I FOUND IT
Not The Holy Grail ... Not The Fountain of Youth … Not Buried Treasure … Not the Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow ...
I found something better than all of these … a real gem when it comes to my overall health, fitness & well-being. A sparkling diamond.
Something that I have searched for my entire life. An efficient, yet complete, workout that includes stretching, strength training as well as detoxifying sweat production. Where I found it is not a surprise to those “in the know.”
No… it is not a pill or powder or shake or involve surgery of any kind.
I should mention that I have been an athlete my entire life from little league to high school soccer to competitive tennis to semi-professional softball so I am aware of, and have engaged in, many kinds of workout routines.
Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A progressive, neurological, incurable disease that has, and will continue to, effect my ability to walk, stiffen my joints, cause my hand to tremor uncontrollably, among many other more distasteful things that I won’t mention here.
I was devastated and in shock. For quite some time I was simply going through the motions of my life like a zombie. I needed to snap out of this funk.
My wake-up call came at a seminar where the speaker said that the only way to slow and, even reverse, my symptoms was to exercise “beyond your comfort zone.”
So I hired a personal trainer who turned out to be a professional counter (not all are, just some) and received some benefit. On my off days, I moved from using a treadmill to an elliptical machine to a spin bike to a spin bike using an interval training video to CORE training using a video to a kettle bell class three times a week.
It was helpful, but something was missing. I felt stronger, but stiff and tired afterward and out-of-sorts during my off day.
Then the magic happened.
TEN YEARS INTO MY PARKINSONS, I was introduced to BikramLouisville.com hot spot yoga in Crestwood, Kentucky.
Wow, talk about a life-changing moment. It is 90 minutes of sweating, stretching, compression, strength training, etc. It never occurred to me that “yoga” could be so strenuous and beneficial. You go at your own pace, but get better and better at it each time. There are beginners, intermediates and advanced students comfortably practicing together in each class.
What a difference it has made in my life. I can’t miss my Bikram Hot Spot Yoga class for a day or two without starting to feel fatigued and stiff. It also helps me stay hydrated because I have to drink a lot of water before, during and after. This is a must. As an extra bonus, it also gives me 90 minutes of necessary meditation or “me” time.
As an inspirational speaker, I travel a great deal and scout out beforehand the official Bikram studio wherever I will be presenting.
Besides my home location in Crestwood (Louisville) Kentucky, I have taken classes in Rome, Italy; Nice, France; Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia; New Smyrna Beach, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fairfield, Connecticut, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just to name a few. All this in just the last 8 months since I just started Bikram Hot Yoga in March 2013 at the age of 51.
I have lost 20 pounds that I needed to lose and feel so much better. I have found that in order to “transform” yourself to a healthier you, for whatever reason, you have to commit to doing something different. Bikram is my “different.”
I can truly say that I am in the best shape of my life and I owe it all to the place that first introduced hot yoga to me BIKRAMLOUISVILLE.COM in Crestwood, Kentucky.
Oh, and, as an added bonus, the people there are nice, too. People who practice hot yoga, especially those who go the extra mile to become certified Bikram instructors, are the most positive, down-to-earth, healthy individuals that I have been blessed to know and call friends.
I should mention that it does take a certain degree of “stick-to-ed-ness” to enjoy the numerous benefits of the Bikram experience. At first, the classes can be testing. You have to just keep “showing up” and you will get accustomed to the heat and learn the postures. The only thing you must commit to do is to do your best and not leave the room until the class is over.
I have found that, with Parkinson’s disease, sometimes I can do better than other times, but I can always last until the end even if it means skipping some postures and laying some of the time in a resting position.
All in all, I highly recommend, Bikram Hot Spot Yoga in Crestwood, Kentucky. It has made a tremendous positive difference in my life and I am so thankful for the commitment of all the instructors, fellow “yogis” and especially the studio owner, Kristin Olsen.
