As the nature of Fire is to burn, the nature of Yoga is to heal
For more than 25 years I have experienced constant discomfort and pain in my middle back as the result of a compression wedge fracture which was caused by a car accident. Over the years I have visited countless therapists which included chiropractors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and neurosurgeons, who told me I would need a major back operation to rectify the problem. In a bid to avoid invasive surgery, I have sought out numerous alternative and ‘new age’ remedies and practices to heal my back. However, nothing has had a lasting effect until I discovered Bikram yoga.
In only my fourth class at the Byron Bay Bikram Centre, I felt movement in my back that I haven’t felt for 25 years. As I held the second set of the ‘wind-removing posture’, I felt three pops on the right-hand side of my spine where the injury occurred, providing instant relief and joy.
Now that I have been attending classes regularly I no longer compensate for the injury and my back (and mind) is stronger than ever.
David Shapiro, 44.
Just a quick note to say thanks to you, Andrea and Gabby for 5 weeks of amazing, demanding and challenging Bikram practice.
Three fabulous teachers, a beautiful studio and an amazing location (unfortunately the studio I attend in Prahran doesn’t have an ocean across the road) have all combined to help me lift my practice; I’ve learnt a lot, I think my postures have improved and I might finally have my breathing almost correct – at least I know what I should be doing!
I’m really looking forward to my next visit to Byron, in April I hope, and spending some more time in your torture chamber!
Six weeks prior to the opening of Bikram Yoga Byron Bay I was clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome as result of severe trauma. I had been suffering for many years from anxiety, panic disorder and ongoing neck and hip pain. In attempt to alleviate some of the discomfort I had tried many different forms of yoga, massage, herbs, acupuncture and Bowen Therapy, all of which provided only temporary relief.
After completing the introductory offer at Bikram Yoga Byron Bay I noticed a marked difference in my wellbeing. My skin was glowing, my anxiety reduced and I was able to sleep again. Within a month of committed regular practice I noticed a transformation in my wellbeing – mentally and physically. Six months later I had minimal physical discomfort, had happily travelled overseas, and completed a semester of lecturing. I am now once again able to manage the ongoing challenges of life and have found some peace.
Throughout this time I have witnessed Bikram Byron Bay Yoga School literally transform people’s lives. I am very grateful to Norma and her team of dedicated teachers who support people in their quest to change their lives and be free from struggle. Their slogan states ‘it will change your life’. It has certainly changed mine!
In April I started Bikram Yoga practice after a very long period of illness and inactivity. Over the last couple of years I have been dealing with the side effects and illnesses attributed to a severe hormone imbalance. I have undergone two operations for the treatment of an early stage uterine cancer, a cancer that responds to hormones. At the age of 33 I was very sad to be faced with a hysterectomy but at the time saw it as the answer to 18 months of illness.
Despite the surgery in January 2006 I still experienced severe symptoms associated with a hormonal imbalanceI was advised by the Breast Specialist to seek alternative therapies to treat the hormonal condition.
I have since tried several remedies and have exercised in an attempt to balance my system. It was only once I started Bikram Yoga that I noticed an improvement in my health and vitality. The lumps in my breasts have decreased in size and in some cases disappeared. I haven’t felt this wonderful in years and I attribute this feeling of well being to my weekly attendance to Bikram Yoga. I will admit that the practice has been hard, however I am now over the initial detoxifying effect that occurs and I now love attending each class. My hormones are now within the normal range, I also show no signs of going into menopause early. I am so grateful and I feel blessed for my new lease of life. I feel I can now leave the illness of the last couple of years behind me. I feel that Bikram Yoga has so much to offer, not just my self but others seeking an alternative to harsh medical treatments.
Since early January I’ve practiced Bikram Yoga three sessions a week at the studio and found it to be the most positive of my activities since moving to the Byron in 2006. In my short time practicing Bikram Yoga I have managed to quit excessive drinking of alcohol, which I had done regularly for around 10 years as well a 13 year old smoking habit. Physically I’m in much better shape than any previous time in my life and mentally have become much happier and determined. Overall, my quality of life has improved.
Heartfelt thanks to you.
