I was a combat soldier with the 3-8 Cavalry 1st Cavalry Division deployed overseas in Iraq. During the summer of 2007 I was blown up twice, once in a tank and the other I was in a humvee. I suffered many injuries, but the ones that pertain to this writing would be the lumbar disc disease and the PTSD. After I was retired out of the Army in 2009 I had to live with my injuries and was given several different medication by the VA to combat these issues. Last November I weighed 250lbs and was border line diabetic with high blood pressure and cholesterol. I started to lose a bit of weight and got down to 227lbs in April 2012. I went back to see my VA doctor and she said I still had several problems and do work harder to deal with them. So I got back in the gym and lost 34 pounds to put me at 193lbs, but my back still continued to hurt due to the compression of my L4, L5 and S1 discs. Several friends and family members told me I should try yoga and see if that would help. I began my journey with yoga about 2 weeks ago and did a Friday, Saturday and Sunday class. I was so happy with it I bought a membership. But what really amazed me was that I woke up Monday morning and for the first time in 5 years I didn’t have back pain. So I continued to go to class got down to 188lbs and a 32″ waist. I recently had a VA appointment were I had X-Rays taken of my lower back. My doctor called me the same day and told me I didn’t even need the spinal decompression therapy that I requested because my back was fine. I argued with her for several minutes and finally hung up. Then it hit me and I began to cry, my back was healed by yoga. After 5 years of pain and nothing the VA did made it any better, but just 2 weeks of yoga and my back was made whole again and the nightmares from my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan were gone. I had finally been able to make peace with it all and have never felt so wonderful in my life. I want to thank all of the great instructors at Bikram for showing me there was something that could be done for my physical and mental pain. I will continue my practice of yoga for the rest of my life and I hope to be able to spread the word about how yoga changed my life in hopes that I might help someone else realize that there is hope.
With Great Respect and Love,
Veteran, US Army
Honor and Courage
Dear Lisa & Steve,
I learned yesterday that my General Practitioner doctor was so impressed with my yoga story and yoga result that she started doing yoga also! And – she’s almost 20 years younger than me! She loves it!
Wishing you and your families (present and future) all the best!
Bikram Yoga has changed my life! Even though I have only been consistently practicing two months, I have noticed a positive change and difference in my life. My overall mental, physical and emotional health has improved. I have a B-12 deficiency (my body does not absorb this vitamin), and I always felt tired. I would sleep a lot of my day away. When I started yoga, I noticed the energy, which I had lacked for about one year now, was suddenly back! Practicing yoga has made me a better daughter, sister, friend, wife and student. Yoga has given me a place where I can challenge my mind and body.
My husband died in June 2009. By the fall I was drinking way too much, every night. I was riding my bike twenty five-miles, five to six times a week, but I still had so much internal anger and stress that all I wanted to do was just stand in a room and scream. I couldn’t find an outlet for all my emotions. I was cleared by my doctor and decided to try Bikram Yoga. During some of the poses the tears would mix with sweat. I couldn’t do camel pose without crying until a few weeks ago. This yoga has changed my life. It has eased the stress and emotions in my life. I now smile and laugh. All these emotions, that I couldn’t control, have lessened. It is still hard at times but without Bikram Yoga I’m not sure I would have been able to cope. Thank you to all the instructors. You all are awesome.
The last four months I have been doing Bikram Yoga has transformed my life. In the past year, I’ve endured a painful knee surgery, a stressful divorce and five kids. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A friend suggested Bikram Yoga because I had to cut down my running. My knee was giving me problems. I had no idea. It is the cheapest therapy ever. I love having the different instructors. Every day they each bring something different to the class, and I leave re-energized and with a piece of wisdom. I can be feeling terrible, bit it has taught me a new way of thinking and a new way of life. Next for me: the 60-Day Challenge.
After eleven-years of marriage, three cross country moves and three children, my wife and I had lost that common thread that originally bound us together. Through Bikram Yoga, we have found a common interest that we can share together. We’ve finally found an activity that both of us truly enjoy (other than activities centered around our kids), and that we each enjoy doing together. Though our common love of Bikram Yoga, we are able to share our trials and triumphs, become healthier and find productive ways to deal with the many stresses that life throws our way.
