I was introduced to BYA by a coworker 4 years ago. Initially my practice was very sporadic, sometimes practicing only a couple times of month. The most pivotal time was during my second year when I participated in the Spring Clean challenge-6 weeks with the goal of practicing 5x per week. This experience changed my entire relationship with my practice. During that time I actually felt and watched my body change. The dialogue “bones to skin, inside out” was true! My knee had been in pain for what seemed like forever. Now not only did the pain leave but I could squat and became more flexible than I had in years. I was excited each day to see what that session would bring and what I could do in each posture that I couldn’t do before the day before.
I’m so grateful for my introduction to BYA. The good energy in the studio is palpable because of the amazing teachers as well as all the fabulous yogis you have attracted to the studio. My practice continues to improve and strengthen with every class. It’s a 50% suffering 50% loving relationship. This varies every day, sometimes even with each posture.
Thank you for all for being my guides in this journey!
I need to write and apologize. I think I have been aware for quite a while that I am responsible for the mess in your Yoga studio. I have been leaving behind quite a disaster. My practice is still fairly new, but as I approach the end of my 60 day challenge I feel over whelmed to take responsibility.
I have left behind my Tinnitus, Anxiety, I.B.S, Acid Reflux, Acne, the Crick in my right Knee, Arthritis in my Culinary hands, Chronic fatigue, Menstrual cramps, bad attitude, bricks on my shoulders, the Dunlap over my belt, the flab under my arms, a big portion of my thunder thighs and I think one of my chins. I know the mess this can make as I have been carrying it around with me for 22 years. I was going to look in the lost and found, but honestly, I don't want it back.
I found some items as well. I almost feel guilty sharing them with you as I have been paying 5 times the amount of my monthly dues trying to obtain them. I must come clean and tell you I have found: Patience, ENERGY, PEACE, concentration, emotional, spiritual and physical balance, sweet dreams, Focus, my favorite pair of jeans and most importantly my own eyes in the front mirror.
Please accept my apology for the mess I left behind. I would be more than willing to come any afternoon and bring a shovel to gladly throw out all of these lost items.
On September 10th, 2001 I worked what I thought would be my last tour of duty as a New York City Fire Lieutenant. The next day, the man who replaced me was killed along with 342 co-workers and good friends. I went back to work and retired a second time in January 2002. By then I was a changed man. Along with the rest of my Fire Department brothers and sisters, I was filled with anger, sadness and grief.
I took my first Bikram Yoga class in January 2002 while visiting Maui. The practice of Bikram’s Hatha Yoga has guided me to a place of peace that I never could have envisioned nearly four years ago. I am still unsure why spending 90 minutes in a hot room doing Yoga produces such stillness of mind for me. I just know that it does. This Yoga changes lives!
I was introduced to Bikram Yoga the summer of 2008 by my friend Sabre. It was a very trying time in my life; I was dealing with some health issues. Sabre informed me about the heat and I thought, "Yeah right, we live in Arizona, it can't be that hot." WOW! During my first class, I thought these people are nuts to be in this hot room. The instructor told me I needed to come back the next day, and I thought I better give it one more try. I wanted to know more about Bikram Yoga. In the fall of 2009 I did the 60 Day Challenge, and experienced a change in my practice, mind and total body. I no longer have tennis elbow, I have quieted the mind, and overall feel great.
I was a heavy smoker for over 30 years. I quit at the age of 49. After 3 months of gaining weight and failing at several different exercise programs, I almost started smoking again. It was then that I discovered Bikram yoga. Immediately, the desire to smoke left me and I have been able to maintain a healthy weight for my age and feel and look at least 10 years younger.
When I injured my knee in a basketball game and needed surgery, Bikram Yoga brought me back to full strength in a couple of months. It is good to know that if I only do this for the rest of my life I can stay in the best possible shape. What I truly appreciated about Bikram Yoga is you get exactly out of it what you put in - you decide.
Feet, ankles, hips and back - all back pain is gone! Sleeping patterns, stress levels and my patience levels are so much better than what they were. The thing I like best is I am simply not as hungry as I was before beginning Bikram Yoga. I love/hate the fact that a class will never be "easy." I love that even though we are doing the same poses every single class, every time brings something new. I love how almost every class I surprise myself with stretching further or holding a pose longer. Bikram has created something so challenging and amazing, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it. I look forward to my continued journey with your studio.
- Wendy Ronning
When I heard the teacher say, at my first class, that you are never too old to begin yoga I was truly inspired. Why? Because, I started Bikram Yoga at Avondale at the age of 70. Can I do all the poses? No, but each day gives me more confidence. My goal was not to sit out a single pose and to stay focused. Because I just retired I have the luxury of being able to go at least five times a week and the difference to my health and well being has been truly amazing. I just completed my 70th class. Having suffered from low back pain for years and pain in my knees I began the classes with some fear and trepidation. But each of the great teachers at Avondale gave me more and more confidence to just go a little farther each day. I am now pain free and intend to stay that way with my daily practice. I feel like I have a whole new family and many new friends.
I am a small business owner, and always thought I was too busy to exercise. Then I discovered Bikram Yoga, and discovered I am too busy not to make it a priority in my life. I am more focused and efficient at work. My stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 was at a 15 when I began in January. After a month, I was at a 4. I'm sleeping better than I have in years and have actually dropped a pant size. 90 minutes in 105 degree room may sound like torture if you have never tried it, but trust me, it becomes an addiction you will never want to give up.
