yoga for stress relief

My Experience: 60 Days of Hot Yoga

My Experience: 60 Days of Hot Yoga

My Experience: 60 Days of Hot Yoga by Jenna Ptacek

A few months ago I was talking to a doctor and I told him that I had been really stressed out lately (more stressed than I had ever been); he mentioned that he did hot yoga to help with stress, so I decided to give it a shot.  I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am that I did.  Shortly after attending a couple classes, I decided to do a 60-day challenge… this experience has been life changing.  

5 Ways Bikram Yoga Can Change Your World

By Nicole Deacon

Our new tag line at Bikram Yoga AZ is CHANGE YOUR WORLD! We believe in Gandhi's message… "be the change you wish to see." When you make changes in your life there is a ripple effect that goes out. You feel better, you treat people better, they feel better, they treat people better and on and on this cycle goes. There are so many things that go on that we have no control over, but we do have control over ourselves. As we change… the whole world can start to change.

Here are 5 ways that doing this yoga can CHANGE YOUR WORLD:

5. Meet Great People... You may even fall in love! -- There is an amazing community of people who do this yoga. By practicing and being around the studios you meet a variety of different people who are absolutely inspiring and incredible to be around. You meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life. We've had more than a couple of weddings happen from yoga studio romance. Maybe you are next. :)


4. Do the things you love!  -- Whether you love sewing, rugby, running or tennis... this yoga allows you to do the things that can be hard on your body.  We recently had someone with such bad arthritis they couldn't do the thing they loved, sewing... but after just one class could do the thing they loved again!  We have many athletes from all sports that can continue doing the thing they love even though it is hard on their body.  What do you love to do?  This yoga can keep you doing it even in to old old age!

3. Live Forever -- okay, okay not forever. But when you practice yoga, you keep your body young. You heal old injuries, prevent diseases, gain strength, become more flexible, have less stress, and overall just feel better. Click here for the article on how this yoga is the fountain of youth!

2. Belief in your self also known as Self-Confidence -- you lose weight, tone up and start to feel great! But even beyond that… this yoga is challenging and the more you do it, the more you feel like you can do anything. By overcoming the challenges in the hot room you realize how much you can do on and off the mat.

1. Peace -- When you practice yoga you start to develop a relationship with your self. You develop the power to connect within and external circumstances don't bother you as much. You can be in any situation, around any person, and nothing can steal your peace away from you. How can we have a more peaceful world? It starts with us. We start with peace in our own heart and in our soul.

Has Bikram Yoga changed your world? Leave a comment and tell us how! We would love to know your story. :)

Student Spotlight - Jody

If you have ever met Jody at the studios then you know, she is an absolute joy to be around and she loves the yoga! Here is her story of how she got to where she is now and how the yoga has helped get her here.


Before I began practicing Bikram Yoga, my life looked very different. I now live in a wondrous world of joy but back then that wasn't the case. I lived in Northern California and was in the middle of going through some very challenging and life changing times. In hindsight, I see these times were all tremendous blessings, but when I was going through them I experienced a taxing toll on my mind, body and soul. I moved to Fresno where a dear friend encouraged me to come with her to a Bikram yoga class. She knew what I was going through and knew it would help. Boy did it ever. Now, I must confess, it took me 2 years to go to my first class after my friend encouraged me. I was afraid of the heat and intimidated that I'd never done yoga. But when I finally went... It was my saving grace. I healed in a very profound way on many levels. I don't think I would have come through what I did, how I did, without my practice. Coincidentally, as I began practicing Bikram I also began studying to receive my M.A. in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica. The two together brought me to new levels of awareness that we truly are spiritual beings having a human experience and that our body is a blessing to travel the journey.

Bikram Yoga has connected my mind, body and soul, and created deeply fulfilling change and growth on every level. From my Practice, I am discovering and getting to know myself and my body in ways I never imagined possible. Bikram is not simply a physical sport; it is a gift to bring balance and harmony while offering a great way to stay in shape. My Bikram practice has helped me to lose 53 pounds and bring my body more fully into balance. Even though Bikram Yoga can be challenging and there are times in the room that I am being pushed to my limit, I find NOT doing Bikram to be more of a challenge. In my off times from practicing, even though I was still working out in other ways, I have found my self out of sorts, off and feeling rather miserable. With my commitment to regular practice, I am able to clear my mind and connect with my heart in a way that flows into my everyday life and that brings me such joy.

Bikram yoga has healed my mind body and soul and continues to do so every time I practice. I have so much gratitude for my practice. It has given me back to myself. I have learned so much about who I am. I have become stronger, both physically and mentally. What happens for me at the studio is healing, releasing and growing in ways that impact me in every aspect of my life. From my Bikram practice I have cultivated gentleness, patience, kindness, clarity, devotion and dedication to myself. I have deepened my awareness of the body as a temple and treat my body and myself kindly with thoughts and actions. This is huge for me since I have a past of being REALLY hard on myself. I have awakened to a new way of being and for that I am thankful.

