AshleyI started practicing Bikram yoga to try and fall in love with exercise. I have been pretty active for most of my life; running, step aerobics, soccer, Pilates, Zumba, TRX, P90X…you name it, I tried to love it. But I never enjoyed any of these activities enough to stick with them. I was hooked on Bikram yoga after my first class. I had never felt so accomplished and calm after exercising, and I couldn’t wait for next time.

I have been practicing for four months and I am humbled and amazed by the possibilities that this practice offers. Every class is different and it never gets easier; you just get stronger. Bikram yoga is challenging and always will be, and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. The poses I don’t necessarily love are the ones I need most, and there is always room to grow. I’m starting to embrace my body’s strengths and weaknesses, and recognize it for the beautiful machine that it is. I’m celebrating it for what it can do, rather than what it can’t. I’ve gained flexibility in my body and mind, which has helped me deal with stress more efficiently. I have cut my visits to the chiropractor in half and my skin has never been brighter. I’m learning to eat for energy, instead of filling a void. I’m sure I’ve lost weight since starting Bikram yoga, but I have yet to step on a scale because for the first time, I feel so great that I don’t care what size I am. (I may need to buy some new clothes soon though!) So many different types of people come to practice at Bikram Yoga Durham; flexible, stiff, young, injured, old, athletic and not-so-athletic.

In these few months, Bikram Yoga Durham has become my second home. I was the college student who never scheduled anything before 10:00am; now I take most of my Bikram classes at 6:00am. The instructors are warm, encouraging and are committed to making each class a great experience. I can’t say enough about this place and the lessons I have learned, and I still look forward to each class I take!

Ashley McIntyre,

TracyA few months before my first Bikram class, I'd gotten "the talk" from my doctor. You know the one, "You're at an age that you should really loose the extra weight." My doctor gave me a plan and some resources. Yea-aaaaah. I’d heard this talk before. I’d heard it many times. At 215 pounds, I'd weighed well over 200 pounds for over 20 years. My highest weight was around 240 a few years earlier. That's who I was, or at least who I had always been. Since I've started my practice, I've learned that "who I was" does not decide who I will be. I was hooked on the Bikram series from the first class. The sense of physical relief after each class was amazing. I started sleeping really well, and the more I was in class, the more patient I was. I realized that I was responding to the situations of daily life, not just reacting to them. I was also beginning to see my body as the machine it is. For the first time I was learning how to care for my body with rest and activity, nutrition and hydration. These lessons were complementing the calorie counting plan I'd gotten from my doctor. On my first Bikram birthday (the one year anniversary of my first class), I had lost 60 lbs. I am currently the leanest and strongest I've ever been, and daily life has never felt this good! I believe this practice offers astonishing physical possibilities for the body – all bodies; lean, muscle bound, meaty, fit, injured, young, aging, and yes, the overweight and obese. I believe this practice will meet you where you are, in body and mind, and it will stay with you as you find your way to greater flexibility and strength, in both mind and body – one step at a time. I will always be grateful to Bikram Yoga Durham, and our instructors. Thank you for answering my questions, sharing your practice, encouraging me, pushing me and giving me space to learn on my own. You are a very special group. So, if you're reading the Testimonial page on this site, maybe you're interested in the practice. Don't wait. Check it out for yourself. Maybe it will be a fit for you. You have a lifetime to explore the lessons of this series, and it's time to get started. As Bikram Chourdhury is quoted, "It's never too late, its never too bad, you're never too old, you're never too sick to start from scratch once again.

Tracy Hill,

ChrisA lot of people get involved in Bikram yoga because of the physical benefits, including weight loss, enhanced flexibility, and body toning. While Bikram is ideal for these physical components, it is also emotionally and psychologically therapeutic. When my mother died unexpectedly last December, I immersed myself in grief therapy and Bikram at Bikram Yoga Durham. In fact, I started my first 30-day challenge in January. My yoga mat became my home away from home in a time that I needed “home” the most. The ninety minute meditative practice gave me the opportunity to allow my “stuff” to surface. Bikram helped me visit those places that seemed scary or dark—those places that I didn’t even know existed. And yet with each bead of sweat that dripped, I pushed through the seemingly debilitating waves of grief that come so sporadically. What’s more, my therapist affirmed that the combination of therapy and Bikram helped keep my emotions “fluid,” not allowing them to become stuck; when they become stuck, that’s when problems arise. So yes, I love Bikram because of the numerous physical benefits, but more importantly, for all of the psychological and emotional prowess it helps cultivate. As they say, you never know what battles someone is facing internally, so be kind always. I would add that practicing Bikram yoga helps you be kind to yourself. It is one of the healthiest choices I’ve ever made. Namaste, friends!

Chris Burner,

KathleenA little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Lupus. My body was racked with inflammation and pain, many times, leading to lack of movement and extreme exhaustion. At only 28 years old, I felt as if, in many ways, my life was being cut short…A girlfriend of mine, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and shares the same rheumatologist, told me about a form of yoga that could really help with my inflexible and inflamed joints. Of course I didn’t believe her, and it took me about 4 months and a rising list of prescription medications to reconsider her suggestion. I started off with a Groupon which had me going to the studio once a week. It didn’t take long for me to feel as if BYD was my second home. More importantly, in a matter of a few months, I went from taking 4 medications to manage pain and inflammation to just 1! For the first time in years, I am able to kneel down….I feel better, I have more flexibility and mobility, not to mention my self-confidence in my ability to heal naturally has assured me that taking a holistic approach isn’t as nutty as I had once thought. While I can’t control the diagnosis of Lupus, I CAN control many aspects of how it affects me. That hot room with its’ amazing ventilation system along with its’ humble and positively spirited instructors has changed my life, and I couldn’t be happier for it!

Kathleen Tedford,