga?
Cathy: About 9 years.
Craig: On again/off again (love/hate) over a few years. As far as a regular practice, about a year.
3. What individual changes have you seen as a result? What combined changes to your marriage have you seen as a result?
Cathy: Aside from keeping my mind calmer and body more toned, Bikram yoga helps to keep my back and core strong. I have scoliosis and a bulging disc. As long as I keep up my regular practice, the pain in my back is much more manageable.
Craig: Calmer. Eat better. More energy. More flexible.
Cathy: As far as changes in our marriage, I feel this yoga helps us feel good physically and mentally, which in turn makes us happier individuals that are much more pleasant to live with. There are plenty of days when we urge the other to go to yoga! We know the household will become a much happier place after a good 90 minute sweat session!
Craig: Gives Cathy and I something else to do together, we can also discuss how each other's class was if we did different classes, encourage each other, support each other, challenge each other etc. It has brought us closer and benefitted our marriage...not to mention how HOT my wife is! No pun intended.
4. Favorite and least favorite postures and why?
Cathy: I have a love/hate relationship with most postures on any given day, but if I had to pick a favorite posture this week, it would be camel...or shall I say, in savasana after camel. I feel this posture the most when I am having a stressful day/week. While in the posture, I feel the stress and anxiety take over my chest and throat. As I lay down in savasana, my heart beats quickly, then skips a beat and my heart rate slows, creating a sense of calmness. A teacher once said this posture restarts your circulatory system and I completely agree and feel it! My least favorite postures would be any postures that require me to bend forward...especially standing head to knee and rabbit. Although these postures are extremely frustrating to me because I cannot go down as far as I would like, they have helped to build my core muscles in order to support my spine in a rounded position.
Craig: Favorite--Triangle . . . master posture and one I can do fairly well and feels powerful. Least Favorite--Standing head to knee . . . old foot injury makes it hard to balance at all on my left leg so very challenging/frustrating.
5. Biggest breakthrough?
Cathy: Over the years, I have learned that in order to bend forward, I must engage my stomach muscles as to not throw my back out. Also, over the years in various postures, I feel my back crack and open up. So long, chiropractor!
Craig: Was just recently able to put my shoulders and head down (briefly) in fixed firm (I couldn't even get my hips down before).
6. What advice do you have for new students? Any specific advice for couples?
Cathy: Be patient with your practice. Listen to your body without comparing yourself to others. Keep up a regular practice of at least 3 or 4 times a week. Encourage each other to keep up a regular practice...when two people are equally happy physically and mentally, the result is a happy relationship.
Craig: Stick with it. Take your time. Eat well day/night before. Hydrate well the day before. I would say also other forms of exercise/workouts to get in shape for Bikram help me.
7. Where do you hope to see your practice 5 years from now?
Cathy: In 5 years, I hope to be able to put my forehead to my knee in standing head to knee, and my forehead to my knees in rabbit with a beautiful rounded spine.
Craig: More limber. Able to balance on both legs easily. More focused.
8. What is something about you that most don't know?
Cathy: I was a cheerleader for 6 years and I have a slight obsession with hgtv.
Craig: My first job after college was with Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. No I was not a performer. I was a Promoter . . . Regional Marketing Director was official title.