I love Bikram Yoga because...
My parents had been doing Bikram yoga for yonks and I never thought twice about going with them (lame!). They always talked about it around the dinner table, cracking in-jokes about their class and the teachers. Once I finished high school, turned 19 and matured a little, I swallowed my pride and went along to a class with mum. Four years later and I’ve been coming pretty regularly ever since. Now every Monday Mum, Dad and I get into our yogi gear, hop in the car and go along together to our 5.30pm class – and it’s my favourite part of the day!
Originally I started because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and find out who this ‘Jodie’ was. The first class was definitely a struggle. I prepared by drinking my entire weight in water and asking Mum and Dad a million questions like “What if I faint!?”. Their only response was “You can lie down for the entire class if you want – just breathe and make sure you stay in the room”. Which I did, and to this day I still sometimes have to say this to myself before going into the room.
I love Bikram yoga because of the amazing benefits I can see and feel it has on my body and mind. I’ve dabbled in many types of yoga since my first class four years ago, and yet I always come back to Bikram. The heat allows me to really open up and helps my flexibility. It also makes me sweat buckets which makes me feel like I’m getting a really good workout. But the biggest reason I come back is for my mind.
I’m a bit of a worry-wart. I get stressed and anxious about everything. Going through a double-degree at uni my mind was constantly running at a million miles per hour. It would take me houuurssss to get to sleep at night. I would lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, my mind running through all the things I had done that day, all the things that needed to be done tomorrow, and all the things that could potentially need to be done in the future. After only a week at Bikram, there was a noticeable difference in my sleeping. I was finally able to close my eyes, switch off and think about absolutely nothing. I learnt how to do this whilst in class, during the hour and a half where I’m focusing so much on the heat, getting through the postures and listening to the dialogue, that there’s no room in my brain to be thinking about anything else!
Bikram has had such an impact on my life in so many ways. But if there’s one thing I want to thank all the teachers at Bikram for, it would be helping me truly relax and improve my mental health. I would be completely lost (and extremely stressed out) without it.
When did you start doing Bikram?
8 years ago, when I was 17 years old in Byron Bay, Australia.
Why did you first come to class?
I started practising Bikram yoga during my HSC. I was living out of home, working full time and studying most classes distance education to try to juggle it all. I’m extremely high energy and that turned into extreme anxiety quite easily with all the pressures, dead lines and fears of failure. Regular yoga always frustrated me and never calmed me down because I was too in my mind and always thinking. Bikram yoga was intense enough that even I was exhausted to the point where I forgot how hard outside the room was and just concentrated on trying not to die during class. It taught me to survive discomfort and to rest when I wanted to quit.
Not leaving the room was a struggle for years but I learnt over time that if I stayed my mind would learn to cope and my body would follow suit. It definitely reduced my anxiety. As I learnt and continue to learn that I cannot control the heat but I can control my mind’s reaction to the heat I grow more confident in myself and my abilities, inside and outside of the room.
Do you do other sports or exercise?
Yes, I run and I also do a little bit of jujitsu and Thai boxing.
How does yoga help these?
I can confidently say I can land a head kick on a 6ft gentlemen with ease thanks to my flexibility aided by Bikram yoga.
What changes do you see in yourself when you practice yoga regularly?
I notice I tone up quickly when I’m consistent and my flexibility improves dramatically. The cardio is also super impressive, I notice how much easier my runs become.
What do you like about the Brookvale studio?
Oh where to begin. I love the Brookvale studio! I’ve practiced in London, Bali, LA, all over Sydney and in Byron and hands down Brookvale is the stand out. I had heard all about “the mother ship” from other studios and was over the moon when I met Jodie and all the beautiful instructors at this studio.
I was thinking just the other day in class this is the one studio where I don’t have a favourite teacher. Normally I kind of end up aiming to attend the classes with teachers whose practice I gravitate towards but every single teacher at this studio offers something slightly different. They all care so much and make every single class worthwhile.
Overall, what’s the best thing about Bikram yoga for you?
