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Studies Note Yoga Benefits for Cancer Patients

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yoga benefits for cancer patients breast cancer awareness hot yogaThe world turns pink around this time of year, signaling renewed focus on breast health and breast cancer awareness.

Pink ribbons, pink hair, even pink football gear worn during NFL games serve as a subtle reminder that annual preventive care screenings, early detection and treatment are the best defense against breast cancer.

But many in the yoga community would add something else to that wellness regimen: their yoga practice.

Whether they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer or were undergoing treatment, so many women at studios across the country credit their hot yoga practice for helping them manage their anxiety, regain their physical strength, and heal their bodies and their spirit.

Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile owner Lucille Moran was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer and already she can feel the positive benefits of her yoga practice.

“In sorting out a plan for health, I have learned that breast cancer has very high rate of cure,” she wrote in a client newsletter. “Every year there are more breakthroughs in therapies, and women and men are gaining more options.

“I’m lucky because the tumor was caught early, is isolated in one location and is very slow growing,” she continued. “I am convinced that our yoga has kept my body as healthy as it could be.”

Some physicians are even starting to recognize yoga’s therapeutic benefits for cancer patients.

In 2008, Dr. Timothy McCall, a physician specializing in internal medicine and the medical editor for Yoga Journal magazine, detailed some of these yoga benefits for cancer patients in the medical journal Oncology.

Among them, reduced anxiety, longer and more restful sleep, better mood and lower levels of fatigue.

McCall praised yoga as being part of a cancer treatment regimen for its adaptability based on a student’s diagnosis and overall level of health.

Because so many forms of yoga existfrom gentle to more vigorous sequencesthere is something accessible to nearly everyone.

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the close-to-home reminder that yoga can have a profound impact on one’s health, Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile invites you to begin your practice today.

Now is a great time to invite friends who’ve never tried yoga or encourage someone to come back to the hot room!

Saturday, Sept. 19 kicks off Mobile/Baldwin Yoga Week as part of National Yoga Month. From Sept. 19 – 26, anyone can donate five pieces of canned or dry food (Thanksgiving type) in exchange for a free class at SHY Mobile and other participating studios in the area.

All donations will go to the Bay Area Food Bank to help families in the central Gulf Coast enjoy a healthy and fruitful Thanksgiving holiday.

If you’d like to donate and give the gift of a free class, bring in some canned food yourself and get a free class card to hand out to interested yogis in the future.

And remind them that it’s good for their health!

Sterling Celebrates National Yoga Month in September

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sterling hot yoga, natural awakenings magazine cover, national yoga monthSeptember is recognized as National Yoga Month, and the 5th Annual Mobile/Baldwin Yoga Week will be celebrated this month as well.

Sterling Hot Yoga is participating in several activities related to both!

To commemorate this occasion, our local edition of Natural Awakenings magazine reached out to the Mobile/Baldwin yoga community for a photo shoot.

September’s issue highlights some of the amazing mental and physical benefits that yoga has to offer.

If you’ve seen the magazine, then you might have recognized some of your favorite Sterling yogis featured in the September issue, including Sprite on the front cover! Click the photo above to see the entire issue, as well as other photos from the shoot taken by local photographer Brock Larsen.

Brock chose Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile for the site of the shoot largely because of the “incredible transformation process that it’s currently undergoing,” he told Natural Awakenings. “Rather than destroying the beautiful old buildings and putting in new, Mobile Airport Authority Is honoring its history through renovation. I think this is very much in line with yoga philosophy–improving is great, but it’s just as important to be happy where you are now.”

Hopefully, we can inspire people to give hot yoga a try this month!

yoga life fairYoga Life Fair

On Saturday, September 19, Sterling will be part of the Yoga Life Fair! Starting at 2:30 p.m., at the Fairhope Pier Park, join us for healthy refreshments, live music and a full schedule of yoga classes from beginner to advanced, chair yoga, aerial yoga, meditation, paddleboard yoga and more!

Sterling will have a table at the event and Anna will lead a hot (in all sense of the word) class! Be a part of it! For more details, visit www.YogaLifeFair.com or find the Yoga Life Fair page on Facebook.

bay area food bankYoga Month Food Drive

Have a friend who’s interested in coming to Sterling? Make it a win/win!

