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How I Lost 100 Pounds
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Ann Marie Saaks
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Best Yoga Studios Morgan Hill and Gilroy are not affiliated with Bikram Choudhury or the Bikram Yoga franchise.
My journey with Bikram Yoga started in 2004, when my colleagues from work invited me to join them for a Bikram Yoga class in Los Gatos, and I truly enjoyed it! In 2012, I found Best Yoga Morgan Hill. I could not get signed up fast enough. BYMH started my journey into physical fitness and healing. I have also battled a few addictions. My motto was “work hard, play hard” and I did. Best Yoga Studios has assisted me in centering myself, both physically and mentally. Today, I still battle the aches and pains that come with old sports injuries, but BYS has truly helped me in the healing process.
I’ve spoken with many yogis throughout the years who have also felt the healing power of the hot yoga. With the addition of many new classes, including Hot Pilates, Power Flow, Pi-Yo, Meditation, and Yin classes, you can experience the overall life-changing benefits of this practice.
I’m so very grateful to our beautiful Wendy for opening both the Morgan Hill and Gilroy studios. Not only does she bring a charismatic feel to the studios but the instructors are equally amazing in their compassion and sense of spirit. Over the past five years, there has been a true bonding with my fellow yogis. If you’re having a bad day, take a class, and expect to be greeted with hugs and smiles from your peers. The many off-site events, gatherings, socials, etc. have truly brought our yoga community together. Wendy, thank you for the love and blessings that you have brought to all of us. In your own words, “Peace be with you. God is with you always. Namaste.”
Dawn Marie Breyer
Student of the Month
Best Yoga Studios
775 Cochrane Rd. Morgan Hill, CA 95037
60 4th Street Gilroy, CA 95020
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Sally Lane: Hmmmm where do I begin? Should I address my ongoing bouts of sciatica? Being overweight? My desire to gain balance in my life, both physically and emotionally?
There are so many reasons that Best Yoga Gilroy has helped me in the past 6 months. When I started in February of this year I did not like Bikram Yoga. The HEAT- UGH. The 26 postures--Are you kidding me?! However, with the encouragement and support of Wendy, the instructors, AND the wonderful ladies that I have met, I kept coming back.
I have a history of heart attack (at the age of 34) and was recently told I am diabetic. I had been pre-diabetic for several years and didn't take it seriously. I also let life get in my way. My Mother passed away unexpectedly from a fall in 2013, and I retired from a stressful job after 32 years. I also had some blessings. My oldest daughter got married and my youngest daughter graduated from University of Santa Cruz in 2015.
Fast forward 6 months—I’ve dropped 42 lbs., and my blood sugar is under control. Side benefit, my skin looks great! All that heat and sweat gets the toxins out. Sciatica? What's that? My balance has improved, my legs, abdomen, and core are stronger.
I crave the heat and the Bikram Yoga. I truly love that it’s a practice, because that’s certainly what I do. I love that my fellow "Yogis" come in all shapes, ages and abilities. I love how we support and encourage each other to achieve our best in our practice. The support and encouragement from Wendy, and all the instructors is steady, strong & true.
I would encourage anyone to come and try Hot Yoga. Please don't let life and excuses get in your way. It’s a "practice" and for me choosing to make it part of my life has truly changed my mind and body. I look forward to seeing where yoga will take me over the years to come.
Hope to see you at the studio soon.
Holly Lasky: I hate to sweat, and I hate heat but I LOVE Bikram Yoga! The last two years have been an incredible journey. I had a knee injury, arthritis, was in constant pain, and weighed 303 pounds. My doctor recommended Bikram Yoga, and I'm now able to walk without a cane or pain. I'm biking, eating right, learning to cope in healthy ways, and and I'm losing the weight that kept me from enjoying my life. I've never been athletic or coordinated, EVER. I've tried gyms but never really felt excited about going. I called Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill/Gilroy to ask a few questions. Wendy Mosgrove was so warm, cordial and helpful. She listened and helped me feel comfortable about trying a class. Wendy welcomed and accepted me without any judgement or negativity. I appreciated the philosophy of embracing where you are each day. After the first class, I wasn't so sure, but I thought I should make the most of the experience. By the end of 20 days, I had met some amazing people, gotten past a plateau, lost another 1.5 inches all around and I was hooked!
I continue to embrace the process, hard work and pain to grow and become the person I am meant to be in every area of my life. I am grateful to God, my husband, daughter, family, Dr. Fields, Ruthie my nutritionist, Wendy Mosgrove, and all the great teachers, and supportive community at Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill/Gilroy.
Every day is another step forward in health. I'm down 100 pounds, I love to workout, feel stronger, energetic, and more comfortable in my own skin. I especially look forward to starting the day with the Morgan Hill 5:30 am classes! I'm getting myself and my life back, but it's a better me and a better life.
Donnie Copeland: My love for Bikram Yoga is a bit of an anomaly. I grew up with three older brothers living in the country, shooting guns, riding dirt bikes, and doing other "manly" activities. So for me yoga wasn't even on my radar as something that I might enjoy or that could help me. But as I progressed into adulthood, and the stresses of the real world began to weigh on me, I found myself frustrated with both my physical and mental health. I tried so many different things that I've lost count and once it became clear that traditional medicine couldn't help I knew I had to explore other options.
I put my faith in Bikram Yoga and haven't looked back. However, it was not love at first sight... my first class felt like boot camp in a sauna. But I kept coming back, and within a week I was already noticing that I was sleeping better, I had more energy, and my back was feeling better. What I've learned since I first started is that there are no short cuts to living healthy. If you put in the effort you get the rewards, that's really what this practice is all about for me. Combined with eating healthier, Wendy's Beyond Yoga studios have been critical to me taking care of my body and soul. The instructors are really supportive, and there is a strong sense of camaraderie among the regulars, probably because we all see each other as being survivors of Wendy's torture chamber :). Seriously though, Wendy is amazing. She is so encouraging, and she bent over backwards to allow me to continue practicing, knowing how demanding my schedule is. I am so thankful to her and to all who have helped me along my journey towards a healthy, productive, and fulfilling life.
Jordan Smallwood: Dear Wendy, First and foremost, I miss you and I miss Bikram Yoga. I can't thank you enough for immediately making me a part of your Bikram family, and treating me as if I was one of your own. I never talked about this, but when I came to Bikram Yoga, I was a broken man. My body was broken and my spirit was broken. My day job was stressful. I also started a company at the same time, and I just felt all around drained, and like I didn't have much worth.
The techniques you taught me in class did more than just make me more limber and give me cool abs - I truly learned from you how to compartmentalize one's thoughts and utilize them to emanate positivity to those around me. That had been lost on me for a couple of years but you brought it back.
Keeping your standing leg straight taught me to always remain true to my foundation - God, family, and friends. Because when your foundation is solid, you can be flexible in any life situation.
Breathing properly taught me that even when the heat in your life is turned up past 100 degrees, as long as you can take a deep breath and stay focused, you will adapt and overcome.
The whole process of gradually getting better taught me that it was ok to not be perfect as long as you were continually and relentlessly chasing perfection - but it would only work if it was being chased for the right reasons. Not being judged in class, despite my belly and lack of initial yoga prowess taught me that we are all just trying to be the best humans we can be, and as long as you are trying your best, you will find peace. And finally, I learned that bestowing peace upon someone, and letting them know that God is with them always could truly bring them to life's ultimate Namaste.
You have no idea how much these lessons and the overall love you showed me not only taught me life lessons, but repaired my self esteem, and the inherent joy for life that I thought had been lost for good. You have truly been like a mom to me and I hope that I can bless others as much as you have blessed me. I have nothing but love for you and I just had to let you know how you changed my life for the better. If you ever need anything, let me know and as long as I can physically do it, I will.
