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Testimonials

Kathy B

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class. When was it and why did you go?

My first Bikram yoga class was last February. A couple of the girls at work were interested in trying it, and I thought sure I’ll do it too. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never tried any kind of yoga before, and wasn’t expecting this to be so hot and so intense. I loved it. I bought the two week special, and didn’t skip a day…when that was done, I bought the year membership. My first class was a true awakening. I knew I needed this for physical reasons and for my mental well-being.

What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram yoga?

I have suffered for years from horrible headaches, anxiety, back and neck pain. I also had this strange tingling in my legs at night which my doctor told me was called Restless Leg Syndrome. I am also the kind of person who over thinks everything and worries about everything…so that led to many many sleepless nights. A couple weeks after doing Bikram yoga on a regular basis I noticed my headaches were fewer and less painful…and now I rarely get a headache…amazing! My anxiety and stress levels have also calmed down quite a bit because I am learning how to control my “monkey mind”. I am learning how to stay in the present, focus and relax. The tingling in my legs has also been reduced, and the odd night when I do struggle with it I get up and do the Half Tortoise pose…and that really helps. My sleepless nights have now turned into falling asleep right away and sleeping all night. As for my back and neck issues. Everything has become stronger and not so painful anymore. I remember when I first started,  the spine strengthening part of the class was so difficult for me. Doing Full Locust pose was near impossible. And now that I can do it, I know my back has become so much stronger. Over all Bikram yoga is doing wonderful things for me.

What keeps you coming back for more?

I am totally addicted to Bikram yoga. It’s like my body craves it now. I love what it is doing for me, I love the heat, the challenges it offers, and how I feel after class. It’s 90 minutes for me. I look forward to coming into class and getting deeper into postures and deeper into my body and mind. Also, the instructors are always so helpful, encouraging and inspirational to talk to. I really love that. I have also made some wonderful friends here, everyone is so supportive and friendly…why wouldn’t I come back for more.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?

I guess my biggest challenge is getting over the fact that every day my body feels different, and so does my mind. I find that a 9:30 a.m. class is more difficult on my body that a 5 p.m. class. My body feels more stiff in the morning…but I still challenge myself to do a couple morning classes a week. And if I am having a tough day, it is difficult to let those feelings go and focus on my yoga. And of course there are always the challenges of fighting the heat, and breathing properly.

What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?

Right now my favorite posture is Standing Head to Knee pose. It took me a long time to learn to lock both knees and now that I can, I look forward to doing this posture…now I just need to get my forehead to my knee. This posture has really tested my patience. My favorite postures from the beginning have been Eagle and Fixed Firm. I constantly have people asking me what I’m doing when I sit with my legs crossed….they are usually in Eagle pose. My most dreaded is Half Moon. First set I find very uncomfortable, I am happy it’s at the beginning of class and I can get it over with.

 

 

Peter M

Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class … when did you go and why?

My very first Bikram Yoga class was in the summer of 2010.  I went because a Naturopathic doctor highly recommended it for my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What was your impression of Bikram Yoga after that first class? Did you love it or loathe it?

I cannot remember the experience that I had in that first class I went to in 2010.  All I knew was that it was too hot, so I simply stopped going.  I started back up in the summer of 2011, but I knew that before I went to that first class again I was going to be doing it for a very long time.  Something inside me told me that I would be, it just took me a year to admit it to myself.  The second time around I went into it with a lot of respect and with a promise of dedication and trust.  The benefits that I received from the beginning were simply outstanding in every way as they continue to astound me on a daily basis making me feel like I have six senses.

How often do you practice these days?

Right now I am practicing 3-4 times a week but my ultimate goal is to try and practice 5-6 times a week.  I am very excited about the February 4 x 4 challenge.  It’ s 4 days a week for thirty days.  I am trying to get to the point where I am going every day, so this will surely challenge me to go more often.

What are some of the most important benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga? Has it helped to improve your life in any way?

Having had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I woke up with it one day in ’98, the damage it has done throughout the progression of those years in my hands, feet and knees has been slow but steady.  Bikram Yoga has started to what I truly believe and feel is the reversal of the damage that has been done up to this point.  I feel that every posture is not only realigning my body, but it is strengthening and conditioning my joints back to optimum health as well.  Each day I can feel parts of my body letting go, physically and mentally releasing old tensions and old ways of thinking while allowing me to go deeper into the postures and deeper into meditation.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?

