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Inspire others to start and maintain their regular Yoga practice by sharing your story!
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If you have ever seen any super hero movie, there is always a point where the hero is almost done. Down to the ground, beaten, and for all intent and purpose, she is lost to the story.
This was my state when I arrived at the doors of BHY. Tired, weak and just recovering from some tough battles of life. I had never attempted any yoga before, and I was really nervous, and apprehensive. The staff was amazing, and slowly I began to recover my super powers. It kind of went like this…
(For the purposes of this testimonial I will definitely pop in some fruits of my newfound knowledge)
Day one of Bikram Yoga at BHY:
OMG it is so hot in here….
OMG it’s so hot in here……….
I am definitely wearing too many pieces of clothing, and thinking quite often…are you kidding???…you want me to do WHAT??????
The first days are new, and tough, and all the other superheroes in the room are in unison and twirling around like super fit ballerinas that pop out when you open a jewelry box. My head was full with instruction and thoughts of quitting….but I got through it….just! The first few days might be tough going, but it is the true beginning of a wonderful awakening.
Having some self faith is pretty important here…it simply does not matter if you are “too thin, too fat, too stiff, too old, too tired or too scared” Yoga, (any form) will cradle your body with love and acceptance. Bikram yoga does this, and also asks that you give it time and faith, to see the results you want.
I never had a waist like this! How did that happen?? Increased muscle strength, clear head, (for the most part, I am a menopausal superhero after all)
It just isn’t that hot anymore. My skin has changed for the better and the release of toxins has been incredibly advantageous! I always loved that ‘red radish’ glow on my face after any exercise, and now I live for that feeling.
Someone said we are all one class away from a good mood, and that could not be truer. I am still working on the poses and beginning to realize that I just can’t look at any of the other superheroes anymore, but that my own journey is the goal.
(Huh, what does that mean???) Well, what I learnt early on is, that the only one who is responsible for my ‘yogi’ intentions, was me.
Every day is a new opportunity to stretch an eight of an inch further, even if it’s just your smile.
The Inner Stuff:
To get into your own mind can be one of the toughest things possible. Clearing my mind and meditating while in class, was a foreign concept to me. I come into class with my list of things to ponder…you know…important stuff like; the grocery list, where are the kids, making that appointment for that strange surgical thing, that doesn’t show up until you are well into your fifties ….oh, and while I’m on the subject, being fifty…..you get the idea. STOP!!
I get it now…breath, stay calm, and allow the thoughts to go…you do not need to create a cerebral battle of wills, just choose to give yourself permission to allow the thoughts to go.
Now I can do a class and ‘loose’ outside and be so much happier inside, instead. The classroom is my safe place, and the voices of my teachers my guide through the mind maze.
Now I am feeling wonderful about this yoga stuff!! My body has regained its’ strength, and then some. My posture is better, my aches and pains are a thing of the past, and I am also getting quite good at mastering my most important muscle, my brain.
But I will share with you, that while I know how to address my thoughts, they don’t always want to be corralled, and so I end up laughing at myself, and that is the conversation I have while I am trying to master a pose. I can honestly say that a good laugh at my mini failed attempts to master a pose, feels better than any finish line I have ever crossed. I get to do that everyday, many times, if I want!
The yoga stuff…belongs to you…is about you…and will save you, and you only.
I love this new chance for my body and me!!
Before I go, perhaps some tips:
It is hot…so you need not bring the t-shirt and the sweats…its’ hot! If you want to stay covered up and you don’t like your body, here is a solution for you. At the end of every class there is a breathing exercise, and on the beat of every outward breath, I chant in my mind…’I love my body…I love my body…I love my body…now I do!
Loosing weight, or gaining it with Bikram Yoga is so very possible; you need to show up though. SIMPLE AS THAT. One class a week is Ok, but more is way better. In six months I have taken more forms of yoga offered at Beaches Hot Yoga, (Yin, for example) and I can say that to see any real change, is up to you, and what you are willing to invest. Again…talk to yourself, and see what comes ups. If you are not trying this, (or anything new for that matter) it is probably your mind, which is keeping you where you are. Decide to do things differently, one eight of an inch at a time. That is superhero power in its’ truest form!
