Luke remembers clearly his first Bikram yoga experience back in 1999:"That first class was momentous! I wanted to continue experiencing this well-defined and challenging, yet do-able thing." He practiced for a year at that time, but eventually found himself on a long yoga hiatus. "I can only imagine what my life would be like today had I continued with Bikram Yoga for the past 17 years, but that is not my story. Instead, my story found me terribly out of shape in recent years."
In January of 2016, dealing with chronic back pain and carrying some extra pounds, Luke was overjoyed to find that Bikram Yoga St. Johns had opened just a couple blocks from his home. He took it as a sign.
Now back to practicing at least 3 times a week, Luke is feeling a variety of positive effects: "I have greater mental acuity and overall I am less stressed. I'm definitely more flexible, breathing better and sleeping better. I would even go so far as to say that I am considerably happier.
"For a few months before starting again, I had acute stiffness and pain in my back, which has greatly improved thanks to yoga. I'm still working through it, but already my ibuprofen intake has been slashed by 90%! I've also shed 15 to 20 pounds since I started six weeks ago. It’s amazing to think that only months ago, I was quite worried that I had no hope of bouncing back from where I was spiritually and physically. Now at age 55, I am just at the beginning of my journey."
Luke's advice for new students? "Every day is different, and I would advise to neither be discouraged by a rough day, nor be complacent about a good day. Pay attention to the wonderful instructors. Trust your limits, but try to believe that it's often not as hard as it seems; push yourself whenever you feel you can, and your effort will be rewarded."
"One difficulty I had 17 years ago,” Luke adds, “was in believing that the community really only wanted the best for me - more than I thought I deserved, probably. At the time, accepting what now seems like a simple truth was a great obstacle. With the benefit of experience and some wisdom, I've become more able to accept such unconditional caring.
And, with much credit to the nurturing environment that Kay and Orlo have created at Bikram Yoga St. Johns, I feel that all of these seemingly unrelated threads of my story have been brought together in a miraculous way.”
When you see Luke around the studio this month, be sure to say "hi" and congratulate him on being our March Student of the Month!
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.