I find that the preparation is the most difficult thing about Bikram Yoga.  For me it is that voice in my head that I am trying to control that tells me “don’t go to yoga today.”  The only thing that helps with that is more yoga.  Also, getting enough water and electrolytes and eating enough nutritious food on a daily basis can be difficult sometimes as well, but working on an efficient routine really helps.  That is outside of the studio.  The most difficult thing for me inside the studio is different on a daily basis.  It all depends on what is happening to me physically and mentally that day.

What’s your current favorite posture?

My favorite posture at the moment has to be Standing Bow Pose.  It has given me so many benefits in the past and it continues to give me flexibility, strength and it builds my concentration unlike any other pose right now.

What is your most dreaded posture?

My most dreaded posture has to be the U-turn from back bend to the forward bend in the Half-Moon Pose.  But, to be honest, it was hard for me to choose because I don’t even feel like I am present in class most of the time.  There is something about the mixture of the heat and the constant chatter from the teacher that helps me to go into a trance like state while still reaching for depth in terms of concentration and form in each and every posture.

 

 

Lisa

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class. When was it and why did you go?

My first class was October 17, 2011. My friend and I had been trying to find a healthy way to spend more time together. The month before we tried aerobics with a wag jag voucher and when we saw the Bikram Yoga voucher we were intrigued. I was hooked after 3 classes and my friend did not like the class. I never would have guessed that I would be able to do the hot yoga. I am shocked that I am so addicted to it.

How soon did you come back for your second class?

Our first class was on a Tuesday and I came back Friday and then several days the second week of my 30 day unlimited voucher.

What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram yoga?

The biggest reward I get is that the timing of the 5pm class helps me not binge eat after work. Previously this time of the day was the worst for the amount of damage I did to my body by overeating.  Doing 90 minutes of yoga is the hardest workout I have ever given my body. Committing to this practice has mentally changed the way I think about food and I don’t go home and eat badly after working so hard to improve my health. The physical benefits are an unraveling of several problems my body has endured over the years. To name a few, a severely sprained right ankle that has been bothering me for 2 years. Sciatic nerve damage in my right leg and hip, arthiritis in my tailbone from breaking it 2 years in a row giving birth 25 and 24 years ago. Three different tears in my left knee from a bad fall during a very competitive tennis game, 4 compressed discs in my back, and  finally constant strain in my spine and neck from all of the years of living with a lopsided tail bone. All of these problems feel like they are beginning to correct themselves because of the postures I attempt each day in yoga class.

What keeps you coming back for more?

The personal commitment to myself to finally get fit and healthy.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram yoga?

This is a tough question for me. Each day before class I try to review in the Beginner’s book what to try to focus on with some of the postures that I want to do better. The tone and the rhythm of the instructor’s voice can add or take away from my own focus on working through the postures, so sometimes it is more of a challenge and takes away energy and sometimes the voice adds to my energy to focus on the postures.

What’s your favorite posture?  Your most dreaded posture?

My favorite posture is the camel. I feel like I can do this better than any other and for the first month I was terrified to drop my head back that far. My most dreaded posture is the standing head to knee. My determination in most tested with this one.

 

Brian M.

 

This is Brian on the right, before he found Bikram Yoga. At the end of the
profile you will find a photo of him now :)

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?

My first class was in February 2010 after an illness whereby it was suggested that hot yoga might help with the symptoms. The first time I went to the studio in January I was still to sick to go, however I returned in February and after that class I knew that I had found something that I would be doing for a long time. I returned two days later and since then have been to over 400 classes in slightly less than 2 years.
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
The practice instils in me a sense of calmness and balance that I begin to crave if I go too long without it. I find that when life is out of balance outside of the studio I am off balance in the studio and I use the practice to bring things back to an even keel. A consistent practice for me pushes me to live a healthier lifestyle and forgo previous poor choices in terms of nutrition and sleep.
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
I enjoy the difficulty of this exercise and the fact that it is not easily mastered. My challenges change with every session. One day it’s my mind which wants to flee the heat, other days I have the flexibility of my first day. Poses I use to love I now dread but every once in a while I have a class which defies all expectation and I feel fantastic. The progress is millimetre by millimetre and it is a long and hard road. No matter how well you think you have mastered a pose there is always another step to push you beyond what you thought was the limit. Listen to the dialogue because it’s all there and your breath is everything.
What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
I love triangle pose but my favourite poses are the ones that I initially and still struggle with but can see progress. It took me 300 hundred classes to be able to properly kick out in standing head to knee and I can still only do this on one side however lately there is some hope for the right side and I will continue with my struggle because away from the studio I feel healthy, strong and happy.
Any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
In 2012 I will make a decision about teacher training.