As part of yoga month celebrations, from Sept. 19 – 26, donate five pieces of canned or dry food (Thanksgiving type) in exchange for a free class!

All donations will go to the Bay Area Food Bank to help families in the central Gulf Coast enjoy a healthy and fruitful Thanksgiving holiday! And if you don’t have someone who wants to come that week, bring in some canned food yourself and get a free class card to hand out to an interested yogi in the future!

For more information about solving hunger, www.bayareafoodbank.org.

SHY Mobile Welcomes Lanie Hearn, New Iron Hour Teachers

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Lanie

Lanie Hearn

Lanie Hearn has been a regular practitioner at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile, and now we’re so excited to announce that she is joining our Sterling team!

Lanie has an extensive background in body building, fitness training and even yoga, so she is going to be an ideal Iron Hour teacher.

She will be leading the Iron Hour classes on Tuesdays and Thursday at 8:15 a.m.

Please give her a nice Sterling welcome!

Last weekend, Serritta Walker from Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington spent some time in Mobile leading an amazing Iron Hour training for our newest teachers.

Along with Lanie, now Anna, Michelle and Sprite will be on the podium during Iron Hour!

Congratulations, everyone!

 

Samantha Finds Self-Acceptance On and Off the Mat

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samantha physical acceptance determination sterling hot yoga benefitsMany students try Sterling Hot Yoga for the physical changes they hope to see—a trimmer waistline, toned arms and legs, and improved balance, strength and flexibility.

But an even more profound change, in many ways, that comes with a hot yoga practice comes from within.

Samantha Wells knows that firsthand. She started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile just a few weeks before the 30-Day Spring Challenge began, having never tried hot yoga before.

“I avoided it like the plague,” she said of the heat.

Putting those former notions of hot yoga aside, she quickly committed to completing a 20-class goal to keep her newfound practice consistent and relied on her teammates to help hold her accountable.

What Samantha found on—and off—the mat was not what she expected.

Through sweat, patience and determination, she found a physical acceptance she didn’t realize she needed.

“The things I struggled with, I didn’t realize it,” she said. “But apparently I am. I didn’t realize it was an issue until it got better.”

About halfway through the challenge, Samantha posted this incredibly emotional account of her personal breakthrough on Facebook:

“This is me. This body is mine. It may not be what society tells us is ‘beautiful,’ but I am learning to love it,” she wrote. “What most people can’t see when looking at this picture is this body feels so much better than it did two months ago, it looks better than it did two months ago and it’s mine. And I’m proud of that.

“As I type this, tears are in my eyes. I’m afraid not everyone will see this body the way I have come to, but with everything I have I’m posting this so that other people can start to see their bodies as beautiful, too.”

Samantha’s new perspective on hot yoga was reinforced when she recently revisited her vision board to reflect on past goals and set new ones. She was struck by the irony of one of her posts that incorporated a popular hot yoga saying about the practice’s physical effects.

“I started hot yoga so I could ‘sweat like a pig and look like a fox,’” she said. “Two months in and I’m seeing that there’s so much more to it!”

Gradually, she said her negative self-talk was replaced with a positive, encouraging voice “telling me that I am strong, that I do have a lot to show for my hard work, that the results I’m looking for will come—with time.”

That self-acceptance gave way to a more determined Samantha during a recent kayaking experience. Despite typically avoiding such activities because of her weight, she decided to give it a try.

“The more I fell out, the more determined I was to do it,” she said. “This is a new concept for me. I usually give up, but that day I did not!”

Perhaps that resolve to overcome challenges outside of the hot room was strengthened by her resolve in it. Not only did Samantha meet her 20-day goal commitment, but she exceeded it by four classes!

During that time, there were physical changes, too, she said, that included increased flexibility, regulated blood sugar, improved muscle tone and a feeling of balance.

But most importantly hot yoga made her believe and accept that she is beautiful from the inside out, and she is eager for others to experience their own internal and external transformations.

“Join me if you’d like,” she said. “I’ll come with you to your first class, and we can be beautiful together!”

Come practice with Samantha and get started on your own yoga journey with our 30-day introductory special!