Don Bergis: I am 59 1/2 years old and have a background being a top athlete on my high school’s football team and college rugby team. After years of lifting weights, working out, and putting my body through rigorous training, I had become stiff and developed arthritis in my toes and back, making working out feel like an agonizing chore, and cardio seem impossible. These ailments, coupled with a career in managing my own business, meant I needed to find another outlet in order to stretch out, reduce body pain, alleviate my arthritis, all while still feeling like I was getting in a solid workout. That's when I discovered Bikram Yoga.
I started Bikram Yoga in January of 2014 and was going to class up to twice a week. It was phenomenal. About a year and half later, the arthritis in my feet has been significantly reduced (by at least 50% to 80%), and the arthritis in my back is almost completely gone. I sleep better at night, I'm able to bend down in order to pick things up off the floor, and I’m finding my flexibility has returned to that of when I was 15 years old. I’ve managed to drop some pounds in the process, and have regained the stamina and energy characteristic to the days when I was in the height of my athletic career.
For me, the benefits of Bikram Yoga are visible, and offer the opportunity to see results in restoration, as well as reducing chronic aches and pains. Beyond that, the studio is clean and well-kept, hosting a group of extremely helpful instructors. While I'm still trying to master some of the more advanced poses, I have improved considerably since first starting, and I'm excited to see what the rest of this journey brings. Onwards and upwards! Namaste.
Maria Beyret: Bikram Yoga has been such a wonderful gift to my life and I am forever grateful to Wendy for bringing this practice to Gilroy. I came to my first class at the BYG Grand Opening on January 31st, 2015, exactly four months ago. I had no prior experience or knowledge of the Bikram practice and I must admit I was super nervous. At the front door, I met great teachers and experienced students who welcomed me with their smiles and calmed all my fears right away. To my surprise, not only did I survive the entire 90 minutes, but also felt really good. Yes, it was intense and yes, the heat was quite overwhelming at times, but after the class was over and I was able to stay quiet and calm in the final resting pose, I felt so wonderful and light, almost as I had felt after I delivered my twin girls naturally 8 years ago :). I knew I was ready for more! Right away, I signed up for the 20-Day Intro Offer. Since then, I have been practicing Bikram Yoga nearly every day and with every class I feel stronger and more centered; I have plenty of energy and my persisting back pains are totally gone. Once I'm in the hot room, I'm just there; no troubles, no rush, no problems of the world. For me, the hot room is a beautiful place of silence where I am able to connect with my body and where I am absolutely true to myself. Walking to the studio makes me really happy and leaving the studio soaked with sweat is my daily treat. As a busy mom of three, it's hard to find extra time for myself. But I love this place so much that I'm ready to better organize my day, to reschedule my appointments, to wake up at 4:45 am and make it to the first session at 5:30 am; or to cook dinner earlier so I can attend the evening classes. Beyond Yoga Gilroy is an amazing place where you find great teachers who are always there for you, and make you feel safe and comfortable. They will help you modify the poses, and check on you, making sure you're okay. Last but not least, Beyond Yoga Gilroy has a great community of people: kind, friendly and non-judgmental. They are always there to help, to share advice, and give words of encouragement. I absolutely love this place and I hope and wish more people will discover the beauty of the Bikram Yoga practice. Thank you Wendy, and all the wonderful teachers and students for inspiring me and for giving me the strength to overcome obstacles not only in the hot room, but in real life with patience and persistence.
Mike Chavez: My experience with Bikram Yoga began with a conversation with Wendy. She was informative, friendly, and most importantly to me, sincere. Prior to starting to practice Bikram, I was dealing with a LONG roster of sports related injuries. Mornings were becoming difficult and painful, which made me start to ask myself what I could change. Seventy minutes into my first class, even though I had no idea what I was doing, I thought to myself, "this isn't so hard!" Minute 71 was when I found out how hard it really was. My body completely stopped cooperating and I had to sit down. At that same point the teacher said, "if you feel nauseous, dizzy, or light-headed that's completely normal." After the class ended, I left exhausted, humbled, and I loved it! The next day I woke up, felt fantastic and immediately looked at that day's class schedule. Most of the pain and injuries that were nagging me are being worked through daily. This practice takes patience, focus, and humility, which are all traits I welcome. Anyone who hasn't visited Beyond Yoga Morgan Hill/Gilroy owes it to themselves to enhance their life through this experience. Everything in life that is rewarding takes hard work to accomplish. Just like the quote says, I'll "keep doing it until my coffin fits." Thank you Wendy!
Dolores Mercado: The first thing I would say about Bikram Yoga is that it's an acquired taste. I'm so glad and fortunate that I've come to love it. I'm a flight attendant and I travel a lot. I count down the days until I'm back in that gloriously hot and humid room. This practice teaches me something new every day. From being patient with myself to realizing how much I've improved. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days. But every time I'm having a challenging day, whether it's at home or at 30k feet in the air, all I have to say is, "inhale, exhale, Namaste." I'm so thankful to Wendy! Thank you for opening such a wonderful studios in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Thank you for making us all feel like family!
Steve Conroy: I had been active most of my life, involved with all kinds of activities like hiking, cycling, football, basketball and baseball. One thing that always limited me was an injury resulting from a motorcycle accident when I was 20 years old. I suffered a fractured knee cap, femur and had lots of collateral damage. At the time, I was told I would never be able to run again. I had tremendous pain in my knee most of my life. I took lots of anti-inflammatory meds and sought treatment, having surgery to clean up and repair damaged cartilage, etc. For a while, I played it very conservatively, trying my best not to damage my knee with a lot of activity. Then I found out that joint health depends on proper nutrition, pressure & movement. There’s no blood supply to cartilage, it’s nourished by fluid in the joint during movement and activity. So I started being less conservative and began getting much more active, which, for me, was a more rewarding lifestyle. Along the way I started accumulating more injuries and pains. My knee was not holding up under the demands I placed on it. So I began looking for a way to be active without abusing myself. I found yoga was a great way to do that and I did yoga for years at a gym. It was positive for the most part but every once in a while I would do something I was not ready for and hurt myself. My knee was not getting better, it was getting worse. Several orthopedic doctors suggested a knee replacement. I had no cartilage left on the inner compartment of my right knee which caused my knee to bow. Consequently, whenever I had to balance on my right leg I would have to lean far to the right so all the pressure was on the outside of my knee. I found ways around the pain for many activities but all these adaptations were slowly becoming less and less effective. A friend of mine wanted me to go to Bikram Yoga with him. He said they had a 20-Day Introductory Special. I went, really more to support him thinking I would not join since I already had a gym membership. The first classes were extremely hard and I always felt dizzy. I was stretching things that had not been stretched for years but needed to be stretched. After 5 or 6 classes it felt like my body craved the experience. It was still extremely hard to do but it also brought relief. I had already scheduled my knee replacement surgery so I figured I could go to yoga 2 or 3 times a week until surgery. I know from my experience in physical therapy that it’s best to go into surgery as strong as possible so you can recover quicker. As surgery approached I had a pre-op class with many other people having the same operation. It turns out a friend of mine, who was also doing Bikram Yoga at the time, was also in the class. As part of class we were given Spirometers. The Spirometer is used to help patients improve lung function. We were supposed to use the device right there in class and note a baseline we would try to return to after surgery. As you breathe in, a ball is raised up a tube by your breath. While most people in class were barely able to move the ball 1/2 way up, we both brought the ball to the top. In fact I was able to peg the meter. I looked around and saw what others were doing, then looked at my friend and saw what he was doing, then we looked at each other and both said at about the same time "Bikram Yoga". Working in PT earlier in life I had seen the Spirometers and tried them but they were always a challenge. Now after doing the breathing exercises in Bikram Yoga for just a short time I was amazed at how healthy my lungs were. I really give credit to Bikram Yoga for this improvement. This was just one thing that made a believer out of me. After surgery, I tried to incorporate a lot of the Bikram Yoga, particularly the breathing exercises, into my home rehab. Rehab was a struggle because my knee would not bend. For about 3 months I had to take maximum pain meds and push on the knee every day. It felt like I was re-traumatizing my knee each time. Once the 3 months were over, I had reached my doctors goal for bending but the pain killers had really messed me up mentally and physically. I was sleeping up to 12-15 hours every day and did not feel like doing anything. I asked for more time off work and started going to Bikram Yoga classes again. I changed my diet to really increase fluids, more vegetables and vegetable juices, etc. With this and the sweating at Bikram Yoga I felt like I was eliminating a lot of toxins built up in my body from all the medication. My head cleared up more and more throughout this process and my energy returned. I practiced 2 to 3 times a week for a while, then every other day for many months. I just recently completed the 30-Day Challenge. Throughout this time, I still had a lot of pain but I was patient with myself and just kept coming. Priscilla and Wendy were very helpful in suggesting modifications to some postures. All the instructors were very kind in allowing me to do things slightly differently but when they saw that I was ready to move on, they challenged me to try postures without the modifications. I have been progressing slowly and I'm encouraged daily by other students who practice with me. Even without a word from anyone I can be inspired to do more because of the others in the room. I feel a closeness to the people who practice with me. It's as if we are bonded together by our common suffering. The last thing I want to mention is that I am very surprised that although it does feel like suffering and torture at times, practicing Bikram Yoga has not caused me any new injuries and I'm feeling the old ones melting away.
