When I was 17 years old, I was involved in a serious car accident that took the lives of four teens and left me in critical condition with multiple injuries, a fused elbow at a 90 degree angle, and a severe case of survivor’s guilt. That was 37 years ago.
I have tried various workout routines and classes that I was able to do with some modifications for my arm. When Hamburg Bikram Yoga opened and was offering an introductory special, I decided to try it out. The first time I walked through those doors I was fearful I would not be able to do all the postures, I would not survive the heat, people might judge my modifications for my arm, or I would get bored doing the same postures every class. I ended up coming six times in that ten day period and immediately bought 30 classes.
I cannot begin to tell you how Bikram Yoga Hamburg has changed my life. Not only did I lose weight and sculpt my body, but the everyday aches and pains I experience began to subside. I became stronger and more flexible and my posture improved. At the same time of becoming more aware of my body, I began to see emotional changes. My patience improved, I was happier, calmer and I was able to forgive myself. I gained a heightened understanding of living in the present and embracing my new sense of peace.
There came a point, after a year, where I was getting lazy with my practice so I did a private session with Madeline. She helped me with proper and deeper positions, transition of postures and improved breathing. This took my practice to a new level. I encourage anyone considering Bikram yoga to set aside your fears and give it a try. All the instructors are amazing and the studio and atmosphere is so comfortable and welcoming. I have learned that our journey on earth is full of many experiences that will change your life forever. It can be a car accident or simply walking through the door of a Bikram studio.
The very first time I walked through the doors of a Bikram Yoga Studio, I was in tears. For the first time in my life, at age 41, I was going to experience yoga, and my fears of the unknown were extremely overwhelming. All I knew is that the room was going to be really hot, the class was ninety minutes long and there were 26 postures that I had no idea what the names were or even what they looked like, but through my tears, I was willing to give it a try with the support of my “experienced Bikram Yoga practicing friend.” My goal was to survive class by just breathing.
Needless to say, I survived my first Bikram class and left with an entirely new set of emotions. Just like it was yesterday, I can recall every emotion, thought and sensation I had during my first class. I will always embrace those memories and I know my vulnerability on my first day is what drives me to continue with a regular Bikram practice today.
I have to admit, the heat and the postures became a secondary challenge as I began my practice. For me, my biggest challenge was to focus on myself, look at myself in the front mirrors and stay completely still…I was not ready to take on the emotional side of the yoga and I struggled. Once I was able to let go and look in the mirrors, I feel my practice took on a new meaning. I was learning to connect my mind with my body and I finally felt like I was getting somewhere.
Next, I found myself really trying to figure out the postures and the “feeling” my body would experience if I was in the pose properly. I found myself concentrating on the dialog and listening to the encouragement and corrections of the instructors. The yoga was working…I was experiencing transformations and each time I laid out my mat and towel, I was excited to see what my next class had in store for me.
I’ve always been active with cardio and weight training, but it is clear that after about three months of practicing Bikram Yoga, my body evolved and I’m proud to say that it continues to change and evolve. When someone comments on how I look or the glow on my face, I’m quick to give my kudos to my Bikram Yoga practice.
Truth be told, there are some days that I cannot wait to get in the comfort of the hot room, while there are other days that I’m dragging my feet. For me, I know every class will be different. Sure, it’s the same dialog and the same postures, but I know I am different every day…and the only “bad” Bikram class I will have is the one I do not attend. Luckily, I am able to practice about five times a week and I continue to be open and honest with my practice in order to get all the benefits…which overflows into the other areas of my life outside the yoga studio. During the class, the instructors emphasize how Bikram will change your life…and I embrace these changes…I am stronger physically and mentally. Trying my best with where I am each day is also a challenge and I welcome the opportunity to face my fears and overcome different hurdles in life with the help of my yoga practice. Yes, I still have tears at the studio. And I embrace my tears whenever they trickle out…I may not know why the tears are there, but I do know that my smiles in the studio are plentiful…and I absolutely know why…it’s the Bikram Yoga working.
I’d been practicing Hatha and Vinyasa yoga for about 10 years and was very reluctant to try Bikram yoga. To be honest, I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to do yoga in such heat or be confined to just 29 postures. I loved the surprise of not knowing which posture was coming next in my Hatha and Vinyasa yoga classes and loved learning different postures.
After driving by Bikram Yoga Hamburg for about a year, I finally decided to take a class and give it a try. Terror and apprehension filled my mind as I entered the hot room, but seeing all the other students and the range of age and body structures, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Much to my surprise, I was hooked. I got through that first class just fine and felt great. As I continued to attend classes I noticed that I was trying to perfect (at least for that day) each of the 26 postures and felt a new challenge and sense of accomplishment in each class.
Being an avid runner and training for half marathons, I noticed how Bikram yoga really helped improve my endurance, speed, and running form. I also see the quickest results in muscle tone improvement – better than any other physical activity I’ve done – which is a lot. As running does for me, each Bikram yoga class keeps me physically active while challenging and inspiring me mentally. As I practice regularly, my memory has improved, my body has toned, and my attitude has been more positive. I would strongly recommend anyone who may be hesitant to try Bikram yoga to give it a go. Aside from having great instructors, Bikram Yoga Hamburg’s culture and fellow students are great!
Bikram Yoga Hamburg’s enthusiastic approach to teaching yoga is enticing whether you are a beginner or have been practicing yoga for many years. Their instructors have a great way to motivate you to go beyond what you think you are capable of and encourage you to tap into your Bengal Tiger strength. I appreciate the individual attention the instructors provide in class while encouraging me to do my personal best.
