‘I FOUND IT’
Not The Holy Grail … Not The Fountain of Youth … Not Buried Treasure … Not the Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow …
I found something better than all of these … a real gem when it comes to my overall health, fitness & well-being. A sparkling diamond.
Something that I have searched for my entire life. An efficient, yet complete, workout that includes stretching, strength training as well as detoxifying sweat production. Where I found it is not a surprise to those “in the know.”
No… it is not a pill or powder or shake or involve surgery of any kind.
I should mention that I have been an athlete my entire life from little league to high school soccer to competitive tennis to semi-professional softball so I am aware of, and have engaged in, many kinds of workout routines.
Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A progressive, neurological, incurable disease that has, and will continue to, effect my ability to walk, stiffen my joints, cause my hand to tremor uncontrollably, among many other more distasteful things that I won’t mention here.
I was devastated and in shock. For quite some time I was simply going through the motions of my life like a zombie. I needed to snap out of this funk.
My wake-up call came at a seminar where the speaker said that the only way to slow and, even reverse, my symptoms was to exercise “beyond your comfort zone.”
So I hired a personal trainer who turned out to be a professional counter (not all are, just some) and received some benefit. On my off days, I moved from using a treadmill to an elliptical machine to a spin bike to a spin bike using an interval training video to CORE training using a video to a kettle bell class three times a week.
It was helpful, but something was missing. I felt stronger, but stiff and tired afterward and out-of-sorts during my off day.
Then the magic happened.
TEN YEARS INTO MY PARKINSONS, I was introduced to Bikram hot yoga.
Wow, talk about a life-changing moment. It is 90 minutes of sweating, stretching, compression, strength training, etc. It never occurred to me that “yoga” could be so strenuous and beneficial. You go at your own pace, but get better and better at it each time. There are beginners, intermediates and advanced students comfortably practicing together in each class.
What a difference it has made in my life. I can’t miss my Bikram Hot Yoga class for a day or two without starting to feel fatigued and stiff. It also helps me stay hydrated because I have to drink a lot of water before, during and after. This is a must. As an extra bonus, it also gives me 90 minutes of necessary meditation or “me” time.
As an inspirational speaker, I travel a great deal and scout out beforehand the official Bikram studio wherever I will be presenting.
Besides my home location in Crestwood (Louisville) Kentucky, I have taken classes in Rome, Italy; Nice, France; Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta, Georgia; New Smyrna Beach, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fairfield, Connecticut; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Tempe, Arizona; Cancun, Mexico, just to name a few. All this since I started Bikram Hot Yoga in March 2013 at the age of 51.
I have lost 40 pounds that I needed to lose and feel so much better. I have found that in order to “transform” yourself to a healthier you, for whatever reason, you have to commit to doing something different. Bikram is my “different.”
I can truly say that I am in the best shape of my life. Oh, and, as an added bonus, people who practice hot yoga, especially those who go the extra mile to become certified Bikram instructors, are the most positive, down-to-earth, healthy individuals that I have been blessed to know and call friends.
I should mention that it does take a certain degree of “stick-to-ed-ness” to enjoy the numerous benefits of the Bikram experience. At first, the classes can be testing. You have to just keep “showing up” and you will get accustomed to the heat and learn the postures. The only thing you must commit to do is to do your best and not leave the room until the class is over.
I have found that, with Parkinson’s disease, sometimes I can do better than other times, but I can always last until the end even if it means skipping some postures and laying some of the time in a resting position.