WHY COME TO MINNEAPOLIS YOGA?
“I started Bikram Yoga Minneapolis classes in January 2010 at the suggestion of my daughter, Dana, who practiced there. Working out has been a regular routine for me since the mid-70’s, but I was complaining to her that the workouts at the gym 4/5 days a week were no longer effective for me in terms of maintaining my body’s flexibility, balance, and addressing occasional lower back pain issues. She challenged me to try to incorporate hot yoga classes into my workout regimen to address my concerns. I had a bias that yoga was for wimps, but I went to my first class with her and it “kicked my butt”. After that class and with the encouragement of other attendees who saw me struggle, I decided that I would incorporate yoga into my regular workout routine. Within a few months of attending yoga classes 2/3 times a week, while also continuing my gym route on non-yoga days, I found that my balance, flexibility and back pain issues improved significantly. Additionally, the statistical proof of Bikram Yoga’s medical effectiveness for me is that my annual physical numbers in all categories also improved. The unexpected outcome that happened is that I also found a supportive community of friends from “all walks of life” that have enriched my life. I am 73 years old and a retired human resources executive from a large fortune 500 company in the Twin Cities.”
"I had never been in a yoga studio before I retired 18 months ago. My expectations were anchored in what a good friend and veteran practitioner told me, which mirrored the physiological effects that he experienced. He was right. After a consistent three times a week practice my weight dropped from 194# to 170# over my initial eight months, accompanied by concurrent improvements in blood chemistry, sleep quality, and of course flexibility. Since I was doing almost no aerobic exercise before I feel like my ability to sustain a more extended bike trip than simply going downtown Mound to my favorite hardware store has also improved, but that may also be because I am no longer carrying that imaginary 20# sack of potatoes in my backpack. This routine is now part of my lifestyle. When I travel I seek out other similar facilities. I find it personally invigorating to be in the company of like-minded people who share a commitment to and appreciation of the results that can be achieved with this uniquely synergistic series."
My connection with Bikram Yoga and the incredible studio run by Martha and Eric Williams began 11 years ago.
Throughout middle school, high school and college, I trained non-stop in the martial arts, earning my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do at age 17. I competed regionally and nationally for years, but I injured my back when I was 21…an experience that led to pain so intense, I couldn’t exercise at all for two years. I explored every mode of medical treatment possible and actually had an appointment to have a discectomy surgery to cut out a part of one of my discs at L4-L5. Thankfully, my parents pleaded with me to not have surgery but to explore chiropractic care instead. I did so and rapidly my body responded. After a couple of weeks, my feet were no longer numb. After a month, the sciatic nerves running down my legs were no longer in pain. After a couple of months my back finally stopped hurting. It was truly a miracle.
But I was missing something in my health regimen. I’ve been vegetarian for more than 30 years, vegan for the past 20 years, and gluten-free for the past 10 years. But, although I ate healthy and finally was living pain-free, I still longed to find an exercise that would connect with me on a physical and emotional level where I could feel even better.
Enter yoga! The stretching aspect of yoga really resonated with my background in the martial arts. The mental challenge was also appealing as well. But, as I sought out specific yoga studios in the Twin Cities, I always struggled to find one that resonated with me. The rooms always felt too cold for me to ever really stretch right or even safely. I tried multiple styles, multiple studios, multiple instructors, read magazines, researched everything I could. But, I never, ever felt like I got a workout or that my muscles ever really stretched. Every class was different and I never really could get a sense of my progress. Likewise, I also went to other places where certain postures I was asked to get into frankly just felt unsafe where I would risk the years of recovery from the place I never wanted to go again…back to that intense back pain that was so debilitating in my earlier life.
Enter Bikram Yoga! During one visit to a yoga studio in Minneapolis one cold Winter’s day about 11 years ago, I learned about Hot Yoga, and specifically, about Bikram Yoga. I learned about Martha and Eric Williams and their Bikram Yoga Minneapolis studio. Everything about their style of yoga made sense to me:
-The hot room protects your muscles so you don’t over-stretch, but also that you CAN stretch beyond your comfortable limits.
-Sweating profusely helps to flush toxins from your body, helps your skin, hair and nails look terrific.
-A prescribed set of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that are same anywhere you go in the world so it is much easier to track and watch your progress from class to class (which was important to me as I travel a lot for my job).
-All muscles, organs, tissues, and systems of the body are exercised in a 90-minute class...you feel amazing after!
-The focus you develop in class helps you immensely outside of class, at work, with your family, just about everywhere.
I had to try it! So, my very first class at Martha's and Eric's studio was a 6:00am class and it was amazing. I have now been practicing here for 11 years now. I have visited many other studios in Minnesota, around the country, and around the world. And although I always get the same great workout wherever I go, no other studio feels quite like the home at Martha and Eric’s studio.
Today, I run several technology businesses and teach at a couple of universities. I practice 2-3 times a week now and just moved closer to Minneapolis which will also help me get to the studio more often. The team of teachers that Martha and Eric have are all simply amazing. They are all certified, have amazing skills themselves that I admire, and you can simply tell that they all love to teach and to help others get stronger, get healthier, and find more inner peace. The devotion, energy, passion, and thoughtfulness that each teacher here shows to all students is real, tangible, supportive, and compassionate. I love knowing that I am practicing at a studio with such longevity and dedication to teaching. I come here for peace, friendship, the yoga, the teachers, AND for everything that I continue to learn every day.
To me, the combination of chiropractic care, some basic weight resistance training, and Bikram Yoga have brought me to a level of physical strength, well-being, and postural skill that I could never imagine not enjoying this style of yoga. Whenever I practice, I feel alive, vibrant, at peace, calm, and ready for whatever life throws my way. Whenever I don’t practice, I feel sluggish, dull, tight, and more at risk for re-injury. It truly does change lives. I know, because it changed mine.
Finally, the beautiful thing is that in the studio, everyone is equal. There is no competition. There is no race. There is no comparison. There is just you. Your mat. A mirror. And the voice of a skilled and compassionate teacher guiding you through each part of the class. It's always challenging, but it is always worth it. Give it your all during class and this yoga will give it all back to you after class. I think you’ll be amazed at how incredible you will feel. Namaste!