Sam was born with Congenital Spinal Stenosis - a narrow spinal canal sometimes resulting in unusual pressure on spinal nerve roots usually resulting in painful symptoms. Over the years calcium has built up around his spine (arthritis) and made the narrowing even worse. In October of 2010 he began practicing at Bikram Yoga Paradise Valley, a few months before having his first spinal surgery to open the L4/5 pathway to ease its restriction of the spinal cord. He continued to do Bikram Yoga (BY) during rehab and another surgery was scheduled for June to open his L3/4 pathway further down the spine.
“The doctor actually turned me away on the day of the second surgery and told me, ‘whatever you have been doing keep it up, it's working to change your spine, at this point there is no need of further operations’.” Within just eight months of practicing Bikram Yoga, Sam’s second spine surgery was called off!
Along with radically improving his spine, Sam has lost over 50 pounds and eight inches on his waist, stopped all medications, and his cholesterol is now under 170 (it was over 240). Before practicing BY Sam says he sat around, watched tv, and ate. He hadn’t made time to do anything for his physical health for years. Now Sam says, “I feel as if I am in the best overall shape of my life. I can walk. I just started to run again. And I hike the mountain preserves as long as I want to! I feel taller somehow. I have more self-confidence in all I do. And it all seems to keep on getting better.”
On the topic of getting better, Sam is working hard on his Standing Bow Pose. “I have used it to compete with myself. Hold it now, no matter what, work on my form, look at myself in the mirror. Looking in the mirror for 90 minutes during class helps me to remember I am NOT 25 anymore. I see my Dad at almost 60. But in my mind I am still 25. The more classes I do, the harder I work at it, the better I feel and look. I eat better throughout the day knowing I have to come in and look at myself. I now understand I can always improve on everything.”
His wife, Shirley, and daughter, Megan, all go to Bikram Yoga now. “We love coming here and practicing together three plus times a week. Thanks for showing me another life I still had inside of me all along.”