I was hooked after my 1st class, now 47 classes later I'm addicted. The most amazing change my body has experienced is my breathing. I have chronic asthma. I've always needed to carry my inhaler with me every minute, never knowing when I would have an attack. From day one with Bikram yoga my asthma is gone. This is so huge I don't even have words to express my gratitude. Also, that you remember everyone by name, Wow, you're all great... I look forward to more and more and more "Hot" classes.
My Name is Lauren. I'm 27 and a firefighter here in Arizona. I started practicing Yoga in 2011, after my friend FINALLY convinced me to go to a class with her at Bikram Yoga Avondale. After that first class I was hooked and before long I was going three or more days a week. I've always been active, healthy and in relatively good shape, but after just one month of yoga I had lost 4 inches in my waist. The practice changed my life. My eating habits and digestion were better. I couldn't really eat anything unhealthy without getting sick. My body as a whole felt better. My attitude changed. Even my road rage was almost non-existent. I was sleeping better. My life, as a whole, was just better.
Before I started to practice Bikram Yoga my back always hurt. This was the first time in my adult life that, between working out and fire fighting, that my back didn't hurt. One day, after working a house fire, I took off my gear and I realized my back actually felt good. I knew it was from Bikram yoga. Unfortunately, after nine months of practicing yoga, I had to stop for personal reasons. It wasn't long before my back began to hurt again, and this time I was suffering from spasms.
Before I started to practice I was going to a local club gym. I had been there 6 years. Not one trainer knew my name or said anything to me really. After my first day at the Bikram Avondale every time I walked in all the employees said hi and knew my name, even some of the fellow students. After not being in yoga for a little over a year I ran into a few Bikram Avondale employees and they all still remembered my name and said hi. I couldn't believe it.
I had been thinking about going back to class and this was just the encouragement I needed. It's easy to make excuses for not going. It's easy to spend time and money on stupid things; things that are not good or healthy for our body or our souls. Sometimes it's just as necessary to make a sacrifice for something we know is worth it. This is one of those times. It's not so much that I want to go to yoga; rather I NEED to go to yoga. I do it for me.
As I reflect on the many things that I have learned throughout my 100 days of Bikram Yoga, there are so many things to be thankful for.
In the beginning, my challenge really started because of my students in interventions that struggle in reading. I am fortunate enough to see 65 students every school day from grades K-8 that have some sort of difficulty with reading. When you stop and really think about the gift that reading is, and how we read things practically all the time, from street signs to products in a grocery store, the thought of a child not being able to read is extremely frightening. How will they make it in society today without being successfully literate? What will that mean for their future? In the beginning it was more about getting them to read than anything else. So, we started two charts; one for the amount of pages they read, and one for my classes. Slowly, the stickers started to fill each chart, and I could see the confidence in my students grow as they gained reading skills. What I did not realize was how much I was changing too.
"My life is my message."
The first 35-50 days of my challenge were physically intense. I felt like every few days I would be smacked by what Sabre called, "the yoga bus." However I also learned that if I stayed consistent, whatever was bothering me would eventually ease up and leave my body, only to uncover another area that needed attention. After awhile I became used to this, and confident that my body is capable of healing itself inside and out, one day at a time, one class at a time.
The mental challenges were what really astounded me. I started to notice that I frequently reacted to situations without really thinking about what was happening. I could only see my perspective. And then, on day 53 while reading an article, I read this quote from Gandhi; "My life is my message." It seemed simple enough, however carrying it out in real life was very different. I slowly began to work on seeing my perspective shift, and having the realization that while I could not control everything, I could control how I reacted to what was happening. In addition to this, I started to see my interactions with others as opportunities to give the gifts of compassion, empathy, listening, positivity, and understanding. The more I have been able to give of myself to others, the more amazing this journey has become. I am a true believer that indeed, the way I live my life, my actions, and my words, are a clear message to others. I have become grounded in a way that I have never expected, moving through my days with confidence and grace, understanding that each day I strive to be the best I can be on that day.
So many people have asked me, "How did you do it?" The truth is; I didn't do it alone. Granted, I was the one on the mat everyday for 100 days. However there were several people at the studio who continuously asked me how it was going and encouraged me on the days I wanted to quit. There were my "Yoga Buddies," who I could count on to be at a class at a certain time to make sure I was there too. And then, there was my precious family and friends who not only encouraged me and celebrated every 10 days completed, but gracefully stepped in to help take care of and play with William on the days where I needed someone to help me watch him so I could make it to the mat. The truth is that my celebration and accomplishment is a shared one. For that, I am so thankful to each and every person who made this success a possibility. From my heart to yours, thank you, thank you, thank you.
And then, there are my students, who are, the shining stars of my challenge. They managed to successfully read over 50,000 pages in less time than it took me to complete the challenge. This is, without a doubt, absolutely amazing! However, the true gift is that they are all reading better than when we started our challenge in September. Additionally, each student has made great reading gains in the classroom, which has transferred from students who rarely read to students who have each found their own personal nitch in the reading community. Who would have known that combining yoga and reading would have benefitted so many? Surely not I!
The physical and mental changes keep coming every day. Some days on the mat are awesome, other days are challenging in a humbling way that is a reminder that I still have a lot to learn. Whatever the lesson to learn, I am just so thankful for the opportunity to share my message of what wonderful things can happen on and off of the mat.
Best wishes to all who find themselves standing in front of a Bikram studio. Your life is about to change in ways you cannot possibly imagine!