I got a really beautiful, grateful email one day from Catherine, only about a month into her practice. She gave us her backstory and the different diagnoses she had been given. Just one month of consistent practice and she was already seeing huge changes in her health. It’s been six months since then. As evidenced by her pictures, Catherine is looking and feeling like RADIANCE.
Occupation: Pediatric speech and language pathologist
How long have been practicing yoga?
About 7 months
How often do you practice?
I aim for at least 3x per week minimum, but feel my best when I can hit 4 or 5.
What changes have you noticed in your practice?
Increased flexibility, strength, better balance- mentally and physically. Not only am I tolerant to the heat now, but I crave it. If I come to class hurting or not feeling well, it typically melts away in the first few minutes of postures.
Do you have an injury or health condition that yoga has relieved or healed?
I was diagnosed about 6 years ago with endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and mal-absorption/low stomach acid that caused vitamin deficiencies. I tried several doctor recommended drug therapies, but they just caused imbalance in my hormones and made me sicker.
I was basically in some form of pain or inflammation every day, and I was extremely malnourished, depressed, weak, and unhealthy. From my very first class, I could see that the intensity and heat of this practice was pain relieving; it has also helped regulate my appetite/digestion and caused me to gain muscle and strength. I am proudly at the highest (and healthiest) weight I’ve ever been, and look great. It also increased my low blood pressure and diminished heart palpitations and vertigo symptoms.
I always picture myself sweating out the pain and problems in my body when I come. And even though the practice is really challenging for me, I keep coming back because the feeling of bliss and wellness afterward is undeniable.
What daily activities has yoga made a difference in?
I have mental calmness and focus outside of class, better endurance during cardio/ weight training (plus a greater desire to work out), tolerance to heat, better sleep, healthier eating habits, significantly reduced inflammation/pain, and less anxiety.
How is your yoga practice contributing to the rest of your life?
I’m more resolved at work, and less stressed…likely because I’m not in pain. Bikram causes me to focus, to look myself in the mirror for 90 minutes, and tell myself that I can do hard things- that lesson carries over into every part of life.
The practice has also made me hydrate and eat well. Hormonally, I am more balanced; I totally stopped getting cystic acne and my skin glows. My endometriosis symptoms are drastically diminished. I love the way my body looks, and accept the imperfections. Overall, I am just happier and healthier.
Do you have a “favorite posture?” “Least favorite?”
Favorite: toe stand, spine twisting pose, and camel pose.
Least favorite: triangle and standing head to knee; I look forward to the day when both of them come full circle.
What is your most memorable experience in class?
The agony of my first class with Kristin (I was really smart and wore a thick cotton tee shirt). I was pleasantly surprised by her firm but kind spirit, and appreciated the discipline as she made sure I did not leave that room. After class, I was consumed by the feeling of total euphoria. It woke me up. I was telling everyone I knew…I was hooked from that night on.
What has been your most difficult experience with your yoga practice?
My endurance/strength in holding the poses and dizziness. I used to hate taking breaks and sitting down because I’m a perfectionist, and I want it to be right; but I’ve learned to listen to my body and break when I need to. It reminds me that I have come really far and am constantly a work in progress, and that’s beautiful and okay. The practice has taught me to accept where I am right now, today, and then reach for a better version of me always.
Any additional comments that you would like to mention?
I’m thankful for Kaiyan and all the instructors who have consistently watched me struggle, learned what I needed, and pushed me to go further. This studio is special. There is no intimidation or pretentious spirit from the instructors. I love how they get to know my practice, and make adjustments that are realistic for me individually. If you’re struggling with whether or not to go and try Bikram, just GO. Surprise yourself. Find power within that you didn’t know you had.