Paula Farinha: I had struggled with my weight my whole life and couldn't find the perfect activity to keep me motivated. I was tired of my usual treadmill routine and wasn't getting the results I wanted. My mom came across Bikram Yoga on a Groupon promotion and decided to sign both of us up. I was skeptical at first but thought it was the perfect opportunity to spice up my workout. Like many, I had a love-hate relationship with the practice at first. But I absolutely adored how I felt after class. It's an unexplainable sensation of self-accomplishment and peace. It's the perfect balance between a torture chamber and a sanctuary. Soon I was addicted and found myself practicing daily. For a girl who is self-conscious about her body, it's hard to look at yourself in the mirror for 90 minutes and not criticize yourself. But the practice forces you to look beyond who you see in front of you and helps you imagine the person you will become. After a year of practicing, I am 30 pounds lighter and the happiest I have ever been. Bikram Yoga has boasted my self-esteem and given me the confidence I've craved my whole life. It is much more than the perfect workout that demands your body to push itself physically, but also the perfect stress reliever, that sends you to a state of serenity. Bikram Yoga has become a part of my lifestyle and I plan to keep practicing "till my coffin fits". Words will never be enough to describe my gratitude to the Beyond Yoga Morgan Hill staff. Thank you for sharing this practice and inspiring me with your beautiful words of encouragement. You have changed my life and I am forever grateful.
Russell Hong: Going to Bikram Yoga class is never easy. I never leave the house excited to fold my body into a "Japanese ham sandwich". I cringe at the idea of doing 2 sets of Standing Head to Knee pose. Nothing excites me less than massaging my transverse colon. So why do I put up with Bikram Yoga? Here are my top 10 reasons:
10.It’s cheaper than getting a massage and feels twice as nice. 9.You eat less pizza when you have to look at yourself in the mirror. 8.It improves your skin and makes you look younger. 7.The motivational challenges... Trying a 30-day challenge? Weigh yourself before and after. Even if you don’t complete it, you’ll come to class more and improve your self-image. 6.Best cure for a hangover. 5.In the last year that I’ve begun this practice, I haven’t gotten sick once. 4.When I don’t skip class, my wife says I'm nicer to her. 3.Yoga etiquette teaches us to arrive on time, be silent, focus on our breathing, and be mindful that our presence can positively or negatively affect those around us. Solid life lessons. 2.Wendy’s an amazing leader. She has an organized schedule, a passion for teaching, and a sincere belief and love for her students make BYMH what it is. 1.The teachers. Andre’s spiritual wisdom, Jen’s empowering inspiration, Miki’s consistency and encouragement, Teresa’s storytelling and sense of humor, and Jason’s willingness to push us beyond our physical and emotional limitations have benefited me beyond words. These are the reasons why I put up with Bikram’s Torture Chamber. And you want to know the best thing about it? The reasons continue once you leave. As a teacher, I feel more present when I stand in front of my students. As a commuter, I’m more mindful of other drivers and get less road rage. As a husband, I’m kinder and listen more to my wife. And as a human being, I simply enjoy my day more after I hear that magical word at the end of class, “Namaste.” Going to Bikram Yoga class is never easy, but the way you feel leaving class makes it all worth it.
Natalie Schnetzler: I was introduced to Bikram Yoga around the New Year of 2008. My massage therapist encouraged me to go. I was hoping that it would help loosen the tightness that I experienced in my knee every day. I had reconstructive surgery of my Anterior Cruciate Ligament in August of 1996 and flexibility had been an issue ever since. My sister went with me to our first class and we both loved it. In 2011, when Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill opened, my foot was in a cast to repair the plantar fascia on the bottom of my foot. I was so excited and could not wait to join. I got my cast off early and got an annual membership. It was great. The environment was exceptionally clean and warmly inviting. One day, when I was working out at the gym, I tore my calf muscle, so I had to stop practicing, but expected to return when I was healed. Unfortunately, 2 years went by before I returned. My first class back, I had to just lay in savasana for most of the class. I have continued to come back each day except for one in the last 75 days. I will use my "bulldog determination and my bengal tiger strength" to eliminate any obstacles that come between me and my practice now. I have taken class at BYMH at varying times on every day of the week and from several different instructors. I have been able to take little pieces from each teachers' instructions and improve my practice. I'm eternally grateful to all the teachers who have assisted me with my practice. My smile is a little wider at the end of each class because I have made some sort of improvement, be it minute or massive. In the 92 days that I have consistently practiced, I have lost almost 45 pounds for a total of over 65 pounds in 20 weeks. My last medical check-in, my doctor was almost speechless in his amazement at my transformation. He described me as "lean". This has never happened to me before in my life. I suggested to him that he should medically advise Bikram Yoga to his patients. I have learned to arrange my world for success. I plan each week for the time each day that I will devote to my practice. I get out my yoga clothes each night to prepare for the next morning so that there are no excuses. Everything is in place for me to go, so there is absolutely no reason not to. In the end, it comes down to me. I have taken complete control of my practice with a devotion I only previously reserved for my husband. I am responsible for the care of my body. I am the only one that can make myself do anything. I am continuing to learn to be forgiving of myself because I am always the hardest on myself. If I miss an activity goal or eat a little more than I am supposed to, I am afforded the opportunity to try to reach my goals again tomorrow. My life is a journey not a destination, so I have to embrace the process, not the final result.
