Students of Bikram Yoga experience many life changing results when they commit to their practice. Weight loss, relief from allergies, anxiety, aches, pains, managing disease, healing injuries, the list goes on and on. This page is dedicated to the transformations the teachers of this yoga get to experience everyday in the hope to encourage you to keep up your practice, remember why you started, and get you back to the hot room again and again.
Name: Michael Fine
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga North Shore
First Class: 2011
My name is Michael Fine and I practice this magical 26 & 2 yoga series almost daily and have done so for practically 6 years. This beautiful series figuratively and literally saved my life!
I was rescued by this healing, therapeutic yoga after living my life in chronic, debilitating, 365 – 24/7 residual limb pain, the result of a head on collision at approximately 40 m.p.h. with a large, red concrete truck in April of 2010. I was on my way to work that fateful day when that truck crossed the center line, traveled up the hood of my car, continued through my windshield and traumatically amputated my left arm cleanly at the shoulder. After surviving such a horrific accident and living in chronic pain, in conjunction with the loss of both of my beloved parents within that same short timeframe, a severe depression and addiction to pain killers, all of which culminated in a suicide attempt, I was left completely empty and in search of a new way to live and move forward. As you have likely guessed, that way forward was, is and will likely always be, my yoga practice, this beautiful, healing 26 & 2 series.
Since the day I lost my left arm, I have completely felt it as if it were still attached to my body. However, my phantom arm feels like it is encased in a block of ice and being continuously squeezed in a vise. This is my reality, this is my life. I generally live at between 5 & 7 on the proverbial ‘1-10 pain scale.’ My existence really centers around doing all I can to live at as low a number on that scale as possible. The ‘external triggers’ or factors that exacerbate the pain are outside of my control, (ie. weather, pressure, and temperature fluctuations). Fortunately however, the ‘internal triggers,’ (ie. feeling stress, tension and anxiety) are completely within my control to manipulate. In an effort to learn to do so, I tried many different healing modalities like Reiki, Cranial Sacral Therapy, LifeLine and other energy work, acupuncture, sensory deprivation flotation, massage therapy, etc. All of the foregoing techniques are important and effective tools in my arsenal to battle life in chronic pain. However, the single most effective weapon that I possess, as you have likely guessed, is my daily yoga practice! In my 6 years of practice, in my likely 2,000+ classes, there has never been even one class where I haven’t felt less pain after those glorious 90 minutes than before that class started! To date, I haven’t found anything else that helps me in this way. As such, I call this yoga practice and series a universal truth. In other words, this yoga is a constant like gravity! This yoga practice is science! The mental and spiritual clarity that this magical 90 minute, open-eyed moving meditation provides is further icing on the yogic cake!
As you all know, the most beautiful thing about this series is anyone can do it! In the words of a living legend and one of my many mentors, the incomparable Mary Jarvis, “All you need to do this yoga is a spine!,”– Two arms are completely optional! I plan to continue this practice for the rest of my life! In that regard, I recently took the next step in the advancement of my practice by attending teacher training in September! I am proud to be a newly minted and certified “500 Hour Hatha Yoga – Core 26 Instructor” by Craig Villani’s exceptional Raja Yoga Academy in Huntington Beach, CA. I now teach this beautiful series at Bikram Yoga North Shore in Glenview, Illinois.
My primary goal moving forward is to inspire and change the minds of all of those who believe that they cant practice this yoga for reasons many of you have likely heard time and time again: “I am too old, too fat, too inflexible, too sick, allergic to heat, etc.” My yoga journey is truly just beginning as now teach and share my love of this yoga with others from the podium with the sole objective and ultimate goal of inspiring and empowering people to do what the human body, mind and spirit were truly designed to do; that is to heal!
Studio Owner/Director: Bikram Yoga Wilmington
First Class: 2009
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 fruga,l 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.
Check out Billy’s blog at: rightwaybikramyoga.com – happy reading yogis!