Invest in a mat and a towel, (nothing fancy is required, and you get to carry around your own mini fitness center)…enjoy the social with your fellow yogis, find something you can bear to wear, and remember that the class is yours, not the guy beside you who is grunting, or the pretzel in front of you who is twisting like an unnatural human cork screw. It is your class….only yours…..and you are safe and in the perfect place to explore your true inner and outer strength.
The staff is excellent at BHY. Introduce yourself, and feel confident in knowing, that a large part of their mandate is to care for you, and keep you safe. How yummy is that?!
Speak up! If you have a concern, or a worry, a handicap, or any thing that you think will be a cause of concern for you, just ask.
There is a process for the class, all the decisions that BHY make to conduct their classes, have been tested over time and will also make sense to you over time. Trust.
Come and give it a try…what’s the worst that can happen???
You may just discover the thing that you have been searching for all along.
I love my body, and it really loves me too!! I couldn’t say that six months ago.
Ya, that’s the thing about superheroes, it is a life long privilege to be one!
I have to mention how much I love Bikram Beaches. The environment you have created and the incredible group of teachers have helped make yoga a significant and important part of my life. I love taking class with you. I enjoy that you can make me feel challenged, motivated, nurtured and inspired all at the same time! Thank-you.
My path to wellness….
It was about one year ago that I tried bikram yoga for the first time. I didn’t really know what this ‘type’ of yoga was about, and I didn’t really care. The location was close to my home, it was a 90 minute class, (which would keep me moving for longer than I could motivate myself to do on my own) and it seemed like a good ‘return on investment’ for the price. When I walked in for the first time, the first question I was asked was if I had done ‘hot yoga’ before. I lied and said ‘yes…. I have, once before, but it was a really really long time ago…..’ I had actually done yoga before (years ago – while in university). But I had never done ‘hot yoga’ before. I had even missed the ‘Sex and the City’ episode where the ladies attend one of these classes, so had no idea how hot and sweaty the class is. And in all fairness, you never really believe how hard something can be when watching it on screen. You have to experience it yourself. Live. And in front of mirrors. There’s no hiding of anything.
The class was TOUGH. We had barely begun the first breathing exercise and I was dripping with sweat. In short, I barely made it to the end of the class. And I vowed to never return. That was over a year ago. The funny thing is that by the time I made it home after that first class, I had almost forgotten about the pain and discomfort I felt during the class (which I likened to child birth). And a few days later, I was ready for the challenge again. I bought a 40 class package a few weeks later. And I’ve been going regularly to the classes ever since.
I’ve tried to be consistent with other physical activities but nothing really stuck like hot yoga has. And I still can’t tell you that I ‘love it’. I loathe it at times. It’s still painful and difficult. From what I hear the teachers say, it never gets easy. Because you push your body to get deeper into the poses as you get more familiar with them. So you control the level of difficulty you want to set for yourself. Now you could say that going to yoga works for me because it was a combination of ‘good location, having the time to go to a class, good timing in my life, etc’. But remember, I’ve tried other activities, including running (which I still drag myself out to do every week) and nothing has kept me coming back the way yoga does. Another benefit I’ve realized from the classes is the mental break – you have no choice but to escape for a bit. For 90 minutes, actually. You can call it meditation or getting into a zone. But what you call it doesn’t really matter. It’s allowed me to do two things that I need to do at once – push my body and relax my mind.
Since starting yoga, I’ve stopped worrying about how I need to get more physically fit, or how I need to stay a certain weight. I just go to class and shut everything out. For 90 minutes. It’s worth a try. And by the way, after 2 minutes in the 40 degree plus class, no one is looking around sizing up body types or looks. You quickly move to simply concentrating on getting through the class.