The way I feel afterwards. Getting there is hard some days, when I’m tired and angry, but I always feel better after a Bikram Yoga class.
Since I started 9 weeks ago I have lost 4.5kgs and gained 2kgs of muscle. My blood pressure has decreased. My flexibility and my strength have both improved. I’m sleeping better, my anxiety levels have decreased and I feel that my mental clarity has improved.
I’m not sure there are many forms of exercise that would offer all of the benefits that I have gained, especially in such a short period of time.
I’m so excited to share my recovery from a major shoulder break at age 47. My shoulder doctor and physiotherapist have described my recovery in such a short period as “amazing”! This was an injury I wasn’t expected to recover from for around 8 months.
In early April 2017 I returned to Bikram Yoga Brookvale after 10 years living in Singapore and USA, whilst continuing to practice Bikram. Unfortunately at the beginning of the year I had a fall and I broke my shoulder just above my humerus.
I was unable to raise my arm above 45 degrees so I met with Jodie before returning to yoga. Having practised at Brookvale in the past I knew she and the other instructors would be cautious but encouraging. I definitely needed their support and guidance.
The first 30 days were indeed tortuous! Not so much pain (some in the first week only) but working against a complete loss of muscle tone, strength across my biceps, scapula and massive almost indescribable tightness in my neck and shoulders. I have been very disciplined about my yoga practice (and physio exercise) averaging 4-5 times a week. The rest days were initially very important, however now I am upping the intensity as I’m focused on achieving a good recovery over the winter months.
Pranayama and half moon were the most challenging in terms of range of motion and shoulder stiffness, so I gave them my absolute 100% effort.
The doctor and physiotherapist have described my recovery in such a short period – as amazing. I am so happy with how Bikram Yoga has helped to speed my recovery and get my life back.
I’ve been coming to Bikram Yoga for around 10 years. My visits used to be pretty sporadic – mostly when I was trying to escape winter! But over the past few years I’ve realised Bikram Yoga is an all year round tool for increasing flexibility, reducing or preventing injury, increasing performance, improved mental strength, heat acclimatisation for specific races (and I still love escaping winter!)
I started competing in triathlon around 5 years ago and have been steadily improving. Now I’m one of the top female age group racers in Australia. I compete in local, interstate and global races representing my local triathlon club Warringah and have also represented Australia for the Standard, Half Ironman and Full Ironman distances with a result in the top 5 at the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships.
I attribute much of my success to Bikram Yoga. Not only does it contribute to physical fitness and flexibility, it helps my mental stamina in tough situations and gives me the edge in hot races such as Hawaii and Malaysia.
I originally started Bikram yoga as I have osteoarthritis in my spine around the L5-S1 facet joint. I strongly believe the heat and increased blood flow to this area from specific postures in Bikram helps to keep my back supple. I now have a wider range of motion and less pain compared to before I discovered Bikram yoga.
I’m married with two active boys (7 and 6 years) and also work in the fitness industry combining my marketing skills and passion for sport and health.
I believe a wholistic approach to triathlon has really helped me. Racing well is more than being able to swim, bike and run. Mental resilience is arguably more important than physical talent, especially when it comes to racing an Ironman, and the edge that Bikram yoga gives me is beyond question.
The added benefits of improved flexibility and managing/preventing injuries is another bonus.
Thanks so much to Jodie and her whole team at Brookvale Bikram Yoga for their ongoing support, whilst also making yoga fun!
In 2015 at the age of 47, I went back to playing outdoor soccer in my old over 35s team after a couple of years away. At the time I’d been practising Bikram for 2-3 years and since then I’d had no self-inflicted bodily injury in my sports – mountain biking, surfing, playing indoor soccer. This had given me an (as it turned out) overly-optimistic sense of ‘invincibility’ in my sporting pursuits.
Outdoor soccer involves a lot of running. During the season I’d started to develop a hamstring strain in my right leg. The pain while playing was not acute and did not stop me from finishing the game, but after the game and cooling down I would be in quite severe pain. When I came back into the Bikram class, any hamstring extension like Hands to Feet pose or Standing Head to Knee would hurt a lot.