 

We wish Brian good luck with teachers training – he would be an amazing teacher. And look at this photo of him –
what a difference!

 

 

 

 

Laura P

 

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?
I went to my first Bikram class in July 2011. I had never been a big fan of “typical” yoga but my sister had been going to Bikram for a while and really enjoyed it so I figured it’d be worth a try. During my first class, I remember the heat hitting me before even walking into the room. Lying down in savasana before class, I couldn’t imagine how I was going to survive 90 minutes in that room…let alone practice yoga moves I didn’t even know I was capable of. But I managed to survive and walked out of that sauna feeling exhausted but better than I’ve ever felt about myself.

How soon did you come back for your second class?
I can’t remember exactly how soon I came back for my second class. It was probably within the next day or so because I wanted to make the most of my 2 week pass and try the postures all over again, now that I had a taste of what they were all about.

What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
After about 7 months of being a dedicated Bikram Yogi, I feel like this practice has strengthened me physically and mentally. I’ve always been an active gym rat and casual runner and I’ve noticed that yoga has helped make running and other cardio activities easier, as I’m able to control my breath a lot more. I feel like I’ve gained a new awareness of how my body is feeling and try not to let my mind convince me I’m not capable of something – whether it’s workout related or life related. I’m also drinking a lot more water than I used to, even on days when I don’t make it to class.

What keeps you coming back for more?
The sense of accomplishment and physical challenge that I gain from every class is what keeps me coming back for more. I’ve never worked my body so hard in my life, but I’ve discovered that the harder you work in class, the better the results will be.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
What I find most challenging about Bikram Yoga is the amount of focus and bodily awareness you have to maintain throughout the class. With other types of physical activity, you can often just workout and let your mind wander, thinking about the problems or stresses in your life. With Bikram, you have to devote your entire body and mind to the practice for 90 minutes and I often find myself losing this focus during specific postures or over-thinking some of them. I always remember Jeff saying that thoughts are just distractions, which I think is definitely my biggest challenge in yoga and life.

What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
Ever since day one, camel has been my favorite posture. Maybe it’s because it is so close to the end of class…but I also feel very strong in this posture and love the meaning behind it, how it exposes your heart and releases emotions. When I’m not in class, I often find myself craving a deep back-bend. My most dreaded posture seems to change on a daily basis. I used to despise standing separate leg head to knee, as I found I it impossible to breathe properly while sucking in my stomach, touching my forehead to my knee, and balancing with my hands in prayer. Thankfully, I’ve discovered that the postures get easier with practice and I look forward to almost every one because I want to see myself improve in the poses I previously dreaded.
Namaste :)

 

Olivia P.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class… When was it and why did you go?
My very first class was in June 2011.  I went because my good friend Alyssa (also now a Bikram yogi) found an online coupon and wanted to try it.  I was hesitant at first but thought it would be something fun to do together. Partway through the first class Tom asked how it was so far and all I could say was, “It’s hot.”  Needless to say I think he rolled his eyes at me.  But by the end I felt like I had worked harder than I ever had before and was excited to see how I would do the next time.
How soon did you come back for your second class?
I can’t exactly remember the next day I went back… it was probably 2 or 3 days later.  Alyssa and I were determined to go together as much as we could and working around our schedules was somewhat challenging.
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
I feel a lot better about myself in general with regular practice.  My head is clearer, I worry less and have better focus.  I feel stronger in other activities like running because I know what my body is capable of.  I also like to think that I avoided getting sick this winter when many people around me were because of Bikram.

What keeps you coming back for more?
I think at this point it’s pretty much an addiction.  If I have a great class I can’t wait to go back for more.  If I have a not so great class I can’t wait to go back and have a better one.  I love the mental and physical challenge it gives me as well as being able to escape real life for an hour and a half.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
The most challenging part for me is not having any expectations in class.  I’ve learned that every day is different with Bikram and you can’t go into class expecting to perform the same as, or better than, yesterday.  You can only do your best for that day and your best is constantly changing.  Although it’s hard to accept this sometimes!

What’s your favourite posture?  Your most dreaded posture?
I try very hard not to prefer one posture to another because if I find myself dreading certain ones it makes them that much more unpleasant to do, which makes them harder for me to improve in.  But with that being said I’ll admit that I do like some postures better than others.  I look forward to doing triangle because I like the concept of connecting your heart and lungs and that it works every part of your body at the same time. Your body also makes a pretty neat shape in it.  I have always somewhat dreaded hugging both my knees to my chest in wind removing pose because my spine does not want to stay on the ground and my arms are often slippery, which makes holding this one fairly challenging.

