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Testimonial

Haley Hall Loves Sterling Classes Because They’re Different

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Haley Hall had taken several barre and Pilates classes over the years, but she hadn’t really practiced yoga before she came to Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness nine months ago.

Her busy lifestyle prompted her to consider fitness options that would help relieve stress. “As an educator, my days are often rushed and very busy,” she said. “I was looking for a workout that not only helped my body physically, but mentally as well.”

Haley found the “engaging group fitness class” she was looking for at Sterling, but the studio offered other bonuses as well. “I chose Sterling because of the convenient location, and I had heard great things about it!”

Not only did original hot yoga, vinyasa flow and Inferno Hot Pilates provide the stress relief she wanted, but they’ve helped her get stronger and “always have a feeling of being more calm and centered after class,” she said.

It’s that feeling that keeps Haley coming back to practice consistently. 

“Carving out a specific time for yoga provides me with the opportunity to slow down, relax deeply, and simply focus on the moment,” she said. “As an educator, I consider myself a lifelong learner. I appreciate yoga being a constant practice rather than a final outcome.”

But more than that, Haley said classes at Sterling are just different compared to other workouts she’s done.

“I have found that yoga calms my thoughts, and I focus on my body and my breath during class, and I block out the other thoughts,” she said. “In other workouts, I find myself going through my mental checklist of the day, rather than focusing on what I am doing. Sterling classes are different when it comes to the mind-body connection.”

Like most students, that wasn’t the first difference Haley realized. Sterling classes are hot(!) to help the muscles stretch more safely, working to restore and maintain natural range of motion. But getting acclimated to the heat is usually one of the biggest adjustments new students have to make. 

“When the class first began, I thought there is no way I will make it through this heat!,” she said. “But after it was over, I felt amazing!”

Haley admits she isn’t always one to try out new things, so she has been pleasantly surprised how practicing consistently has given her the courage to do that.

“Sometimes I am scared to try new things, such as a new pose I’m afraid of, but since practicing yoga, I realize we are all practicing and no one is perfect,” she said. “So I would say it has encouraged a willingness to try new things!”

Haley had to overcome some fears even to just get started, but now she said she craves yoga when she’s away from it.

Her advice to first-timers? “Just do it! You won’t regret it,” she said. “I never considered myself a flexible “yoga” person, so I was always afraid to try yoga. Then I realized yoga is for everyone!”

Everyone is welcome to join us, and like Haley said, you won’t regret it! 

“The people at Sterling is one thing that makes it so special. It is a great community of people who are very positive and encouraging!,” she said. “Classes are Sterling are often the highlight of my week, and I always leave the studio feeling better than when I walked in.”

We want to be the highlight of your week too! You can get started for just $30 and get 30 days of unlimited classes. Click here to join or sign up at the studio when you take your first class!

Myrtle Delgado Describes Sterling as Fun and Life-Changing

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When Myrtle Delgado took her first class at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness two years ago, she admits it wasn’t at all what she expected.

“Wow, this yoga thing is really hard!,” she said thought at the time. “I think I was expecting to just suffer through an hour of some boring stretches.”

But the changes in her life that Myrtle has experienced in the two years since is anything but boring. 

“If someone had told me a year ago that doing the classes at Sterling Hot Yoga was going to make a real impact on my daily life, I’d have been skeptical,” she said. “But, that was when I was largely a runner and felt any workout wasn’t really complete if running wasn’t involved. Now a full year into Sterling classes, call me a convert!”

Physically, Myrtle was looking for relief from long-standing sciatica and hamstring issues, which she attributed to her routine of “basically all running and NO stretching,” and it got to the point she was in physical therapy for it. 

“Over the past year this has all but disappeared which I have to attribute to the continued practice of varied yoga classes,” she said. “True, I’d cut down and almost out all running, but that was only because I realized I could feel totally spent and yet rejuvenated—simultaneously—with these classes and without the painful aftermath!”

Myrtle is a dedicated regular at Sterling, most often in Iron Hour and Inferno Hot Pilates, which are great ways to build core strength. But she also takes yoga and yin, both of which improve flexibility. 

She attributes all of the classes with the benefits she’s experienced from a regular practice, including better flexibility, less stress, an overall feeling of calm and faster recovery with running. But she’s been most surprised by one thing. “I can now find a stillness that I never recognized,” she said. “I’m still working at this, but I am proud of my progress!”

Myrtle said she loves that there is always something happening at Sterling, such as the “fun, motivating” challenges like bingo that help her stay consistent, or the “perks” of free sushi offered once a month after the Happy Hour Yoga With Friends class.

