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111 Days of Yoga
Daniel’s ‘Superman’ Challenge! 
 

We have a nick name for Daniel here at BYC, we call him Superman… and now he really has gone and earned his right to the name (and the red cape) having just completed 111 days of BYC yoga. So here, in his own words, are what 111 days of yoga has taught him.

111 (+1) days of Bikram
What can I say about my experiences whilst doing 111 + 1 days of Bikram yoga?
There is probably close to a million and one things that throughout the duration I had come to learn and realise. Some of which are relatively minor in comparison to others, some things being a bit more of a breakthrough. There are things regarding specific postures, realisations that are more orientating around the mind and mental aspect yoga, and other things that are a bit more general. If I was to include everything, this would not only take forever to write, but would also take forever to read. Instead, I will only focus on the one thing that I found to be the most important and will hopefully improve others on their whole Bikram journey.
That said though, everything I’ve learnt is important, but maybe they are best left to be figured out in your own time.
So what is it that I believe to be the most valuable thing I had learnt? Simple. It the importance of BREATHING. Throughout the Bikram dialogue we are bombarded with directions to “breath deep, fill your lungs, inhale, exhale every last drop”, so much so that it’s easy to take these directions for granted and totally ignore them. What I found was that by consciously slowing down my breathing and also synchronising my breathing with my movements, that my progression in both mind and body began to grow quickly. By slowing down, breathing deeper, exhaling longer, and overall controlling your breathing, you begin to slow down mentally. Things become clearer. Focusing becomes that bit easier.  From there, synchronising your body movements  with the rhythm of your relaxed breathing, not only lets you flow more naturally and gracefully in and out of postures, but also allows you to maintain that calm state of mind.
Don’t breathe to match the movement of your body, but move your body to match the rhythm of your breathing. I believe that breathing is the core to all progression. Want to focus? Control your breathing. Want to extend your postures? Control your breathing. Seeing rainbows and unicorns after first set of Camel pose? Control your breathing. Want to hold back from running over that parking warden who put a ticket on your car for going five minutes overtime? Control your breathing. Without control over such an automatic bodily response, how will you have control over the rest of your body?
Put simply, breathing (for me), is the core foundation to everything. Calm breathing leads to a calm mind. A calm mind leads to better focus and awareness. Improved focus and awareness leads to improved postures.
Physically the main improvement that I have noticed the most during the 111 days has been the extra range of motion I’ve gained through my spine. Be it laterally, back bending, forward bending, or rotationally. Back bending mostly.
When doing the Bikram sequence consecutively for so long, you become more mindful of how your body feels in each posture, when and where you need to push or pull through, how to breath in the posture. Because of this (and some great direction by the instructors of course), the postures have a bit more purpose instead of just bending over and sticking my ass in the air whilst sweating into my nose.
I’ve felt that my back bends in half moon, standing bow, camel, and in the belly down section have all improved over the 111 days, some more than others, to be honest.
Another thing that I feel has improved a lot is the strength I have in my legs. All the knee locking, engaging ones thigh, and balancing on one leg seems to really have made a difference. I’ve seen / felt this the most in triangle. Before, I would only be good for about 20 seconds in full expression until I start getting the shakes and loose balance. Now I feel I can last the whole set and still remain strong and still.
Favourite postures? All of them! Not really. Half moon, Triangle, Eagle, Standing bow, Rabbit, Savasana, gasping for air pose, grab my water pose, mat on rack pose, walking out the door pose, 20 minutes in the shower pose.
Least favourite. Balancing Stick. Oh boy is that posture my arch nemesis. I’d rather balance naked on barbed wire.
Mentally Bikram has helped me with focusing my attention both inside and outside of the studio. What has really helped is being able to maintain a calm state of mind. Away from Bikram I do Thai boxing, which includes a lot of training and sparring, which can get a bit chaotic. Sparring in particular as someone is constantly trying to hit you. With Bikram, without realising it, you are training yourself to stay calm and relaxed during the chaos and stress of not only holding a particular posture for a minute, but also doing that whilst in 40° heat. Indirectly, training that for 111 days now means that the level of calm I had during sparring has now been reinforced to a much higher tolerance, which in its self is a very weird thing to experience. I can only liken it to playing a violin whilst in the middle of a war zone. You manage to stay calm, focused and involved in what you are doing even though there is complete mayhem happening around you… I don’t play the violin by the way.
In the beginning I never aimed on doing 111 days. To begin with I was only going to do a maximum of 35. 35 days even seemed daunting in comparison to my usual comfort zone of 3 times a week. Very quickly it became a habit and a part of my routine. Once it became routine, the days flew by.
I think its human nature to be scared or reticent of what we don’t know and therefore its easier to stay where we are comfortable. However progress and growth doesn’t come from comfort. Our self preserving bodies are programmed to keep us in comfort, it may say: Your not fit enough, your not flexible enough, you don’t have the time, it’s too hot, it’s too long, it’s too late, do it next week. It’s all lies. If Helen offered a million pounds to whoever does 112 days I bet everyone will do 113!
Maybe change your perspective. Instead of the award being one million dollars (Dr evil voice), the real award is better health both mentally and physically, which you cannot put a price on….
I would like to thank everyone; staff, teachers, and practitioners at BYC for their help, motivation and positive energy (there’s a lot of names). Practising alongside some great focused people, all from different back stories, is very inspiring. I would like to make a special mention to Helen, Carolina, Fed, Rachel, Andy, and Kat, for always doing great energetic sessions , and always giving extra motivation, help, and advice throughout.
Overall, doing the extended challenge has been a great experience. Learnt a lot mentally, progressed physically, and have gained a higher understanding. What’s exciting is that there is still more to learn and develop on. I would definitely recommend anyone practising to doing consecutive days.
…I have a confession. Sometimes I don’t need to dry my hands on my towel. I just squat down so I can breathe some of that cool floor air that drafts in…..