Bikram Yoga has taught me the importance of myself. I need to be healthy and happy, so that I will be able to take care of everyone and everything else in my life. Things used to be so out of balance, with my needs coming last. Also in order to do the 60-Day Challenge, I had to learn that my “reasons” that were keeping me from starting, were actually “excuses.” I had to take a look at my life and figure out what was most important, kind of important, and not important at all. I feel so much better physically and emotionally. Looking at myself in the mirror for ninety minutes a day, doing those incredible postures, makes me feel empowered. I am also more at peace with the people around me, and I look forward to continuing my practice! Namaste!
I have only been practicing Bikram Yoga for a short time, but I have already enjoyed a number of benefits. These include improved muscle tone, strength, flexibility and even a bit of weight loss. Although these benefits are significant, I would probably have to say that the greatest thing that Bikram Yoga has done for me is to provide a community of people who are passionate about health and fitness. The instructors and my fellow students have been an extreme help in providing both encouragement and accountability in my pursuits toward improved physical wellbeing. The advantage of such fellowship will most likely be the driving force of my continued practice of Bikram Yoga.
What hasn’t Bikram Yoga done for me? Because of improved overall health, I am now able to take on daily functions that used to be difficult for me. I roll and laugh with life’s event, joys and responsibilities.
This yoga has done so much for me. It makes me feel good both physically and emotionally. It makes me feel like I’m part of something—part of a community. I’ve made and met so many great and amazing people that without this yoga, I would have never known. I’m more aware of myself and my body and the world around me. I love this yoga.
What has Bikram Yoga done for me? Bikram Yoga has been a great inspiration. I eat healthier, I’m more conscious about how much I drink (If I drink too much, I’ll die the next day in class). Yoga is a part of my daily life, part of my routine, part of me. Sometimes I hate it, most of the time, I love it. Thanks for introducing it to me. I feel better, live better, sleep better and weigh a lot less.
December 29, 2009
To the Staff of San Antonio’s BIKRAM YOGA studios,
I am writing this letter to say “Thank you.” My story is not very different from any of the other grateful “Yogi” stories that you receive. Like my fellow Yogis I have benefited immensely from my participation in BIKRAM Yoga classes. However, in spite of that, I am compelled to share my story with you…………………………….
My life changed dramatically in April of 2007—the change came in the form of a “great” promotion with my company—I soon discovered that along with the perks that came with the promotion— there were also many sacrifices that would be required of me. These sacrifices would eventually lead me to become a stressed-out, overworked, overweight, tired, grumpy old-man who sadly at 44 could not climb 1 flight of stairs without becoming significantly short of breath. In the course of 1.5 years I shamefully gained 45 pounds (going from 175 lbs. to 220 lbs.); additionally, my pant size went from a 32 to a 36+.
In August of this year I decided that enough was enough and scheduled an MD appointment. I had labs drawn resulting in a triglyceride (fat) level of 267 in my blood (100 to 130 is normal); I learned that I had something called metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, tachycardia as well as 3 of the 5 risk factors for developing diabetes. The doctor’s plans included medications to lower my blood pressure, pulse, and serum triglyceride levels……………I did not want to start medications so I asked for a chance to fix my maladies myself and without medications. My plans included working out, beginning a diet and losing weight. I was given a follow up appointment for December 28th, 2009. I jokingly told her that I knew she had requested this date specifically because it was right after Christmas……she laughed and agreed.
A couple of weeks later a friend of mine (Rafael Cantu) told me that he was going to begin taking YOGA classes—I asked him if I could tag along—thinking that YOGA would be a good simple way to ease into really working out. Not knowing anything about BIKRAM Yoga, I assumed that I would be learning how to “stretch;” I also thought that if I could stick it out for a couple of weeks, I would then be ready to begin a “real” workout. LOL Boy – was I wrong!!!!!! BIG TIME!!!!
