Bikram, Arthritis and me.
I struggled to walk more than a few metres without being in unbearable pain, and my wrists had seized up to the point where I couldn’t even go shopping without having a friend carry my bags …and then there was Bikram!
I was introduced to Bikram Yoga Chiswick by my housemate, who had recently been through the horrible ordeal of Breast Cancer and the rigours of a lengthy Chemo process. She swore by the benefits of Bikram and it only took a couple of sessions for me to understand the amazing difference it could make to me, both mentally and physically.
I’m definitely not the cheesy sales person who will say something just for effect, but if my experience can help even one person, I’ll be happy. After only 3 months of Bikram, the results are just incredible. I’ve reduced my anti-inflammatory drugs from 6mg/day down to 1mg. I have full rotation in both of my wrists as opposed to only being able to move them 45 degrees, and on the days that I go to yoga, my insulin requirement has reduced by at least 50%.
I would be naïve to believe that this was all because of Bikram yoga – but I would also be stupid to think that it hasn’t played a crucial role in making me feel like a real person again. Whether it’s because the cocktail of drugs that I’m taking is finally working, or just because my job is making me happier than I was before…I don’t really care. But what I do know is that BYC has changed the way my body works for the better and I will be forever thankful that I paid my £40 introduction fee to start my Bikram journey!
Thank you so much for making it possible for me to shop without assistance and for me to run for the bus without being in horrible amounts of pain!
A fan for life,
Totally Fabulous at 50
My Bikram Journey – BYCer Emma
Bikram Yoga and Me.
by Garry Webster
Seven years ago I discovered my true love, climbing! However, I found that my body builders physique actually hindered my climbing, and still does to this day – enter Bikram Yoga.
To help bridge the gap between my body building and my climbing, I thought yoga might help. Little did I know how much more Bikram yoga would bring into my life! I was hooked!
When I first started Bikram yoga, I took full advantage of the introductory offer (£40 for 30 consecutive days) and was trying to make class 4 or 5 times a week. I’ve tried many things in my life but nothing compares to the feeling after a Bikram class: the relaxation and happiness each class brings (after the suffering), have kept me coming back through the doors, for the last 7 years.
Around 4 years into climbing, my elbows started to give up on me and I developed climbers/ tennis elbow. For those of you who have never suffered with this, all I can say is, it hurts! It makes even small day-to-day chores very painful.
I spoke to the teachers at BYC and they recommended that Locust Pose might help. So, for 2 minutes everyday, I lay on my elbows in Locust. To begin with, I took the posture back to basics, putting my arms underneath my body and just laying on them. Once the healing had started, I began to bring my legs up again. Within 6 weeks, my elbows had started to recover and, within the year, were fully recovered. At the first sign of pain, I now know what to do: Locust all the way!
Not only has Bikram yoga healed this and endless other injuries, it has provided me with a sense of well-being and new direction in life. Just get in the room! I promise you won’t regret it. And, if there is one thing I could say to all of you new Bikram yogis/inis, it would be: make the most of your introductory offer, come as much as you can, and the rewards will be endless.
Helen (BYC Owner & Senior Teacher) says:
For cases like Garry, we encouraged him to continue with Locust pose, bringing his arms in and underneath his body, but not lifting his legs. To begin with it, this can be somewhat uncomfortable. That’s because the stretching and strengthening that happens during this posture, is what eventually can correct this kind of problem. You have the weight of your body and the correct position of the joints and muscles, which aid the stretching, with the added support of the floor. When you bring the legs back into the posture, you are strengthening your whole upper back, shoulders & arms (as well as your legs & buttocks). As an added bonus, the compression happening to the joints of your arms, temporarily restricts the blood flow to them, acting almost like a dam. Then, in Savasana, with the release, the blood flushes with more impetus through wrists and elbows, helping get rid of scar tissue or other injuries.
Running & Bikram – From a Lady who knows!
Laura Turner: British Sprinter & Olympic Athlete talks Bikram Yoga.
I remember my first class at BYC like it was yesterday. It was September 2011 and only my second ever Bikram yoga class. I had tried Bikram whilst on a training trip in Phoenix, Arizona, fell in love with it and vowed to join a local class when I returned to the UK. My original intention was to practice Bikram to help my back pain, it proved to be far more beneficial than I could’ve imagined.
I have been an international athlete (running 100m and 200m) since 2002 and my body has taken a bit of a beating over the years. Back pain was starting to interfere with training and competition. With the Olympics around the corner, enough was enough. I had heard that Bikram yoga could help with back pain, so thought I would give it a go.