1st Bikram Class: 2009
Home Studio: Originally Bikram Yoga Plainfield, Currently Bikram Yoga Aurora
When I went to my first Bikram Yoga class, I was broken. But I was searching for ways to get myself back together. I couldn’t continue with my life as it was. I was depressed, taking Zoloft, Xanax, and my doctor had just told me that he wanted to put me on statins…I wasn’t even 35. I had just started practicing Vinyasa Yoga at a studio close to where I work, and I wanted to give it a chance, but I also wanted something closer to home. Before I attended my first Bikram class, I read the website and decided I was ready for anything. Everyone remembers their first class; the heat seems oppressive, and it is a struggle just to stay in the room. I stayed. I knew I had to keep going. I felt good for the first time in a long time, and it was all my own doing.
I had been practicing a few weeks when I had my first real breakthrough. It was during the floor series, and I was struggling, of course. During Savasana, the teacher came up to me, removed her microphone and whispered in my ear, “Look at your beautiful self in the mirror.” It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that I couldn’t even look at myself. I cried; it was okay because I was already sweating anyway, and I was quiet about it. But it was an important lesson for me. I had to learn how to look at myself in the mirror and accept who I was, all my shortcomings and my strengths in that given moment. I had to learn to really see who I was, my true self.
The rest is history. That first year, I lost 20 pounds and weaned off my medications. I was happier, and people noticed. I was able to give much more of myself, to my daughter, and to my students as a result of my practice. I read anything I could get my hands on about yoga. There were (and still are) times when my practice really is the only thing that gets me out of bed. My practice has saved me from myself so many times. It has helped me through bouts of depression and anxiety, a cancer diagnosis, and a difficult marriage and divorce. It has brought me together with others that I will always consider my yoga family. For that I am forever grateful.
Now I am 43, and I still have goals for my practice. I still want to be able to stick my forehead to my knee in Standing Head to Knee Pose. I trust the process. I am ready to open up more and learn some advanced postures. Right now, I just want to work the kink out of my neck and shoulder, and, in the meantime, I will keep working on healing and finding inner peace. See you in the hot room!
Name: Christina Deniston
1st Bikram Class: May 2006
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
My first Bikram yoga class was on May 26, 2006. I remember a few days prior I was walking home from working out at a gym I belonged to. I was single, self-supporting and living in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. I saw a sign that said, “Bikram Yoga.” I read the room would be heated to 105 degrees. I was always the type of person open to trying something new, to be challenged. I had never tried yoga and was convinced it was not for me. I thought it was too slow and boring. I remember thinking, “I’m going to try this. What a great way to sweat off all of my extra weight. This is the something new I have been searching for.”
I took the evening class. I had no idea what I was in for. My mind was totally blown. People of all sizes, men and women sweating like I’ve never seen before. I never even thought a person could sweat that much. The teacher introduced herself. She was very kind and welcoming and made me feel comfortable. I stood in the back, watched the people in front of me and did the best I could. I was so intrigued by it all. Sometimes laughing at the seriousness of it, but yet wanting what the people in the class had. When I got home, I felt so alive. I felt great. I was experiencing my first yoga buzz.
I took the advice of the instructors and went back every day, literally. Gradually, my whole life started to change. I became obsessed. I brought friends to classes so they could try it, I read and studied both of Bikram’s books, I practiced when I was on vacation in different states and even in the sauna room of a cruise ship. I took a workshop with a senior instructor. I started to become a more loving person, my heart was open now after being closed for many, many years. I wanted to hug everyone, even dogs. I remember around the seventh month mark, the mind body connection really kicked in. I fell totally in love with Bikram Yoga. I started to love myself again after years and years of self destructive behaviors.
About a year and a half later, my husband was brought into my life. A year after that, I was blessed with my first son. I experienced the joys of motherhood and marriage all at once. Two years later, we found our new home and moved to the suburbs. A year later, my second boy arrived. I was advised by my doctors to not take Bikram Yoga while pregnant. I was considered high risk, due to being of advanced maternal age. But that didn’t stop me, I did Rajashree’s pregnancy DVD at home.