—fast forward 3 months—I have become a YOGI for life! During my follow-up MD appointment (today) my weight was 190 pounds —previously 220 lbs! I.e. a weight loss of 30 pounds; – my waist is now a size 32 / 33 – previously 36!!!! The best news is that my triglyceride level went from 267 to 100 *(a drop of 167 points) all accomplished in a little over 3 months by going to 3 – 5 Bikram Yoga classes a week, following a “sensible” diet—and most importantly without taking any MEDICATIONS!!!!
I know that I have a long way to go before becoming a real Yogi —I am a work in progress………..and I am also a firm believer in Bikram’s adage, “exert 100% effort and receive 100% benefit!” I will be eternally grateful to each of your patience, your encouragement, your instruction in helping me with my quest of becoming a healthier me………….and one day if I can ever learn how to lock my darn knees and learn how to balance on one leg…………then the sky will be the limit!!!!!!!
Guys, I just wanted to thank you and let you know I won a tournament in the wind and rain in Florida. Could not have done it without yoga. The wind was well above 40 mph and my balance and stamina were better than ever. Also, went to a fairly new studio and kicked some central Florida a**. Their teachers were Ok, but nothing like the product you present to the yogis back home. I was the only one in the class who made it all the way through and they were very complimentary of my triagle. I told them as softly as I could that I am trained by the best teachers money can buy in San Antonio. You guys are real life changers and I can’t thank you enough. Feel free to share this with your crew and I will see you guys later this month.
Yogi for Life,
Keep up the good work and keep trying to make SA a more healthy city. I think your February promotion was a great way to get folks off the couch and into Bikram. I hope you guys have more of those promotions in the future. I tell everyone how much I love and most of all – benefited from yoga. I used to have 5-6 migraines per month, since I started Bikram Yoga, my headaches have decreased to 1-2 per month. I have also seen major improvements in my complexion and my flexibility improves with every session.
for ever a yogi,
I have recently (January) celebrated my 4th year anniversary practicing Bikram Yoga. I can’t tell you how much happier, and healthier I am. Never before, had I found a type of exercise that I enjoyed and could commit to. Never before had I seen results. Never before did I feel the stress relief and peace that are the result of a regular practice. I have been meaning to thank you for a very long time for providing the service you do to our community. Bikram Yoga has made me a better person. This yoga has increased my desire to live a healthy life, and has proven itself a successful vehicle to achieving that end. I respect my body and mind now, rather than nitpicking at all the shortcomings and imperfections. Mil gracias!
Four and a half years ago my neck locked up so badly I was unable to turn my neck without turning my entire body or being in excruciating pain. After months of extensive chiropractic manipulations and therapy I was deemed “healthy”. Over the next few years I would go from needing to see my chiropractor once every four to six weeks to every two to three weeks. In 2007 my neck pain was so severe three to four days a week almost every week. This affected me significantly not only physically but emotionally and socially. I was at a complete loss; the manipulations were lasting maybe three to seven days, hot or cold packs, massages and using the hot tub were having minimal impact.
In September of 2008 a friend invited me to try out Bikram Yoga with her. I must admit I was rather skeptical but went anyway. I found my first class to be difficult and almost did not go back. A short time after class I had such a huge burst of energy that I decided to stick out the introductory offer. During this time I began to notice a continuous decrease in the amount and frequency of neck pain. I have been doing so well that I have not seen my chiropractor in sixty plus days.
In addition to getting my neck healthy yoga has improved my posture, increased my strength, given me more energy and I have even lost weight. Bikram Yoga has certainly created a life long yogi in me. Thank you Steve, Lisa, and the entire Bikram Yoga Staff for not only giving me my life back but a better quality of life than before my neck problems!