Any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
Hmm… do more yoga?  I think I’m doing well with that so far.

 

 

Anna H.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?

My first Bikram Yoga class was actually in 2009 in Kingston, ON. I was in my first year at Queen’s University and I had heard about the benefits of “hot yoga” and, since I’m the least flexible person around, I knew it would be a challenge and wanted to try it out.
How soon did you come back for your second class?
I went again two days later but after that, it was a year before I ever went back and began practicing in Guelph regularly.
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
There are so many benefits to be had from regularly practicing Bikram Yoga. It really is unique for each person though, I think. I have a definite increase in my flexibility, a stronger body, and a stronger mind. My most appreciated benefit is improved breathing. I’ve found that in practicing Bikram Yoga regularly I’ve learned to regulate my breath. This is substantial for me because I struggled with anxiety and lightheadedness prior to beginning and I’ve found myself able to breathe deep and remain calm through stressful situations – a skill which I attribute to Bikram Yoga. Another benefit that is very important to me is its positive effect on my mental health. Having struggled with depression, Bikram Yoga is an important part of my lifestyle that helps calm my mind.
What keeps you coming back for more?
To be honest what keeps me coming back for more is what repelled me in the first place! My first Bikram Yoga class blew my MIND. I had never experienced such a challenging, exhausting workout!!! I had fancied myself a pretty athletic girl leading up to it and it completely kicked my BUTT!! I had so much respect for people who actually went on a regular basis. I loved and hated the fact that it was so difficult for me – I wanted to work up to being able to come often. Even if you’re repelled at first, I would strongly recommend you give yourself a month of coming at least twice a week before you write it off because with each class, you get stronger!
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
I think for me the poses themselves are definitely a challenge since I have terrible natural flexibility – it really takes me a long time to improve in my postures. It’s challenging but its also such an excellent environment to improve in because there is no judgment and everyone is at different points in their practice – it doesn’t matter if you can’t do all of the postures well as long as you’re trying your best.
What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
My favourite and least favourite postures are always changing. For the longest time my most dreaded posture was the Locust pose, but recently my back has become strong enough that I don’t feel like I’m dying when I’m doing it. So now Head to Knee is my most dreaded because I’m still really bad at it. But! I know that one day I’m going to have a break through class and be able to finally lock my knee! My favourite posture is savasana because I love focusing on my deep breathing and trying to relax as efficiently as I can.
Any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
To continue to work on a well-rounded and healthy life!

 

 

Terri O.

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class …
When was it and why did you go?  My first class was 7 months ago in Ithaca, NY.  My good friend convinced me to give it a try as she had been practicing for several years and found it to be a great way to de-stress and stay in shape. She warned me that I was probably going to feel “awful” during my first class, but that I had to come back and try it again before I made up my mind. And I did…feel awful…until afterwards.  I went back twice in the next 3 days and was hooked!

How soon did you come back for your second class?
(see above)

What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
The biggest benefits I gain from practicing Bikram Yoga are an increase in my flexibility, improved posture, and reduced stress levels. Decreasing my stress levels and correcting my posture helps reduce my tension headaches!  Practicing Bikram Yoga also forced me to become much more aware of my diet and I have since changed to eating much lighter (and healthier!) fare.

What keeps you coming back for more?
Outside of the studio, I am constantly pulled in 10 directions at once. My mind is racing in overdrive for most of the day. In the studio, I can focus intensely on my breathing and my postures and let everything else go. For me, Bikram Yoga is a means to take 90 minutes out of my day to not think about anything else except the very thing that I am doing at that moment in time.

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
The biggest challenge that I came across, particularly when I first started, was figuring out how much I should eat before class. Initially, even a small lunch before an evening class would leave me feeling ill for most of class. Then, it came to a point where I realized that I wasn’t eating enough before class and I would be light headed by the third pose.  Even now, my food intake really affects how I feel during class.

What’s your favorite posture? 
Standing Bow Pulling. I saw my friend do this pose seemingly perfectly during that first class she took me too.  There was just something graceful about the posture and it stuck with me.  It has always been my favorite.
 Your most dreaded posture?
Triangle. My arms are just SO tired by then!
Any New Year’s resolutions for 2012?
 Get to the studio!

 

 

Annika G.

Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class … when did you go and why?
My very first class was in September 2009. My husband went there first and recommended I check it out.  It was hot, but in some reason I had no trouble doing the poses. I actually thought I do them perfectly. Silly me – as time went on, the learning process started about how to do the poses correctly.  In my 10 day trial package I managed to get 6 classes in. I loved it from the beginning!
How often do you practice these days?
When I first started practicing I was doing 3-4 times a week.  It all changed with a challenge in 2010 April. We were all doing a 30 day challenge (yoga every day for 30 days). Then I continued to do 60 in a row, which turned into a 100 day challenge. That literally changed my life!!!
What are some of the most important benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga? Has it helped to improve your life in any way?
The most important benefits for me are emotional ones. I am born and raised in a country named Estonia and living in Canada since 2007 made me home-sick a lot. Bikram yoga helped me to deal with it and made me look at life in a different angle. I used to have many mood changes too – they disappeared.  As for physical benefits – there is so many – deep sleeps, don’ t feel my knee injury anymore, quick metabolism, better digestion, fit body and the list goes on and on!
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
The most challenging part is to just listen to the dialogue and avoid things going on in everyday life.  Often different thoughts sneak their way into my head. I am so looking forward only having classes where nothing bothers me and I am fully meditating!
What’s your current favorite posture?
I love the cobra pose as I can see it progressing. All the back bends feel great also. I mostly like all the postures J
What is your most dreaded posture?
They say that the posture you dislike the most, is the one your body needs. For me was the locust pose, where you lift your both legs up. I disliked it so much, that I often avoided it. But once I had a teacher taking photos of my poses, I could see how high up I go. I had no idea I went so high, so I started to love that one and push even harder.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions for 2012?

Since I found out I am pregnant I haven’t come much, as I work a lot and in the evenings I was just totally wiped from work. Now I am at my second trimester and I have more energy. I am hoping to come 2 or 3 times a week!

 

Mike C.

Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class … when did you go and why?
My first Bikram class was in 1995 or 1996 with “Sasha” at his studio on Spadina Avenue in Toronto. It was just an old office with a bunch of space heaters and humidifiers, and with no change rooms or showers. My roommate at the time suggested we try it and, having just given up karate and started a desk job, I thought it was a good idea. Going in blind, I had no idea what I was in for. I felt like a tube of toothpaste that had been stamped on after my first class, but I continued to go fairly regularly for a few months until it was apparent that class times didn’t fit into my work and social schedule, nor did the practice fit into my budget. After a few years dabbling in Ashtanga yoga between 2002-2005, I started at Bikram in Guelph in April, 2011, almost 15 years after my first hot yoga class in Toronto.
What are some of the most important benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga? Has it helped to improve your life in any way?
Many,  both physical and mental. Several years ago I suffered a tear in my right Achilles tendon which immobilized me for approximately 5 months. I lost a tremendous amount of my right calf’s muscle mass, as well as nearly all of my calf strength and flexibility. Since going to classes more frequently I’ve noticed huge improvement in both strength and flexibility, and that my calf is slowly rebuilding itself. This injury also put my body completely out of balance, with one side practically useless and the other compensating for it. This was felt throughout my body, not just in my legs. The balance is returning. There have also been huge improvements in the quality and length of my sleep which, before, was patchy at best. An old left knee injury has all but disappeared, as have issues associated with my right rotator cuff. My posture has improved which has greatly decreased my frequency of visits to the chiropractor. My diet and eating times have changed, and this (together with several of the postures) have improved my digestion, as well as been instrumental in practically eliminating occasional acid reflux issues. All these things and more, combined, have definitely lead to a much improved overall feeling of well-being. In a nutshell, life is better.
What keeps you coming back?
The benefits mentioned above keep me coming back. I want to maintain and improve on them all, and gain new ones. The practice has been nothing but good for me, so I will continue for as long as physically possible.
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
The most difficult parts of the practice for me are the mental challenges, not the physical challenges that it presents. Physical obstacles are unavoidable, and will change over time, hopefully for the better. So I accept that what I can do today is all I can do. My brain is another matter. At first, my biggest hurdle was stopping myself from thinking, “*Sh_t, when will this be over?!?!” These days it is keeping my mind quiet, and stopping it from flying off in a million directions which are unnecessary and unhelpful while in class.
What’s your current favorite posture/What is your most dreaded posture?

