The following stories are in the words of actual students. These people live here and practice Bikram yoga at our studio regularly. If you would like to speak to them directly, or ask further questions, our staff will gladly make the introduction.
“I joined the studio and began five years ago. I’d taken a few yoga classes here and there but didn’t find a practice that worked for me physically, spiritually and mentally. I must avoid any high-impact forms of exercise due to a back issue that I was born with…Spina Bifida Occulta. One of my vertebrates has a gap where it should be connected, and this caused me severe back pain for years. I was diagnosed 20 years ago and there are still not many medicines or surgeries that help. My spine has bony growths that caused arthritis and compressions. Several physicians told me that injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories were going to be part of my life. One spine doctor in Atlanta had me wearing a soft brace for daily support, which was certainly not the answer for long- term wellness.”
“After I began practicing Bikram yoga in the Mount Pleasant studio, I found relief from the pain after just a few months! I believe there are many reasons for this: The postures strengthen the core muscles I need for support of my lower back and stretch the other muscles to help balance my spine. I have not had a steroid injection in five years and take no medicine for pain except an occasional ibuprofen. At times, some of the postures are very challenging for me, but those challenges in the hot room allow me to feel great outside the room and to continue the outdoor activities I love! When people ask why I ‘m so hooked on Bikram yoga, I say, “It’s my medicine!” It’s the best investment one can make in their body, mind and life!”
— Donna Webb
I went to my first Bikram Yoga class eight months ago. I have been athletic my entire life, playing basketball in college and running marathons. But a year ago I suffered my first real injury; a broken foot (or Lisfranc fracture) that required reconstructive surgery and months of rehab. For the first time in my life, running was not an option and so I was in search of something challenging that could help me strengthen and tone and heal. A friend of mine invited me to a Bikram Yoga class and I found myself going back week after week. The more I went, the more I realized Bikram offered the perfect blend of what nothing else had: a mix of stretching, strengthening and healing at a pace that worked for me. I also liked that it provided an environment to unplug and de-clutter my mind.
Eight months later I’m a believer of the benefits of Bikram Yoga! I am doing what my doctors said would be a longshot– walking and running pain free. I‘ve also suffered from chronic tennis elbow for years and run the gamut of cortisone shots and anti-inflammatory drugs but nothing seemed to work. I firmly believe Bikram has done what doctors and prescription drugs could not — relieve the chronic pain in my elbow. Bikram positions have a way of forcing good circulation to the joints, which is so important to healing any type of injury.
The other surprising benefit of yoga — which I wasn’t looking to for since I was already at a healthy weight — was that I shed 15 pounds and got back to a range I had not seen since college (a long time ago!). I see Bikram as an excellent investment in oneself and far less expensive than traditional medical routes. In Bikram I have found an outlet to exercise, strengthen and heal without taking up a lot of time and having the fear of injuring myself
like I had in other high- impact activities.
The only downside I see to Bikram is that none of my clothes fit me anymore!
I had no idea I had scoliosis until I saw a doctor about four years ago for unrelenting back pain that had not only intensified over the course of several months, but also become tender to the touch. An x-ray later revealed a c-shape curve that had endured years of impact from dancing, running, traditional aerobics and weight training—all of which led to disc loss at L4 and L5. At age 36, to my shock, my doctor told me that surgery would be the only corrective measure. Thankfully, she is a forward-thinking physician who suggested I try yoga– with the hopes that strengthening the muscles around my spine might pull my back into a better alignment. Admittedly, I was skeptical that yoga would work.
I was also skeptical that yoga would challenge me, not because I am flexible, but because I love the rush of endorphins from a long, hard run. Ironically, the next day I ran into a friend on the beach (our very own Sally Caldwell), remarked on her strong and chiseled physique and asked her secret to being the picture of health and fitness. Two words: “Bikram Yoga,” she said. I took a class that afternoon, and I’ve been attending regularly ever since. Within the first couple of months, I noticed my strength, flexibility and balance improved dramatically.
I no longer experience pain in my back. My husband, who didn’t think I needed to “change my body,” commented that my muscles were much more defined. I began sleeping more soundly. I also believe my immune system is stronger, as I am sick less often. I’m so convinced of the benefits of Bikram Yoga, I recently completed training to be an instructor. From skeptic to teacher in four short years!
Bikram has changed my life! After having major problems with degenerative disease in my back, with bulging and herniated disks, I was unable to walk without pain. So, I had trouble doing my job as an aircraft mechanic. My job involved walking up and down stairs and climbing in and out of the aircraft during daily 10- hour shifts. I was forced to take Motrin for pain relief, but it didn’t help, so the doctor gave me a prescription for pain medication pills. I refused to take them. They only made me sleepy and I wanted to live a productive life, not sleep it away. When the pain got unbearable, I was put on short-term disability. Someone suggested a chiropractor, so I went there for physical therapy a couple times a week. I also had to wear a Tens Unit (a device worn that gives off electrical currents to repair and relieve pain) and I got mechanical massages. Then I was introduced to decompression. It was expensive, but I was willing to do whatever it would take to heal me and get rid of the pain. My fiancée, (now my husband) gave me the money; it wasn’t covered by my insurance. After going through weeks of treatment to heal my disks, I felt no different. When I was allowed to go back to work on light duty, I ran into a person who suggested hot yoga. I didn’t know anything about it, but I was interested. He said, “There’s a Bikram hot yoga in Mt. Pleasant.” I went and the first class was tough, but to my amazement, that very first day, I walked out of Bikram pain-free and without limping! Not only did Bikram yoga cure my back problems, it also brought my cholesterol down 23 points in one month! In the past I tried diet, exercise, anything to get my cholesterol down, and all it took was going to Bikram! My blood pressure went from 140/90 to 116/70. Other benefits were a better mood, a 20 lb. weight loss within a few weeks, and my body got stronger and toned. It’s been three years, and I’m still pain-free. Recently my doctor said, I’m in excellent health. Really, although I didn’t think I’d be able to walk without pain again, not only can I walk, I’m very athletic, and a competitive runner! Now, that’s amazing!
— Diana DeSilva