- John Baumann
"Thank you BYL for completely transforming my lifestyle. I have been an avid runner for most of my life, starting with cross country and track and later moving on to do marathons and half marathons. So, it comes to no surprise that I would have a trusty pair of running shoes everywhere I traveled. The years of loyal running had a conflicting effect on my body; It kept me fit in terms of my cardiovascular endurance; however, the years and years of strain on my joints would give me knee pain and left me extremely inflexible (I couldn't even touch my toes). I always felt that there was something missing from my workout, which is why I also spent time in the gym on various cardio machines and a little bit of weights. I had heard about yoga but never attempted it because I loved to sweat and I loved a good cardio workout. I guess I just never believed that anything would "kick my butt" the way running did. When I heard about Bikram Yoga, I was interested but skill a complete skeptic. I walked into my first class thinking that it would just be a lot of stretching and would be a breeze. I was completely floored how difficult it was, how much I sweat, how fast my heart beated, and most of all how inflexible I was. I was sold that it was a good workout but the true benefits were not visible until I had started coming almost every day. After 2 months, I started noticing my muscles become leaner, more flexible, but also stronger. To me, stronger muscles were always associated with bulk. Instead of bulky, my muscled were becoming more balanced. I was sold. I realized that I didn't dread my workout the way I did when I ran and went to the gym. This was more than a workout; it was "me time". I wasn't thinking about my workout or my day when I was in class all I could focus on was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing at that exact moment (locking my knee haha!). Not only was it something that I looked forward to, I was also noticing improvement every time I went. I love that with Bikram Yoga there is always a yin and a yang: there is always something to improve; and there is always a reflection of progress in every class. In other words, there is always something to strive for but also satisfaction in the improvement that was accomplished no matter how small. I recently went on a trip to the Cayman Islands and was happy not to have to pack those running shoes. I had a new lifestyle that worked me out "bone to skin". My new type of workout required no equipment (not even shoes!).
REVIEW FOR LOUISVILLE.COM
by Elizabeth Orrick
You're in a room with 30 other people. It's 105 degrees. You're sweating harder than a scarlet woman in church. At the moment, your arms are twisted around one another, hands clasped beneath your nose for dear life. Your left leg is wrapped around your right leg like a wet noodle, with your toes peeking out behind the right calf. You're 30 minutes into a 1.5 hour workout. The teacher comes around smiling like a maniac, and makes an adjustment to your arm placement. “WELCOME TO BIKRAM'S TORTURE CHAMBER!” She proclaims, grinning like a maniac.
Believe it or not, Bikram Yoga at Hot Spot Yoga (at 6427 West Hwy 146, Crestwood) has become one of the most rewarding workouts I've ever done. The classes are 1.5 hours of yoga in 105 degrees, spent sweating out your toxins and contorting your body until you look like a sweaty, flushed Picasso painting, working through the poses of Bikram yoga. I am not a trainer or a doctor, so I won't elaborate too much about how Bikram yoga is different than other yoga, or the myriad benefits one is supposed to experience from regular practice. The upbeat and helpful staff explains, throughout every class, how each posture benefits the practitioner. The instructors are also extremely patient, these classes are challenging for everyone from yoga virgins (like me!) to yoga experts.
In the past six weeks, I've been attending classes two or three times a week. I've lost a few pounds, but the most improvement I've seen has been in muscle tone, skin clarity and increased energy and flexibility. My poor neglected ab muscles are beginning to peek out from behind my butter fed stomach. After a hot yoga session, I walk out with the biggest endorphin high I've ever had, sweaty, exhausted, so satisfied and absolutely buzzed. I highly recommend the Optima electrolyte supplement they sell at Hot Spot, it replaces all the good nutrients you sweat out, and encourages you to re-hydrate. The sleep I get the night after a hot yoga session is phenomenal. I can't say enough good things about practice, it has helped to revitalize my fitness regime and refocus my exercise goals.
Hot Spot has a myriad of information about pricing and classes available on their website and facebook page. Hot Spot offers hefty student discounts, and it's great for people of all ages, sexes, and levels of fitness. Hot Spot regularly runs groupons and living social deals for beginners and returning patrons—part of what drew me in was their 20 classes for $20 groupon for new students. It's the only Bikram certified studio in our area.
December 7, 2012
I wanted to take a minute to share with you some of my thoughts after spending a few months practicing Bikram Yoga in your studio. As you know, I've been participating in Bikram Yoga regularly since the summer. Having been one that has exercised most of my life, I wasn't certain if Bikram or Hot Yoga was right for me. I've spent the good part of the last twenty plus years running three miles and lifting weights, three or four days a week. I absolutely loved running, and this routine worked for me for years; but it left me with sore knees, stiff ankles and a delicate lower back.