Frankly, I don’t have a favourite posture. Some I enjoy more than others, like the Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, and the Standing Bow Pose, but there are no postures that I really look forward to. Because of my leg injury and its after effects, I find most of the balancing postures very difficult, especially Standing Head to Knee and the Toe Stand (which I simply cannot do at the time of writing this).

 

Kyle Reinhardt

 

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class … when was it and why did you go?
Hmm, had to think about this for a bit, it was about 4 years ago, my sister asked me to go.  I had no idea what hot yoga was but figure id give it a shot.  It was an experience I don’t like to look back on to be honest!!! I did not drink much water before the class and was in HORRIBLE shape at the time.  I remember struggling through the class, seeing stars everywhere by the end.  I even had 1.5 Liter water with me that lasted about 30 minutes.  I did make it through the class only because the teacher stopped me from leaving! Afterwards on the walk back to the car, let’s just say I got sick! (Guess a liter and a half of water in 30 minutes wasn’t a good idea: /) I figured I would never be back!
How soon did you come back for your second class?
Probably about 2 weeks after my first horrid experience! A friend asked me to go with her and I told her about my first experience, and she said just drink water all day, before we go and you will be fine.  So I did just that and went that night, it was much better; I remember I made it through all the postures (struggling of course!) But I actually enjoyed it! After that I went maybe 10 more times then stopped until this year!
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
For me the biggest benefit is working on breathing and just being still and not thinking.  I’m a very outgoing typically LOUD person and my brain is ALWAYS racing.  I feel from just a few months of Bikram I’m way more cool, calm and collected.  Also helps keep me clean, I’ve struggled with substance abuse for which seemed endless years (probably about 7, the last 4 took everything, except family (THANK God for them) and have been clean for nearly a year now (with a few slips, but completely clean in all 2012!! Even quit smoking since I started Bikram! Eating a lot healthier as well! Bikram is a HUGE part of everything as of late, helps keep me focused on my practice and whenever I feel triggered I know I need blow of some steam and stress, nothing clears the mind better than a good old Bikram class!
What keeps you coming back for more?
Girls in yoga pants :) …..…
OK OK OK that’s not all… the benefits I get from Bikram FAR outweigh the little bit of suffering that I often experience in class! I feel great afterwards and my energy levels are through the roof (after most classes, been going 4 times a week for a few months now) my mind is clear and I’m ready to take on the WORLD!
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
Honestly for me it’s probably laying in savasana (dead body) just to lie there and just BE and not think about the sweat running into my eyes and mouth. (I am getting a lot better at it mind you, but the first 20 or so classes I was a wreck flopping all over the place, I couldn’t LIE STILL FOR THE LIFE OF ME!!
What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
Favorite would be Toe Stand for some reason I’m very good at this one and often get compliments from the teacher!! (I’ll admit it helps my self-esteem, Common let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a compliment now and then?) If you experience shin splints this is the posture I have found Guilty of that!
Dreaded , wow there are a couple I really don’t look forward too but like I hear time and time again, these are the most important, I’ll say standing head to knee, I’m still working on locking my KNEE whenever I kick my other leg out my standing knee comes unlocked UGHH so frustrating!!!
Any Tips for fellow yogis?
KEEP with it, the first few classes may SUCK like mine (or you may enjoy it right off the bat, who knows?) But don’t give up on Bikram until you try. Let’s say at LEAST 5 Classes; I’m forever grateful I was forced back by a friend after my first experience J.  Drink WATER!!!  (BEFORE CLASS!! NOT TOO MUCH DURING! I’ve learned this the hard way) if you have any questions about going for a first time, send me an email always down to give advice and receive advice!!
Kyle.reinhardt@gmail.com

Tiffany J.

1) Tell us about your first Bikram Yoga class…

My Bikram Yoga journey began in May of 2010. One of my best friends had recently been exposed to BYG and she thought that it may just be the one thing that could balance out my life. I like to keep busy, be efficient, and generally seek adrenalin-inducing challenges. I am also a veterinary student – a demanding program no less, but one in which you really need to learn how to take time for yourself if you intend to live in the present and have a balanced lifestyle. She was right, Bikram began to recentre me from the very first class.

2) How soon did you come back for your second class?

I believe it was only a couple of days later that I returned to the ‘torture chamber’, as my first teacher referred to it. I will be honest, I sought the day where the heat would be a benefit instead of torture – and to me, that would only happen if I kept giving myself a chance to adjust. The first year of my journey I practiced about 2-3x per week, but in that last year I have discovered that 5-6x a week is a better fit for me.

3) What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?