While those are great reasons to come back and practice regularly, Myrtle is most drawn to the studio for one thing: the people. And they made an impact from the first day she walked into the studio.

“Sterling immediately felt warm (no pun intended) to me and welcoming,” she said. “No one ever made me feel that I shouldn’t be there regardless of my complete lack of experience. In fact, I found the complete opposite with kind words and encouragement.”

That continued sense of belonging and of course the ongoing challenges of each class keep her coming back.

“It is really addictive to walk in the room and immediately relax in that heat!,” she said. “But more than that every single class is a challenge in its own unique way, and I love the people—the teachers and students are filled with a positive energy—I always leave invigorated (and sometimes pretty sore), and I just love it!”

Yoga is more than practicing postures on your mat, and Myrtle said she realized that during a recent surgery experience. 

“My ‘aha’ moment from a mental standpoint was from an oral surgery I recently had which lasted almost three hours,” she said. “In the past, I’m pretty sure I would’ve opted for the anti-anxiety medications offered (as pretty much anytime I drool or have a dental procedure it make me nervous), but instead I was able to close my eyes, focus on breathing and body position, and got through it calm and relaxed (of course having a fantastic surgeon also helped!).”

How does Myrtle sum up her experience at Sterling?

“All this to say that the classes are challenging but also fun and fabulous on multiple levels and really can have a significant impact on your life,” she said. “As one of our instructors Mandi likes to say “how you do anything is how you do everything,” which I do believe. So ask me today about Sterling—I say pass the punch, I’m all in!”

To experience what Myrtle said she’s experienced, she encouraged first-timers to just be willing to try classes at Sterling, and it may take more than one class to find something that clicks.

“You must try it to feel the difference it can make,” she said. “There are so many positive benefits both physically and mentally, and the beauty of Sterling is that if you don’t particularly care for one type of class there are plenty of others that are all so different to try as well!”

Ready to give yoga and Pilates a try? We offer a great new student special of just $30 for your first month. For a dollar a day, you can start to experience just a few of the life-changing benefits. What a deal! Sign up here!

 

Katie Turner Discovers Yoga With a Little Help From a Friend

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Katie Turner discovered yoga three years ago after being “dragged to a HOT 90 class by a friend” in Birmingham. 

“I had never been very flexible and I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I survived and I loved it,” she said. “I signed up for a membership after that and have been hooked ever since.”

Katie described herself as a regular in Hot Pilates and Buti yoga classes after surviving the HOT 90, so when she moved back home to Mobile about a year ago, she was determined to continue her practice. That’s when she discovered Sterling.

“The Hot Pilates classes are my absolute favorite, and I saw that they were offered at Sterling,” she said. “I signed up for the initial $30 for 30 days and loved it.” 

Katie has experienced many benefits from her yoga and Pilates practice, such as injury recovery and improved energy levels.

“The biggest benefit that I have experienced would have to be complete relief from lower back pain that had plagued me for years from a previous injury. I’ve also noticed that when I keep up a regular routine of yoga/Pilates, my energy levels are up and I feel capable,” she said. “Amongst other things, this leads me to wake up earlier, to be more productive at work, to put more effort into my relationships. I function at a much higher level in all aspects of my life.”

But the most satisfying reason Katie keeps coming back is reaching new levels in her practice.

“I come back to practice because I love how yoga/Pilates makes me feel. There is nothing more satisfying than my body doing something that it was not capable of months before,” she said. “Also, the lavender towels at the end of class do not hurt.”

Katie took her first Pilates class—and first class at Sterling—in September 2018. Though she said it was obvious to her that she hadn’t practiced in months, she said she “was excited to see how strong I could become.”

Looking back over her consistent practice, Katie is most surprised by her changed mindset and how much she is able to accomplish.

“Before yoga, I had never really had a workout practice or consistent routine. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself being able to do some of the things I do now,” she said. “I am really proud of the endurance that I have built up to be able to get through some of these classes because they are tough!”

Getting to this point in her practice didn’t happen all at once, Katie admits, so she encourages new students to be patient as they work toward the results or goals they have in mind. 

“Flexibility and endurance are not built overnight,” she said. “Any sort of goal is worth putting in the work!!!”

Practicing in the supportive environment that Sterling offers has made putting in the work a little easier for her.

“I have loved coming to Sterling Hot Yoga since day one! The instructors and staff have been so supportive and kind. They really push you to work towards the best version of yourself,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where my practice will take me!”

You can join Katie at Sterling and work toward your goals together! We offer a $30 intro special for new students that includes 30 days of unlimited practice. Click here to sign up. There is no better time or deal to take the first step to a healthier, happier you!