I was dragged to my first hatha yoga class in 1991 by a friend. My friend soon dropped out, but the study of yoga became a constant in my life. I first went to a Bikram class around 2005. It killed me, and I came out of the class angry, thinking things like ‘This is not yoga! I nearly threw up! Who are these people in their underwear? What is this craziness??’ At that studio at the time, if you bought one class, you got the second class free. When another friend said she wanted to try it, I reluctantly said I’d go because it was free.
Of course, that was the beginning of my understanding of Bikram’s method.
Bikram yoga is very, very deep and has challenged me on all levels. I liken it to the formal sitting meditation of buddhism, where the form is difficult, strict and remains the same; you are the thing that changes within it. You are left with yourself. No escape. And there is no end goal to it, every class is an opportunity to learn something new. We are forever beginners no matter what we think we know, because we ourselves are always changing.
Don’t be fooled by internet photographs of the many gorgeous, young, thin, confident looking yogis in magnificent, perfect postures-Bikram yoga is for everyone. I am not young, nor was I ever thin, athletic, or naturally flexible-at 27 when I began practicing hatha yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes. Thanks to a regular Bikram practice, I am in much better shape now than I was then, both physically and mentally.
Much gratitude to BYT owners, Dana and Damien, for continuing to support this community. Thank you to all the inspirational instructors. Your dedication, kindness and encouragement are appreciated on a good day, and have meant even more to me during these past few years of personal difficulty.
Your student, Stephanie S.
I’m an actor, so needless to say I also have another full time job in a bar, I have 2 home businesses, I go to auditions and workshops and do the odd acting/singing gig here and there, and I am planning my wedding which is a full-time job in itself. I am one of those people that if I have a free twenty minutes in my day I need to pick up another hobby. I am also one of those people who lies awake in bed for three quarters of the night because I can’t shut my brain off and when I do fall asleep I have chaotic dreams about everything on my mind. Bikram yoga is constantly teaching me how to relax my mind and just be. I also find that bikram teaches me to just breathe and forget about the outside world, which not only gives me 90 minutes of peace in my day, but also has trained me how to incorporate that in the rest of my life and concentrate solely on what I am doing at the time, including going to sleep.
I had my baby! He was born on March 21 at 9pm and weighed 9lbs14oz. I am writing to you to thank you and everyone at Bikram immensely. Delivery was significantly easier than my first. I truly believe that the difference was attending your classes. I really am very grateful for all the support that everyone at Bikram offered through my pregnancy. I encourage all of my friends to take up hot yoga. Especially the ones who are trying to conceive.
Thank you again so very much for the encouragement and the special attention given to my pregnant belly.
I will be back…as soon as I can.
( and baby Blake)
I began Bikram Yoga in September 2009 with hesitation since I have advanced degenerative disc disease in my back. I was forced to stop doing mixed martial arts because sometimes my back would “go out” and I would be unable to walk for a week at time. I was told by Drs that pain medications and anti-inflammatory meds were my future, basically I had to accept that at 46, I was getting old.
I wasn’t ready to do that and when friends told me repeatedly about the benefits they had experienced from Bikram Yoga I decided to try it. At first I thought there’s no way I was ever going to be able to get anywhere near some of the postures…. but because the instructors were so informative and welcoming and supportive I persevered. Now after each class I can see small?improvements in my flexibility. Best of all my back pain is GONE! Kept at bay successfully by yoga classes 3x a week. I feel my core getting stronger and I don’t feel old anymore:)
I’ve always experienced irregular periods, symptoms associated with a hormonal imbalance called polycystic ovarian syndrome. Before Bikram Yoga, I was getting a period only a handful of times each year, and for me this carried with it both physical and emotional consequences. I’m amazed to say that a steady practice of Bikram Yoga has balanced my menstrual cycle, and now I get a period almost monthly.
I was amazed at this transformation, and because of this I would recommend Bikram Yoga Bloor to anyone, especially if you experience similar hormonal imbalances. The facility is clean, inviting and well organized, and the instructors are very supportive. I will be attending regularly to keep up with my increased sense of wellbeing!