I truly believe none of these events would have occurred if my heart was not open. I was inviting all good things into my life from this yoga. Around six years in, I was starting to feel stuck with the practice and tried a different style of heated yoga, but still tried to get a class in every now and then. That was a blessing because I came back with fresh eyes. I was really open to what poses needed corrections and became aware that I was doing things incorrectly just to get into the pose. I am at the point in my practice where I am fine tuning a lot of things that I have been cheating on.
Some pretty awesome things I have noticed after practicing for a whole decade (I feel old) is that I look forward to the heat and sweat. I have flexibility and can maintain mental clarity for most of the class. I have figured out that you have to use the right muscle to get into a pose to obtain the maximum benefits, the right way.
I struggle the most with Locust Pose, Toe Stand, and Standing Bow. Some days, my concentration is really off and my confidence is low. I have to learn when to back off and slow down, and not be so intense. I have a gentle nature, kind of shy and free spirited. There are no words to describe the sense of pride I feel after getting into a tough pose or completing a class, for that matter. These days I am working on bringing more laughter and fun to my class. I would not be the person I am today if I haven’t found this yoga. I am grateful every day for it and look forward to many more decades to come! It will always and forever be a part of my life.
Name: Christi Kelliher
1st Bikram Yoga Class: August 4, 2014
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
I started my Bikram Journey with a few glasses of wine and a Groupon. I had just recently finished reading a book called, “Hell-Bent,” and I remember thinking that it sounded really intense, which was right up my alley. And it was intense. Intensely hot, intensely bright and intensely difficult. I ended up going back 26 days out of that 30-day Groupon.
Right around my 1-year Bikram-versary, I wasn’t feeling all that focused. Nothing was really wrong, I just felt kind of adrift. Then it came to me. I would do a challenge. I always felt great after a 30-day, so I thought I’d feel incredible after a 60-day. The 60 morphed into a 90 and the 90 into 100. A 100-day challenge because it was a nice, tidy number and because I needed a defined endpoint. And after all was said and done, I was wrong. I didn’t just feel incredible, I felt like a new person.
What did I learn after 100 days? I learned that regardless of the amount of preparation that you do before class, it does not guarantee a “good” class. I think it was class 53 or 54 that I just picked up my mat after the standing series and left…the…room. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t keep still, I convinced myself that I couldn’t breathe. I barely made it to the locker room before I totally lost it. And guess what? The next day, I was absolutely fine. I also had a much better understanding of the word “humbling”.
I learned that sometimes you have to take your medicine. That gross medicine that tastes like dirt. The class that I didn’t want to go to. The teacher that I wasn’t in the mood to take. These were often the times that progress was made. That bad medicine will make you feel better, given time.
I learned that my body is more than just a sum of its parts. It is a machine. A 24-hour a day, miracle producing machine. I began to be more conscientious of the fuel I was providing it, because I had to. Better food choices, better hydration, better sleep habits. After a while, I stopped seeing myself as a mass of perceived flaws and only saw the ‘machine’. Bones and muscles that were capable of some pretty cool things. I began to acknowledge how fortunate that this piece of equipment was mine and that it deserved my respect. In losing my preoccupation with my reflection, I began to see the real me.
I remember the exact class when I realized this. When I looked in the mirror, under those glaring, unforgiving fluorescent lights, looked into my own eyes and I saw acceptance. And then I saw forgiveness. And then I started to cry. In that moment I realized that I’d never really looked at myself. I would avoid eye contact with my reflection at all costs. I always have. I’d just let my eyes kind of glaze over and lose focus as if I were seeing myself from beneath a veil. And just like that, the veil was gone. I am utterly convinced that that was the first time I saw ME.
Most importantly, I learned that I’ll never stop learning. As one of my favorite teachers likes to say, “If it makes sense to you, cool, keep it. If it doesn’t, throw it away. For now. Because at some point, it WILL make sense.” I try to remain open to possibility every day, both in and out of the hot room. The extreme discipline and structure of Bikram Yoga that initially drew me to it, has helped relax my need for it.