Robin Fox: About two years ago, I decided to try Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill had just opened, and my mum got me the 20-Day Intro Offer. It was my first time ever trying yoga. Like most people, I walked into the hot room, and immediately thought “What did I get myself into?” I hated it. I hated the heat, and the postures because I was not flexible or strong or patient, and I wanted to leave after the first 30 minutes. I hung in there until the end, as the instructor told me to do. After doing some research on what I saw as torture, I read about the possible benefits which included benefits for depression. Struggling with depression at the time, I decided to go back. Looking at myself in the mirror with a destructive mind was torturous. I was frustrated that I didn’t look like the person next to me in every posture and the only thing on my mind was how to run out of the room with no one noticing. Day after day, listening to the dialogue, I’m happy to say that my heart began to open, my mind slowed down, and at the end of class I began to smile. I often caught myself smiling during class. Class after class, my smile grew wider, and I got stronger and more flexible. I began to carry the integrity I have on the mat, to off the mat in my daily life. Most of all, I began to fall in love with myself. Today, in 105 degrees, I'm absolutely in love with this practice, and I find myself smiling a lot. Bikram Yoga has changed my life. I love the postures and the people who have unfailingly supported me. I am eternally thankful to Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill for saving me.
Mario Gutierrez: I grew up falling out of trees, crashing while riding bikes and skateboards, regularly having skin scraped off from sliding down the street, off of roofs or down the side of a mountain. One day in 2005, I found myself alone in my car, unable to move my legs, unable to twist. I tried to move using my arms to lift myself out of the driver seat. For the 1st time in my life feeling this pain - REAL pain - I was genuinely worried and scared. I used to work for a big soda company as a merchandiser. One morning while alone in a store room, a pallet of 24-pack water cases fell and bent me backwards over a waist-high pallet. I remember a blinding pain and not being able to breathe. The result, 2 herniated disks! What makes it worse was the fact that the disks ruptured out the front of my spine due to being bent backwards. Nerves were being pinched and I had the classic legs on fire and the feeling of an ice pick in my lower back. This was when I was lucky enough to move. One year after the accident, I had an L5-S1 fusion and was adorned with titanium plates and screws. My existence revolved around pain pills and physical therapy three times a week. The worst day of it all came when I had my physical evaluation. That day, I received a permanent partially disabled rating in my medical records. Yes, things could have been much, much worse. But I don't think anything tops the terrible feeling of not being able to pick up your child when they need to be held and comforted. Depressed, angry, 240 pounds, high blood pressure, and sitting around all day leads to some very intense negative feelings. Eventually, I overcame my fear of re-injuring my spine and having to suffer through that hell of pain and overwhelming waves of helplessness. My kids learning to play hockey was just the nudge I needed and soon after I was out there learning to skate with them. It was the best time, except for the massive amounts of ibuprofen just to make it through the night, the physical therapy and the occasional bouts with prescribed pain meds. I loved playing hockey and coaching the kids' hockey teams and helping with my daughter's roller derby team. Eventually the pain started to get to the point where I realized I would have to give up skating. Desperation set in. My ex-wife had been practicing Bikram Yoga for about a year and convinced me to try a class. For this I will always be grateful to her. After the 2-Week Intro, I was able to stop taking ALL spine injury-related pain medication. What does Bikram Yoga mean to me? Bikram Yoga means I KNOW what I can do. Bikram Yoga means I have to learn new things in order to do what I cannot yet do. Bikram Yoga means living every single day without the pain which prevented me from having light saber battles with my son and picking up my daughter for TWO YEARS. Bikram taught me how to let go of all the accumulated anger which started that day in 2005 and lasted until my practice began nearly three years ago. "I believe I will open up, for all my rage will surely come undone."
Ruby Uribe: Just a little over a year ago, I decided to get back into yoga. I had heard of Bikram Yoga and did a bit of research. It definitely sounded like something I could benefit from. I tend to worry and stress out about things that come up, as things do in real life. Meditation becomes automatic as you concentrate to hold a pose, stay in correct posture, and just breathe throughout the whole 90 minutes of practice. This alone has been the biggest benefit. I still have those racing mind moments, but never during yoga. My second biggest challenge has been balance. I can see major improvements in this department. I am far from getting through the balance series without falling over, or even completing all the steps, but I have always had issues with balance. Because this section of the practice is my demon, I put more energy into it and try never to sit out a posture. There then is where that bull dog determination comes in. In conclusion I have to say that this practice has changed my body and mind in so many positive ways. I now drink more water than I ever have. Admittedly I was terrible at drinking water. I used to have a glass of wine almost every night and I have no desire for that anymore. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still love a glass of wine or martini once in a while, but it’s so much more of a treat now. Yes I can say that I am most likely a lifer. I turn 61 this month and got to say I feel better than ever!!!
Stan Mucha: I’ve been coming to Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill for about a year and a half now. I first came into the studio out of curiosity to see what this yoga is all about. I’ve heard about yoga before but never tried it. I knew that yoga is good for gaining flexibility and dealing with stress, but I did not expect yoga to be so physically demanding. It turned out that Bikram Yoga is quite demanding. In my first class I was surprised by the heat in the room. The heat makes exercise much more challenging. After the first class, I felt nicely stretched out and also very exhausted. In the following weeks I did a few more classes but I wasn’t sure yet that yoga was something I wanted to continue doing. After my Introductory Offer expired, I decided to sign up for the 30-Day Challenge – doing 30 classes in 30 days. I completed the challenge and at the end of it I decided this yoga is actually very good for me. Ever since, I’ve been coming 3-4 times a week. I did a few more challenges. Hot yoga gives me flexibility, which I would not have considered possible for me before I tried it. Each yoga class tests my determination and focus. The classes never get easy. There’s a sense of satisfaction that I feel after every class. Focusing on these 26 postures for 90 minutes during the class is good for forgetting about any stress. I also enjoy coming to Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill because of the friendly atmosphere there. The studio is always very clean and well maintained. All the instructors are very supportive and helpful. I appreciate the fact that there is a yoga studio close by which gives me the opportunity to practice.
Linh Truong: I was first introduced to Bikram Yoga when I was living in Las Vegas, back in the summer of 2011. One of my clients owned a Bikram Yoga studio. He distributed some trial class coupons for my associates and me to attend. Our branch rounded up 5 people and we went to check it out. Oh my god, my very first class felt like it was 90 minutes too long… I hated it! I was drenched in sweat… this yoga practice has some challenging moves! At the finale, I liked it when the instructor gave us a Namaste blessing for the day. It took me about 6 classes before I realized, “Wow, this feels great!” The more I practiced Bikram Yoga, the more I found myself falling in love with it. <3 I relocated back to San Jose in 2012, and had my first daughter, Khloe, who was and is a blessing in my life. That following year I came across Wendy's Bikram Yoga studio in Morgan Hill and got clearance from my doctor to exercise again! :) I signed up for the Introductory Offer and made two of my girlfriends sign up with me. It’s fun to practice yoga with your girlfriends alongside of you in class! Wendy, the studio owner, is such a "Sweet Heart.” She has a wonderful staff that helps her run the joint. I love how the studio gets involved in giving back to the community with programs like "Adopt-A-Highway.” I’m still striving to shed this baby weight I gained over the years – which is my motivation that keeps me going back time after time! :) Practice makes perfect, especially in Bikram Yoga...so come get your Bikram Yoga groove on!