I had recently been for my regular check up and was told that my blood pressure was high and that I needed to do something about it or go on meds.
I had practiced Bikram yoga on and of for several years and decided to give it a full go.
By doing it three to four days a week I have been able in thirty days to get my blood pressure down to better then normal, loose some weight, feel better and I am told stop snoring.
I find the great staff and two locations a big help in maintaining my practice.
Sincerely, Greg Passarella
I began practicing Bikram yoga in March of this year, and I can honestly say it has changed my life.
Bikram yoga has helped regulate my sleep/wake cycles (I was battling a sleeping pill addiction due to insomnia at the age of 21), lessened my anxiety, helped me improve my self-esteem, and encouraged a healthier, happier lifestyle. Above all, I finally have found a hobby, something I am interested in and enjoy!
The staff at Bikram Yoga Beaches are extremely welcoming, encouraging, and knowledgeable about the practice, and the studio feels like a second home to me. It is a non-judgemental environment, and the support and energy you receive from the other practitioners is phenomenal.
My friends are constantly complimenting me on how glowing and fit I look since I began the practice, and I have more energy and flexibility than ever before. The postures have helped me improve my focus and determination and this has generalized to other aspects of my life, as well. I feel beautiful, happy, and healthy since I found my way to Bikram yoga, and it has truly become an integral part of my life.
I recently tried Bikram for the first time at a free class on the opening of your new studio. Since then I have been every day for the last two weeks. I have to say the benefits for me are priceless.
I have always been very fit and enjoy an active lifestyle. However several years ago I suffered nerve damage with drop foot and sciatic pain. I could not walk for 3 months and have had chronic back pain ever since. I was lucky to recover full function of my foot after much perserverance. However I have tried many different types of pain management from pilates, massage therapy, acupuncture, homoeopathy and even anti inflammatory to varying degrees of effectiveness. Nothing has taken the pain away as quickly and efficiently as hot bikram yoga in only 2 weeks! It is incredible to imagine I could have had this relief before now.
I have a new perspective on my body and mental clarity from yoga that allows me to focus and manage my stress. I have a stressful job and I have achieved a sense of peace and well being that I am very thankful for. Although I probably won’t be able to continue to practise every single day, I am grateful to have found something that compliments my life so well.
Thank you for providing this valuable service, I recommend it to all my friends! Thank you, Jen
Last month I passed through my 52nd birthday, my whole adult life I was a constant 172 to 174 lbs. Now I weigh 159 lbs! Wow, how did that happen??…and I haven’t had abs since my twenties…guess what…they are back. Thanks Bikram Yoga!
Prior to starting Bikram’s Yoga classes I ate a lot of sweets, my diet did not include vegetables, I slept during daytime, I lost a lot of hair and my periods were not regular.
After starting hot yoga classes I refrain from sweets wanting healthier foods, I am more active and avoid sleeping during the daytime. My hair has stopped falling out and I have started to have regular periods.
I am much happier now than before.
I started doing Bikram’s in the summer of 2006. I was looking for an escape; something to distract my mind and my emotions and my aching heart. I was hurt so badly that spring that I felt like a wounded, empty shell of myself. It makes me feel so sad thinking about the girl that I was at that point in my life. At first, I loved Bikram’s because it was a challenge that absorbed my anger diverted my pain and put me right to sleep afterwards. Over time, my life settled and my heart healed, and I started to love Bikram’s because I felt that I was a little more of myself after class, a little more calm and euphoric, and ready to face the next challenge. And, although the changes and challenges have been numerous over the last two and a half years, Bikram’s is one thing that has remained constant, unchanged, unbroken. Now I love Bikram’s because I own my practice; I am in control of the work I put into it and every time that I practice I relish in the sensations that I experience.
I love that I look beautiful in Half Moon and Standing Bow Pulling Pose. I love that Camel brings tears to my eyes almost every time. I love that I have seen progress in all my postures. I love that I feel like I’m going to sprout wings during Rabbit. I love listening to my heart rate slow down as a result of the work I do with my breath during Tree Pose.