Because Bikram yoga highlighted the hamstring damage far more than any other activity through pain, in the back of my mind I began to subscribe to the idea that Bikram was exacerbating the hamstring damage and making my condition worse. I then looked far and wide for any literature on the web actually supporting this idea – i.e. that Bikram yoga can cause hamstring damage. But I was unsuccessful. I found nothing. Zilch. Nada.
I continued to play soccer for the season but by the time the finals came around I was near-crippled after the game. I was using ice-baths after the game to make sure that I could walk the next day. After a couple of days, I would dutifully go back to Bikram knowing that yoga was my only chance of making it through the season and being able to play the following Saturday. Physically this was not a very happy time for me.
The season finally finished and I continued my yoga practice carefully observing the performance of my injured hamstring. This gradually improved over the following 18 months of practice.
After 6 months the acute pain disappeared and in a further 12 months I got back full flexibility so that both sides stretched equally. I continue running, but the 90-minute high-impact football variety is now off the menu as a concession to age.
What I learnt:
• Bikram makes you strong and more flexible, but not invincible. I’m still human.
• Don’t confuse pain experienced in class with causation – Bikram shines a torch on injuries you’ve picked up outside the classroom that may not be apparent in your day to day routines or other activities
• Be patient with the healing and pull back in Bikram positions to give injuries time to heal – they will improve and you can track your progress from class to class
• More Bikram = faster recovery from injuries
I love sport…climbing, surfing, cycling and many more. We are told by fitness professionals, government health organisations and science that to be good at sport you need to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), namely weights and cardio, so I did it and went at it hard for years. As a result, I ended up with a torn MCL (knee), labral tear in my hip, I was stiff most of time and bored.
I therefore turned to Bikram Yoga in an attempt to replace HIIT training. What I have found after doing my own 30 days Bikram yoga challenge is that not only has my fitness improved (better range of movement, an activated core, stronger etc) but the biggest, unexpected benefit, is that I am mentally stronger. Nothing phases me.
People who annoy me just don’t anymore, I am more relaxed with my kids, work stresses seem trivial and I am happy most of the time.
As Denise says “Bikram yoga works”.
I first came to yoga in 2011. Within 3 months of practising yoga 4-5 times a week I learnt a lot about myself and saw my body change from fat into muscles!
My way of thinking had also changed. I’m more forgiving and humble and I appreciate the little things more. Bikram Yoga has given me a lot of strength in every area of my life. I have a better relationship with my husband, and putting up with my marriage!
It has improved my health quite simply because I drink way more water than I ever did before.
I recommend Bikram Yoga to so many people because it has given me the chance to start my life again in the best way.
Thank you Jodie and all the teachers at Brookvale. Love you all!
I’ve tried swimming, running, the gym and a number of different yogas. They’ve all left me feeling uninspired and it was a real effort to keep them up. Bikram is the opposite. The more I do it the more I want to do it. The mental and physical benefits are amazing. If I’m going to exercise I want to feel it and I want to see results. With Bikram yoga you do!
Bikram yoga has improved both Nick and I so much in mind, body and spirit – so much more than we could have wished for and we have you all to thank for your continued support, whip-cracking encouragement, kind souls and words of wisdom.
I have quietly been suffering from back pain since an accident when I was 18 and this winter for the first time since then, 16 years, I have had no pain and stiffness in the cold weather. I can only put it down to this incredible practice and your teaching.
Jodie, I am not usually given to the overuse of superlatives but this time I need them. You have an excellent and dedicated team of teachers, superbly led by your good self. Everyone uses the same dialogue but each one is different too. All are exceptional exponents of the benefits of Bikram Yoga.
I am now 3 months into Bikram Yoga and have a long way to go in many of the postures but I am feeling the benefits. My rotator cuff problems in my shoulder are fast disappearing and I can now get almost full movement. I get a creaking sound from my new left hip, which worried me a bit but the specialist confirmed that it was okay. My core strength is improving – I too felt too much like an old man getting in and out of the car! I am determined that the arthritis that seems to have hit me in a number of areas will not need any further joint replacements!