I went along to my first class at BYC with my good friend (and fellow GB athlete). Kat was our teacher, she was very good at explaining everything to us, making sure we understood what was going on and paying particular attention to our rather long list of injuries!! We set ourselves up at the back of the room, in the corner, of course!! The first few classes were hard work. I would regularly have to kneel down between postures and my legs would be shaking as I walked home!! With regular practice this soon went and I was able to get through the class and feel better walking out than I did walking in.
I’m happy to say that I have not had any major back problems since I started Bikram. My back does still give me a few problems, but nothing like I had from 2008-2011. This has not been the only benefit to my running though………
I have noticed a big improvement in my focus. I had no idea how easily distracted I was, especially when sweat was dripping into my ears! It’s definitely helped me focus on my race “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …….”
Then there is the balance. Working on my foot strength and isometric strength in my legs is extremely important for me, having suffered 3 stress fractures in my feet. Runners will put their feet through a lot of pounding so it is important they are strong enough to avoid injury. The balancing series has proved to help strengthen my feet and legs.
I have learnt to relax, as athletes we find it very hard to relax and tend to want to do the most training we possibly can. I am now embracing the “less is more” attitude and taking time in my week for Bikram yoga as a form of relaxation.
Bikram yoga has been a fantastic tool in my training and competition, allowing me to be at my best and compete against the best. I strongly recommend Bikram yoga to all runners as an excellent cross-training and recovery tool. I will certainly never be without Bikram yoga in my life, even after I hang up my running shoes and retire from international athletics.
BYCer Tim’s Heavenly Challenge experience
Bikram Yoga – Are You Worth It?
BYC Teacher Briar and her recent journey through injury:
One Sweaty Year
I recently completed my first birthday as a student of the hot art of Bikram yoga and I’m glad to have celebrated it at the one and only BYC studio!
In that time I have managed to complete a total of 264 hours practice and I live to tell the tale, well, in fact, I feel more alive than ever. 264 hours… that’s like 11 whole days and 11 whole nights of backbends, profuse sweating, half-conscious savasanas and all that other good Bikram stuff. I would honestly much rather spend such quality time in the studio than say 98 days of the year in front of the TV or a day and a half’s worth of listening to my mum talk about people I don’t even know! (sorry mum).
I have already learnt so much at BYC and it’s all far too numerous to list but here are some choice ones.
- We are far too quick to say that we cannot change for whatever reason but Bikram yoga shows us that the body and mind can be revitalised and made stronger than ever before and we can change our bodies and minds in whatever way we choose.
- Bikram yoga is addictive! I have this theory that they put some sort of magic dust in the vents that keeps you coming back for more, but joking aside it’s really to do with the overall amazing offering of the BYC experience and also the lifestyle that yoga gives us (but seriously I still have my suspicions about the magic dust).
- The teachers (bless them) say some really bizarre and occasionally thought provoking things, my personal favourite being “to feel weird is normal because to be normal you have to be weird”. That really works for me!
So dear fellow BYC’ers, please raise your coconut waters and join me in a toast to the next 365 days! Chaars!
I have been suffering with sciatica for the last 2-3 years originally brought about from a football injury. I was also experiencing long term sinus problems which were stopping oxygen going to the brain and bringing about all kinds of other problems, including headaches, dizziness, tiredness etc.
I had tried all kinds of solutions and medications which were unsuccessful and didn’t have any long term affect. I felt very depressed and frustrated and this was having a major affect on every area of my life. I had been very limited in any physical exercise due to the sciatica, which actually seemed to be getting progressivly worse.
I had never been to any type of yoga before. Funnily enough my Mum had been saying for me to go for years but I had never taken any notice. I came to Bikram Yoga Chiswick for the first time just over a year ago and have been coming regularly since. It has had a profound affect on me and my life. I am no longer suffering with my sinus problems and breathing. I believe that the Bikram Yoga classes and the breathing exercises that take place during and throughout class have opened up my sinuses and lungs allowing them to recover. I am no longer suffering with sciatica like I was when I first came. The classes have helped my sciatic nerve to slowly recover and I have had a lot of support and guidance from the amazing teachers at Bikram Yoga Chiswick in doing that. Overall Bikram Yoga has had a phenomenal affect on me mentally. I have more peace of mind and I’ve developed emotional stability. I feel happy, content, free and physically my body has changed dramatically. I feel light and loose not tight and drained like I did before. I can run, play tennis, I have lots more energy. I even started to kick a football again the other day! Also Bikram yoga has had a spiritual impact on me and my life. I believe Bikram yoga is the nutrient for the mind, body and soul and I am very grateful to have been introduced to this wonderful practice. I would like to say a special thank you to the people who introduced and encouraged me to try Bikram Yoga, and a huge thank you to all the staff and teachers at Bikram Yoga Chiswick for their wonderful help, support and services. My name is Daniel Stanley and I will be continuing to practise Bikram Yoga at the Chiswick Studio. It has been a privilege practising with all of you, Namaste.
