In October 2010, Teddy Ward took the original 90-minute hot yoga class for the first time at a new studio in town, then called Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile. He’d practiced vinyasa and slow flow for about 10 years prior, but he’d never experienced anything like the 90.
“After my first class, I was drenched in sweat, my forearms, wrists and elbows hurt, and my heart was beating so fast and my face was flushed. I didn’t think I’d ever cool down. I was worn out,” he said. “But I noticed an hour and a half later and even into the next day I had such focus and energy. I was able to cook dinner, complete tasks and prepare for the next day in a flow state. I went back the next evening for my second class.”
In the almost nine years since that first class, Teddy said some of the many benefits of his practice have included increased flexibility, balanced strength, joint comfort, peace of mind, weight loss, increased aerobic stamina and improved posture.
It was much more than he expected when he first considered trying yoga. “I needed to lose weight, and I needed to stretch,” Teddy said. “Prior to yoga, I did a lot of weight lifting but no stretching.”
Choosing what is now Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness was easy. “Sterling was and still is the first studio of its kind in Mobile,” he said. “I had never experienced the 90-minute heated series before my first class and I was hooked.”
It didn’t take long for Teddy to consider becoming a teacher. About a year after he took his first 90, he was signed up for Bikram’s Yoga Teacher Training in Fall 2011.
After all this time, the 90 is still Teddy’s favorite class. “It’s so complete, he said. “It’s a workout for my mind, body and spirit. When I’m done, I feel so relaxed and complete energized at the same time.”
But even more than the physical, mental and emotional benefits of his practice, Teddy said that, most surprisingly, the discipline he learned through yoga changed his life.
“Sometimes practicing yoga is like a storm that must be weathered. At times my egoic mind wants to go places my body is not ready for, and I have to take a step back and take a breath and continue on and do the things so can do with precision and intensity,” he said. “The things I can’t do…I can attempt. It’s more about the experience of the attempt than any particular outcome. I focus more how I feel on the inside rather than how it looks on the outside.
“This has translated off my yoga mat and into my life. The experience and the work of life is the reward itself,” he continued. “In that respect, everything is yoga to me.”
Teddy, who also enjoys a career as a hairdresser, is able to stave off neck and shoulder pain, and discomfort in his wrists, hands and hips—the typical aches that come with the profession.
“The second part of awkward pose even takes care of my toes,” he said, “so I’m able to stand on my feet for longer periods of time without cramping.”
As a teacher, Teddy is often asked advice on where beginners should start. “My answer is always the same: start where you’re at and go from there. Just START!”
The 90-minute class is a great place to begin as it includes two sets of each posture, allowing students more time to become familiar with the postures. Plus, everything is within the natural range of motion.
“I think the thing to overcome is not the heat or the teacher or the postures, but all the thoughts and reactions and things we tell ourselves about it,” he said. “Just get your ass to yoga class! The longer you wait, the more time you waste.”
Take Teddy’s advice! Sign up for our 30-day new member special here. It’s just $30, and it includes all of the classes we offer—including the original 90-minute class!