I look forward to seeing you and yours in the hot room again and again and again.
Mike (aged 70 and 3/4)
Live Each Second, Love Each Day
I joined Bikram Australia at the beginning of 2014, shortly after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2.
The benefits have been great!
Bikram has given me a whole new lifestyle, and taught me mind control, patience, gratitude, perspective and keeping things simple. It has provided me with a balance in life, such an important aspect, being a husband and father to two amazing children.
Thank you to all the wonderful people working at the studio. It feels like a home away from home. The community spirit is always high, and there is fun and laughter throughout.
I have been practicing regularly 4 times a week since 2009. Before I started I was training regularly at the gym 1.5 hours Monday to Friday. During that time, just before I started Bikram I had a broad spectrum blood test done which came back very good.
Recently I have had the same tests done (if anything my diet is a little worse). My results were spectacular low blood sugar and uric acid, liver, kidney function brilliant and even lower cholesterol.
My doctor couldn’t believe how much better these results were compared to my original results, which were incredibly good. He asked what I had been doing, my reply was simple, Bikram Yoga.
Just wanted to share this with you as it is further proof that this yoga works!
David Harvey, 50, self-confessed 6am addict
” In January 2012 I had 3 weeks of intense surfing (and lifting my one year old princess) while on holidays in Bali. When I got back to Sydney I was driving for at least 3 hours a day commuting to work. My back was absolutely killing me.
I felt I needed to be back at Bikram Brookvale practicing more regularly. That’s when I went for a class at the studio and saw the 60 days challenge sign. I did not think much, I just thought at $5 a class sounded like a pretty good deal :) having no idea what I was really getting into.
Immediately after I started the group energy and also encouragement from teachers was so strong that I was seriously committed to complete it!
I was surprised with everyone’s commitment; new friendships around the studio (rather than just coming and going without saying hello or stopping for a quick chat) and how fit I got as I progressed through the challenge of doing yoga every day for 60 days.
Now I enjoy yoga now even more than before!
What an awesome team of teachers and that is the heart of the studio. I really enjoy the balance of having classes with the different styles of teaching.”
I initially started practicing Bikram Yoga to calm my mind away from the stress and struggles I experienced in my final years of high school. Like most of us, young or old, we build things up and keep them trapped inside of us and this is where Bikram is my saviour, where I find my release, inner peace and strength.
I’m now nearly 20 and the benefits that Bikram yoga has provided for me are numerous. Most importantly it helps to overcome my monkey mind – which means it enables me to control my thought processes and subsequently the ability to switch on and off the ideas that come through my mind.
Bikram yoga is unique. You are performing postures in a heated room for 90 minutes. Whilst battling the heat you are simultaneously focusing and observing yourself in the mirror – each of these tasks on their own is challenging yet in unison they craft the relationship between the mind and body, allowing us to control our breath and giving us the strength and determination needed in the room as well as in our everyday life.
After 3 years of cleansing and detoxifying my body and mind – nothing else matches the happiness and confidence I receive from practicing at Bikram Yoga Brookvale and surrounding myself with like-minded souls.
Whether this testimony has gripped you into trying Bikram yoga or not – it is important to realise that other people besides the instructors, feel the power gained. Hopefully this gives you a taste of what you could feel! Trust me, everyone that practices regularly has an off day inside the room – but that’s normal. What is satisfying is when you come back to overcome the previous obstacle and face another session!
I’ve fallen in love – I could not imagine my life without Bikram Yoga because it simply pulls me back to reality.
” I have been practicing Bikram yoga in Brookvale since 2006. From my very first class I was instantly hooked and there was no going back, I knew that I would be putting myself in that hot room for the rest of my days!
Yes, it is hot, sweaty and challenging but it is also these elements that make it incredibly rewarding. With the inspiring support and encouragement of all the teachers and fellow yogis, Bikram Brookvale continues to keep me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually balanced. And this in turn helps me to be the best mother I can be and just as important, be happy, kind and true to myself.