To your grace and compassion towards me last Monday.
To your sumptuous professionalism also.
What a gorgeous place you set up for us to enjoy!
I liked my first session of Bikram Yoga immensely.
Your instructions sounded to my ears as sweet and flowing as prayers.
I am looking forward to doing it again on Sunday 30 December.
Thank you for this opening special also. This is very generous of you.
Best wishes for 2008 to you and your beautiful centre of Bikram Yoga.
See you Sunday.
Over the years I have struggled with chronic depression, suffered from severe back pain, migrane headaches and anxiety. I have been on and off various types of medications with absolutely horrendous side effects. One month ago I was fortunate enough to discover the miracle that is Bikram Yoga.
The difference it has made in my life even in this short time, is remarkable.
I only wish I had discovered it sooner
In February (after putting on kg’s and the excesses of xmas & new year) I decided to do the Bikram 60 day challenge.
I had done everything from gym, running, boxing, cycling, walking, weights, diet etc and they have all been successful in some form or another. However, I can truly say that absolutely nothing I have ever done before has compared to the difference I have felt since I have started the 60 day challenge. I feel stronger, not only physically, but mentally too. I feel taller, leaner, and much more focussed. Things that would have upset me before don’t seem to have such an effect on me. I have days where I feel I am a yoga guru and can take on any posture and do it perfectly! The very next day I may experience not even being able to stand on 1 leg for 30 seconds – each day differs to the next! I have lost the desire to smoke cigarettes.
In conjunction with a modified eating plan and Bikram, I have lost a total of 7kgs since starting the 60 day challenge – and I plan to keep going!
Norma is great – I’m not a Bikram guru, but I have been to classes around Australia and believe me, we are truly blessed to have Norma here in Byron.
Thanks Norma, looking forward to becoming stronger, leaner, fitter & healthier!
I have been coming to the classes since it opened in November. I first came as I had two frozen shoulders plus ‘tennis elbow’ in both my arms. The Bikram yoga has been the only relief that I have had from this constant pain. This is due to the heat that you work with during the class. I no longer have to take prescribed pain killers and I no longer suffer from this chronic pain. I am able to have a full night’s sleep without being woken up by the nagging pain in my elbow joints.
After 5 months of regular Bikram Yoga I have reduced my thyroid medication by one third, my flexability has improved and back pain is a thing of the past. I love it !!!
Michael, 60 – Federal
With hard work, determination & courage, I have delved deeper than with any other therapy, to open, release and heal deep emotional blockages. Amazingly I have also gained thinness, strengthened my body and feel a deep sense of peace and love…all of this achieved in only 2 weeks of doing Bikram Yoga! I feel truly blessed to have such a professional yoga studio in our Shire. Blessing especially to you Norma for your insights and inspiring stories during class that have encouraged me to go beyond my comfort zone, where true healing is taking place. Your guidance has been inspirational…thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Lots of Love and Light, Tracee – Federal
Firstly, thank you very much for opening your beautiful Bikram studio up here in the glorious North Coast (God’s country). It has been many years since I last did any yoga practice and over those years my body/mind/spirit has craved it. (Bikram) Within the first 2 weeks of re-newing my practice, the hideous signs of peri-menopause have ceased! HOORAY!!- No more sweaty nights and boy, I went through the towels! Now I am down to only 2 a day! My insomnia for the first time in my adult life has stopped and I am now sleeping through the night. Your beautiful retreat is a place for me just to be ME and Be, I am! Thank you for your dedication like the lotus I am blossoming- Om Mani Padmi Om
Many Blessings Pixi – Suffolk Park
Thank you for the introduction to Bikram Yoga this week. Whilst the first class was a little overwhelming – I am glad I came back for the follow-up classes. I have enjoyed the “sweat” Universe permitting, I will certainly be back for more!
Om Shanti Kerrie – Byron Bay
I have been a participant of Bikram Yoga now since the studio opened 3/11/07. I had 0 level of fitness and bad lifestyle habits before I came to find Bikram Yoga. I can honestly say that it has made a really big difference in my life already. I have suffered chronic lung problems and depression from a very young age. Bikram has set a new direction in my life in incorporating a new management plan for recovery from physical, mental and emotional turmoil. Bikram Yoga has given me what western medicine has failed to provide. Not being able to do these classes would surely put me back to square 1. Thank You!