In the 150 hours that I gave to this yoga, I received something priceless in return. One wide awake, miraculous and ever-grateful ME.
1st Bikram Yoga Class: 2013
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
I began a lifelong diet in 2008 that is low carb, allowing no processed foods..and only the sugar I have is found in fruit. I never weighed myself before I started the new diet and I have never weighed myself since I have adopted the new diet.
The following year I started walking in 5ks and volunteering at various races.
In September of 2013 I found a Groupon for a month of classes and finally gave Bikram Yoga a try. I liked it, but it was difficult and I did not attend too regularly.
I continued at this studio once or twice a week until March of 2014. One day I arrived there to find a sign explaining that the studio had closed and Bikram Yoga South Naperville was honoring the current package of the students attending this studio. I thought that was too far to travel for yoga, but I went there to see what it was like since my account information had been transferred there. I found South Naperville to be my preferred studio and decided I would find a way to make it there regularly.
I have liked the instructors and atmosphere of South Naperville and been attending classes five days a week since I arrived there for the first class.
In 2014 all the prescription medications I had been taking were discontinued. My blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar were all in the normal range without any medication. I had suffered from panic attacks for years and had been in weekly therapy. The attacks and anxiety subsided and eventually disappeared and after 15 years of seeing my therapist on a weekly basis…I now go and see her every three months. I had been on daily anti-anxiety medication and we had a goal to taper off of the medication. I now have been off the medication for several months and we attribute this to the benefits I have derived from Bikram Yoga.
In the Summer of 2015 I moved to Naperville and have been able to attend Bikram Yoga as often as six to seven days a week. It is the perfect activity for me.
Name: Carol Edwards
1st Bikram Yoga Class: 2005
Attended Teacher Training Fall 2011
Studio Owner/Director of Bikram Yoga Aurora in Illinois
I was introduced to BY in 2005 by my sister. Although I had never taken a hot yoga class before, I was well on my yoga path doing non-heated hatha yoga at my local gym, which I enjoyed, so I was looking forward to a new experience with the heat.
I was definitely uncomfortable during my 1st class. I couldn’t catch my breath, it was HOT, the sweat was stinging my eyes, and I couldn’t stay still or even keep my mind focused. Yet I persevered as I wanted to keep up with my sister. Afterwards I felt different than after any other yoga class. I recall thinking, “Whoa, there’s something to this, I got my cardio workout in, I just sweat buckets, felt exhausted yet exhilarated at the same time”, it got me curious.
I have to admit my beginning Bikram Yoga practice was what I now consider to have been “a seasonal practice”. I’d return to BY primarily for weight loss during the early summer and winter seasons to shed a few pounds. I was mainly focused on the physical benefits than anything else. I felt these benefits of my “seasonal” practice immediately, I have to admit, it took some time before I noticed all the psychological benefits this practice had to offer. My head just wasn’t in the game at this point.
In 2007, when my Dad passed, I decided to return to the practice to help gain peace, grieve my loss and find a place of escape from what I was dealing with instead of turning to substances for relief. At that time, I was a 20+ year smoker, suffered chronic lower back pain associated from degenerative disc disease, plus I had an enormous amount of stress at work, working for the family business. And with my dad’s recent passing, I knew the stress at work was only going to increase; I needed the yoga again. But this time, I needed it for the mental benefits more than anything.
Fast forward summer 2009; I decided to commit to a regular practice of at least 3 times per week. This routine was a game changer; I lost weight, my back felt better, my stress was under control and I was being asked “what are you doing, you look great!” Family and friends were noticing the changes not only in my body but also my attitude as well as my stress level. This encouraged me to continue on and keep improving myself. My thought was, this yoga was more than just about stretching, there’s something bigger going on here… that’s when the wheels started to turn. I had a dream. I wanted to share this yoga with my family & friends.