About eight years ago my husband Rick decided to go to Austin and take a Bikram yoga class. I’ll never forget how enthused he was when he came back, going on and on about how hard it was, how it was so difficult to continue on in the hot room for an hour and a half, etc., and how he couldn’t wait to go back! So when a Bikram studio opened here in San Antonio, he became a regular. It took him years to get me to be a regular, but in his quiet, encouraging way, he did it and now I have found the solace, health benefits, and just plain warmth(no pun intended!) of regularly spending quiet time with my Bikram family. The physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits are infinite probably – too many to mention here anyway. As if all of this wasn’t enough, the stars aligned and the universe granted us the gift of Rick being able to convince our daughter Casey to practice. At a time in her life when she really needed a direction and the support of a village, the Bikram community at Bikram Yoga San Antonio embraced her, encouraged her, challenged her and sent her off to Bikram Training in Acapulco, Mexico to become an instructor, which she is now here in San Antonio. Bikram yoga, and especially this particular studio of Bikram yoga, means so much to our family – on so many levels. This mother’s heart goes out in gratitude to Lisa and Steve and all of the instructors and students of Bikram Yoga San Antonio.
My initial reaction to Bikram yoga included feeling overwhelmed, inflexible, weak and well, just hot. I couldn’t sweat, stretch or maintain any posture. Looking at myself in the mirror was difficult. Yet I was intrigued by the quiet, calm demeanor of the participants. I trusted the dialogue. I kept coming. With time, my body accepted the heat and I learned the cleansing value of sweat. My entire lifestyle began to change. Friends and family noticed something was different with me. I noticed that I didn’t mind looking at myself in the mirror anymore. My body began to change and soon I was wearing a size 4 instead of a size 10. For the first time in my life, I felt strong and felt I had more control over my own destiny. I made new friends and my circle of support grew. And all this was good. But the most important gift that Bikram yoga has given to me is a quiet place where I can turn my mind off and enter into a meditative state where my focus must remain in the moment in order to embrace the postures. It is the only time of my day when I am free. This has been life saving for me, as it gives me the strength to care for my youngest child, who is seriously ill. It gives me the courage to go on. Thank you, Lisa and Steve. And thank you for creating such a nurturing, welcoming environment for us all to grow.
At a time when I rarely read the paper, I just happened to catch it on a day when an article was written about Bikram. What luck! I had just recently decided that it was more than time to start taking care of myself.
I was a working mom and had just added a new husband, two stepsons and a large dog to my already hectic life. We had 4 kids attending 4 different schools playing 4 different sports! My goal was simple – I just wanted to be healthier and possibly slow down the aging process so that I would always have a good quality of life. Reducing the stress of everyday life was also a consideration but that didn’t seem remotely possible! I have always been very active but hadn’t participated in any type of organized exercise in 14 years. I had somewhat low expectations and certainly wasn’t looking for a miracle. While initially overwhelming, even my first class was amazing! Because the postures build on each other, my body started to work at a level that I would have never dreamed possible. I knew that I had found something great and immediately signed on for the annual membership. I continued to take class regularly because it both energized and relaxed me. This was exactly what I was looking for! What I didn’t expect was a change in my appearance. I thought that I had reached an age where losing weight was impossible as my metabolism was slowing down. Without changing my eating habits, I lost 20 lbs! I wasn’t really paying attention (that’s how busy I was!) until my clothes quit fitting! So, without expecting it, I did find a miracle! After 5 years of practicing, I still crave it!
But, as important as the yoga itself, the camaraderie of the yogis provides yet another incentive for turning to Bikram! A family has formed with Lisa and Steve at the helm! My favorite people are those I take class with. It is a welcoming group of amazingly diverse people. Bikram nourishes the body, mind, and soul! What a deal!
The Trinity Baseball Team has made great use out of Bikram for a couple years now, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. From the health of pitchers arms to position players avoiding pulled muscles, Bikram has absolutely changed the physical health of the entire baseball team. Our pitchers are heavily encouraged to attend a Bikram class immediately following a substantial throwing day, and the reasons are many. From flushing the body of lactic acid, to aiding in the recovery of sore muscles, to attempting to gain more flexibility week to week, Bikram Yoga has completely changed our success on the mound and in the field of play.
Steve Falk and company are an absolute joy to work with. They always bring positive energy and with different instructors, every class has it’s own personal twist, all the while following the same guidelines. I know Trinity Baseball will continue to use the San Antonio Bikram Yoga facilities for many years to come!