 

Christy Lock Finds Community and So Much More at Sterling

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Christy Lock relocated to Mobile from Atlanta in April 2016 for a job, but making that transition was tougher than she thought it would be.

“Aside from my partner, I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “That wasn’t a huge deal because I’m an extrovert who is fairly outgoing.”

The small-town Alabama native jumped in, joining civic organizations and getting involved with professional communities, but Christy didn’t feel a connection with anyone. 

“In addition to the challenges of breaking into a new social scene, things at work weren’t what I thought they would be,” she said. “I didn’t feel fulfilled in my personal or professional life, and I was beginning to regret the move to Mobile.”

It didn’t take long for the stress of all of that to take a toll. When her mental and physical health began to suffer, Christy turned to exercise. 

“I’m a huge fan of group fitness, but I was challenged to find a gym that I enjoyed—if I liked the classes, the schedule didn’t fit or if the schedule fit, I didn’t care for the classes,” she said. “I was in a slump, so I came up with a million excuses.”

Until October, when Christy made the decision to try a class at Sterling. She had taken a few yoga classes at gyms here and there, but she admits she didn’t know anything about yoga when she started.

“To be honest, I’m not sure I fully recall my first class,” she said. “However, I remember being greeted by the door (I was probably running late), and everyone was so welcoming. It was a small 90-minute class taught by Lucille. The rest was history.”

But it wasn’t always easy. Christy said it took some time to get used to the practice and figure out pranayama breathing, which she “didn’t understand at all,” she said. “It took me several months before I figured it out.”

Christy made the commitment to keep showing up and setting intentions, and the consistency paid off. “The postures began to feel more natural and my focus shifted,” she said. “All of the extra stuff that work and life brought I was able to set aside for my time in the hot room. 

“After classes, I noticed that I felt strong, yet refreshed. I started connecting with other yogis and looking forward to seeing them in classes,” she said. “I found myself a part of a group that valued encouragement, strengths and humor, which was just what I needed.”

Christy had finally found the answer to the community and connection she was looking for and a group fitness setting that improved her physical and mental health.

“Now, I’m in a much better space, both personally and professionally, and I attribute much of this to the work I’ve done for myself through yoga and the encouragement of the community at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness,” she said. 

Specifically, Christy said a consistent yoga practice has given her more mental clarity and focus, stress relief, a sense of community a more positive mindset. 

Prior to practicing a Sterling, Christy hadn’t practiced yoga consistently, but she knows the secret to what keeps her motivated.

“The challenges,” she said, referring to various studio-wide challenges often held throughout the year. “I don’t know why, but I NEED to fill out all of the cards.”

The other thing that keeps her coming back to practice is the community she was searching for when she first moved to Mobile.

“The people—I love the sense of community and the energy at Sterling!” she said. “The encouragement from the instructors and the camaraderie of the regular yogis is empowering.”   

Christy said she can’t remember what she thought about her first class experience. But “what did I get myself into?” is “sometimes what I think before going into some of my recent classes though… haha!”

Most surprisingly, Christy has found through a consistent yoga practice that she was not as connected with herself as she thought she was.

“I’m not at intentional as I thought, especially in relation to my mind body, and breath. I was surprised at how out of tune I was with my body before I started practicing,” she said. “Yoga has helped me set better boundaries and let go of things that steal my energy. Now, I pay attention to what I need from my practice and what the practice needs from me. I can see the payoff when I step off of my mat.” 

Christy remembers what it’s like to want to try yoga, but come up with reasons not to. She’s been there! But she’s got this great advice for first-timers.

“Give it a few classes to figure it out. Do what you can. Some days are better or easier than others—and that’s OK,” she said. “No one is watching you (except the instructor) because they’re focused one their practice or in their own heads. Plus, it’s too hot to worry about what anyone else is doing. And drink lots of water!”

Push past your excuses today and get started with our intro special. Sign up here to get 30 days of unlimited practice for just $30. It’s the best deal in town and you’ll be a part of a great yoga community too!

 

Laura Noah Finds Healthy Changes and More at Sterling Hot Yoga

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Like most people who seek out yoga, Laura Noah was looking for transformation.

“I needed to make a change in my life,” she said. “Lose weight, gain strength and be healthier in both mind and body.”

Prior to joining Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness—then Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile—Laura hadn’t done yoga at all, but that didn’t stop her from signing up. 

Now she’s been practicing yoga for seven years, five of which have been at Sterling. “I’ve been practicing almost exclusively Bikram-style hot yoga,” she said. “It has helped make me become a better musician. With a regular practice, I have increased energy, flexibility and strength. Mentally, I am stronger and more patient.”