There are no negatives to this yoga, only positives and these positives are endless. I am yet to meet a person who has tried it and not come back.
I love it!
After 18 years of Rugby at senior level here in Sydney and more than 300 games of grade footy, I suppose it was always going to be a matter of when and not if the old bones were going to jam up.
Too many scrums (I played in the front row), heavy weights, running on roads on cold and wet nights as well as a cocktail of injuries to my lower back, knees and shoulders meant the physio and chiropractor in particular were my best friends.
I had played Rugby well into my late 30s and always enjoyed the physical and mental aspects of that game, and for a while ocean swimming and a bit of water polo and touch footy filled that competitive urge.
I had heard that Bikram Yoga was a good workout and decided to have a crack. The first time in the room was confronting, but I came away feeling the need to come back and not let this bugger get the better of me.
That was back in 2007 and I have been getting in at least a class a week for much of that time. I’ve seen improvements in a number of areas, but the improvements I notice most are the mental ones – my ability to concentrate and to clear the mind of all the “noise” that day to day life brings have come on tremendously.
I’m into my late 50s now and my blood pressure and all the ther health indicators are on the way down to areas they haven’t been for some time.
Bikram at Brooky has always been welcoming place and coming to class has never been a chore.
The chiro and the physio are happy that my lower back is back where it should be – they have just had to find another former Rugby player to fund their holiday home on the south coast!
” My friend suddenly started shrinking and looking good.
But I would not go to Bikram Yoga because I did not like the idea of heat. I am Japanese and I am supposed to love hot springs and sauna. Well, I could not stand either. I was feeling relatively strong after three years of Pilates and other gym classes.
I decided to try Bikram soon after I lost my father. He was only 65 and had a lot of plans ahead. I had an urge to try everything so that I would not have any regrets. Looking back, I know I have done the best thing for myself.
On the first day, the very first thing I noticed was that people at the studio were very friendly. I walked in and a person behind the reception gave me a beaming smile! Then I looked around and saw people chatting and looking happy. What’s this? I was used to being completely ignored by a receptionist at the gym. Something is unnervingly different here.
Bikram Brookvale studio is a community. I am pretty shy but I feel comfortable amongst the people here. That is probably because we form this special bond after surviving a torture chamber together. We respect each other for our amazing effort getting through 90 minutes.
To me, Bikram Yoga is like martial arts. It requires a strong self-discipline. I am up against myself. I lose myself in the cosmic mirror and let my body surrender to the teacher’s dialogues. “Trust the process.” Teachers say. I do not have to feel intimidated because I know the teachers can look beyond the postures. My posture will never be perfect but I always try and give 120%. Then I hear praise. “Very good, Naoyo!” or correction, “Suck your stomach, Naoyo!” As we get older, we do not get that kind of personal attention. It is a wonderful thing. I feel humbled and thrilled like a child at the same time.
I am 44 years old, but I am stronger and fitter than I feel I’ve ever been. My feet used to roll outward and legs were visibly crooked, which caused many ligament injuries. Now my ankles are stronger and my legs are straighter.
Simply, I feel better.
My name is Anna & I have been coming to Bikram’s @ Brookvale since 2009.
I had practised yoga before but nothing like ‘hot’ yoga. I was so wiped out after my 1st class I couldn’t imagine coming back ever again but of course I did because at the same time I felt so incredible. My mind soon got over the smell, the sweat and (to be honest) the fear. Over time I could feel my body opening up and my mind quietening. The deep level of grace, peace, serenity, strength, courage & happiness that Bikram’s has brought to my ‘self’ is phenomenal and it is an integral part of my life. The physical & health benefits are amazing but for me what is even more powerful are the benefits to my mind. I feel privileged & honoured to be guided by such inspiring & compassionate teachers and I love the feeling of family that I experience every time I come to the studio.
Thanks Jodie, teachers & students…..Bikram’s truly is life changing.
With love & peace Namaste