Why I started Bikram Yoga

Testimonial by PURE Bikram Yoga owner/director Jeff Chen

I met Mardy in the summer of 1998 in New York City. She was an avid runner, so I did what any self-respecting man would do: I started running! Central Park 6-mile loops with Mardy became our weekend activity for our summer together in Manhattan. Then, after Mardy ran the 1998 NYC Marathon, naturally I felt I had to do it the following year. What I would do to try to impress her!

half marathon medalRegrettably, I didn’t train enough. I did one long 18-mile run (three Central Park laps) a few weeks before the race, for my pre-race carbo-loading I ate three bagels per day from Utopia Bagels in Queens (the BEST), then powered my way through the 1999 NYC Marathon in 4:30:02 (net time). My body broke down. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. It me took a good two weeks to start feeling sort of normal again. What was worse, though, was a nagging ankle pain for the next four months, until Mardy finally convinced me to try Bikram Yoga. She had been practicing for nearly two years already, but I stubbornly resisted, “Yoga is not for me. It’s just stretching and breathing. Will I get a workout?” Mardy was consistent, “Just try it. You’ll understand afterwards.”

My first Bikram Yoga class, on April 8, 2000, with teacher Nelson “Viraj” Santini (everyone remembers their first class!), was the toughest experience for me at that point in my life. But, with Mardy practicing next to me, I absolutely would not quit. No, she wasn’t kidding. Bikram Yoga is challenging! I had to do more…

kendo tournamentMagically, within two weeks, my ankle pain disappeared, and I started feeling powerful physical and mental challenges. Over the years that followed, I found that Bikram Yoga improved my kendo practice (Japanese sword), which I still practice regularly today.

I improved my flexibility, strength, balance, endurance, aerobic capacity, and most importantly, my mental toughness to persevere through everyday challenges I face. Bikram Yoga served me, not only in my athletic performance, but in my personal life and professional career. Bikram Yoga does, in fact, “still the chatters of the mind.”
Isn’t that the ultimate aim of yoga?

jeff one armedNow with over 15 years of consistent practice behind me, along with 7+ years of teaching, I am convinced that Bikram Yoga is the best yoga class out there to heal injuries and achieve and maintain peak athletic performance; in the gym, on the road, and in any fitness or sports endeavor.

What are you waiting for?

 

Original source: http://purebikramyoga.com/be-inspired/why-i-started-bikram-yoga/

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