For me, it is combination of physical and mental exertion. By returning to the heat and trying to put every unit of energy you have left into the postures, while observing how you are feeling that day – you experience a moment of relaxation and concentration. The concentration that develops as you practice regularly is one of the most appealing benefits of Bikram Yoga in my opinion. I try to carry this skill into my work and school, knowing that overcoming the many distractions in life may not only benefit my career, but help me to be more attentive of the great small moments that pass us by daily. Along with the relaxation and concentration comes an appreciation of your health. I suffer from a condition called Samter’s syndrome that consists of obstructive sinusitis and asthma, among other things. I am able to feel the difference in my breathing when I am practicing regularly. About a year ago, I had a severe episode and was unable to practice. When I finally was able to breathe through my nose I returned to BYG, and found the recovery to occur much quicker. It was like a daily dose of symptomatic treatment both for my lungs and airways – which led to me seeking daily practice.

4) What keeps you coming back for more?

While the benefits are undeniable, the practice is addicting – it becomes part of your life. For me, requiring the health benefits is a major pull. I also find the release that comes with the physical aspects of yoga desirable, as sometimes that exhausting relaxation just refocuses your day and enables you not only to do more, but concentrate on the present. Bikram Yoga really is a full body/mind practice – each part benefitting differently, but requiring it all the same.

5) What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?

Focus is both a result and deterrent for my practice. From family to friends to school to the little things that are always occurring – maintaining focus while in class in order to obtain a more sustained concentration outside of the studio, is most challenging for me. Regardless of the importance of the daily obstacles that one faces, it needs to stay outside of the studio. Well, it would be ideal. But, you learn to work through it – or at least just observe the topics clouding your focus while Bikram Yoga works to recentre your attention to both the physical and mental requirements of your body, that day.

6) What is your favourite posture? What is your most dreaded posture?

I would have to say all of the backward bends are my favourite. Certain days these bends are better than others depending on how I feel physically, but I find they are my most craved postures. The strength that is both a requirement and a result of backward bend, camel, etc. challenges my body while giving it the stretch that it desires. My most dreaded posture is without a doubt Awkward pose. From day one this pose is like a race from beginning to end. I do not regard my practice as a countdown, but in Awkward I cannot help it. I challenge myself every day to appreciate this posture – but this needs practice, much more practice.

7) Any tips for new people?

First off, ensure you are feeding your body the nutrients that it needs to take part in this experience and be sure to hydrate – it will literally keep you standing. Secondly, I would like beginners to be aware that we all have been there – that very first time you step into the studio, feel the rush of heat envelop you and you wonder – can I stay in here for even 20 minutes, let alone 90 minutes? Well, just get through the first class – be gentle with your body and really try to make it into a learning experience. We are all still learning, we all still feel the heat, and we all still feel that pain in our hamstrings. The only thing that really changes is your perception of it – it not only becomes something that your body/mind craves, but a means of improvement as you develop an appreciation for the heat as it protects you from the pain, and the pain as it recentres your mind to take care of those parts of your body. It is always challenging, but that’s why we do it.

 

 

Doug Halls

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class. When was it and why did you go?

I signed up for a two-week trial in late March of 2012, as I recall, then got a 3-month membership and recently signed up for a year. For the last several years I have been getting ample exercise, but in the winter I was seeking something not only physically demanding and beneficial, but potentially transformative in terms of my overall well-being. I had never done any yoga of any type before, but Bikram had the reputation for being particularly beneficial and particularly challenging, so I thought I would jump into what I perceived to be the deep end of the pool. I found the first class extremely demanding: while (as I remember) I was able to complete the class without skipping any postures, it took everything I had to get through. I remember how unstable my legs turned out to be even just during the initial warm-up series, how my muscles and joints refused to cooperate with the instructor’s guidance, and how much I was dwelling on how miserably hot the room was! But I also remember my first walk home: I felt loose, light, and limber, and had a tranquility of a different quality than I had experienced from other forms of exercise in the past.

How soon did you come back for your second class?

It was perhaps two or three days after my first one.

 What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?

Apart from the obvious physical benefits – like improved strength, balance, and endurance – I’ve also experienced an increased capacity for calm, focus, and discipline. I also sleep very well after class, and find myself more capable of being fully present when interacting with others. In my work I spend a lot of time reading and writing for extended periods, and I believe Bikram has improved my perspicacity and mental stamina. Also, I’ve found the culture at Bikram to be very diverse and welcoming – great people!

What keeps you coming back for more?