My encouragement to new students is: "You can do it! Give yourself one of the best gifts you ever could and begin your Bikram practice. When it gets challenging, keep coming! It's worth it! You're surrounded by a community of love and support. We're all in this together. "

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

Bikram Yoga for Inflammation

by Noa Glow

A new study from the University of Ohio shows yoga can help calm the body’s inflammatory responses and, as a result, decrease the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Find out how yoga for inflammation can help you.

What is inflammation?

Most people think of inflammation as temporary swelling that occurs after an injury – nothing an ice pack and some R&R won’t fix. But unlike acute inflammation, which is in part how your body responds to harmful stimuli and kick-starts the healing process, chronic inflammation is a prolonged process that can do damage to your body.

It starts with the immune system. When you’re injured or sick your body dispatches an army of white blood cells to fight the infection – a totally healthy and normal response. But if this reaction occurs for no reason (i.e., when there’s no infection to fight), the white blood cells may harm perfectly healthy organs and even destroy other cells, leaving the door wide open to disease.

Unfortunately, you can’t feel or be tested for chronic inflammation. And with more and more research pointing to this condition as a pre-cursor to some very serious diseases – from hay fever to arthritis to cancer – it’s important to stay healthy and minimize your risk. Bikram Yoga can help.

University of Ohio Study on Inflammation

Researchers compared 25 women who had practised yoga regularly for at least two years with 25 novices. The beginners showed 36% more leptin – a hormone that stimulates inflammation – in their bodies than the experienced yogis. Additionally, the experienced yogis had 28% more adiponectin, an inflammation-soothing hormone. The longer the women in the experienced group had practised, the greater their ratio of anti-inflammatory to inflammatory hormones.

Additionally, the expert yogis had lower heart rates in response to stressful events than the newbies. Yoga also seemed to boost the mood of practitioners in both groups, which (as we’ll find out) can reduce inflammatory activity.

Causes of Chronic Inflammation

  • WEIGHT: Extra pounds can cause well-meaning white blood cells to inflame other bulging-but-otherwise-uninfected cells. This can make healthy cells resistant to insulin, which in turn can lead to diabetes. The unneeded white blood cells may even start to leak into your bloodstream and aggravate your liver.
  • STRESS: Since the parts of your brain that sense pain are also activated by social anxiety, inflammatory activity can increase under stress.
  • TOXINS: Cigarette smoke and smog can pollute your body with toxins and, according to some research, encourage inflammation.

How Bikram Yoga for Inflammation Can Help

  • EXERCISE: Maintaining a healthy weight means eating right and doing regular exercise, like practising Bikram Yoga.
  • RELAX: Lowering your stress levels can be a key to beating chronic inflammation. According to stress expert Dr. Ken Nedd, doing Bikram Yoga releases certain stress-induced hormones, reduces tension in the muscles and relaxes the body through the stimulation of pressure points. The controlled breathing exercises in the series also enhance your ability to relax, release tension and experience a clear, focused mind.
  • DETOX: Bikram Yoga keeps your body in prime toxin-fighting form, helping it to get rid of unwanted waste and fight infection effectively.

Noa Glow writes for and practices at Bikram Yoga Vancouver. This article was originally published on December 13, 2012 by Trevor Ellestad on the Bikram Yoga Vancouver Blog.

Can Anything Steal Your Peace?

By Nicole Deacon

“If anyone can make you angry, upset, take your peace away from you, you are the loser.”  -- Bikram Choudhury

What Bikram?  Come again?  If someone else does something that makes me angry or upset aren’t THEY the jerk?  What do you mean I am the loser?

We cannot control what other people do, say, and feel; but we can control what we do, say, and feel.  When someone does something that makes us upset, it is easy to blame them and easy to think that if they would just do what we want that we would be happy.  There is a great saying, “Resentment is like drinking poison hoping the other person is going to die.”  This is what Bikram is saying.  When we have negative feelings towards someone else, whether they deserve it or not, it is not them that suffers, it is us.  When someone cuts you off in traffic and you get mad… they may never know it… it doesn’t really affect them, but it does affect you.  You could be having the best day of your life, someone cuts you off in traffic or says something mean to you, and then you are having the worst day.

One of the most important lessons I have learned from Bikram is to “let nothing steal your peace away from you.”  That’s one of the reasons this yoga is so great.  You are in a HOT room, with florescent lights, smelly carpet, looking at your imperfect reflection in the mirror, a teacher with a microphone is yelling at you to do more, your mind yelling at you to quit, the person next to you is driving you crazy, and then what…. you find a way to breathe in the chaos.  Despite everything going on around you, you let none of it take away your peace of mind.  It starts in the yoga room for 90 minutes at a time, but then before you know it…. You’re more patient in traffic, kinder to your kids; little things don’t set you off as easily.  Little by little the yoga starts to make its way into your everyday life.

One of my favorite stories is about a mom who had taken a few months break from the yoga.  When she walked in the door after being gone, she looked up at us with this sad face and said, “My kids sent me back to yoga.  They said I was a better mom- more patient, less moody.”

During the Holiday season I find the yoga to be more important than ever.  With added stress and added time with family it is a good test to see…. Can anything or anyone steal my peace?  When I’m not doing class regularly, my answer is YES, so I make it a point to go to yoga.  When I’m done with yoga I feel stronger, more centered, more stable, more peaceful.

Happy Holidays.  May nothing steal your peace away.