I’m often asked two questions from friends who discover that I practice Bikram yoga:
1. How did you get started with Bikram yoga?
2. What keeps you going back to Bikram yoga?

How did you get started with Bikram yoga?

bikram yoga poses found here: http://www.bikramyogainstitute.com/Once upon a time, I was a runner. I ran track in high school and earned an NCAA letter running cross-country in college. (Go FSU Bobcats!) As the years progressed, my knees took a beating, and I always HATED running during the winter months. Then in 2002, I was in a car accident and tore my medial meniscus in my right knee. I underwent arthroscopic surgery in 2004, but I never fully recovered my mobility 100%. Needless to say, I stopped running and resigned myself to low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and elliptical workouts.

Unfortunately, nothing I tried ever gave me the same “high” as running. I longed for something that challenged me and provided the same physical and mental stimulation I had once taken for granted with running. I began reviewing various workout options offered at health and fitness clubs: Zumba (too much like a stage performance), Pilates (too expensive), karate (too much competition from my son), boxing (too dangerous for the longevity of my face as it appears today), spinning (too much emphasis on the lower body), swimming (too much body hair to worry about), etc.

But I NEEDED to do SOMETHING to get fit before 40 and feel good about myself again. So, I started doing what anyone would start doing in my situation: I Googled. I did a simple Google search for “exercises that heal the body,” which resulted in a list of meditation-related sites. As I read through the pages, I refined my search to “exercises that use meditation and movement to heal.” From these results, I learned about Tai Chi, Qi-Gong (pronounced chee-gong), and yoga. This lead me to Bikram yoga, which lead me to Bikram Yoga Rockville just around the corner from my house.

Why do you like it so much? What keeps you going back to Bikram yoga?

Where to begin…

  1. The runner’s high – Yes.
  2. The obvious effect on my body – There is no doubt that I have lost weight and toned up tremendously since starting my practice 6 months ago. Who would walk away from an exercise that gives them the runner’s high AND helps them lose weight without actually running?
  3. The increased energy upon leaving the hot room – After spending 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees, you would think a person would be so drained and lethargic that he wouldn’t be able to think of anything other than relaxing. Bikram yoga has the complete opposite effect. I leave the room feeling more alive and energized than when I entered. I may be thirsty but not ready for a nap, that’s for sure.
  4. The dichotomy of the experience – The postures and breathing exercises build upon each other consecutively. Although I feel like my sides are breaking in half-moon pose (#2 in the image above), I am feeling euphoric 45 minutes later coming out of my first camel pose (#22 in the image above). There is a distinct yin/yang or pain/pleasure moving between the agonizing task of holding a position and the peaceful release and “letting go” of savasanas (periods of rest and stillness).
  5. The people (yogis and trainers) – There is nothing more enjoyable than to share a “workout” with good people, really good people.
  6. The healing qualities – Each posture works a different muscle group, body part, and/or organ system. From stretching my muscles to working to balance my digestive tract, together the postures heal me. How have I been healed? I’ll be writing a post for each of the 26 postures and breathing exercises over the next 60 days (that’s an average of a new post every 2 days). Each post will detail the touted benefits and the actual benefits I have experienced.

Until then!

Category:
Bikram Yoga, Family, Health, Kids, Rockville, Running, Self Improvement, Spirituality, weight loss, Yoga
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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I have never liked exercise or experienced a “high” from it until Bikram. I tried it last year and didn’t stick with it after a couple of months because it’s so expensive and the limited class schedule at the studio near my house. But I went back this summer because they had a summer special and I know that I will just have to make time in my schedule and find room in my budget to stick with it because nothing else works for me. It’s so addicting!

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  2. You have all the same benefits you have in a regularHot Yoga
    practice. There’s benefits of
    calming the mind, that mind body connection… With the hot, you get the added benefits of
    detoxification for our body systems, all of our organs, our circulatory system, our
    lymphatic system.practise are main way to developed hot yoga otherwise no man connot reached his hot yoga.

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  3. I’ve been having an on and off relationships with bikram yoga. at the end I always come back to this yoga because only with this practice I could see/feel the results in a very short period 🙂

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    • And it’s mental and physical results, as well as spiritual results for me. I’ve bee sick with the flu for the past 5 days and really need to go back as soon as I can. It’s become my new normal. 🙂

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  4. Increased energy and concentration on and off the mat is what keeps me coming back! Plus I always learn something new about myself or the practice after each and every yoga class 🙂

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