“1000 at 55. If you’ll indulge me on my birthday, I’ll explain. Back in the fall of 2008, when I was barely 45, my daughter Maxine asked me to go with her to a hot yoga class a cross-country teammate had recommended. I relocated from Atlanta to Maine in no small part to escape the heat, and I considered yoga an annoying, even pretentious, fad, so I said no. After months of her asking, a bell went off and I realized my teenage daughter was offering me an opportunity to hang out and do something with her. (I hadn’t yet reached the parenting stage of realizing that prioritizing my own health-related activities was not selfish and would benefit my whole family.). So in January 2009, I found myself walking into a 105 degree room for a 90-minute yoga practice at Maine Hatha Yoga. I was met with a wall of heat and immediately regretted coming. I looked at Maxine and said I didn’t think I could do it and she replied with an eye roll and the comment, “It’s like Israel.” I remembered that the summer before in Israel, when it seemed we were literally melting on the top of Masada, I found myself strangely able to cope even as the kids were practically whimpering in agony. A switch in my brain flicked and I knew I could make it through the class. I did, barely — I’m sure I did only one set rather than two of most postures, and I didn’t attempt a few, and I definitely didn’t try the sit-ups between floor poses, but I stayed in the room, I breathed, and I made it through. By the time I got home, I felt such a sense of energy and well-being that I did a 180 from thinking I would go only once to a feeling that I couldn’t wait to get back. We went once a week that winter and spring. By summer, Maxine had moved on to something else, and I decided that I had to go at least twice a week and purchased my first unlimited annual pass. From that day to this I’ve never gone more than a week between classes, for years I did at least two per week, and this summer I managed to get there 28 times in July and August. And I’ve still never left the room. I’ve woken up nearly every day thinking about whether I can fit in yoga practice. And I’ve come out of literally every class I have taken glad that I went. When I have an ache or pain, I find it is usually improved after a class or two — but I don’t have very many. And because the practice (popularized by Bikram, but let’s keep our distance from that creep) is standardized all over the world, I’ve taken classes in Philadelphia and New Orleans, in Spanish in Buenos Aires, in French in Paris, and in Hungarian in Budapest! I like to say that this practice is the cure for what ails you, whatever it is that ails you. I have never felt as physically and mentally healthy in my life, mastering the environment and the challenging practice in the hot room has made me MUCH more patient and even-tempered outside the room, and I feel like I’ve got an amazing tool to use for the rest of my life that will help me grow older as gracefully as possible. And so, today, on my 55th birthday, I started my day with an 8 am yoga class — my 1000th class since that first one in January 2009 — and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate how lucky I feel to have reached this age in good health. (The time with family and friends and delicious treats also rocks!)” Carol E.
“Yoga may have saved my life and it for sure helped me through surgery and recovery. Practicing regularly at Maine Hatha Yoga since 2010, last year in June I experienced an unusual “feeling” in my pectoral muscles during class. Being gradually more in sync with my body over time in the studio I sensed something wrong. Long story is open heart surgery and a quadruple bypass. My yoga was with me the entire time, all that conscious breathing comes to life (literally) for pain mitigation and lung function recovery. A yoga practice constantly humbles so I started again and all those chest openers are getting easier and even “camel” which was overwhelming with all that chest trauma is now OK ( on the second asana). My heartfelt, pun intended, thanks goes out to the teachers who gave me the life tools to help cope with, well, life itself.” Roger H.B.
“I’m 52 years old and I had knee surgery to remove some loose cartilage. I was in post surgery physical therapy for 5 weeks and my knee remained swollen, in a lot of pain and I had limited flexion. I decided to return to Hot yoga at Maine Hatha because I knew the benefits of hot yoga, but I was shocked by the fact that the swelling in my knee was completely eliminated after my first 90 minute class. Since that first class I’ve increased the mobility of my knee joint by around 50% and my leg strength is increasing with every class.
I can’t thank Maine Hatha Yoga enough for providing such an amazing practice and space for physical healing!” Ken T.