Having turned fifty and sustaining some injuries, I knew wouldn't be able to continue running and enduring that pounding the rest of my life, I started to look at alternatives. The treadmill wasn't much better and the elliptical machine bored me and was awkward. I decided to check out your studio and see what the buzz was about with "hot yoga". I can say, like most guys, I was not sure at all about trying yoga. But, I spoke with my family doctor and learned that he does yoga. He strongly recommended it as a really good low-impact cardio workout.
I arrived at your studio that first day not knowing what to expect. I certainly wasn't anticipating any difficulty getting through the ninety minute program. After all, I was already in pretty good shape and I was accustomed to being in a sauna or steam room after a workout.
Wow, what a surprise! I found myself that first day and ever since, working muscles and joints that hadn't been exercised in years; maybe never before! I was challenging my body in ways that running, sit-ups, and weights had never accomplished. It was the first total body workout I'd ever done and, somehow, I got through it! I've since learned Bikram Yoga is designed to work every muscle in our bodies - does it ever! It was and remains challenging - like any good exercise program.
The beauty of Bikram Yoga is that it lets you progress at your own pace along with the teachers guiding you through each class. It is truly like having a personal trainer encouraging and guiding you through a ninety minute workout. When I started, I had not been able to touch my toes in decades . Now, after these few months, I can touch all ten fingers on the floor when reaching for my toes - amazing. My flexibility, my balance, body strength and body tone have all significantly improved. People that haven't seen me in months (like my dentist and other friends) comment that I "look good". That's a fantastic thing to hear!
The best part though is how I feel! I know I feel good. My knees, ankles and lower back stopped aching months ago. I can now go into positions that my body simply would not allow just a couple of months back. I feel lighter on my feet and overall more calm and confident. I look forward to improving more in the months to come.
I want to take a moment and commend and thank you and your fine staff for all you do to ensure a great and consistent Yoga experience each and every time. You guys are the best!
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy all the classes and instructors. I had only been to 2 classes at another facility prior to my first class with you all on January 7. A co-worker and I tried it initially at the other facility last spring and I lost interest in it quickly and the times weren't convenient. My co-worker saw the groupon at your facility and informed me of it and said that you all had a 4:30 class, plus I live in Goshen so it was much more convenient. I have been hooked since attending my first class in January! It was such an obvious difference attending the class at your facility vs the other! Once my groupon expired, I bought the monthly unlimited membership and look forward to each class. I had been trying to get back in a regular exercise routine as I haven't exercised since attending those classes at the other facilty last spring. I have a treadmill at home but after being on my feet all day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was go home and pound on my joints even more on a treadmill. I guess being used to that type of exercise, as I was in sports all through school, I never considered Bikram yoga. I have had my share of knee surgeries, ankle sprains, etc.. from those sports and wish I had discovered Bikram yoga sooner. I am a Physical Therapist and I completely understand the physiological and anatomical benefits of Bikram yoga. I've heard you mention trying to get the younger kids and athletes to come to Bikram yoga and I completely agree. I have attended 3-4 days per week since January 7 and have noticed changes in my body and how I feel. Coming to your facility has completely got me out of my exercise rut and given me motivation. Thank you all for being great!
I am in your yoga classes. I wanted to share a personal experience with you in how your class has helped me.
I'm a 38 year old female that has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and have been battling it for many years. I have taken every medication out there approved for it, plus antidepresents, anti-inflamatories, muscle relaxers... etc.
My condition worsened in August when I had to have a full hysterectomy, which was followed by the stress and grief of my brothers unexpected death. I felt like I was dying from the inside out...and I have three children and a husband who were having a hard time coping with my illness and their grief too. I say "were" because one night at dinner with friends, I saw your Groupon for a Bikram Yoga class. I had tried everything else and not really even understanding what Bikram yoga was at the time, I thought the heat would help ease my pain and I had heard that yoga is a good gentle exercize for fibromyalgia sufferers. After that first class I thought I was going to die laying on that mat....but I felt better than I had in years AFTER the class (after I had gotten a shower and settled down). I slept through the night....and DREAMED....for the first time in 5 years. Part of the problem that people with Fibromyalgia have is that because of chronic pain, they cannot sleep well, which is terrible for your body and causes a vicious cycle of chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, etc. I have been doing the yoga for 5 weeks now, 3 or 4 times a week and have not had to refill my anti-depressants and down to ONE pill per day for pain. My body is sore...but it's a GOOD kind of sore from moving around, not that deep, knotty horrible pain of fibromyalgia. My mind is clearer. I was getting professional massages once a week just to help with some of the knots in my back, and I haven't had a massage in three weeks, because most of my knots are gone. I'm sleeping for the first time in years. I just wanted to share this because I know we are all looking for ways to feel better and live our lives and Bikram Yoga has probably saved mine.
