Katie: Saying Hello to Bikram Yoga and Goodbye to Depression and Anxiety

Just call me the accidental yogi. I stumbled upon this thing called Bikram yoga almost two years ago. When I try to recall exactly how it all began, I’m befuddled. Like many things that I have happened upon in my life, there are sometimes no explanations. Eventually, the day comes when you accept and figure out that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, with or without explanation.

My journey to yoga has been a somewhat painful journey, but not in the physical sense. I’ve met some amazing yogis and heard their tales of injured bodies caused by years of either lack of exercise or too much exercise and how Bikram Yoga has healed them. For me however, my transformation started on the inside and worked outwards. Sure, I’ve reaped some amazing physical benefits, but I began changing on an emotional level first .

Depression and anxiety plagued me for years. A bitter divorce catapulted me into the grips of these conditions, and another personal crisis in 2010 almost pushed me over the edge. I looked for help and answers which came in the form of prescription medications. There’s a pill for everything and a Dr. Feelgood for everyone. Pretty soon my body and mind were even more confused. Something had to change, but what and how? I was lost.

“Katie, give yoga a try.” Those are the words a dear friend spoke to me on more than one occasion. I didn’t believe her for a long time. I didn’t want to, but I did want to feel better so I started to do my research. What is yoga? What is right for me? So many types and styles, but one began to beckon to me as I learned more. Bikram. I was so curious and intrigued that I found myself in the hot room one day. I struggled tremendously that first class, but that night I slept with ease for the first time in years. I knew I had stumbled onto something that I needed to explore further, and so my practice began.

Those first few months were difficult – and it wasn’t the heat. Something as simple as facing myself in the mirror proved almost impossible. Replacing negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones seemed out of the question. Quieting and calming my mind seemed out of reach, but, over time, I felt a shift. With each class, I heard more of what the teacher was saying. I became comfortable with the face looking back at me in the mirror. My mind began to calm, and I felt the tremendous energy in the room accompanied by zero judgment. I felt accepted, and then I began to accept myself. All the failures, bad decisions, and regrets melted away in that insanely beautifully heated room.

I’m not the same person I was two years ago, and I owe all of that to my yoga practice. Today, I’m proudly off all medications previously prescribed by Dr. Feelgood. I have a renewed sense of purpose, energy, direction and positivity in my life. My brain has been completely rewired at the age of 41. As I’ve progressed down this accidental path of yoga, I’ve discovered many things about myself. While I don’t know if I will ever get into toe stand or perfect my standing bow pose, the one thing I do know is that I’ll never find myself in that same place ever again. Bikram Yoga will sustain me for the rest of my life. I believe it can do the same for you – no matter what your story may be.