Ray Marine: Choosing to join Bikram Yoga in Morgan Hill has been the best decision I have made for myself in a long time. My name is Ray Marine, I am 50 years old and have a history of severe back problems. In 2007, I experienced one of the toughest years of my life in regards to my physical health. I was placed in emergency surgery to repair a herniated disk by putting in a titanium cage between the L4/L5 and removing a fragment that was caught in my spinal channel, and have spent the past few years recovering. Before my injury, I participated in a daily exercise routine of running, as well as CrossFit, but I was advised to steer clear of heavy lifting to prevent re-injuring myself. For about seven years, I had a very minimal exercise routine due to fear of flaring up my past injury and felt the need for a change. A friend of mine recommended Bikram Yoga as a helpful solution to alleviate issues with my back. I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. After my surgery, I experienced a numbness in my left foot and some pain in my lower back, which I was worried would never subside. Since I started Bikram Yoga, the numbness in my foot has dissipated, and very rarely do I have lower back pain. It has now been a solid five months since I joined, and I have noticed a significant change in my energy level, as well as a change with my overall body. I was also experiencing an issue with very high blood pressure and was placed on medication to control it. Since I made Bikram Yoga my new daily routine, my blood pressure is now at a normal level. Due to a very extensive work schedule, I used to feel stress on a daily basis. This change has really benefited my work life as well as my family life. Wendy and all of the instructors at Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill have made my experience over the past five months nothing but positive, and I plan on continuing my journey to better my life physically as well as mentally.
Gina Diokno: I started Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill back in December 2011. During my first day, I thought I was going to die. How are all these people stretching their bodies and breathing? Amazingly, after class I did not die. Instead, I felt like I was given a fresh start, a rebirth of my body, mind, and soul. I’m now addicted to that post-yoga rush and crazily keep on coming back for more. After my practice, I am energized with a clean slate for not only my body, but my mind and spirit too. Bikram Yoga is my daily discipline and mediation. My mind is a strict drill sergeant for my body during each posture. My body fights for precision in breath and stretching; I try not to make extra movements or exert additional energy. After about a year, my practice has become a moving meditation, bringing me to a whole new level, energizing my spirit. The teachers tell us we should be so focused on ourselves in the front mirror, that we don’t notice the other students in the room. I try to bring this practice with me every day, centering on myself, meditating in privacy. Each day, the discipline and reflection push me to be a better person than the woman I was the day before. After a year, I did my first 30-Day Challenge and saw dramatic growth in my endurance, postures, breath, and a new found confidence. So I started to go almost every day since, and have noticed such a great change in how I handle stress, move on and go about my life. Bikram Yoga sets my intention for the day to deal with whatever lies ahead. I am proactive and empowered BEFORE any bad energy enters my life. Instead, it just bounces off of me now that I’m equipped with my special Bikram Yoga protective shield. I feel that much more ready for life and am completely relaxed for the day. Should I pick up any anxiety, I give it to my practice. Of course, life is not perfect. I have rough days and bad days, but as soon as I enter the hot room, I hit the reset button for the next 90 minutes and start fresh. There are days when I feel like I have completed each posture to the best of my ability, and other days I can barely breathe and stay standing. Mentally, I feel so much stronger, confident and empowered to deal with life’s daily stressors. Thank you, Wendy, for your studio. Thank you, morning yogis, for waking me up with your friendly banter. Thank you to both Wendy and Stacey for creating a great community, my home away from home, Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill.
Jake O'Sullivan: My road to Bikram Yoga began in February 2012 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I had suffered through back and spine injuries and general aches and pains through the years, but the RA almost crippled me. I began 9 months of varying prescription drug treatments to handle the pain, inflammation and joint damage, though it was suppressing my immune system. Even with all the drugs, I still struggled to walk or bike ride and was nauseous as a side effect. Then I read somewhere that hot yoga and some diet changes had shown to have a positive effect in lessening the symptoms of RA so I thought I'd try it out. I walked into Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill in December and was treated like family from day one. The condition and cleanliness of the studio were great, and all the instructors were friendly and patient. Like most say, the first few classes were brutal. I would be wiped out and have trouble with my balance and flexibility. I was practicing every few days but I felt it wasn't getting much better or easier. Then Wendy challenged me to come every day for two weeks and the results were astonishing. The classes became bearable and I started to be able to do most of the poses - limited versions of the pose, but at least I was doing them. My balance and flexibility improved. I began to wean myself off of the three drugs I was on and by February 2013, I was drug and symptom free. Now, having practiced for most of the last 16 months at least 4 times a week, I cannot believe the life changing difference. Besides the absence of any RA symptoms, my physical health has never been better. My practice has improved my spine, balance and core strength immensely. I sleep better, have better focus and patience, and notice improved performance in my other passions. Bike riding, hiking, skiing and golfing have all improved, as has my recovery time. I really notice the difference when I have to miss a few days in a row. The aches and pains start sneaking back and I get a little grumpier until I realize what's missing. I can't say that I love going into a hot room for 90 minutes in the mornings, but I look at it this way: What if every time I practice, it extends my life by 1 day. At the end of this life, how much would I be willing to do to have another day, week or month. Ninety minutes would seem like a bargain so why not make the investment now to reap the rewards later. Thank you to Wendy and her staff for bringing this life-changing experience to all of us in the South Bay. Namaste!
Melisa Garr-Valenzuela: I am sure I am not alone in my feelings of gratitude to Wendy for opening her Morgan Hill Bikram Yoga studio. I was introduced to Bikram Yoga on July 1, 2011 by my good friend Zdenka, to whom I’m also forever grateful! I met Wendy--she was one of my favorite teachers at that studio. After overcoming the initial shock of the heat, humidity and sometimes nausea, I soon began to look forward to going to yoga and it quickly became somewhat of an addiction. I will not lie, there were days I dragged myself to class with my blind faith, reassuring myself that this was a long-term commitment with much greater future benefits. After the first few months, I felt awesome! I was sure I was growing younger by the day! I have had many injuries during my life, which I pay the price for, but for the first time in almost 5 years I could reach to scratch my own back and actually do a sit up, which I couldn’t do for the first 6 months of yoga. One day in class, I pushed too hard and didn’t lock my knees and there was a pain in my butt. I contemplated taking a break but I knew a short break might turn into a longer break than I wanted, and it would be much harder to get back into my routine, so I stuck with my long term commitment to practice yoga and eventually, it all worked out for the best. Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill has been a huge asset to me during a rough year with a shift in my personal life and in my career, all happening at the same time. Consistently practicing Bikram Yoga is what I rely on and depend on when I need to de-stress! Thanks, again, Wendy and Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill!
Yvone Duckett: Why, oh why, do I practice Bikram Yoga?
I was dragged to class by a friend, spent the first few days on my back while the staff adjusted the settings and I tried really hard to not pass out, (turns out it was just breathe and relax, who knew?)
After a couple of years of this torture, I now practice Bikram Yoga because it gives me HOPE. Hope, not only in the traditional sense of faith, expectation and confidence, but also HOPE in a deeper sense.
H - Health
Practicing Bikram Yoga in the heat heightens balance and flexibility. The flexing and compressing of muscles and mindset allow a higher level of achievement and a healing happiness. When you have your health, you have a little heap of heaven.
O – Ownership
In overcoming objections of the body and mind, I override fears, am more open-minded and less open-mouthed, and restore order for only myself. I own this body, this mind.
P – Power
Possessing the physical and mental strength that comes with patient, persistent and positive yoga practice. When you are powerfully playful, all things are possible.
E – Energy
The extra bonus that comes from expanding endurance levels and pushing beyond the self-limiting mental barriers…the “I can’t, I’m too old, I’m too out of shape, I don’t do heat” nonsensical thoughts that hold us back from the full expression of our capabilities.
The challenges are many, the rewards are infinite.
I hope to practice Bikram Yoga forever. I hope you will too.