Jana Gets Over the Hump in Camel After a Year

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jana rocker camel milestone hot yoga inspiration

Jana Rocker reaches her ankle in Camel after one year of practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Works Mobile.

Most new students who practice at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile are intimidated by the level of heat in the hot room.

Jana Rocker was, too, when she signed up for her first class a little more than a year ago.

“I am terrible with heat,” she said. “But the yoga helped me a lot. I can actually go outside in the heat and it does not bother me.”

Taking that first step to try hot yoga wasn’t an easy one. Cancer took its toll on Jana’s life at a young age.

She lost her arm as a result and watched helplessly as friends suffered and died from the disease.

That experience fueled her calling to pursue cancer research, but she dropped out of graduate school in 1995 when a professor told her she couldn’t do science with one arm.

For 10 years, Jana battled PTSD, depression and anxiety until she realized she was “just settling for the status quo and not growing at all as a person or working in my passion.”

“PTSD was still a problem working in a cancer center for a few years,” she said. “I still have my moments, but one thing I swear by is yoga. The ability to control my anxious responses to the hot room has carried off the mat into my life in amazing ways!”

She ranks her decision to try hot yoga as “one of the life-changing scary moments of life.” Though the yoga studio website assures that hot yoga is for everyone, she still wasn’t sure how it would be for her having one arm.

Jana does her best in each and every class and she follows modifications on various postures to get the benefits from them.

With master’s and Ph.D. in hand, Jana now works for the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute “to help others not have to go through what I went through,” she said.

Between her demanding schedule of research and publishing, plus a move, Jana came up just a little short of her 15-class goal during the 30-Day Challenge. But she saw its merit as a learning opportunity.

“One thing I have learned from fitness challenges is I have a hard time completing them,” she said. “Life manages to derail my plans, but I just have to go with it.”

Jana did manage to reach a pretty exciting milestone nonetheless. She was able to reach back and grab her heel in Camel.

“When I first started a year ago, I couldn’t even lean back at all,” she said. “I had zero core and back strength. With one arm, it’s all core and back for me!”

Hot yoga’s impact on Jana’s life doesn’t end there. In the year she’s been doing yoga, she’s lost 30 pounds, experienced fewer gout attacks and gained mobility in her fused ankle.

“My right ankle is fused,” she said. “I could move it up and down, but I couldn’t rotate it. I kept trying in reverse Savasana, and now I can actually rotate the ankle.”

Jana is such an inspiration to everyone who practices at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile. She is proof that Sterling Hot Yoga Works works!

If you’d like to see what benefits your hot yoga journey holds for you, get started today with our 30-day introductory special!

Mobile Yogis in Training on Sunday Afternoons

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The Sterling Hot Yoga Summer Teacher Training begins on June 21 in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, just outside of Cancun.

This session, we have three fascinating and wonderful people from Mobile joining us: Michelle Ryan, Sprite McDonald and Scott Singleterry. In addition, Sara Dumas will be joining us in the Fall training!

All four of our trainees are already working to prepare for their trainingthey are watching anatomy videos, completing their CPR and first aid certifications, studying their verbal cues and more!

We are also using the Sunday 4:30 pm class as a workshop of sortsthe trainees are standing on the podium to get used to the view; they will be teaching a posture or two; and depending on the people in class, they may lead a silent class!

Also during class, I will be providing them with insight on bodies and proportions, what to be looking for, how to keep people safe and more.  If you are interested in learning some teaching “secrets,” come to class on Sunday afternoon! It’s fun!

Tada-sana! Tree Pose Breakdown

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Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaTree pose and toe stand are the last two poses in the standing series of our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes. They seem fairly straightforward, but there are some aspects of the tree pose that bear clarification.

The tree pose that we do in our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes has the following purpose: To open up the hips, knees and ankles in preparation for toe stand, and eventually, the lotus position.

Compare the woman on the left doing lotus to the woman on the right doing tree pose in the photo below.

Notice how in both poses the feet are near the hip creases, knees are extended away from the center line of the body and feet are turned outward.

Putting your body into lotus can be challenging on the hips, knees and ankles, and like many poses, some people come to it relatively easily while others struggle for a long time to get there. Tree pose is a great way to help prepare the body for lotus.