Thank you to all the teachers and staff. I feel like I have gotten my life back and I look forward to all my classes.
DR. LAURA STRICKLAND
Below is a Bikram yoga testimonial written in 2003 shortly after I began practicing. It tells a story of determination and inner peace – yet also a story about being far from physically perfect for a person who strived for perfection earlier in her adult life. Since this was written, I have had to have a major back surgery, broken a metatarsal in my right foot, and continue to struggle with lymphedema which limits my mobility and at times my balance.
Many days I must remind myself that this practice is not about any one of us – but all of us. It is about sharing the energy and being present in the moment to connect mind body and spirit. I have to modify many of the yoga postures due to lymphedema – yet look forward to sharing the energy with you as you learn about muscle contractions, movement in context, and the anatomy of the human body.
"Frailty is essential to the making of a self and – far from being an indignity in aging – is a source of intensity and life without which no self is whole." - Sally Gadow
Defining moments in life brings one face to face with human frailty and one's eventual departure from this world. As humans, we define and interpret the self, creating meanings of life based upon our constructions of symbols, objects, and relations with others. An elemental conflict one faces is the tension between dreams, desires, and ambitions versus vulnerability, inability, illness, injury, and self-extinction. The self of the mind exists encased within a body that is continuously using up finite energy. This reflection describes my thoughts and actions concerning the practice of Bikram Yoga in my life.
At age twenty-nine years old, a young woman finds herself lying on a cold stretcher outside of an operating room, a personal chaos of disease and illness beginning. She knew she was in trouble when the doctor said "oh my God!" during her routine medical exam. The woman now in her middle years, at age forty-six, has transcended three major surgeries battling tough-minded tumors, but luckily time has ticked and ten years has passed since the last major cancer operation.
After this last surgery, other developments occurred, the most life altering causing her to gain the label of "insulin dependent diabetic". This label almost seems worse than the label of cancer, for no cutting or tearing away can remove this condition. As time evolves, the chronic journey continues with the labels of hypothyroidism and lymphedema. The daily journey of highs and lows that come with the "diabetic" creates many life alterations. Yet, the label also brings determination, strength, focus, and wisdom for altering the meanings of daily life tasks. The woman's bodily imperfections become cherished parts of her whole. Nevertheless, there are the days that bring the draining of all energy. Her perspective, hued by her professional life as an occupational therapist, brings thoughts of lost limbs, strokes, blindness, and weakness. She struggles to embrace the positive and current joy, yet she knows she must make plans for potential future of complications. These realities of past wars with cancer, the daily highs, and lows of diabetes and other chronic conditions occurring after the cancers are the story of my own life. Over the last ten years, I believed I was incapable of performing and actively participating in strenuous exercise such as Bikram Yoga. When Hot Spot Yoga opened in Crestwood, I became excited about the possibility of trying it out. Each time I rode by, I would discuss the studio. Once, I came to the studio ready to try a class, but a note on the door said the schedule had changed. It took me another whole year before I found the courage to step into the studio to try it.
For me, energy is limited, requiring wise use. It has now been nine months and over 80 practice sessions since I took that first step into the door of Hot Spot Yoga. Bikram Yoga, and the people I have met are now a routine part of my life. Some days the flow comes effortlessly and some days I must listen to where my body can go, but every day in the studio provides life-giving energy.
Through adaptive responses of the mind, the need to push hard folds in upon the need for rest. Effective linking of one's energy flow directly to the activities of meaning, such as Bikram Yoga, creates focus. All of our futures will bring the two synonyms of vitality and frailty closer to one another, creating boundaries of contradictions between the two. As age advances, frailty may become both a limit and a freedom at the end of life's self-completing journey. Yet there are actions in daily life that can maintain the balance between these two opposites. Bikram Yoga has the potential to restore energy and vitality to life.
Based upon each individual's life story and personal meaning making, one must allow space for explorations of other ways of knowing, doing, and becoming. If you continue to drive by the studio, as I did in the past, thinking you would like to give that hot spot yoga a try, take the risk, for it may change your life. Just do not forget to bring your water, and open heart, and open mind. My life story has given me the perspective that the glass is half-full and my daily actions fill it up and at times, allows life to overflow. Bikram Yoga has allowed my life to overflow; it has the potential to do the same for you.