Bikram, Arthritis and me.

BYCer Beckys’ Bikram Journey.
BeckyI never thought that yoga was the sport for me. I’ve been a gymnast,a hockey player, a gym fanatic and, most recently, an obsessive spinning freak! All of this has helped in managing my type 1 diabetes, but when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a year ago, I really thought that my life as an active sportsperson was over.

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,

Becky

 

Totally Fabulous at 50

My Bikram Journey – BYCer Emma

When Emma walked into BYC wearing this AMAZING vest, we asked her to write a few words about what inspired it…

Emma: Fabulous at Fifty – Thanks BYC!

My family have always been sporty, and I have followed a lot of A type exercise – running, spinning, dancing and cycling. In 2010, a friend of mine who went on to complete some mega cycling challenges, asked me to come along to a Bikram Yoga class – I reckoned it was going to be a doddle with a lot of middle aged Bendy Wendy’s – obviously I didn’t read the memo! Actually I did pretty well in my first class, it was doing the 2nd to the next 100th that was tougher.

I have been practising for 5 years now, turned 50 in December, and
am proud to be that middle aged BW myself. Bikram Yoga has significantly increased my aerobic stamina, my runs are longer and faster. My mind is calmer, which is useful for juggling family and career, and gives Mr Pace an easier life. In class, I use the practice time to concentrate on my breath and repeat my inner mantra ‘lucky, healthy, happy, wealthy’ – interspersed with thoughts like ‘come on Andy or Rachel, few more fun quips please!’, or ‘neighbour, careful where you put your butt’…
It is lovely to come into BYC with familiar faces and supportive teachers. But best of all it is great to be in good health, and I can see that proactively practising Bikram Yoga
has made a significant impact to me at this turning point – thus the t-shirt was born!

Bikram Yoga and Me.

by Garry Webster

I have always been a very active person. I started weight training when I was 22. At that time in my life I loved it, but looking back I’m pretty sure it didn’t do my joints many favours.

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.

Laura Turner

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………Laura Turner Running

 

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.

Heavenly

Challenge…  Is it Heavenly? Tim's Heavenly Challenge

BYCer Tim’s Heavenly Challenge experience

I have been coming to BYC for several years on and off, mostly off to be honest.

 

Amid traditional indulgences this Christmas, I promised I would squeeze my middle-aged self back into some older, less forgiving trousers by the end of January.

 

So I decided to head back to BYC but this time more ‘on’ than off.

 

When the studio reopened after Boxing Day I reappeared full of good intentions for a 30-day challenge with no idea how long those positive plans might last.

 

My teachers in those first classes back – Laura, Kat, Fed and Rachel – were so welcoming and supportive that any initial commitment doubts subsided and I was into the full swing of it.

 

I did 30 classes in 32 days and I’ve looked forward to it more with every knackering session.

 

It’s a commitment because the sessions take 90 minutes, then there’s cool-down and shower time, getting to/from the studio and when I get home I collapse and stare into space.

 

But it’s been worth it. I am sleeping better, I find it easier to eat healthily, and (when I’m not exhausted in the immediate aftermath of a class) I have more energy and walk taller.

 

I have indeed pulled out old clothes from deep storage, having lost 4.5kg in those 32 days.

 

While my conversion to dedicated BYC practice has been slow, I’m now signing up for a year and I’ve just bought my own mat with matching bag to enhance my yogi street cred.

Louise
Bikram Yoga – Are You Worth It?

What Bikram yoga mean to me and how it has enhanced my life.