I use to love distance running, having run the Boston Marathon twice and New York City Marathon twice, but now yoga has replaced the extremes of distance running while achieving many of the same benefits and more. I encourage anyone interested in living a healthier lifestyle to attend one of Bikram Yoga Hamburg’s classes. While there, you will learn to “calm your mind and be in the moment”. It’s magnetic. You will want to come back for more! The experience will ultimately enrich your life forever.
I have practiced yoga for over 15 years, however, the last six years with Bikram has been most significant in my overall health. My bone density was in an osteopenia stage heading for osteoporosis and now my T-score has gone back up and I am no longer in the osteopenia state. My doctor was amazed at these results. I also suffer from piriformis syndrome which often creates sciatica and Bikram yoga keeps the piriformis from becoming inflamed.
I think the greatest testimonial comes from the emotional benefit. When my son was in a fatal car accident in Virginia three years ago, yoga was my only respite as I practiced it in my hotel room in between sitting at this bedside in ICU for six weeks. After he passed away, the 90-minute moving meditation was the only time during the day I wasn’t in extreme pain from grief. Bikram yoga has not only provided a healthy way for my body to heal, but also my heart. I am grateful to Gina and Bill for this beautiful environment to practice yoga in and also to the staff who have been very influential in helping me reach optimum physical health and emotional calm.
When I think of the year 2011, I think of one thing, Rumination Disorder. Last year I suffered terrible G.I. problems for 9 months without knowing what it was, to the point where I couldn’t eat without throwing up. All the time I was uncomfortable, bloated and I lost a lot of weight due to the disorder. It was a very difficult year for my family and me, but through all the tough times we met some people who made those tough times a lot easier and more enjoyable. One of those people that really helped me through was Gina!
I’m 14 years old, and my mom is an addict to Bikram yoga and thought the relaxation, breathing and benefits it gives you would help me with my stomach problems, but she didn’t want me in the 105 degree heat, due to me being so dehydrated. My mom came up with the idea of me getting private lessons with Gina, so I started meeting with her one on one 3 days a week before school for 45 minutes. I did nothing but enjoy the breathing techniques and postures she taught me!! Gina was enthusiastic, motivational, patient and very, very knowledgeable about yoga. She taught me all the breathings that benefit my G.I. system, and it really helped me through my journey.
I worked with her for many months and really got to know her well. I have nothing but good things to say, she researched postures for me and made a handmade book with them described in it, she gave me a journal to write in, and always did her best to make sure that anything that she could do to benefit me, she did.
Once I was finally diagnosed with Rumination Disorder I went into the hospital for 2 weeks. Part of my daily routine to getting better was 1 hour of breathing techniques everyday on the computer. Due to all of Gina’s help I was a pro and it really helped me with the program I did to get better. Now I finally see the finish line to 100% health, and due to me being able to eat and hydrate properly I’ve been going to the real Bikram Yoga for 90 minutes! I absolutely love it and I feel better the rest of the day after I do it. I know the reason I enjoy it so much is because Gina gave me such good memories of doing the postures when she taught me them, and also due to her great teaching skills I know how to do them very well, and in bikram doing postures properly is how you get all the benefits. I don’t know how I’ll ever thank Gina enough for what she did for me, and I’ll forever be grateful!
I found Bikram Yoga as a 25-year-old former college athlete with a LOT of mileage on my body. Basketball has always been my first and only athletic love, and even after my college playing career, it was still important to me to stay in shape and play at a high level as often as possible. But I found my body breaking down at a young age, and I feared that I would have to give up the sport I loved. By my 21st birthday, I’d had four knee surgeries, and those nagging injuries and the wear and tear of the physical game were catching up to me.
A friend recommended Bikram Yoga to me, and at the time, I was at my wits end with the pain in my knees and my body’s general soreness and stiffness. It was starting to affect my performance on the basketball court, and that was more frustrating than anything. So I decided to give Bikram Yoga a try to see if I could combat some of the discomfort I was experiencing, and most importantly, improve my performance on the court.
Much to my delight, Bikram Yoga proved to be exactly what I needed. At first, the class was a real a shock to my system, especially because it was the first kind of yoga I’d ever tried. There is no previous athletic experience that can prepare you for that room – no other activity works you that hard while you’re simply standing in one spot! In my first class, the heat was overwhelming, and the class seemed to last FOREVER. But as I started to go back more and more, I noticed my body and my mind adjusting to the extreme circumstances and finding a comfort level within the discomfort.
My knees were the first area that I noticed positive physical changes. After recovering from a knee injury, it is imperative that you keep the muscles surrounding the knee strong and flexible to prevent re-injury. With Bikram Yoga, I noticed an immediate improvement in my strength and flexibility – I never thought I’d regain my full range of motion in the knee after the surgeries, but I pretty much did within about a year of regular Bikram Yoga practice. I also noticed nagging shoulder, ankle and back pain start to melt away as my practice improved and became more regular.
The improvements in my physical ailments lead to immediate changes in the way I was playing on the basketball court. After a long day in the office, when I showed up to play, I was able to get loose quicker. My hips, back and knees were looser and it allowed me to move much better on the court and be less sore after playing. I experienced less wear and tear injuries, and I felt SO much better when I played.
Four years after my first class, I am still practicing at least twice a week, and rely heavily on Bikram Yoga to help keep my body right so I can still play the game I love. I play basketball more than ever now, and I view it as an incredible gift to be able to still play at a high level, and not always worry when the next injury is coming.
I look forward to my time in that hot room, and I relish in the benefits I get from it. I sleep better, I hurt less, I play basketball better, and I soak in the physical challenge every time I go to the studio because every class completed is a victory. Bikram Yoga has added a lot to my life, and continues to do so every week. I am hooked on this practice, and it will always be a part of my training routine!