This yoga has taught me gratitude…

I often joke that if I did not do yoga, I would be incarcerated.  I came to Pure Hot Yoga in 2007, at a difficult time in my life.  I had a career I loved, but a boss so awful that I fantasized my escape from my job daily.  I was struggling physically with plantar fasciitis, and emotionally with infertility.  I was frustrated, overweight, unmotivated, and wound too tightly to feel productive in virtually any area of my life.  On most days, for one reason or another, I was screaming inside.
My sister introduced me to the Bikram method while I was visiting her over Thanksgiving.  I don’t know what it was that made me take to it right away.  The kick-your-ass heat, the concept that aerobic exercise could actually be slow and challenging, or the fact that for 90 minutes I had to just deal with myself in perfect silence and stillness.  After just one class, I immediately went in search of a studio in St. Louis and was lucky to find Pure Hot Yoga less than a mile from my home.
My first class at PHY was brutal.  The room was packed, and it was hotter than I remembered feeling in the studio in Connecticut.  The instructor was a man named Angel who joked about finding ways to make yourself bleed to have a legitimate excuse to leave the room.  I struggled.  And yet, returned.  Again and again and again.  More hard classes.  More teachers that challenged me be uncomfortable and okay with it.  Initially, I found “things” that made me feel in control.  My favorite spot in the room, a posture I would skip, a prescribed number of sips of water at prescribed times.  I needed those things.  
Still, despite my efforts to do less, I found myself coming more frequently and doing increasingly more, and not just in the hot room.  I started to notice my reactions to things that would normally irritate me–inside and outside of the hot room–changing.  I found myself looking for Bikram studios on the road.  I went from a 10-class package to a 30-class package and then to a monthly auto debit.  My body changed, too.  I was leaner, longer, stronger, and more flexible.  I started to think of my body as something with parts that “worked” in connection with one another.  I craved healthier foods.  And water.  God, so much water.  
About five years ago, I made a commitment to this yoga and for the past several years I’ve averaged about 180 classes a year.  I aim to practice daily, but with other obligations and days spent out of town, it ends up about a class every other day.  I have celebrated special occasions–Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and many more with this practice as a gift to myself.
I have an official “anniversary date”, but I always think of Thanksgiving as my unofficial anniversary, which is fitting, because this yoga has taught me gratitude, and for that I am truly grateful.  It’s also taught me to be patient, kind, aware, and compassionate.  To listen, evaluate, and respond deliberately and in a manner I can be proud of.  I notice when things bother me, and I also notice that I don’t indulge those things.  There have been times when the calmness of my reaction has been a surprise even to me.  And I’m free–literally and figuratively.
— SRMc
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      • This yoga makes me feel like my best self every single day, inside and out.
        —Courtney Carlie
      • I started to notice my reactions to things that would normally irritate me--inside and outside of the hot room--changing.
      • The studio has been such a positive, beautiful addition to my life. It has helped me be maintain my balance and health. I love that it’s both a physical and mental challenge. As a type-A personality, I appreciate the space it has provided to slow down and think. Thank you so much for creating such [...]
      • I realized today that my Bikram experience is so much more than yoga. It really is a community of (hot and sweaty) people that I call my friends.
        —Laurie Bono McGrath
      • I’m amazed at the quality of the teachers and students here and I feel grateful to be a part of this studio.
        —Emily Ho
      • This style of hot yoga is the perfect complement to running. I credit it for keeping me injury free.
        —Jodi Johnson
      • Bikram yoga is a life changing experience and I can guarantee it will take you (if you let it) to places you never knew you could go.
      • Bikram Yoga has helped me lose 25 lbs without changing my diet (mostly junk food), and has healed ALL of my joint and back injuries.
        —Andy Klearman
      • The biggest reward I get from Bikram Yoga has to be the sense of calm and balance I walk out of class with… it stays with me for days after.
      • My job became very stressful in a way I could not control and I truly feel that this yoga is what helped me to keep sane.
        —Mary Dischert
      • After a class, everything in life just kind of slows down to a manageable halt. It reminds of that scene in the Matrix where Neo bends the spoon… It’s an amazing feeling.
      • After just four Bikram classes, my injured wrist's range of motion and grip strength increased by 50%.
        —Mary Beth
      • To the Ladies at Pure Hot Bikram Yoga: It has been a little over one year that I started attending Bikram Yoga. IT HAS BEEN A GOD-SEND!!! IT HAS ABSOLUTELY BEEN THE BEST TREATMENT I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED FOR MY 20 PLUS YEARS OF CHRONIC BACK PAIN. My past history consisted of over 20 years [...]
        —John W. Tabash, D.D.S., M.S.
      • Bikram Yoga has allowed me to raise my HDL (good cholesterol) from 84 to 110 - (despite my diet of mostly alcohol and chocolate)
      • I ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and would not have been able to finish if it wasn't for doing Bikram Yoga the past few months!
      • I heart Bikram STL. New experiences are good, but you all are truly the best.
        —Kim Hayes
      • I have lost 12 lbs in the last three weeks and gained enormous confidence. I have a new addiction and I couldn’t be happier about it!
        —Sally Kennerson
      • My Bikram Yoga practice has meant so much to me, and the encouragement from the instructors at BYSTL has been overwhelming.
      • I greatly appreciate all the advice each instructor gave me during my classes at BYSTL. Thank you for teaching such wonderful yoga!
        —Emily Rollings
      • One way I think this yoga practice is special is how it has altered how I look at myself-for the better.
        —Meredith Kelling
      • What I always tell people when they wonder about Pure Hot Bikram Yoga is: 1) it’s mind over matter – all the way2) hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before class – makes all the difference 3) even if you literally just lay on your back the whole class you’re still getting the benefit. If you don’t feel [...]
        —Beth Prusaczyk
      • All the instructors at BYSTL have their own style and wonderful sense of humor, while always delivering the discipline my practice needs to heal my body.
        —Kelly W.
      • When I started doing Bikram yoga, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it or how much it could help me... It truly does "make your body sing"
        —Andy Kilhoffer
      • I had chronic issues with asthma and high blood pressure. After 7 months of Bikram, I ran this morning with no asthma medication for the very first time.
        —Margaret Anne
      • The hardest part about writing a testimonial for Bikram yoga practice at Bikram Yoga St. Louis is how to not write a book. The teachers of Bikram Yoga St. Louis are amazing and inspiring, the atmosphere is sacred and safe to me.
      • After being diagnosed with a torn tendon in my wrist, I committed to Bikram 3 times a week and gained nearly 60 degrees of motion after just 3 months.
      • The Bikram Yoga studio teachers and students have changed my life. I cannot thank them enough.
      • The real core, or spirit, if you will, of this yoga is the way it is taught. And there are no finer, more dedicated, more generous humans than the teachers at Bikram in St. Louis.
        —Howard B. Becker
      • Oh my goodness!!!! I just took the new restore class with Charles. Can I just say my mind is blown. Not only do I feel utterly amazing, but these postures are working so many parts of my body that I struggle to move. They are exactly and precisely what I need. I’m in physical therapy [...]