“The fact that I’ve been a student at Maine Hatha Yoga for more than 10 years now is a testament in and of itself, but allow me to share just a few of the ways that Michael, Angela and their talented staff have helped me transform my life. On a physical level, the benefits are numerous: improved sleep, a body that feels good to be in and live in, freedom from pain, maintenance of a healthy body weight as I age, an amazing improvement in lung capacity which helps with all other sports and skin that glows are just a few! People tell me ALL THE TIME that they can’t believe I am as old as I am. I tell them, “It’s the yoga.” Spiritual benefits for me include cultivating an increased ability to focus completely on one thing at a time, opening to change and growth with a sense of wonder and excitement and a deep feeling of calm and wellbeing that ripples through my life outside the practice room. Emotional benefits of hot hatha yoga have been especially striking for me. In the time I’ve been practicing, I went from being depressed and pestered by PMS symptoms to feeling vibrant, energized and buoyant on such a consistent basis that I have been off anti-depressant medication for many years. More recently, my yoga practice has helped keep symptoms of menopause totally in check. I feel confident, focused, energized and ready for life’s ups and downs when I practice consistently. This yoga makes me a better person inside and out. It’s as simple as that. A life without hot hatha yoga is no life at all for me. I’ve heard all the reasons people don’t think hot hatha yoga is for them…. “I don’t like the heat.” “I can’t handle humidity.” “I’m too fat/old/inflexible/unathletic/
“My journey to finding wellness began ten years ago with a misdiagnosis. However, two years ago I was given a proper diagnosis of Lyme disease and have been seeking various forms of treatment, some allopathic and others holistic. At Maine Hatha Yoga the instructors often emphasize that yoga is both a practice and a process. In many ways this mirrors my journey toward wellness, and life in general. Though the twenty six postures and other available classes are never easy, they are a rewarding challenge that have helped me break through stagnate areas within myself and within my path to health. I recommend this practice for just about anyone, because it has helped me both mentally and physically. I recommend this studio because the instructors emphasize alignment, safety, patience, kindness, compassion, and respect. If you are looking for a transformative yoga experience, then Maine Hatha Yoga is the studio for you.” Mason Friedman
“As distance runners, we understand the importance of strength, flexibility and balance. Unfortunately, running actually impairs our abilities in these areas, particularly as we get older. For many of us, running creates imbalances that can lead to injury. Luckily, Bikram yoga is the perfect complement to running. With bikram, we can improve our strength, flexibility and balance and thereby decrease the chance of injury. Also, the heat and 90 minute length of a bikram class allow us to work on endurance without all of the pounding of running. I’ve been attending bikram classes for 8 years as a complement to running and can say without hesitation that if it weren’t for bikram, I might not be running at all anymore.” -Melanie Decker
“I walked into my first Bikram Yoga class 6 years ago. I was looking for something to get me through the tough Maine winters and I thought “ Hot Yoga” would do it. I went with my friend to my first class. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and sweat pants. I had yet made a commitment to buy some things, what if I hated it? So I enter the room, I feel the intense heat and I quickly realize my attire is way off, since everyone is in shorts, sports bra or shirtless. I took a deep breath and said to myself “ ok I gave birth 3xs I can do this”. The class was a challenge, I had never in my life sweated from my eyeballs but apparently you can. I didn’t want to return, it was hard and people were “better than me” but for some reason after I fell asleep at 6:30 that evening and woke up the next day at 6:30am. I knew instinctively this was good for me. So, I went back. It was hard again. I went home and my body temperature was all over the place, I had chills, then I would sweat. I called my Dr. husband and asked if I was going to die. I thought my inner thermostat had permanently been damaged. He quickly said “no you will live” I believed him since he should know. I had bought the 30 day special so I felt committed to get my money’s worth in truth with no intention of buying another pass. I went to my 3rd class and that is when the magic of Hatha took over. I remembered the sequence this time, I knew what was coming up and now I could focus on my breath. I realized after this class, it wasn’t the heat, it wasn’t the poses it was the breath that I needed to focus on. For years, I had been shallow breathing through my life. I was in a constant state of fight or flight. My body didn’t know how it felt to have a deep breath. You see, I came from a dark childhood of abuse. My body never knew safety, my mind never knew peace, and my soul only knew discomfort. After my third class, my body knew breath for the first time. I felt a change on a very deep level but I couldn’t put words to it yet. I now felt compelled to come back, my body was speaking to me. I had so many things energetically locked in my body, this practice was cracking me open. The childhood pain was sweating out of my body, It was as if the sweat streaming from every pore was tears that needed to be released. I honored that energetic movement, I honored the tears of sweat pouring form my soul, I was beginning to heal. I started to notice in my life that I wanted to eat better, I wanted to drink less alcohol, caffeine, be kinder to others and especially myself. I wanted to write, release and become in tuned with nature. My life truly shifted from a tightly wound knot, to an open, compassionate and happy being. I absolutely put this practice as the catalyst for my inner healing, physically and emotionally. Today, I sit here as a student of Hatha and teacher in training. I owe so much to this practice. It is my hope to share this beautiful practice with others and put them on their own path to healing. I am forever grateful to the beautiful art and life of Hatha. ” Jennifer Fox