Deborah – Brunswick Heads
Although the first class was torture, it’s amazing how quickly you start to see results if you just stick to it
Anna 28, Byron Bay
Warm supportive classes. Immediately after class you will feel invigorated and fantastic!
Sue 54, Federal
In less than a week I’m glowing and looking 10 years younger”
Donna 35, Mullum
Invigorating, inspiring and dynamic! Persevere and the results speak for themselves. Norma is focussed, encouraging and a great facilitator to go at your own pace. One of the best things I’ve done for ME!
Janet 46, Brunswick Heads
It mentally and physically challenges me, it makes me feel so alive!”
Andy 37, Bangalow
How many gyms have you been to where all the instructors call you by your name? How many pharmacies have you been to, where they tell you that all the remedies you need lie within? How many practitioners have you been to that spend 90 minutes with you – leaving you visibly stronger then before?
In our world we are inundated with healers… Beauty therapists, naturopaths, psychologists, motivational speakers and personal trainers. They all purport to offer us a way to improve our life, our skin, our spine, and our commitment but imagine there was a way of self administering all of these bounties.
In my opinion, Bikram Yoga does all of that – and then some.
I had been travelling for about five years. Living the good life. Enjoying alcohol and international cuisine in abundance. Cruising the States by boat, snowboarding the French Alps, Living in London, Backpacking Europe, Beaching it in Barbados, Bali, Fiji, and Tonga.
When I finally came home about 5kg heavier, immediate action had to be taken!
I started off with a bit of running and a few aerobics classes but it wasn’t until I started coming to Bikram that I saw my body and my mind change.
Although I hadn’t done any yoga before, the concept of Bikram wasn’t foreign to me. I had heard a few testimonials and was intrigued by this hip/hot practise. The first class is always the biggest challenge – guzzling water like it is going out of fashion, where to I park, where do I lie, when will it end, you want me to do what?? But the teachers are wonderfully trained and have a penchant for remembering names and guiding you on this journey.
The introductory week was a great way of acclimatising both physically and metaphorically. You could sense that you were embarking on a long journey and when you were seeing positive changes after only a week, the practise became addictive.
I remember asking Norma how many days should I run and how many days should I do yoga, and she said stop the running, come 5 times a week, do that for a few months and then see how you feel – My running shoes are now retired.
My skin was clearer then ever before, my girlfriends were commenting on how great I looked, my mind was calm and strong and in conjunction with all that I felt a real sense of community within the studio. You sweat with these people, occasionally you cry in front of them, you lament the heat with them, you draw energy from them and you build friendships with these fellow yogis and teachers.
I got my Mum along to class and Bikram became an arena for us to spend time together. We became quite the pair – shuffling into the studio with our yoga mats and towels, investigating yoga retreats and after every class there would be the compulsory post yoga discussion – “Did you see my Dandayamana-Dhanurasana”. After a year of practising she is now about to embark on a 30-day challenge (You can’t get out of it now Mum – I have told the world).
I completed the 60-day challenge last year and now I practise 4-5 times a week. People ask – don’t you get bored with the poses… but I can honestly say that every time I step into the room I have a new experience. Sometimes I have breakthroughs, sometimes I have to struggle with the chattering in my mind, sometimes I contort my body into poses that in the first class I deemed impossible. But every time I walk out of there I feel a million dollars.
So forget about the chiropractor, the personal trainer the psychologist and the beauty therapist. Throw your money at a monthly pass and make it a part of your routine. You will trim your body, calm your mind, build your inner and outer strength and put some perspective into your life… Now go and drink some water.
Simone K. – Fitzroy
I started Bikram yoga purely out of curiosity never realising how quickly practising was going to become a huge part of my life. I’ve now been practising for nearly two years and am finally in a position to do the 60 day challenge (thanks to the opening of the Fitzroy studio).