I credit my emotional healing to Hot Yoga. I’m thrilled that I found Bikram’s, and that in the end Bikram’s found me.
My first few classes of Bikram Yoga were shear physical torture – and I do not exaggerate!!! I did not hesitate to voice my hatred of each session and how the best part was when you got to lie down.
However I kept dragging my ageing bod to class once a week for some time because I noticed one important result immediately – a big improvement in my mood. Those grey clouds lifted after every workout.
Then to my amazement – not being generally a proponent of any kind of workout and having failed at aerobics and all the other exercise fads – I noticed I was really becoming stronger. That glimpse of new strength showing in my arms as I strained to reach those toes spurred me on.
In spite of myself I began to come 3X a week.
I am no longer stiff when I get out of bed in the morning, a common complaint of ageing boomers.
I can garden all day without becoming exhausted.
My posture has improved immensely.
My skin glows.
My masseuse commented on how much my back, neck and shoulders had improved.
I notice increased strength and flexibility in many different ways throughout the days activities.
I have lots more energy.
I was not sick at all last winter.
In April I turned 68 – yikes! – I have never felt better.
Thank you Dana and all the great teachers at BYB.
I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga at BYB for almost a year now. I am able to practice usually once a week.
I work for the Toronto Police. Each year during a re-qualification period, I take part in what is called the Fitness Pin Test. The Fitness Pin Test for me is a personal goal I enjoy to complete every year. The test consists of muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. The last of which, I have struggled with the most. The flexibility portion of the test is called a Sit and Reach Test. The measurement starts when your fingers go beyond your toes. I have taken this test each year, and every year, I score a 3 ½ or 4 out of 10. I have barely been able to touch my toes without bending my knees since I was a young. By scoring low on the ?Sit and Reach Test, I have to make up the marks on the other aspects of the fitness testing. However, this year I scored an 8 ½ out of 10. I was completely shocked and amazed at my improvement in a relatively short period of time.
I now realize there is hope for further flexibility in my body. I’ve also noticed increase flexibility in my knees and neck over the past year. I plan on scoring even higher on the testing next year.
By: Neville Swanson
It’s not imperative to leave your ego at the entrance to the heated yoga oasis known as Bikram Yoga Beaches, but I’d suggest it, you avoid tasting it’s sour existence as it sweats out of every pore of your skin. I figured Bikram would test my embarrassing level of flexibility at best, however, I was quickly catapulted into a ninety-minute meditative, cardiovascular practice that had my entire body energized from within. I was hooked. Now a Bikram junkie, I experience the benefits of my practice each and every day. As the sweat beads rapidly, your muscles contract efficiently, and your flexibility blossoms, you breathe into a level of focused determination that enlightens your soul. Having recently undergone surgery, I was nervous to return to the studio, basically an ego related issue as I felt I wouldn’t be as “good” as I was prior. Then, I remembered that what happens inside the studio is only ever judged by one person, you. The energy and physical unity shared between the yogis during class is a collective, unspoken pact to experience this as a team, while simultaneously allowing your personal journey to be precisely that. Of course, I could go on for ever about the benefits I’ve received since beginning my practice, but you should really experience them for yourself, it’s the only way you’ll regret not starting your journey earlier.
First of all I would like to say I’m very satisfied and impressed with the level of service BYB has offered. I felt a welcoming vibe from the first time speaking to Dana over the phone which made me want join BYB even more. Then after my first session, the follow-up phone call and now this email. It makes me and I’m sure the others feel that the staff care and are not just in it for the sake of “business”.
Now to the effects of Bikram Yoga. My energy levels are constantly rising, I feel happy and the little things that bothered me no longer do. I think Bikram Yoga is a great thing for the mind, body and soul. I just can’t wait for the next day to come and attend the class.
It’s funny when I tell people about Bikram Yoga, they right away say “I could never do that”, “the heat is not my thing” but it’s funny because those people don’t have a clue what they are missing. They are thinking – which is what we don’t do during practice.
I love it and that is most important thing.
See you tonight,