Testimonial by PURE Bikram Yoga student Chris W.
I had always heard that yoga would help you “heal your body”. I never really understood it – until I went to a baby shower a few months back where they had a little game: you had to guess how many toilet paper squares are needed to wrap around the mother-to-be. I grabbed a toilet paper roll, wrapped it around my waist and got to 13 squares. I guessed her number based on looking at her and looking at myself. When they measured the mother, she came in at a whopping 12 squares! I came in at 13. I was fatter than a woman who was 9-months pregnant! I’m not knocking the beauty of a woman who is at full term of her pregnancy – I’m knocking the fact that I’m a man and I’m bigger than a woman who is about to give birth at a moment’s notice!
I was distraught!
A co-worker of mine had been going to Pure Bikram Yoga for some time and occasionally talked with me about it. I was slightly interested but never really gave it much thought; until I found myself in the situation of being “more pregnant than a pregnant woman”. I also knew about the Bikram Yoga Challenge, where you do Bikram yoga for 30 (or for some 60!!!) consecutive days. Now I’m not one to pass up a good competition and I just couldn’t help myself.
I went in gung ho. Signed up for 30 days of yoga and signed up for the 30-day challenge and the next day hit the mat in the hot room with Erin as my instructor. Erin couldn’t have been more patient and kind. I truly feel that Erin, who was absolutely amazing, helped me convince myself to keep coming back the next day and the day after until all 30 days were completed.
Can you say life-changing event? Funny how you don’t know it is a life changing event until after the fact…
During the first 30 days I had a new teacher every day. I had a new experience every day. It wasn’t just the yoga and what was going on with my body but the interaction and encouragement that each teacher brought to the class. Initially I found myself wanting to seek their approval then after a few weeks I came to realize that it wasn’t their approval that I should be seeking, but mine. It was through their guidance that I discovered that what I needed was my own acceptance of me. I found that the poses that I didn’t want to do are the ones that I needed to do. When I was able to finally do them (and I’m still being challenged daily), I realized I was experiencing a great feeling of accomplishment. Each and every one of the teacher’s words of encouragement has helped me, and continues today, to push beyond the “I’m giving up” thinking. They are truly an amazing group of people.
From one specific teacher, Tedd, I learned that yoga isn’t just about stretching beyond your limits – it is about meditation and focus. Meditation isn’t just sitting still trying not to think (or fall asleep…) but about a single focus. That is what yoga is about – a single focus. Focus on your posture – focus on your breathing – focus on your body and the movement that you are asking your body to do. The entire world, and all its madness do not belong in the hot room – it is a place of focus on you and what you are doing in that moment.
During my 2nd or 3rd week of the Challenge, what Tedd said rang a bell in my head that still rings today: “Yoga is Meditation in Motion”. Wow! Say it again, out loud this time – Yoga Is Meditation in Motion. I get chills even now thinking about how true that statement is.
So far in the little over 3 months I have been going to Pure Bikram Yoga, I have lost 1 1/2 toilet paper squares off my waist (you do the math), I am on the last hole of all my belts, my back doesn’t hurt when I wake in the morning and I can concentrate intensely on what it is that I am doing in any given moment. And I feel healthy. I can say with absolute certainty that yoga, in particular Bikram yoga, has helped me accomplish this.
My weight loss is and will be a continuing challenge but I am positive that with Bikram yoga I will succeed in my goal of overall health and well-being. Of that I have no doubt. I can’t thank Mardy and Jeff Chen enough for providing a space and environment where this kind of healthy living, in both mind and body, can be achieved.
If you are curious about Bikram Yoga and want to change your life, I recommend taking a challenge – even if you don’t do the 30-day challenge, I challenge you to come to Pure Bikram Yoga today. And again tomorrow. And then put yourself on repeat…
You will feel better. You will feel the change. You will be remarkably better in both physical and spiritual health.