Ted Day: I came to Bikram Yoga at the recommendation of my trainer. Knee pain had stopped me from playing tennis and running, and I was frustrated by my lack of progress trying to get back into shape and losing weight. At that point I was willing to try anything, even yoga. Yoga? Seriously? So, on January 1st, 2013, I tried it. It was really tough. The heat and the poses! Breathing through my mouth, I was panicking. Two things saved me. First, the instructor told me to breathe through my nose, such a simple yet critical point. Second, I made up my mind to return the next day, knowing that if I didn’t, I would be defeated and never return. The second day was much better, and a year later I’m still going strong! Not long after I started, BYMH held a 21-Day Challenge. I signed up and quickly discovered what a difference it makes to do this yoga every day. Three days a week was the bare minimum to maintain what I’d achieved, four days a week gave me steady yet slow improvement, but a more consistent practice brought much better progress. Bikram Yoga is a 90-minute moving meditation, which I sometimes forget and approach it more like a 90-minute workout. It does provide a great workout, but I feel the most benefits when I concentrate on my breathing and the instructor’s direction, and nothing else. Not the heat, not the sweat, not the time--just breathing and doing the postures to the best of my ability. When I do that, the 90 minutes passes in a blink, as I’m totally focused on being present. This in-the-moment appreciation of life is something I rarely achieve, because outside of yoga I’m always concerned about what happened in the past, what will happen in the future, and what I can find to worry about now. Being in the moment is priceless. The people at BYMH are marvelous. It’s been a real joy to get to know my fellow yogis and the instructors. Bikram Yoga is not a competition, it’s a personal journey. The instructors are all unique and caring. They work with us to help us improve and move forward. They correct us when we need it, encourage us as we progress, and watch over us as they guide us through our practice. The periodic BYMH Socials have been really fun, getting together outside the studio as a sort of yoga family. We’re all different people, at different places. BYMH yogis are a wonderful group of people! I’ve come to the conclusion that the only exercise I really need is Bikram Yoga. It’s great to do other things, but if this is all you do, it’s probably the best exercise there is. I’m more flexible (which I never was before), I’m stronger, my balance is better, and my knee has stopped hurting(until I tried running again… some people never learn). Best of all, because of this yoga, I watch what I eat (you’re NOT going to be happy in Rabbit Pose after a cheeseburger and fries at lunch), and I’ve lost 25 pounds. That’s half way to my target weight, which is amazing! I feel more comfortable with myself and I’m happier than I’ve been in a while. I’m still learning, and may never get all of the poses nailed down, but I can see and feel the progress I’m making. Every day is different, and I’ve learned to listen to my body. I now stand straighter and can do yard work and other activities without hurting myself. My back is much stronger, as it’s supported by stronger abdominal muscles now. What a difference! So, a year later, I’m in a completely different place, personally, and I’m much happier (and calmer) for it. I have to thank my trainer for this not-so-crazy-after-all idea, wonderful Wendy, the instructors, the volunteers who keep the studio spotless, and my fellow yogis for helping and encouraging me on this fun journey of growth. Namaste!
Ranvil Hendricks: In my earlier life, I always played very physical sports like rugby and soccer. The training was always fast, hard and quick. As I got older, I wasn't able to play those sports due to a diagnosed back disorder called Spondylolisthesis. Golf became part of my sporting life, but the nature of golf doesn't keep you in shape. I would have to go the gym or swim, which I found very difficult to keep up with because I always had to make up my own training routine. I kept starting and stopping, each time falling back into the bad habit of not doing anything. When I would go to the gym, I went straight from the changing room into the sauna with a newspaper to kill the time. I loved to sit in the sauna. I would come out of there feeling great, drinking a lot of water and feeling like I was doing something good! However, I always knew that I wasn't doing anything beneficial with my body. Then one day my wife, Sally, was at gymnastics picking up my son and started speaking with a man who said he had just come from Bikram Yoga. He described the heated yoga and all of its benefits. She immediately thought I would like it, especially knowing that I love the sauna! One day I decided to come into the studio. I spoke to Wendy, who convinced me to give it a go. I signed up for one month unlimited to start. My first experience was very hard, not because of the heat, but because of the postures. After class, I went home and within 30 minutes I felt different and realized that this is exactly what I needed - a double whammy of sauna room with stretching. Brilliant! Something that I believe everyone needs in their lives, is to stretch. I always knew that stretching was important as we age, and now I have something that helps with that and more! Never before have I ever done any form of exercise where I'm not running or moving really fast. Yet now, when I leave the yoga studio, I feel totally exhausted. It's amazing. Wendy, the owner, runs a fantastic operation! She's totally dedicated and enthusiastic. It's a pleasure to go to yoga every day and arrive at this lovely environment. Thank you, Wendy. I appreciate all you do for us. Bikram yoga has changed my life; I am and will always be grateful for finding Bikram Yoga.
Ann Marie Saaks: In 2003, about 18 months after having my daughter, I gained 40 pounds, had no energy, my hair was falling out and all my joints were swollen. I went to many doctors who had no answers. I finally went to a Nurse Practitioner who said “Has anyone checked your thyroid?” I had postpartum Thyroiditis and Hashmimotos disease. The thyroid glad is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck that basically controls EVERYTHING! My cholesterol was over 400, I was ripe for a heart attack. I started medication but over the years still had a hard time controlling the underactive thyroid gland. I worked hard over those years to get into shape and I did. I ran, lifted weights, did boot camps but still my thyroid levels were not quite right. I started Bikram Yoga by chance. I was working in Morgan Hill when the company I worked for did a health fair. Low and behold beautiful Wendy was at the company health fair. We talked for a long time. She gave me a card for a free class and urged me to attend. I knew I should. I started Bikram in July 2012. My first class was really tough but something about it intrigued me. During the dialogue, I heard a lot of “compressing the thyroid and parathyroid.” I wondered how all the compression would affect my thyroid disorder. I went to the doctor this last July after practicing a year with an average of 4-5 classes per week. My test results were outstanding. My doctor of 10 years could not believe it. I shared with him that I had been doing Bikram Yoga for a year and that there are a lot of postures that compress the thyroid gland. He had never heard of yoga improving Hypothyroidism. He encouraged me to continue my Bikram Yoga practice because he felt that my improvement was directly correlated to the yoga. I am proof that this yoga heals. Bikram yoga is not just tough physically but mentally as well. 90 minutes of looking yourself in the eye, yet not judging yourself. 90 minutes of sweating in places no one should, focusing on stillness, yet not wiping the sweat away. When I first started, I came out of class exhausted, but with consistency, I found deep contentment and energy from my practice. I love Bikram yoga because anyone can do it regardless of age or fitness level. If you try and do just 1 % of the posture the right way, you get 100 % of the benefits. Wendy and Tom along with the teachers and students have created a loving, supportive community where there is no judgment. My husband Michael attends Bikram Yoga as well and his chronic back issues have all but disappeared. I am so appreciative that I met Wendy that day. Bikram yoga has changed my life for the better. I will be attending the Spring 2014 Bikram Yoga teacher training so I can spread the healing message of this yoga to even more people. Namaste!