Tree comes at a point in the series where your body is relatively warmed up. Your knees and hips and ankles have had the opportunity to open, and although your heart may be pounding, you are encouraged to slow down, focus and balance. Not such an easy thing to do!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaHere are the steps to execute the pose:

1.  Ground yourself in alignment.

2.  Pick up your right foot with your left hand and if you need to, hold your right knee with your right hand. Be careful of your knee and your ankle. At any step, if you feel discomfort, proceed with care. If you feel pain, back off.

The goal is to put your foot in your hip crease, but your body proportions may require you to place your foot in a different place!

Look at the images below: The first woman’s foot is on her leg and it may never be on her hip because her shin bone is relatively short and her hips aren’t yet open.

The second woman’s foot is super high on her costume, because her shinbone is really long! Both are doing the posture correctly for their body type and for the condition of their hips, knees and ankles. Tightness in any of these joints may keep you holding on to your foot, and that is perfectly okay!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

3.  Slowly, gently allow your knee to come down toward the floor. Now remember the lotus pose — the knee is positioned away from the center line of the body approximately 45 degrees — so in tree, it is absolutely appropriate to have your lifted leg positioned away from the body.

The ball and socket of your hip joint may never allow you to position your leg so that it’s parallel to the standing leg and by forcing it, you could injure your hip!

Look at this group shot of people doing tree pose — everyone is trying the right way; no one’s legs are parallel.  Not even close!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

4.  Eventually, when the hip joint and the hip flexors open up enough, you will have two legs in one line FROM THE SIDE like the photo on the left.

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

5.  The last part of the pose is to find alignment on all planes. Stretch your spine up, and stretch your tailbone down to prevent your rear end from sticking out. Look in the mirror and work to get your shoulders level and hips level.

Avoid sinking into the standing hip. The yogi on the right is out of alignment — see how her shoulders are not level and her hips are not yet level? This is common especially when you have to hold your foot. But she’s working toward it and will be there soon!

If you are challenged by tree pose, that’s okay! Start slow, hold on to your knee if you need to, work slowly, take your time, focus on your breath and alignment as best you can. And know that you’ll be on the floor resting very, very soon!

Reggie Wilson Shares Inspirational Yoga Story

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Reggie inspirational yoga storyThis is Reginald Wilson. Reggie started practicing with us in August of 2014. In his introductory month, he practiced 22 times. Since then, he practiced, on average, about three times a week.

This Superbowl Sunday, February 1, Reggie felt a tightening of his chest. His wife insisted he go to the hospital and after several tests, the doctors determined that Reggie had 100% blockage in one of his arteries and he needed a triple bypass.

After the surgery, the doctor asked him what he had been doing and Reggie told him, “Sterling Hot Yoga.”

The doctor said that there’s a good chance the yoga saved his life! His heart had actually developed alternate routes around the blockage and the strength of his systems got him through the surgery with relative ease!

Reggie returned to his practice this week and he is taking it slow and following our one rule. We are thrilled that he is Sterling!

Do you have a friend or family member who needs inspiration to come to class? Share this story!

What’s your story? I bet you have one!

Core Strength, Iron Hour and Standing Head to Knee

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Core Strength Iron Hour Sterling Hot Yoga

Iron Hour helps build core strength, which helps improve your postures in the Sterling 60 and Gold 90 hot yoga classes!

In many of the standing poses in our yoga series, we talk about the locked knee.

The locked knee, in good alignment with the ankle and the hip, is absolutely important, and it takes a great deal of strength to maintain it for more than a few moments.

In Standing Head to Knee, locking both knees is especially challenging.

In this wonderful photo example, Jason Winn is executing the full expression of the pose where his arms are extended, no longer holding on to the foot.

Yes, absolutely, Jason has a tremendous amount of strength in his legs, but it’s core strength that’s holding it all together!

Strong abs, strong legs and strong arms (and a lot of determination) are what allows Jason to pull off this beautifully executed pose.

It’s strength that supports flexibility and flexibility that supports strength. And now, Sterling Hot Yoga Works can help you to attain both.

Adding Iron Hour to your practice is a great way to improve your Standing Head to Knee and many other poses! But remember, taking the Sterling 60 and the Gold 90 also helps you to maintain good overall health! It all works together!