Bikram say's "it's never too late, you're never too bad, you're never too old, and you're never too sick to start again from scratch and do this yoga".
Dr. Laura Strickland
I just wanted to write to say Thank You to you and the other teachers at Hot Spot Yoga.
I also wanted to share my personal story with you so that you can fully understand the impact that Hot Spot has had on my physical as well as mental well being.
Eleven years ago, I had a skiing accident. The impact caused a compression fracture to my L3 and L4 vertebrae. In addition, the disc between the two had exploded and was putting pressure on my spinal column. As a result of this, I was paralyzed in my right leg. It was decided that I needed surgery to remove the fragments of the vertebrae and 80% of the damaged disc was removed. The paralysis subsided but I was left with no feeling on the outside of my right leg and with a severe foot drop of the right foot. I was only 29 when this happened and it scared me to death. I felt like my active life was over. I think the most frightening thing was the paralysis. It really messed with my head. It took alot of work to overcome the foot drop that I had and to be able to walk normally.
Then last year, out of stupidity, I lifted something that I shouldn't have even attempted and I carried it about 100 yards and sure enough, I exploded the disc at L4-L5. I had that strange familiar feeling and fear. As it ended up, I had to have surgery to remove most of the disc and part of the vertebrae at L5.
The injuries that I have had left me with alot of fear of even trying to be active. I have been hyper-sensitive of anything that could leave me permanently paralyzed.
I finally got to the point that I was tired of being afraid to try and I started working out. Much to my dismay, everything that I had tried was too jarring on my back and I was beginning to lose hope. Then I got an e mail from Living Social and decided to give Hot Spot a try. All the while, full of trepidation.
I have been to 6 classes now and, to my delight, my back has been very tolerant of the poses. I am so very happy to have found Hot Spot. All of the instructors are so very pleasant and patient and helpful to new people and I just wanted to say how refreshing it is and so very appreciated.
Just in case you ever have a day that you feel like what you are doing is not important, read this e mail and know that the first class and every class since has totally changed my perspective on health and wellness, both physical and mental. Just one class can make a difference in someone's life!
Thank you again and I will see you Thursday!
I just wanted to thank all of you at Hot Spot Yoga. I was one of the individuals who purchased the Living Social deals.
I have never exercised in any formal setting and was actually pretty scared when I discovered the sessions were 90 minutes long in a very hot room. I used to joke that my thoughts on exercise were, "Just say no."
My first session I had to set down several times and was pretty embarrassed, it's just yoga right? Kristin was very encouraging and told me that I needed to hydrate, focus on myself, relax and remember it isn't a competition. Everyone I have had contact with have continued to be encouraging, knowledgeable and kind.
Despite my hesitation and embarrassment I finished my fourth session this evening and I didn't stop once. It was really amazing, before I knew it we were doing the final breathing and it was time to go.
I want to thank you all for making me feel comfortable enough to allow me to discover that at 50 years old I can exercise and I feel great!
I took my first Bikram Yoga class at Hot Spot in the Summer of "06. My sister Janie and I noticed how great our friend Gina looked in her bikini at the pool, even after recently giving birth to her 3rd child. We asked her how she did it and she took us to our first class. Janie has been consistently attending Hot Spot since 2006 and has never looked better in her life.
I am now on day 25 of the 30 day challenge. I can't believe I can wear a bikini to the pool at age 40! The most important thing that Bikram Yoga has done is make me feel mentally great. I am also now able to exercise without injuring my body.
November, 2005 I began my practice of Bikram yoga. It started after a Sunday afternoon of attempting to play football and baseball with my children. I felt like I was running in slow motion. At 39 years old, I felt stiff, slow and old. The changes in my body have been dramatic. The hot yoga has built great muscle definition in my arms, shoulders, abs and back, in addition to the scale dropping 16 pounds. My husband says he loves hot yoga more than I do and he has never even been to a class! One of my children actually called me fast one day when we were playing kickball. I am stronger; I am more flexible; I have more stamina, and I am healthier, fighting off colds and illnesses better than before. I have never been atheletic, never found anything cardio that I really enjoyed. Until now! I love Bikram yoga, the practice and the benefits.