BYC Customer

The list of benefits as a result of practising Bikram yoga are endless and I could literally sit here, from dusk to dawn, telling you about them. However, I doubt that you will have the time to listen to me going on………. Maybe you are reading this and thinking Bikram yoga is not for you, or that you are not at all flexible, or perhaps you do not want to walk into a studio on your own? Granted, walking into a studio on your own can be daunting: taking a step into the unknown usually is!  That said, it can also be exciting and the start of something wonderful that will help you in more ways than you could possibly imagine. All the staff at Bikram yoga Chiswick are warm, welcoming, on hand to assist you and are always available to answer any questions that you may have. For me personally, walking into the Chiswick Bikram studio several years ago, is one of the better decisions that I have made in my life!!!
Do you have poor circulation, suffer from insomnia, PMS (only applies to the ladies!), stress, depression, or you are not happy with your figure and how you look and feel about yourself?  Would you like vibrant good health and a sense of well-being? If the answer is yes, then maybe you should consider taking a step into the unknown. Why? Because – like L’Oreal – I think that you are WORTH it. Personally, at times, I suffer from insomnia and am penchant to indulging in sweet foods (especially chocolate!) and then wonder why I am bouncing off the walls and have sugar come downs. Practising Bikram yoga ensures that I drink plenty of fluids and that my body desires healthy foods, which in turn results in my taking care of myself. I sleep like a baby on the days that I practice yoga and, most importantly, I have a sense of well-being, which is priceless!! Not to mention that I have a gorgeous yoga glow about me! The primary reason for doing Yoga is to aid my mental health and the second reason is that the twenty-six postures systematically work one hundred per cent of my body, which is a bonus.
It is called ‘practice’ for a reason and the more classes that I do, the more I continue to learn. I also learn so much from all the different experienced teachers at Bikram Chiswick. There are still postures that I am unable to do and that is okay, because I am on my own journey and all our bodies are unique…which I guess makes us the same?! So, if want to have fun and feel great, then make that first step and give yourself the gift of vitality.Namaste

 

BYC Teacher Briar and her recent journey through injury:

Briar

Briar – Every Cloud has a Silver Lining:
I’ve long been aware of the wonders of Bikram yoga for helping with injuries and have heard many many stories of how fantastic it is, for many different conditions and injuries. However, I’d never experienced any of them myself. Lucky me, you must think!  But, as a teacher, it’s always more believable  and authentic to be able to preach the benefits, evangelical style. Hallelujah!
So, lucky me, I got just that opportunity over the summer. I managed to tear my calf muscle in a pretty spectacular way, doing the most basic of movements in a Zumba class. So basic was the movement, that I actually thought Peggy-Rose had kicked me. But no. So, after a few days not walking at all and then on crutches, I was (bear with me here, admittedly this is a little strange) actually looking forward to getting back in the studio and seeing how good this yoga actually was. I hobbled into the studio, being able to put weight on my big toe and nothing else. A few of you looked at me as if I was totally nuts, as I set myself up at the back of the room. And I admit, the thought had, albeit fleetingly, crossed my mind. Through my hobbling around, I had put too much weight through my calf a couple of times and it was excruciating.
So the dialogue for breathing says: ‘feet together nicely, toes and heels touching each other’. Well, I couldn’t do that, so I started with the only way I could get my heel on the floor, which was my injured leg stretched out in front of me. Like I was on a tightrope. It was the hardest breathing I’d ever done as my body was already twisted from the crutches and hobbling about. Half moon was the same and backward bending also. Just exploring what my body would let me do, without any ‘sharp shooting pain’ and some faith there would be some improvement. My feet were six inches in awkward but my postures were nowhere near what they were. Well, namaste to that! Things come and go, and me lamenting what I’d been able to do a week previously was completely fruitless.
So the standing series continued with me doing whatever form of the posture I was able. My aim was to gradually put more weight on the whole of my foot, thereby increasing the blood flow. In standing head to knee on the injured leg, there was no grabbing of my foot or a locked knee. All I could do was start in my tightrope position and gradually shift more weight to the foot, with the aim of the very first instruction, ‘feet together nicely’. I could lock my knee with the other leg and get the grip and kick, but my kicking leg was nowhere near being locked. It felt great, though, to just gently stretch it! The same pattern followed for Standing Bow – a little more weight each time. By the end of Balancing Stick, I was pretty ecstatic. Through the wonders of Bikram yoga (I say, hallelujah!), I was able to bring my feet together nicely, toes and heels touching. I was pretty dumbfounded! I grinned like a total loon at Fed and showed him my feet and I could see he was pleased too.
So I continued to keep up my practice. I absolutely needed it to recover. I awoke each morning feeling tighter (as you’d expect), but felt wonderful after each class. There were noticeable improvements after every class I did. My recovery was, without a doubt, expedited by it. That increased blood flow and the sequence of postures was absolutely what my body needed. The series also teaches you patience, which I was so very grateful for too.

Jat
One Sweaty Year 

BYCer Jat shares what his 1st year at BYC has meant to him.

 Jat in Bow

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!

Daniel

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.

Mark

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.

Jola

When did you start Bikram?

Beginning of March 2011

Why?

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?

Fantastic!
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 bikramyogachiswick@me.com.