I began practicing Bikram Yoga after having undergone a failed back surgery. My physical therapist suggested that I try yoga since I was still in considerable pain. I initially laughed at the thought, envisioning candles and meditation and such. But I was in a bad way so not knowing what to expect, I found a nearby yoga studio and gave them $20 for 2 weeks of classes.
Turns out it was a Bikram Yoga studio, so wearing sweatpants and walking in with a chai latte for my first class probably wasn’t the best introduction. 90-minutes later I emerged, red faced and dazed, not entirely certain what had just happened.
I’m frugal, so I came back the next day… and everyday for 2 weeks. And ultimately the next 60 days in a row because my back felt so much better from practicing everyday. I had such profound healing benefits from the series so quickly I was sold. But I had no idea what this yoga would give me in the long run.
You see, I have Crohn’s Disease. I’ve had it my whole life. They say there’s no cure. It’s a torturous thing, and those affected suffer in silence. Nobody likes to talk about digestive problems.
For the first 34 years of my life I couldn’t eat most fruits or vegetables. No nuts, grains, coffee, red meat, wheat, dairy. I was in and out of the hospital and had to constantly juggle medications and their various side effects. It’s not like that anymore. You see, 5 years ago I became symptom free. Diet independent. I can eat whatever I’d like. No meds. No docs. I can have spinach and peanut butter and apples for the first time in my life.
With Bikram Yoga, I changed my own physiology from the inside out. I have reclaimed my body. I have my life back. It wasn’t easy. Or fast. But doable. So now I practice 5 or 6 times a week so I can maintain my digestive health and enjoy all the wonderful foods life has to offer. So I can sit and have a coffee with friends. So I have the choice.
I became a teacher and studio owner because Bikram Yoga works. I can say with the upmost sincerity that this yoga heals, bones to skin. Broken body, broken mind, or broken heart, it doesn’t matter. By simply trying the right way, in this practice you can find change.
Bikram Yoga gave me my life back. My goal was to learn everything that I could about the yoga, the right way, from some of the best teachers in the world, and share it with everyone. That path brought me here, and I couldn't be more happy.
The first time I took a Bikram Yoga class was 1999. I was 28 years old and a bonafide gym rat, always up for trying a different kind of workout. Walking out of that first class I knew that I had just experienced something beyond a workout. My brain was in a blissful haze and every cell in my body seemed to be percolating and alive.
Even at my young age I already had scoliosis in my spine and had suffered an injury that resulted in the loss of the ACL in my left knee. My youthful body was resilient and none of those things were very bothersome to me at the time so the immediate benefits to me were an overall feeling of well being and lots of energy.
Throughout the years my practice would sometimes fall off for different reasons but I always found my way back. And every time the Yoga welcomed me, embracing my body and my mind in whatever state it was in at the moment, like a good friend, with honesty and compassion, telling me where my weakest points were and giving me the tools to overcome them.
Now at 46 the consequences of my knee injury and my scoliosis have become more apparent and I'm so glad to have this sustainable practice in my life. I have the tools in those 90 minutes to reclaim my body and walk out of the studio in high heels with confidence if I choose, or ride a bike or boogie board, or take on the world it's now my choice!
In 2011 I became a Bikram Yoga teacher and since then I have had the pleasure to be a part of so many peoples journeys to regain their freedom and gain faith in the resiliency of their bodies. It never gets old!
On a whim several years ago I walked into a Bikram Yoga studio to see what it was all about. I was the largest I had ever been in my life and at my lowest place mentally. Very low times. I never exercised consistently. I hated gyms. So I walked into the hot room raw. After sitting through 85% of my first class I didn’t think I had it in me to return. But I did. I felt better then when I entered. And over the next several months (and years) my life began to change.
Physically I had found a practice I could commit to, be challenged by and enjoy. My body changed. My eating habits improved. My lifestyle began to simplify. Mentally I began to see things more clearly and through a much happier and lighter lens. So much so that in 2016 I felt an overwhelming desire to take a giant leap of faith and go to teacher training and become a certified instructor. I was so inspired by my teachers and what this practice had given back to me, that I knew I had to share and help others. I continue to be motivated by the fact that this is a forever practice.
Every day is different mentally, physically, energetically, so I come into the studio and do my best on the mat knowing I can always try again tomorrow. I don't even question it--I know I will always get exactly what I need from my Bikram practice each time I walk through the door. When I am on the podium, I remind my students of this fact as well…it is a liberating feeling, embrace it and you will soar!