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Mike F.

Cohoes, NY

Bikram Yoga What did I get myself into? This is brutal. This is 90 minutes long? Is there a clock so I can tell how long I have to do this? My face is red. Mama give me money? I can’t even remember the name of this class but I am never taking it again.

From what I can remember, these were some of my thoughts from 2 years ago when I took my first Bikram class at The Hot Yoga Spot and started my yoga practice. I can remember going home, wasted and exhausted, slumped in a chair still sweating. But I can also remember feeling loose and limber, like a cooked noodle, my body free from any tightness. My back felt like it was unlocked from top to bottom. There was no pain of any sort and in a way it was euphoric. I had never felt like this before. I wanted to feel this sensation again. So I went back to find that euphoric state. Now I go every Wednesday at 5:30 where Bethany guides us through the 90 minutes of Bikram.

I knew nothing about yoga except what I saw on t.v. or in movies, slender people twisting their bodies into shapes that looked uncomfortable to look at. I started taking yoga because I knew as I got older flexibility would be beneficial to my health. My journey has moved far beyond a simple intent to obtain some flexibility. In my first class I was just trying to survive. Now I do things I never thought I could do, and someday I will be able to do even more. My circulation has improved dramatically, my body feels naturally warm all the time, and people are noticing changes in my appearance. I look leaner, I have more energy, I feel stronger, and more connected to my body. Growing up, I was a heavy kid who was bullied a lot and that made me conscious about my body. But today, in Bikram or any other hot yoga class, I don’t wear a shirt. It’s not because I have a great body. It is because I don’t want any restrictions and I want to feel every movement, every breath, every posture and enjoy every connection that is possible to my mind and body.

Bikram has been about the little things- small details and small adjustments. Each time I take a Bikram class I hear something new, an instruction I’ve never heard before, and when I adjust to the new instruction, the pose changes, and the sensations change. The next time I take a class, I will hear something new, and adjust to that change. Each class has its own experience and it all happens on a yoga mat where all you have to do is show up and breathe. I do not go into a class with the intent of trying to hold a pose from start to finish, I just let it happen without judgement or concern. Whatever happens was meant to happen, so I embrace and appreciate what I can do that day and pay no mind to what I cannot do.

I started my practice over two years ago but I feel 10 years younger. Yoga is my Fountain of Youth. I feel honored to share my journey and would like to thank everyone at The Hot Yoga Spot for an incredible experience each and every time I step on my mat.

Mike joined The Hot Yoga Spot in 2013.