David R. Smith Pitching Coach, Trinity University
“I found Bikram yoga when the gym wasn’t working for me and I couldn’t find enough or convenient dance classes for adults. I fell in love with it right away and credit Bikram with keeping my back in shape and my body working. Bikram also gets credit for reducing my stress levels enough to keep me in a middle school classroom! Our San Antonio studios offer an amazing array of class times and great teachers. The atmosphere in the studios, set by the owners, Steve and Lisa, is friendly and inviting enough to keep me paying to come to the “torture chamber” for five years to date.”
“I love Bikram Yoga San Antonio! My yoga practice is an important part of my life. It keeps me strong, happy and healthy. The physical and spiritual benefits are immeasurable, and they affect my daily life in countless ways.
Steve and Lisa run two terrific studios. They have lots of great teachers, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. I’ve made many friends at BYSA. While the yoga is physically and mentally challenging, Steve and Lisa make it a fun and rewarding experience! ”
“ After years of spinal injections, anti-inflammatory medication and large chiropractic bills, I have found long term relief and health thru my Bikram Yoga practice. Almost as rewarding – both physically and mentally, it takes you places you have never been.”
John D. Likovich
Through the practicing of Bikram Yoga I have improved the way I exercise, breathe, walk, think, eat and feel overall. It is amazing how a complete mental and physical transformation can be achieved by just practicing 1.5 hours for 3 to 4 times a week.
Life Altering! Cleansing! Feel Good Weight Loss Solution!
I need to tell you my story and how it is related to your classes. In mid-2004 I started taking classes at your studio and was becoming a regular or at least I had those intentions… yoga lessons made me feel “complete”. In 2004, I was shot 3 times. I had one bullet go through the left atrium of my heart and it also pierced my lung; one bullet through my liver; and one bullet through the fingers of my right hand; I had open heart and lung surgery; several weeks after surgery my lungs collapsed and then I developed pneumonia. But thank God I survived all. The doctors were surprised at my faith, strength and physical condition and asked me what type of exercises was I doing because my strength and recovery were just amazing. YOGA!! I told them. Obviously my recovery and going back to “normal” has taken some time… but I am back at your studio…step by step, little by little… and again… my doctors continue being amazed because I am doing so well. I really, really think yoga had a very big part in my survival and recovery.
Lisa I just want to drop you this line to let you and all of the staff at Bikram Yoga know how much I appreciate your involvement in my life. In the fall of 1999 I had an experience that would change my life I thought forever. After the surgery I was never without pain. This pain slowly began to take everything I loved away from me. Most of my doctors, friends and family told me to accept that I would never be the same. Then I came to your studio in August of this year and for the first time since 1999 I was told “why are you accepting these things as limitations instead of challenges?” You told me if I would commit I would heal. I have to admit at first I didn’t believe what you were telling me, everyone I knew couldn’t be wrong, the doctors with all their education couldn’t be wrong could they? Well guess what not only were they wrong they were very wrong. I made my commitment to the hot room and I did begin to not only heal but get stronger. The next thing I knew I was loosing weight and riding stronger than I had in the last 5 years. I had the energy levels of the past then I began to have the confidence to reduce the medications I take to control the pain that is always with me I seem to not need as much anymore even I don’t know why. The fog of pain and medication is lifting and I am looking forward to the next season of competition beginning in March. I can’t tell you what it means to me to have back the infrastructure of my life. After we take the patch off I will target the next med with the same zeal you show us in class I want all the meds gone so I can be me again. Thanks again for your help with love ,
I have wanted to do this for quite some time but never seem to have the time. What I want to say is “Thank You”. I have never paid to workout because I have always had a bad picture of gyms. I don’t like the loud music, bright lights, and noise that goes along with these places. Granted for some people these places may do the job but it has never
been of any interest to me. The first time I met the two of you I felt very welcomed. I know that you have a business to run and have a large clientele but even so I always feel as though I am stepping into a my family’s living room. I am always welcomed by name and always asked about something personal. You will never find that in a gym. In my daily profession both with AirLife and EMS I deal with every type of illness, injury, family problem, and quite often death. Usually when I come home it is to frantically make my wife and daughter’s lunch, kiss the wife goodbye and take my daughter to school. After going 100 mph I come to a sudden stop and am then alone. By becoming a student of yoga I have been able to better release everything that has built up in me over the last 12 to 24 hours sometimes better than others but I always leave with an energy that is not only physical but mental. I can go on complimenting you but I know you have other things to do other than read email from one of your clients. Thanks again for everything -
I have wanted to write this letter for some time. I don’t know if you realize how many ways you guys have changed my life. As you know I have battled with Arthritis since childhood. I was diagnosed in my teens, but I now realize that I’ve had this disease even earlier. Growing up in a large family I was protected by my family in many ways. They never let me have “pity parties” though I wanted to on occasions. They never treated me different, but helped if, and when I asked. I grew strong because of the challenges I faced. I do believe it was more difficult as a young adult, because it was such an “old ladies” disease. I just took the medicines like the Doctors told me to and just got tougher as the years went on.
