Testimonials - Why Yoga?
I stumbled into practicing yoga in my early twenties fresh out of college. I had just uprooted from the Midwest to San Francisco. With a design job at a large architectural firm, I was starting my career off with a fresh start. I was an avid runner and cyclist. Since I was car-free, I commuted by bike, and I ran to escape everything stressful in my life. With the stress of my new career getting to me, colleagues and friends kept encouraging me to try yoga. My best friend and I were on a mission to find ‘the perfect yoga’ for us. For several months here and there, we tried Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow, but nothing ever stuck. One day my friend approached me about yet another type of yoga. The conversation went something like this:
Friend: “I found the yoga that we have been searching for. It’s done in a hot room, it’s the most difficult thing you have ever done in your life, and at the end of class, you feel like you just got a massage.”
Me: “Yoga in a hot room sounds awful. I don’t think you understand. I hate hot. There is a reason why I live in San Francisco. I don’t do heat.”
Friend: “Just try it once with me, please?”
Me: “Fine. But I’m not going to like it”
In my first class, I was a hot mess. First of all, I was that student that came right at 6:29pm for the 6:30pm class. I was not a good listener at all. Eagle pose? I was getting my rights and lefts mixed up. Forget about it. I even tried to talk to my friend in class to let him know that ‘Hey. It really IS hot in here.’ I quickly realized that talking was frowned upon. But the one thing that I did notice was the group of women in their 50s and 60s practicing in front of me. How was I barely able to survive and they made the class look effortless? There was something to this ‘yoga thing’ and I was going to figure it out.
From my first class until now, I have pretty much kept a daily practice. I was quick to learn that yoga is a lifelong practice, and it became my daily meditation, ‘my daily hygiene’ like brushing my teeth. I began to notice changes in my body physically. Pain that I had always felt from running, I no longer had. I went from barely being able to touch my toes to now having a full range of motion in my body. I went from feeling like my head was going ‘to explode’ in a backbend to being able to do all sorts of advanced backbends. I am definitely more flexible now than I was at age 14. All it is time, patience, and practice. I have learned more than ever that our bodies are willing to change (in any direction), and it is just time and practice. When people ask me ‘how do you practice every day?’, I usually tell them that you can always find a reason not to come in. You can always talk yourself out of it. But why? It’s great for your mental and physical self, and we owe it to ourselves to maintain a healthy, happy life.
Keep up with your yoga practice. Just like our daily lives as well as in the yoga room, there are days that are challenging and there are days that breeze by, but we learn to take the pressure off ourselves, and to be thankful for having time for ourselves and our health.
Owner, Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill Pittsburgh
I love Bikram Yoga and I mostly to keep my body healthy. I took my first class as something new to try, and I continued to go to classes simply because it felt good. The challenge kept it interesting and the effects were so apparent right away. I was a little bit taller, my shoulders grew more shape, and I noticed and enjoyed little things more like walking and tying my shoes. It's fun to discover new things about balancing and awareness.
The more I practiced, the more people I met, the more I learned I wasn't alone. And the effects are long lasting. I've been practicing pretty regularly (sometimes off and on at first) for almost 10 years and it hasn't gotten boring. Looking back in retrospect, the list of changes I want to attribute to the yoga can be quite lengthy... but overall, I feel more at peace in my mind. I'm more confident with courage and will power to actually do the things I want to do. I was able to quit smoking, I eat healthy and I love my food. I ride a bike (which I started learning at the age of 30), I'm more aware of my posture, and I never feel the lower back pain I used to feel. I sleep better, and I'm not depressed. Overall, I feel healthy and I trust my body. My allergies are gone, and I rarely ever get sick.
The practice has changed my life mostly because it's changed my attitude.
My advice to new students and first-timers:
Have absolutely no expectations. Stay positive. Come a lot. Eat watermelon. Don't take anything too seriously, and never think it is beyond you! Just first... Lock your knee.
I've noticed during the past 9 months since I've been practicing Bikram that my skin and hair are much cleaner, I've lost weight and my clothes fit better, I have biceps!
I really like my reflection and my bum. These are all awesome and amazing things, but what finally convinced me to keep up with the Bikram was after I had my thyroid tested and it came back normal. It's never been normal, either 'borderline' or 'slow'.
I've been posting about Bikram on Facebook so much that a few of my friends have started coming to Bikram, too.
I like that even though you do the same postures in the same order in every class, every class is different. Every day your body is different, which is one more reason to eat healthy so you can have a good class.
Even lying in savasana there is something to learn. All of the teachers at BYSQH are so knowledgeable. I often repeat things they say in class to myself during the day. It's helpful in a stressful situation and also a nice reminder to remember to breathe.
After a while when you start to memorize the series (or parts of it) you can mentally prepare yourself for some of the postures that are more challenging. I like explaining to people how Bikram works and seeing their reaction when they find out the room is 105 degrees. It's really not that bad I tell them, you get used to it. And it's good for you. Think about all the other bizarre forms of exercise that people to do get in shape. I've tried Pilates, the teacher was great but the push ups hurt my elbows and I am not a fan of so many sit ups. I don't want to do a work out that feels like work. I don't mind the 13 sit ups in a Bikram class. I've tried going to the gym. That was boring.