January 2011 comes and I decide to make a challenge for myself. If I can quit smoking and up my practice to 5 times a week, then I want to become a Bikram Yoga Instructor and open up my own studio to share this healing practice with as many people as possible. Through that commitment and determination, I did just that. September 2011, I resigned from the family business as VP & CFO and attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training for nine weeks in Los Angeles, CA. Exactly two years later, I opened Bikram Yoga Aurora in September 2013.
Today, this yoga has helped me with so many physical as well as psychological issues. I no longer suffer from stress, my back feels 100% better, my body feels clean, I’m a non-smoker, I no longer crave sugar and alcohol as I once did and my attitude is positive. The greatest benefit from my practice is that no matter what I’m going through physically or mentally, I know that just showing up on my mat, having deep compassion for where I am today, releasing my thoughts for 90 minutes and just to “be in the moment” is so comforting to me. It’s my release, the natural way. I am forever grateful for this yoga practice; it has a profound effect to improve lives. In the end, it’s yoga that used me. I now know that yoga gives you what you need, not what you want. Just show up, get on your mat, let it go and will too will change for the better.
Name: Beth Pettit
1st Bikram Yoga Class: April 2015
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
I’m just a mom with 4 kids. My oldest just turned 16 and got her drivers license last week. Like any 16 year old, she got her ticket to freedom and I’ve suddenly started to see her less and less. I also have a 5-year-old daughter with autism. Last week was also her last week of preschool and she will start kindergarten in the fall.
My youngest was developing normally and suddenly she just stopped talking and progressing. She seemed to distance herself from us more and more. I had hoped that it was a phase and that one day she would “snap out of it.”
I remember coming to a cross roads and taking her to get her hearing checked because she had become a master at ignoring us. It had come down to she’s either deaf (and that’s why she stopped progressing because she can’t hear) or autistic (she doesn’t listen because she’s in her own world). When the developmental pediatrician came out he handed me some information on autism and said, “She’s hearing at 100%” I broke down in the hall of Children’s Hospital and wondered where did I go wrong? What did I do? Who wishes that their child is deaf? (Beth’s Daughter today pictured below)
That was almost 3 years ago. Every year has new challenges, moments of heartaches and tears. Overall she can’t talk. She doesn’t acknowledge people. She has trouble sleeping and has a horrible diet because she hates the vast majority of foods. We spend a ton of money on different therapies, vitamins and organic food. Oh! And pull-ups! Because she isn’t potty trained.
I have spent so much time reaching out, talking, reading, researching, and doing all these things because I wanted a “normal” child. I have gone around and around so much that when things didn’t work out, I became more depressed and angry at myself, my husband, and the world. I truly had become an emotional, angry, jealous person because I wanted what other parents had. Let me say that living being angry is so hard!
About 7 weeks ago I decided to go to yoga. Honestly, I went because I wanted to lose some weight. I thought I would be just another number and disappear in the back – which is what I thought I wanted. During the first class I remember the instructor saying during Savasana to “Release, relax and breathe.” I thought “Seriously lady?” I also heard her say at the end of the class “Namaste” I thought “What on earth does that even mean? Is that just a nice way to say “f$%^ off?” (Good thing there’s Google!) I left afterwards and came back the next day because like I said – I wanted to lose weight.
The second class I had a different instructor entirely. Again, I heard “Release, relax, breathe.” This time my thought was, “Will you people stop saying that! Are you going to relax when I throw this water bottle at your head?” and suddenly I started to cry. When I got my act together I thought, “I’m going to tell the instructor Namaste first!” When that class was over and I walked out I suddenly felt different. Better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still have days where I catch my self crying- and that’s ok! I know deep down I need it. (Plus I can do it and no one will notice!)
I have noticed that I’ve become more thankful and less angry – more happy than sad. I’m becoming less and less hard on myself and my husband. I’ve stopped blaming myself. I’m starting to love the world more, love the shape I’m getting in, but more importantly I have found a deeper love and connection to my little girl. She is truly my heart and I wouldn’t change her for anything!
Having a child with a disability is hard. Some days are wonderful and some are heartbreaking. The difference between me now and me 7 weeks ago is that I’m able to stake a step back and see the beauty in things – not so much the negativity.