Two years ago my health began to fail on me. Twenty something years of drugs and my body was giving up. So I stopped. I started with the help of a scientist, a drug free journey, taking herbs instead. All was great for the first 1.5 years. Then a civil war started in my body and “Arthur” came back in full force, and then some. I missed days at work. I had to have help driving at times and even going to the bathroom. I was in a living hell, but was going to continue the fight. In October last year at my youngest brothers wedding, my oldest brother was telling me about Bikram yoga. He had just completed training in LA. He went on and on and on and on* I thought it was nice of him, but the pain I was in, all I could think to call him, were words that rhymed with “trucker”. How the heck was I going to do yoga, I couldn’t even use the restroom alone. He was persistent and so was I.
June arrived along with 20 extra pounds. I was feeling a little better, but not 100 percent. A patient person, I’m not (Yet). My husband went out of town on business. I decided to take the weekend to do my “two in a row classes”. So if didn’t go back, no one would know I failed. My fist class was with Steve. I told him “I can’t do most of the poses”. He said “unable to at this time”. Next day was you Lisa. I told you I was unable to do most of the poses at this time, I got an OK and a huge smile. I was starting to feel I might just fit in. Then you reminded me to focus on myself in the mirror and concentrate on the dialogue. So I did. Thank God for the heat and sweat, because that day I cried almost the entire class. Who was that middle age, overweight disfigured person I was looking at? I knew “Arthur” had taken his toll on my body, but I was forced to face it! After I had my little “pity party” that evening, I washed my sweaty clothes and mapped out my Bikram yoga schedule for the week.
I still have to battle it every day. The window of daily stiffness closes more and more (now I have the 6AM class to attend). I look forward to the day when I have a pain free practice. I know that day is near. I don’t mind the image in the mirror, because I am getting better. The 20 extra lbs are still here, but one thing at a time. Yes you teach “Bikram’s” yoga, but that is not all. Your passion for the yoga, the way you listen to each and everyone of us. Your dedication, commitment and the positive energy you exude throughout the studio. My parents gave me life, you guys have given me something I had lost, HOPE. With this I can honestly say I no longer see “Arthur” as a disease but a dis-ease!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My dear Lisa,
Thank you ever so much for your generous birthday gift to me of ten Bikram classes! You made the definitive difference for me, in inspiring me to set a goal of practicing regularly. I felt better at the end of every day, thanks to all the good benefits reaped. I love feeling stronger; it’s a very solid sensation all over, more centered. I’m aware of those parts of me that subtly, and sometimes not so quietly, ask for attention and care. I also was completely gratified to find that my appetite was substantially reduced after practicing, and that when I ate, I wanted it to be nice and simple.
You and your other great teachers are so adept in different ways at instructing, encouraging and enlightening me. My favorite moment with you teaching was your sharing how your teacher had taught you to bring your self down in bow pose, and not just hang out all happy-like in the reaching-forward part (which was me!) So it was particularly powerful and rewarding for me to go into my lowest bow ever and love every minute of it!
You’ve made a positive change for me possible. I deeply appreciate all you’ve done for me and, by extension, (since it takes a village…!) for your wonderful community of San Antonio yogis and yoginis. Thank you, Lisa.