One of the things I like a lot about Bikram is the regularity of the class. Since I know what’s coming each time, I can pace myself depending on how I’m doing that day, I can time water breaks so that I’m not made uncomfortable during certain poses (I discovered early on that drinking too much before/during cobra-locust-bow series was not a great idea!), and I can monitor my performance and my improvement class to class.

Another thing I’m finding is that over time, while the experience becomes no less challenging, with some consistent attendance it becomes pleasurable not only after – but during – the session: never thought that would happen!

Finally, one thing I really like is the simplicity of yoga practice. There is no equipment or embellishment, just 26 ways of assuming a space over an hour and a half. If only life outside the studio could be so simple!

What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?

Sometimes I find it challenging not to get frustrated with myself if my body isn’t cooperating on a particular day, or in a certain posture. There are times when I can’t summon quite the strength, balance, or composure that I’d like to have, and sometimes it can be challenging to be charitable to or forgiving of myself in those moments.

What’s your favourite posture? Your most dreaded posture?

I think Bow Pose and Toe Stand are probably my favourites, even though I have a hard time maintaining the balance with them and even though there are others I’m certainly better at. I’m really warming up to Triangle Pose too, which is odd to me because I used to fear it most of all.

Most dreaded posture? I’m not sure I can really answer that, because there is definitely more than one that seems to want to claim that title. Currently, Standing Separate Leg to Knee (and Separate Leg Stretching), the third posture in the Locust sequence (both legs), and Half Tortoise (go figure!) are the ones that make me wish I had chosen a different, less agonizing pastime… y’know, maybe like recreational dental surgery.  🙂

Any tips for new people?

In my (limited) experience, I think it’s important to realize at the outset that your first few, or several, classes are likely going to be very uncomfortable and highly demanding. It takes time to get used to the heat, and to build up some strength for these postures even if you begin with a good fitness level. I think consistency is really the key to overcoming the initial intensity of the practice; as soon as I began to come three times a week, things quickly got a lot more manageable and enjoyable.

Another thing I would add is that at the beginning, a lot of my discomfort was the result of not attending to my breathing. As a beginner, you’ll probably be so focused on listening to the instructions and making all kinds of adjustments to your posture that you may forget to breathe in a measured and effective way. Once you learn the forms and aren’t depending as much on the instructor, then you can start to pay more attention to your breathing. I think consistency in attendance is again the real key here.

Finally, I would emphasize the importance not only of hydration but being careful what you eat in the hours leading up to practice. Sometimes I’ve eaten something even three or four hours beforehand that can throw my practice off. Anything that induces bloating can make things especially uncomfortable when you’re doubled over!

Karen M

Tell us about your very first Bikram Yoga class
Think it was about 2.5 years ago now.  I went because I had practiced the series by someone who taught it a few times just so we could experience it and I loved the sequence.  When I realized there was a Bikram studio opening I couldn’t wait to try it ‘for real’ in a hot room.
How soon did you come back for your second class?
I came back within the week.  The 2nd class was much harder as the heat really got to me.  Still, I was intrigued by the “after feeling” that the series gave.  I surprised myself by purchasing a pass-card.  Thinking I’d go “once in a while”, before I knew it I was going fairly regularly, did a 30-day challenge (or 2) and now buy yearly memberships.
What are some of the benefits you receive from Bikram Yoga?
Besides literally sweating out pain from my body, the biggest benefit I get from the practice is the deep sense of calm I feel after class (and over time also “during” class).
What keeps you coming back for more?
It feels good!  Plain and simple.  I love and appreciate many different styles of yoga but Bikram yoga is my medicine.
What do you find most challenging about practicing Bikram Yoga?
Getting out the door!  I live in Arthur now so it’s easy to get lazy and just not drive down to Guelph.  But, prior to that, the most challenging part of the actual practice was the mirror.  Who could imagine that could be so hard….but it was!  It’s all there.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I am slowly making peace with the girl in the mirror.
What’s your favorite posture? Your most dreaded posture?
Favorite and dreaded postures definitely change over time.  Right now I’d have to say the third part of awkward pose is not one I particularly look forward to whereas standing bow pulling pose feels expansive and freeing.
Any tips for new people?
All our experiences are different no doubt.  But some tips I would suggest from my experience would be:
1. Be patient with yourself and enjoy (its only yoga!);
2. Focus on your breath; allow it to remain calm;
3. Consider not drinking water (or at least try not to guzzle it).  It’s just a distraction;
4. Do less; move as little as possible and
5. Smile at yourself once in a while.

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