My family and I are from Shreveport, Louisiana. Jennifer and I moved to San Antonio three years ago with our daughter and son so I could pursue a dual-specialty residency in prosthodontics (tooth replacement) and orthodontics at the Health Science Center. As far as previous athletic activity, soccer and ice hockey were my sports growing up. Running and indoor soccer were my main athletic vices prior to finding Bikram. I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?
I dabbled in ashtanga before a friend relayed her tale of a 90-minute hell session at Bikram. After my first class (taught by Casey), I was hooked.
How often do you practice?
Depends on my schedule, which varies by semester. I find I need a bare minimum of three classes per week just to maintain my current state. Four to five classes and I’m golden. The most consecutive days I have taken class is 21. At that point, the challenge to go every day seems to become more logistical as apposed to physical..
What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?
My specific issues are musculoskeletal in nature, partly due to genetics and partly due to a life of high-impact exercise. Chronic lumbar pain, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis – a junked back in general. Also, an operated right knee that would spontaneously dislocate upon maximum flexion of my leg. Reducing the dislocation is always a party.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
The lumbar back pain, which would range from a chronic nuisance to acute episodes that made shoelace tying a challenge, is GONE. My knee rarely dislocates now, only sometimes during toe stand. And of course, the mental and emotional aspects are a great benefit as well. Additionally, my wife and I meet up at the Huebner studio for the 11:30 class on Thursdays, which is fun for us.
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?
Hatha yoga (Bikram, specifically) has helped me finally enjoy a life free of joint pain. I can also maintain my desired fitness level without engaging in the other sports that were breaking my body down. Most importantly, it has improved my mental focus and increased the time I spend “present.” As my practice progresses, I seem to experience more intermissions from mental noise. Overall, I’m less of a pain in the ass for my wife to deal with.
What is your favorite part of Bikram yoga?
It’s a safe environment in which I can try to kill “myself.” Oh yeah, and savasana, of course.