Bikram Yoga has changed me more than I'll ever know, and will continue to do so. At some point, I think it's going to be the inspiration for a tattoo :)
Bikram is a blessing. Namaste!!!
If anyone told me a year ago I would wake up most mornings at 5am to practice Yoga, I would not have believed them. Now, almost a year later, that is exactly what I do.
This practice has truly changed my whole outlook and definitely improved my strength and flexibility. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the teachers and students at BYSH. You are all wonderful. Thank you for helping me make a positive change in my life.
I have been doing yoga here for a year now and I love it for many reasons. Whenever I leave the studio, it feels like I took a mini vacation from the stress of my day to day life. There is little to no tension in my muscles as well, which is something I’d never experienced before, even with other forms of yoga. The heat of the room as well as the backbends in the sequence are really what make this yoga so invigorating. The teachers are down to earth and positive, and the students in every class span from young to old. One of the added bonuses of practicing Bikram yoga is watching how your body can heal itself. As someone who once had two dozen warts surgically removed from my foot, it is unbelievable that my feet are now spotless and smooth. There aren’t even calluses. And I’m a runner!
I started Bikram last summer and immediately noticed improvements in reducing my chronic right knee and lower back pain. It might not be right for everyone but it has really worked wonders for me and for that I am eternally grateful. The instructors know what they are doing and always challenge me to excel and push myself to the next level. My tip for newbie’s…when in a challenging position always count your breaths backwards from 12. This helps to remember to breathe and makes the time go by faster. I would be lying if I didn’t share that my ego has also gotten a boost from Bikram. I was in a business suit at my son’s elementary school function and ran into a fellow Bikram yogi. She said hello and then loudly (so everyone could here) says she almost didn’t recognize me with so many clothes on J. Got to love Bikram!
(a dedicated 6 a.m. dude)
Why Bikram Yoga?
Why not? I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend 90 minutes. It is an incredibly efficient
use of time - strengthens, flexes and balances the body, mind and spirit. If you are interested in a life of service, you must tend first to your own well-being; only then can you realize your maximum vitality and true capacity to serve.
How has practicing Bikram yoga changed your life?
The changes are innumerable - better physical, emotional and spiritual health. But the most
profound change is the consistency, clarity and congruence it has brought to my life. With the
regular practice of Bikram yoga, I stay more centered, more connected and more aligned with
my highest purpose.
How does Bikram Yoga inspire your daily life?
As a Bikram Yoga instructor, it is now the students that are my main inspiration. Watching their
transformations each day renews my belief in the power and purpose of this life-changing 90
minute, moving meditation.
I started doing Bikram yoga not because of it benefits for the physical body. I kept doing yoga not because of it either - i kept doing yoga because it made me feel better emotionally. But the following came as a very very sweet gift to me - I am able to train and compete in Ballroom dancing. Let me explain what I mean.
I was born with my left hip displaced. It is a genetic disease - my dad had the same problem. Doctors did not find it on time and I had to be put in braces for two years. I was three when I started walking - I guess I am one of few who remember their first steps. Apart from that I was very gifted physically - flexible and strong. So I was selected to my city's gymnastics team at 5. At 7 I had to quit because most of the stretches were causing pain in left hip. My mom decided that ballet might be a good alternative. At 12 I had to quit that too - the same problem. My split was not as nicely aligned as other girls' were and I was in pain after point classes. I have decided to do Ballroom - my reasoning was simple - no splits, no problems. At 15 I started training seriously - 5-6 practices a week for 2 hours. And my hip started hurting again. But now the pain was sudden - in the middle of my routine I would make a step and feel shooting pain in my hip. I had to take a 5 min break before being able to dance again. Judges obviously did not wait for me to recover. So I had to cut down the number of practices and become more of a social dancer.
Two years ago I decided to do ballroom again (I am 26 now). By that time I was doing power flow yoga for three years. Occasional shooting pain in my hip during practices was no surprise for me. My dancing partner at that time was practicing Bikram yoga. He suggested that I come and try. I hated my first class - it felt too easy. I barely survived my second class. My third class was ok. I kept coming because I was emotionally vulnerable - I was going through divorce. Time after my Bikram yoga classes was the only time I could feel just ok. Now I have ballroom practices almost 6 days a week in addition to 4 classes of Bikram yoga every week. I go to more than 6 competitions a year. And I can't recall any shooting pain in my hip for the past year. My left hip popped last month for the first time. It feels tender and sore but I feel that I am stronger now than I have ever been.
I did not expect Bikram yoga to help with my hip - I was very skeptical when instructors were saying that your body can change. I thought that my body can become marginally better in some aspects - like loosing extra weight, being able to reach my toes, etc. But nothing too drammatic. I am glad I was wrong.
Keep coming - great surprises are waiting for you!