What Has Bikram Yoga Done For Me?
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The teachers are professional, knowledgeable & caring individuals. They all have their quirky sides, but to me that just adds to the flavor of their presentation of the “dialog.” It keeps the class moving. And they have demonstrated to me that they are not going to let anyone get hurt as long as you follow their guidance.
The question is “What has yoga done for me?” Specifically, “What has Bikram yoga done for me?”
When I came to my first class about a year ago it was because I was a physical mess. I had finally gone to a doctor to for help. After a full medical work-up & the results were none too encouraging. Some of the results; high blood pressure requiring medication to control, high triglycerides requiring another medication to control, degenerative lower back (lumbar-sacral region) & sciatica on my right side requiring anti inflammatory & pain relievers, overweight… grossly obese… & out of shape. The ultimate diagnoses; loose weight, a lifetime of medication & ultimately surgery to correct my falling apart lower back.
Not a pretty picture. I’m in my mid fifties with all the standard life situations; family, career, no time for my self. As a younger man I was very active. I was into competitive sports until my 30’s. My first career out of college required I stay very physically fit. That lifestyle kept me fit, but it also wore my body down with many minor & a few major injuries. In my 40’s I got into a new career that placed much less emphasis on physical fitness. I basically let myself go.
Based on what the doctor said I knew I had to do something. I also knew I didn’t want a lifetime of body altering medications & definitely didn’t want surgery. I drove by the Bikram Yoga Rego Park studio every day going to & from work. I’d often thought of trying it. Now I had my motivation; so I tried it. As Tomoko says, “The best day of the rest of my life” was that first class!
Since doing Bikram I have lost over 50 lbs, I have lost 10” on my waist & actually gained over an inch in height! I am not taking any medications. I went from having high blood pressure to having normal pressure. I still have sciatic & back pain, but pain flare ups are much rarer & are not the debilitating, life limiting type I would have before. My resting pulse rate went from the mid 80’s to mid 50’s!
On a mental health side I am much more composed (settled) & not as high strung. I handle stress much better. Situations occur in life, the good & the bad as they always do & I simply deal with the situation. No flying off the handle. No overreacting. Just acknowledging the situation & dealing with it.
Can I do all 26 Bikram postures & two breathing exercises? Hardly! Some days I have trouble just doing the opening breathing exercise! But as the teachers repeatedly say: this is a life time practice. Each class is different & builds on the class before; some are dreadful, some are amazing, most are just a pleasure to do & feel & be… knowing that I am improving the quality of my life simply by being in that hot, sweaty room for 90 torturous, glorious minutes. Thank you Bikram. You have changed my life.