I’ve nearly completed the challenge and I feel fantastic. I feel stronger, more confident, and obviously more flexible. I’ve noticed now that when I walk I don’t look down at my feet. I’ve lost weight, my skin is clearer and the funny thing is I feel taller! But it’s more than just these physical aspects I feel calmer, more at peace within myself, happier and by far so much healthier. I’ve also learned how to control that little voice inside my head that tells me I can’t, and I never thought I would be able to do that.
I honestly didn’t realise how much of an impact the 60 day challenge was going to have on my life. It is a huge commitment, but it’s definitely one I would recommend to everyone.
Tania – Fitzroy
I have been doing yoga and various other forms of exercise for at least 20 years. Since I started Bikram Yoga I have felt a very deep healing taking place. Very old Physical wounds have been resurfacing to be healed and a lot of suppressed emotions have been gently released.
I feel a very focused sense of self-discipline whilst participating in the classes and usually the completion of the classes; I feel a deepened level of sensitivity, joy and clarity. My flexibility has also improved along with my balance.
My body has toned and trimmed considerably and I sincerely enjoy the experience of the classes immensely.
Rochelle D. – Fitzroy
I was an overweight 33 year old guy trying to get fit before it was too late. My metabolism was on the ‘go slow’, and I saw some family pics where I was the fat guy. And I was cycling as well, about 40 kms per week!
After 2 months of Bikram Yoga I’ve lost 7 kilos, my muscles have toned up and my friends say “Hey dude, it’s nice to see that you have cheek bones now!” My cycling has benefited as I don’t have to stop for a rest now, and I feel that my muscles and lungs are always oxygenated.
The first thing I noticed after my first Bikram was my lifetime Sylvester Stallone bags had disappeared. It was hard in the beginning but now Bikram is a passion!
Otis F. – Fitzroy
Last November I started practising Bikram Yoga – most commonly known as ‘hot yoga’ – which is a form of yoga that is practised in a room heated to about 37c degrees (99F) – the same temp as India on a hot day. Each class goes for 90 minutes and in the first 15 minutes you start to sweat and by the end of the class the towel under you is soaked as are all the clothes you have on. I’ve been going to Bikram averaging about twice a week for the last year and lately I’ve amped it up to three times a week and I am FEELING FABULOUS!!
I’ve been practising various forms of yoga for the last 12 years or so. and I’ve tried nearly all of them with various results. This form of yoga is so incredibly effective & healing that I’m becoming a serious devotee. There’s a lot of controversy around Bikram due to various reasons that I won’t go into here – I kind of ignored all that and wanted to see for myself what effect the technique would have on me – and what an effect! In the 12 months of practising Bikram:
- I’ve lost nearly 7 kilos (15 pounds).
- Gained flexibility in my lower back which has been tight for years.
- Have increased muscle tone.
- Massively improved posture.
- Am starting to see my ab’s!! Yes, I have ab’s!! Visible ab’s!!
- Haven’t been sick (except for a short bout of hayfever that lasted 2 days) or seen a doctor in 12 months.
- Increased my lung capacity by double.
- The tendonitis in my right wrist has disappeared.
- The mild arthritis from an old broken bone in my left wrist has also disappeared.
- I’m healthier & fitter than I’ve ever been in my whole life – seriously!
- Achieved a lot of very tangible detoxing: emotional, mental & physical.
- I’m calmer, deal with stress better and I am generally a happier person than I’ve been in a long time.
- Have been jumping up & punching the sky with greater frequency lately!
Now I know I sound like an advert for Bikram, but today I came home from yoga just feeling so fucken fabulous I had to tell someone. This is the absolute schizzer of yogas… It’s not an easy fix though, its bloody hard work and sometimes a real killer but the results have been so worth it. My first class was the hardest, I spent 40% of the time just lying on the floor trying to breathe in the heat. But by the second, third & fourth classes I was really enjoying it, especially the increased flexibility.
In November I’m gearing up for 30 days straight of yoga for the whole month. Its going to be interesting to see if I can do it, will keep you posted. Maybe I could do a blog entry a day and keep track of my progress – hmmm…
I am a happy little yogini!!
Meri H – Fitzroy