After over two hundred classes at Bikram Yoga Chiswick, I still can’t wait to get stuck into the next one.
I generally take the 6.15pm classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Helen and Mandy. They manage to combine humour with expertise and real compassion for their students. I have learnt something different from every teacher and they are all incredibly enthusiastic and nurturing. The staff always welcome you as if you are part of a big family. I guess that’s the key. You are being kind to your body while they are being kind to you.
When did you start Bikram?
Beginning of March 2011
My daughter Daniela told me about Bikram 4 years ago, before she moved on to also practice Dynamic Yoga.
She said ‘Mama why don’t you try it, you’ll love it and you’ll be hooked on it. It may also help with your neck problems.’ Boy, was she right about being hooked!!
She also told me of her teacher who has also had cervical neck surgery, like myself, and continues to practise.
When a friend suggested we give it a go earlier this year, it still took a while to persuade me.
How has it helped you?
Early last year 2010, I had multiple tests and body scans to find out why I was losing control of my left leg.
I also have numbness and constant pain, which can only be described as burning crawling ants. It was discovered that I had suffered a fracture in my lower back at some point and a vertebra in my lower spine had slipped forward and backwards, making my spine unstable; also the disc is non-existent, bone petering on bone.
This has been compressing the nerves, leading my lower body and leg, which could eventually make me incontinent and immobile.
I became extremely depressed over the months that followed and I began to pile weight on.
In January of this year, I returned to work after nearly two months off, due to a viral infection and severe spinal and leg pain. I decided to do something about my weight and general well being – even though I knew I could not cure the deficit in my spine.
I started a protein and veg. diet and exercised at home. I was limited to what exercise I could do, due to my neck issues – all exercises had to be low impact.
The weight started to fall off, but it still was not enough: my confidence and psyche were still low and I was in constant pain.
In March of this year, my spine consultant ordered another scan to verify what was going on with my spine and confirmed that I would need surgery, as the condition had progressed and my spine was indeed unstable. He noted that I had lost some weight and told me to carry on, as losing the weight and working on my core muscles would aid both the operation and recovery.
At this point, I asked whether I could practise Bikram Yoga. He knew of it and said yes, but that I was to be careful with certain positions, involving the lower back and neck.
When I finally started Bikram classes at the Chiswick Studio, my first thought was how would I cope with the heat, as I hate extreme heat.
Slowly but surely, with discipline, perseverance and controlled breathing, I got used to it.
I bought a 30 day class pass and then was so hooked that I signed up for more. I then completed the 30 Day challenge, which turned into 85days!! And I would have carried on, but for a holiday which was due.
How do you feel?
Since January, I have lost nearly 5 stone, which I put down to changing my diet and no alcohol and largely to practising Bikram Yoga daily. The teachers have been fantastic, most helpful, non judgmental and have given me alternatives postures to do. My body shape has totally changed, not only due to the weight loss, but, as Daniela, my daughter, says: ‘You’re developing the yoga body posture, Mama.’
I feel calm, focused and have developed an inner strength, which I did not believe I would ever regain.
My confidence has returned and I feel that, at last, this is the real me – Mind, Body and Soul.
Bikram has brought a calmness and inner strength into my life and has also helped me with my preparation for the major spine surgery, due in September.
My only great sadness is that I will not be able to practise for a while, but at least I know that I can come back to it and with the help of teachers Mandy, Adrian and Helen, to name a few, who have been there for me, I will get back to the level that I am at now.
Thank you for helping me on my journey in the last 6 months – you are never too old or incapacitated to practise Bikram.
I am proof that, even if you have a health condition, with care and guidance from excellent Bikram instructors, you can do it!!
I look forward to coming back to practise in the Chiswick Studio in 2012 – Namaste.
We would love to hear from you. If you would like to share your Bikram journey with is please email us at email@example.com.