As previously featured in The Yoga Diaries :
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jean, I am a French pharmacist, and living in a country with a very rich food culture, I have struggled with weight issues for years. So, when an old friend of mine introduced me to Bikram Yoga, I could not imagine how much my body would be transformed in only six months.
My first introduction to yoga, prior to my Bikram practice, was with a really inspiring Anusara Yoga teacher in my hometown. That first yoga experience was very surprising to me, as I felt so good after classes, something I had never felt after any other sport classes.
Later, when my friend invited me to join her for a Bikram Yoga class, I asked around to find out more about the practice. Few people had heard of it, and among those who had, I heard some negative impressions about the heat, the franchise concept, etc. But despite any negative feedback I received, I decided to trust my friend and give it a try. She thought I’d leave the hot room (aka “the torture chamber”) after a couple of postures, but I stayed! And even better, I made it to the end of class and then enjoyed savasana… What a shock!
At the end of class, my friend came over and gave me a hug. I then went into the shower…and I cried, a lot. They were tears of joy I guess. As I sometimes say, my body realized way before my mind how much this yoga was exactly what I needed at this time.
Before the experience, I was 308 pounds. My friend and I took classes four days in a row, and as a beginner, I was quite proud! But once I returned back home, I waited a couple of weeks to repeat the experience, mainly because of lack of time (there is no Bikram studio less than 1 hour from my home). But once I did it again, the benefits were so great, that I tried to make the journey to the hot room at least once or twice a week. Six months later, I had lost about fifty pounds. And I’ve done this with only Bikram Yoga and by eating healthier food. I did not do this with any fad diet, medicine nor with surgery.
Hatha Yoga, Anusara Yoga, and most of all Bikram Yoga really allowed me to understand the true meaning of “union” (after all, that’s what “Yoga” means right?). The yoga really helped my body and mind to reunite. It helped me to simply remember that I was strong. With six month of regular (but not intense) practice, I’ve lost weight, I have gained much more balance and flexibility, and my mind is much clearer than it was.
Bikram Yoga is just yoga, no more no less. Maybe it’s not everybody’s yoga, but it’s exactly the yoga I needed. In order to avoid dehydration from all of the intense heat and sweating, I learned to drink more water than I ever had before. And all of that sweating helps to rid my body of unhealthy and unwanted toxins.
I wanted to share my personal experience, especially for people who might have weight issues, because it is clear to me that yoga helps you to drink more water, to eat better (I now crave fruits and veggies instead of sweets and fat!), and to get back into balance and comfort in your own body. Weight issues create discomfort, then you get used to dealing with frustration, and the judgment of others makes you judge yourself in the worst possible way. Bikram Yoga has helped me to get rid my life of all of this negativity and to regain my confidence.
I have so much gratitude for the dear friend who introduced me to this real life treasure of Bikram Yoga. Please friends, always remember you ARE strong, much stronger than you think. You deserve the best for your health, and even if you have no other issues than a couple of extra pounds, I encourage you to give it a try. And keep in mind Patanjali’s lessons: loving kindness, compassion and joy! Have compassion for yourself and be patient with your transformation. Don’t let frustration get the better of you, as frustration is a block to transformation! And most importantly, love yourself and remember that we all have beauty and strength inside… sometimes we just forget it.
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