I know this is just my beginning- my start to something new. I know that I don’t know the instructors very well, but thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you guys the most.
Namaste!! (I still giggle a little every time!)
Name: Josh Liles
1st Bikram Yoga Class: 2002
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga Park Slope
In no way could the first 12 years of my Bikram Yoga practice be considered a consistent. I practiced yoga how I lived most of my life: spurts of effort followed by complacency. In year 13, I decided to do something profoundly simple: show up. At some point, I decided that I’ve done enough 30-day challenges followed by a month of 1 or 2 classes. My body felt great for a month and then I’d just quit. What would happen if I just kept going? In year 13, my yoga became one thing…showing up.
Showing up meant arriving and being fully engaged. Showing up meant focusing on right now. Showing up meant being accountable to myself. Showing up meant walking to yoga when I didn’t want to go.
After 6 months of showing up, neuroplasticity did its thing and my body just showed up. The daily decision became automatic. It actually was hard not to go. Reasons that used to stop me from going (feeling depressed, feeling fat, feeling tired) became reason to go.
I won’t sugar coat it. My 13th year of Bikram Yoga was hard, really f’n hard. Not just in yoga, I had money problems, marriage problems, back problems, self doubt, childcare problems, etc. I spent plenty of time on the floor during standing series. I cried in class at least 5 times that I remember, one of them embarrassingly audible. I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because change is hard. I cried because I was discovering depths of myself that I never knew existed. I cried because I was now fully aware, fully engaged, and fully vulnerable. I cried because I knew I was going to keep going and that I was going to be leaving parts of me behind.
I assume any experience that runs over the course of a year feels like a roller coaster. Mine felt that way. Change came so slowly it almost felt immeasurable. Towards the end of the year, teachers and students started asking me what I was doing.
“Are you on a cleanse? Are you dieting? Are you lifting weights? Are you doing anything else besides yoga?”
No. I show up. Every single day that I can. That’s it.
Results include: a 20% weightloss, or 40 lbs., a healthy blood pressure, and a perfect EKG. If you would like to read more about the results of Josh’s 13th year of practice check out his blog post here.
Josh writes about his yoga journey on his blog Yogyah – be sure to stop by and get inspired!
(Photographed by Mónica Félix)
Name: Nuzhat Jillani
1st Bikram Yoga Class: September 2010
Attended Teacher Training: Fall 2011
Studio Owner/Director of Bikram Yoga Milton in Ontario, Canada
I found Bikram yoga in the summer of 2010 while I was on a verge of health disaster. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are just a few medical conditions I suffered since 2001, while following a strict food diet set out by a nutritionist from my family doctor and working out at the gym regularly. I was on 15 different prescription drugs. No matter what I did I couldn’t bring my blood sugar levels down to avoid further health complications. Sitting at close to 300IBS and having a verdict of my family doctor wanting to put me on insulin I thought of giving Bikram yoga a try as a last resort.
After my first week into practicing Bikram yoga I saw and felt the difference, not only my clothes started to have a looser fit, but I also slept better and smiled more. To date I have lost 80 lbs. and lead a happy and healthy life. I am no longer on any prescription drugs, having gradually come off of each one as I found I no longer needed them.
It took me only 3 months of practice to make a life changing decision to decide to go to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, which I attended in the Fall of 2011. I managed to get a chance to spend 9 weeks in Los Angeles, California among 435 other teacher trainees.
I went to Teacher Training just to learn Bikram Yoga from the source, Bikram Choudhury himself, with no intention of teaching at all, but to return to my regular job. I was told by the senior staff at teacher’s training, “After you go home, you will get the itch to teach,” and that’s exactly what happened.
I wanted to share this amazing practice that has changed me from the inside and out. I have taught Bikram Yoga in 4 countries at over 30 Bikram Yoga studios where I met some of the most amazing people. After traveling and teaching in most studios in GTA, and also the USA, Dubai, even in my home town of Karachi, Pakistan; I decided to share my passion of Bikram Yoga with the community of Milton, Ontario.