Ernesto Olivares: My first experience with Bikram Yoga was not a good one. I was living in Mexico in late 2007 and was coaxed into trying Bikram Yoga for two weeks by a local yoga studio owner. At 57, I was looking for something good for my overall health that was low impact. I made it to four classes but quit, thinking this yoga was not for me. I had trouble with the correct breathing technique and was suffering from the heat and humidity for the 90 dreadful minutes. Shortly thereafter, I spoke with a few friends who had started taking the classes at the same studio. They were very excited about their progress, how they felt, and how their bodies were changing for the better. In March of 2008, I returned and haven’t looked back. When I returned to California, my highest priority was to find a Bikram Yoga studio close to my office in South San Jose, so I settled on one in Los Gatos. I also attended some weekend classes in Santa Cruz. Then Wendy opened her fabulous studio in Morgan Hill so I attended her Grand Opening and met her. I was very impressed with the studio and the proximity to my home in Gilroy, where I could take the early morning classes before work or evening classes on my way home from San Jose. I soon transferred my office to Morgan Hill and have enjoyed a fabulous experience at Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill; the studio, cleanliness, locker rooms, instructors, fellow yogis, and of course, Wendy and her family. Wendy really makes you feel like you’re a part of her yoga family and is a catalyst in generating positive attitudes and great camaraderie among all the students – you really feel like you belong to a small, yet welcoming, private club. Bikram Yoga has done so much for me. Prior to discovering Bikram Yoga, I was much more stressed out, overweight, out of shape, and not all that happy with how I looked. Physically, I now have very few issues with joint, back, or knee pain as I had prior to my practice. My body has changed for the better, losing over 25 pounds from the yoga and eating healthy, both of which have improved my overall strength and body tone. My agility, flexibility, speed, stamina, and balance on the tennis courts have dramatically improved my game. The endurance and lack of back pain on my hikes up steep trails is incredible. All these benefits due to Bikram Yoga! The positive change to my mind, body, and soul are invaluable and I am now in my 6th year practicing this yoga. I welcome the calmness that I have developed even in a stressful or anxious moment. Bikram studios are everywhere, with multiple daily classes, making it so convenient for me to practice when I travel. Now if I could just hold back from pulling pranks on my fellow yogis, I’d stay out of trouble! Namaste
Joy Deliz: My decision to start Bikram Yoga last February was to change up my workout and to get out of my “workout funk,” that I couldn’t get rid of with running and other exercise. Little did I know how it would not only change my body and mind, but help my injuries that have haunted me for years. Growing up with Scoliosis, my back has always been an issue and bothered me through adulthood. I went to chiropractors for temporary relief, but there was always some pain that I lived with. Then a year and a half ago, I had such bad shoulder pain and was diagnosed with “Frozen Shoulder.” I was told that it would last about 2 years with no relief. Frozen Shoulder is when your shoulder is painful, loses motion and causes stiffness because of inflammation. My range of motion was so bad that I couldn’t even raise my arm over my head. When I started Bikram Yoga, I couldn’t put my arm anywhere near or behind my ears in the half moon pose because of my shoulder or even touch my face to my legs in the hands to feet pose because of my back and lack of flexibility. Today, I can do both and it does wonders for me. I am shocked at my flexibility now!! The half tortoise pose, to me, is such a life saver for my now “thawing” shoulder. It stretches and reaches areas I have never been able to reach. I am now addicted to Bikram Yoga and my back feels greater than it ever has. I can feel the effects if I skip more than a day or two. I love the motivating instructors and how great my body feels when I am done. I also find it amazing how some poses get your heart pumping like I just sprinted (but without the hard pavement that kills my knees!) The poses I used to wish we could skip before are the ones I love now and probably need the most! On a last note, it’s now funny how I hated the heat the first day or two, but now I crave it… I would’ve never have believed it!
Llisel Solis: "It's hard to believe that I have only been practicing Bikram Yoga for 14 months. I cannot imagine my life without the gift of these 90 minutes of hot, arduous work. The first few months I shuddered as I walked into the hot room, but I could not stay away. Like many, I would often lay in the dark hot room before class started and would think, "What am I doing here? Why do I keep coming back? Did I really reschedule my hair appointment for this?" Fortunately, the discipline I am learning through this practice is teaching me greater perseverance and has given me the will to stay in the room. While I used to feel an overwhelming dread for many of the postures in the standing series, I now look forward to the challenge and the tiny improvements I make over time. When family life and work don't allow me the time to practice as often as I would like to, I miss the amazingly supportive teachers at BYMH and my fellow yogis, some of whom have become wonderful friends, namely, Antoinette, my yoga BF. I know that the BYMH community and the hot room are always there to give me the energy and peace I have come to rely on. Overall, my practice is teaching me to peel back the layers, to be patient with myself and to let go of the expectations inside and out of the hot room, and for this I am grateful. Namaste."
Ron Jenkins: "BYMH is the greatest! I started going to BYMH about 6 weeks ago. I had never before done any yoga practice, so it was all very new to me. In my first class I was so miserable...the heat, the poses, everything just seemed so difficult. Fortunately, Wendy, the owner, made a point of speaking with me before I left that first time or I might not have come back. Wendy was very patient and helpful in explaining how difficult it had been for her at first as well and making me feel comfortable and encouraged to come back. I decided to take a couple of private lessons to get more familiar with the poses and the process of the practice. Wendy made sure to let me know that she didn't think this was necessary, but I thought it would make me more comfortable, so we went ahead with this. In my second private class, Wendy was explaining how unbelievably different I would feel if I did class for 30 consecutive days. She was convinced of this, and so committed to her students' well-being, that she even offered to refund me the price of the two private lessons if I would complete the 30 days in a row. I didn't want the money back because she'd certainly earned it, but I was so impressed by her own certainty and commitment to what was best for me that I decided to give the 30 days a try. Well, I completed the 30 consecutive days about a week and a half ago. Wendy did not exaggerate about the benefits I'd receive. I feel immeasurably better & stronger. I'm sleeping better. I lost 15 lbs that first 30 days. Most important for me, I've had surgery to fuse my C4 & C5 vertebrae which causes me chronic headaches -- since I started my practice at BYMH, this has not been a problem and I've regained range of motion that I never dared to hope for. It is also an amazing mental exercise; every class I notice something different and find myself feeling more centered and peaceful throughout the day. Consistently, Wendy and her team of instructors, and all of the others practicing at BYMH as well, have been incredibly supportive and friendly. I find this really helps create motivation to go to class each day. This is something I intend to continue for the long term and I'm very grateful to everyone at BYMH for the enormous difference this has made in my life."
Tracee Gluhaich: "When I first went to Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill, I was curious and very freaked out. I was so scared I was going to barf, that I set my mat up right by the door so I could make a quick escape. That was over a year ago (and I never escaped and never barfed!). As a former runner who had spent massive amounts of money on therapy to heal shin splints and jacked up knees, I was looking for alternatives. I was looking for ways to feel the runners’ high without damaging my body. I was also looking for a way to grow old gracefully. Bikram Yoga has given me all that and more. When I first started attending classes, the owner, Wendy, told me to come for two weeks. I pretty much did that. I loved the hot room; it drew me in like the tanning beds of days past. In the winter, I was craving warmth and Bikram Yoga satisfied that craving. Then I decided to read the book, written by Bikram himself, to understand the purpose for repeating all the same movements in the exact same pattern every single day. After reading the book and understating the purpose of the postures and how every single organ, muscle and joint is worked during every class, I was sure I had found the physical fountain of youth. No other form of exercise can heal the body like Bikram Yoga can. One day, Wendy encouraged me to look into my own eyes (the window of our soul), just listen to the words, and follow the directions. This enabled me to stop watching the clock, get into a more meditative state, and pray. By nature, I am high energy and pretty hyper. After a Bikram class, I am calm, relaxed and ready for whatever life brings to me. The people at the studio are all so nice. Everyone is supportive and encouraging. After class, you pretty much look the worst you can possibly ever imagine looking... your eye makeup is all smudged, and you’re soaking wet like a drowned cat, but nobody cares. They are all feeling that same endorphin high. Now I crave the sweat… if the room is not hot enough, and my skirt is not dripping enough, I’m bummed. People think I'm crazy, but I have found my utopia.”
Jennifer Carrubba: "Before I became a full time mom, I was a hair stylist for 10 years. Due to many years of bad shoes (back when beauty came before comfort), long hours on my feet, and bad posture, I started having problems with my neck and shoulders, I sought help from chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncture, cortisone shots and lots of Advil. Nothing helped on a long-term basis. I was extremely frustrated being that I was still young and active and felt that I shouldn't be suffering as much as I was. Additionally, I had the added stress of life and kids (one of them 14 years old...need I say more). My friend Wendy was doing this "hot yoga" thing in San Jose and asked me to come and try it with her. I gave her every excuse in the book as to why I couldn't do it and never tried it. She then went off to teacher training to become a Bikram Yoga instructor. I was impressed... I told her I would definitely give it a shot when she became an instructor. After she was home and teaching in San Jose I still found excuses not to go. I was intimidated by the heat in the room. I don't like to be hot and I knew I would be miserable. Wendy tried tried to convince me of the benefits and knew I would find relief from my pain and life stresses. When she opened up the studio in Morgan Hill (5 min. from my house), I knew I was left with no more excuses... I had to try. So around Christmas 2011, I went to a class with a friend. My friend was not into exercise and was not in great shape so I figured, if she could handle it, so could I. Wendy's studio was warm and welcoming, clean and professional. I was so proud of her. I wanted to love Bikram Yoga for me and for her but the first class I took I was MISERABLE. I felt nauseous, dizzy, frustrated, and wanted to run as fast as I could out of the room. My pride kept me in there and I finished the grueling 90 minutes. I told my friend I would NEVER be back. A few days passed and my friend was going again. Surprisingly, she asked me to join. You know when enough time goes by you tend to forget just how painful something was (remember childbirth?). So I went again, and again...I hated it. I am a person who likes to be comfortable and I never push myself too hard (something I am trying to overcome). I decided Bikram Yoga was not for me. For months, I avoided Wendy because I felt bad for not supporting her studio. Fast forward to November 2012, the holidays were here and life stressors were in full force. I had some bad news that a very close friend was sick with cancer. My kids were getting older and I was finding myself doing a little soul searching. All those things combined with an aching body, I knew it was time to try Bikram Yoga again. I had heard it was good for the mind and the body (clearly I needed to work on both). I started slow and took a few family classes (the room is only heated to 99 degrees instead of 105 degrees) and found it manageable, even enjoyable. After taking a few family classes, I thought I would give the regular class a shot. I felt a little nauseous and dizzy, but mentally, I felt relaxed and calm. I was proud of myself and continued coming 4-5 times a week. I enjoy seeing the same friendly faces in the lobby of the studio and appreciate the sense of family when I'm there. Everyone is so supportive of one another and it feels great to meet people who want to better themselves and their quality of life. I have truly found my happy place in Bikram Yoga of Morgan Hill. It has changed my body, mind and life. I have never felt so strong (physically and mentally) as I do right now and I have tried nearly every form of exercise during my life. I encourage anyone to try it consistently for a month before making a decision to stay or go. Expect to hate it the first couple of times, everyone does. But I am happy to say I am a lover of this "hot yoga" and I am thankful everyday that it came to my town of Morgan Hill. Thank you Wendy Mosgrove, you've done good!
Dan Perusina: "This past June, my friend Jenny talked me into trying a Bikram Yoga class. At first, the class was rough, but I decided to sign up for a month to give it a fair try. After my first month, I signed up for a year. The first couple of months were tough, but I tried to do as many poses as I could, encouraged by the teachers to sit down and take a break whenever I needed to. As my stamina began to build, I was able to do more and more of the poses. I've been practicing now for eight months and sometimes I still have trouble getting into a few of the poses, but I keep plugging along. After class, I'm tired, but not so sore and I'm not as stiff in the mornings as I used to be. I'm practicing an average of 5-6 times a week. I really look forward to going to the studio and taking classes. It's been a great experience!
Charla McGue: "Occasionally, I get some pretty crazy ideas... then, I can't leave well enough alone and I actually act on those crazy ideas. Like on October 1st, 2011, when I dragged my husband, Michael, to the Grand Opening of the Bikram Yoga studio at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. I envisioned us moving gracefully through elegant poses, with exotic music playing softly as we discovered our inner peace and tranquility. Well, the event wasn't exactly as I had imagined. The room was very hot and humid and full of 60 sweaty bodies before the class even started. I was exhausted and my body hurt after the first pose. As we moved through the poses, I struggled to hear the instructor as she explained the benefits of each pose, "improves lymphatic function," "massages the ascending colon," "strengthens your spine," "rich oxygenated blood rushing into your joints," etc., but I can't hear her voice over the pounding of my own heart and my gasping for breath. I made it through about 70 minutes of the 90-minute class. I needed to get some fresh air and cool down. My husband (a firefighter for 36 years, now retired) says it was the most challenging work out he has ever done. I can't even think, never mind speak, I feel like an overcooked noodle - soggy, limp and lifeless. As we leave, Wendy offers a beautiful smile and encourages us to return. And we do. Over the past year and 3 months, I have practiced about 3 or 4 times per week and am doing my first 30 Day Challenge. Michael is even joining me on Saturdays for support. While I still can't do some of the poses and struggle through others, not only can I hear the instructors as they remind us of the benefits of each pose; I can feel them. My chronic back problems have disappeared, my posture is greatly improved, my wrinkles have softened, my body is leaner and my muscles are more toned, I feel healthier and, at 57 years old, I'm pretty happy with the way I look. In addition to all the physical and mental benefits, I have made some wonderful new friends that have added a fun element to my social life, people who share my desire for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Occasionally, I get some pretty crazy ideas. Bikram Yoga turned into a wonderful thing for me; not like when I decided to try bungy jumping."
Stacey Myers: Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill is a Godsend. The practice, teachers, students, and of course the owner, Wendy, have changed my life. I cannot thank them enough. Before Bikram Yoga, I had been bulimic for nearly two years. I had tried to stop many times, but it was like I didn’t know how to do anything else. I looked put together, so you would never guess that I was struggling with this. It was the way I dealt with the pressures and stresses in my life; it was an addiction. Through Bikram Yoga, I’ve learned other ways to deal with my frustrations and have found respect for myself and a sense of self-worth. I’m not perfect and never will be, but that’s finally ok. Like most new Bikram students, I struggled and disliked my first class, but like most new Bikram students, I surprised myself by coming back. Even after two classes, I could sense the benefits of this restoring and reenergizing yoga. I soon took on the first 60 day challenge and proudly finished, but not without consequences, as I did not take very good care of my body up to that point in my life. It was a turning point for me. I was faced with the choice of Bikram or bulimia. Fortunately, I made my way back to the yoga studio. I learned to take better care of myself, which allowed the yoga to continue to change my body and my mental well-being. I am a believer that Bikram Yoga can heal your body and your soul. Having to look at myself in the mirror every day for 90 minutes was a constant struggle for me. But when you have to look at yourself for 90 minutes every day, you start the arduous journey of acceptance and loving yourself. Luckily, the studio is a sparkling clean, warm and welcoming space where every teacher embraces you and makes you feel a part of the yoga family. They challenge you to achieve your personal best and teach you to accept who you are and what your body can do on any given day. They push you beyond what you think you can do to teach you that you are stronger than you know. Wendy, the owner, was my first teacher and has a very special place in my heart. Everything she says is inspiring, motivating and genuine. One of the Wendyisms that stays with me wherever I go is to “Be good to yourself, so you can go out in the world and be good to others.” Almost two years later, I learn something new in every single class – which is probably why it is never boring to do the same 26 postures. My story is one of many. There are so many benefits to Bikram Yoga – both physical and mental. I could list them all, but I’ll leave that for the next person. Walking into Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill is always a highlight in my day. I know I will be greeted with a smile. The teachers and fellow yogis may not know exactly what is going on in my life or what I’m working through, but they are on my side and want me to succeed. A deep-felt thank you to Wendy, all the teachers and all the students. You have truly changed my life.