Name: Pamela Nunn
1st Bikram Yoga Class: October 2012
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
“After 3 months of Bikram Yoga practice I spent a night in the ICU due to an anaphylactic reaction to blood pressure medication I had been taking for 4 years. I was informed I no longer have hypertension. The only lifestyle change I had made was my yoga practice. For two years now, I have told myself I have to practice yoga because I don’t want to go back on my medication.
Bikram Yoga has transformed me – new friendships, improved mental and physical strength, patience and compassion – just thinking about it makes me emotional. I am truly jazzed about my one year transformation pictured here in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose and will continue to work on elements that can get me one millimeter closer while relaxing and breathing within each posture. Yet my real transformation so far is my appreciation of my practice – most importantly the opportunity to let go and open my heart.”
Name: Claudia Diaz de Leon
1st Bikram Yoga Class: June 2012
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga South Naperville
“What I am discovering is that Bikram Yoga indeed changes you in ways you would never expect. I’ve been thinking hard on how it’s changed me. And one of those outcomes is that for the 1st time in my entire residence in Naperville I feel as if I belong to a community. I’ve lived here for 15 years and never knew anyone and no one knew me. I had friends but no one that lived near me. Through this yoga and because of it, I feel I belong and that is a wonderful feeling.
I’ve felt disconnected from my community for most of my life. We lived in an all-Mexican neighborhood in the city and moved to the suburbs when I was very young. Growing up there was little or no diversity. With each passing year I grew up and developed a complex. I had issues with self and self-confidence due to issues of color and race. I never felt smart enough, pretty enough, and I was this quiet, awkward girl who felt insignificant and unnoticed. It’s taken many years to undue this damage. Some of it still lurks in the some pockets of myself and creeps into my life.
As an adult I moved to Naperville, Illinois and there I never felt embraced or even welcomed until recently. It is because of this yoga and the people I’ve encountered during my practice that I am changing. This yoga opened my body, eyes and heart to accept others and myself and to allow myself to be a part of a whole – to belong.”
1st Bikram Yoga Class: May 2013
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga Red Deer
“I started practicing Bikram Yoga in May 2013 when I was looking for a new direction in life. As someone who has a little endurance and no flexibility at all and who doesn’t like high intensity work outs, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it, but I did. I used to practice 4-5 times a week and it helped me deal with my anxiety, taught me how to be patient, and how to handle my stress level. My self confidence was low and I was too shy.
But every time I came to the hot room and looked at myself in the mirror, I started to embrace the person in front of me. Slowly, I started opening up. Things that usually scare me and cause me stress, don’t have the same effect on me as I learn how to let go, trust, and believe in myself more each day. I didn’t believe it when teachers would say, “one day, your head will touch the floor, or your head will touch your toes”, but with constant practice, it did happened. As my postures improve, so has my self confidence and self love.”
Name: Nancy Taylor
1st Bikram Yoga Class: April 29th, 2013
Home Studio: Bikram Yoga Marina Del Ray
“With each Bikram class I feel more comfortable in my own skin. When I first started Bikram, I had a hard time looking in the mirror. Now I practice in bike shorts and a sports bra and can look at my physical body and appreciate it for the life it gives me.
I’m usually the biggest person in the room. That won’t always be the case, but, for now it is. People say yoga is for every body. That Bikram yoga is for every body, and I’m living proof of that truth. I’m living proof that amazing changes can happen externally and internally in that hot sweaty room. I’m not where I want to be but I’m inching closer with each breath!
Has Bikram Yoga changed your life? Do you have before and after pictures of a certain posture that has come a long way with your dedicated practice? Do you have before and after pictures of a major weight loss or increased muscle development? Do you have something say about how this practice has effected your everyday? I would love to post your achievements on this page! Please send any pics or written testimonial to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You never know if your words or pictures might inspire someone else to get into the hot room or just keep on getting to the studio. You are an inspiration yogis!