Laura is a professional timpanist and percussion educator, and she has performed with the Mobile Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Mobile Opera, Pensacola Opera, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and other groups in the Southeast.

The yoga and the benefits she experiences from a regular practice are what keeps her coming back. After her first class, she couldn’t wait to come back. She said she thought, “‘I did it! Let’s do it again!’”

When Laura first started practicing, Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile was the only studio in town that offered the original hot yoga sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which made it an easy choice.

 “It was the only studio in town that offered Bikram-style hot yoga (plus, they were running a sale),” she said.

Sterling is still the only studio that offers the original hot yoga sequence as it was intended to be taught with the proper environmental controls that regulate the room to 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity and with the appropriate ventilation.

Most students are surprised by something that this yoga teaches them. Laura came to yoga hoping to get stronger physically, but she was surprised by “how much the practice changes you both physically, mentally, and emotionally,” she said. “This yoga cultivates compassion and patience for both yourself and others.”

First-time students and others who dismiss hot yoga without trying are usually concerned about the heat, but it’s just part of the practice, according to Laura.

“When you try hot yoga, yes, it will be hot. Acknowledge it, and let it go,” she said. “Just do your best and every day your best will be better than the day before.”

Laura’s advice? “Embrace the challenge and the yoga will change your life for the better.” 

If you need to make positive changes in your life, you can get started with a great deal! With our new member special, practice unlimited yoga for your first 30 days for just $30. It’s the best deal in town!

Candice Cravins Finds Fitness and Wellness Home at Sterling

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Candice Cravins, a long-distance runner who had practiced vinyasa flow and hot vinyasa flow before she started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness in January of this year, wasn’t sure anything could have prepared her for the initial shock of entering the hot room. 

“All I could think was ‘does it really need to be this hot in here!?’” she said. “I made it through, picked up my “I Survived” button and the front desk and thought “when can I take my next class?”

Though Candice had taken her first yoga class in college, she was “totally new” to the traditional 26+2 format when she took the Original Hot 60 at Sterling earlier this year. 

“I loved the structure and order of the class, along with the extra challenge of the heat, made a mental note to invest in more sweat-wicking leggings and later returned to take advantage of the “30 Days for $30” offer,” she said. 

As a newcomer to Mobile, Candice passed by the studio every day on her way to the University of South Alabama, and she kept thinking “I really need to try that place out!,” she said. 

When she took a look at the class schedule online, Candice was surprised by the variety. “I loved that I could get my high-intensity interval, strength and core training, in addition to yoga, all in one place and in a group format,” she said. “It also helped that the studio is only about a mile away from my home.”

While building her career as a young professional in academia in California, Utah and Texas before landing in Mobile “by myself and not knowing a soul” in June of 2016, Candice said she was looking for a place to call home and connect with others who valued fitness and wellness. 

“Although I had met a lot of wonderful people and had positive experiences at other fitness facilities during my time here, nowhere really felt like “home” to me,” she said. “With fitness and wellness being such an essential part of my life, it was crucial for me to find a place that felt like home where I could connect with other like-minded individuals.”

Candice credited the community at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness as the reason she keeps coming back to practice. 

“I feel like Sterling does a great job of fostering a sense of community and belonging for their members, and everyone I’ve met at the studio has been so kind, down-to-earth and welcoming,” she said. “The accountability is great, too—you know your yoga friends expect to see you, so you show up to class!”

Thanks to her regular practice at Sterling, Candice said she’s become a stronger runner.

“Hot yoga and Pilates have been game-changers for my running: a stronger core, improved flexibility and breathing technique, and better muscle recovery are just a few of the benefits I have noticed after practicing yoga,” she said. “It has allowed me to more quickly acclimate to the heat. Outside of my running, I’ve noticed improved mental focus and mindfulness.”

Practicing yoga and Pilates also helps Candice manage her very busy schedule. 

“As a long-distance runner and indoor cycling instructor, I am always moving, often at a very fast pace. Marathon training and teaching group fitness classes, along with my full-time job in academia, had me wanting to slow things down a bit,” she said. “I knew that yoga could be a great way for me to not only slow things down, find balance and better manage life’s daily stresses, but that it could also improve my running—I now say, “do yoga, run stronger!”

That consistency has paid off for Candice, even in ways that surprised her. 

“Consistency really is key to anything in life—whether it be success in fitness, relationships or your career, to breaking bad habits and forming good ones. I had always had a passing interest in yoga, but never practiced consistently until recently,” she said. “I was really surprised at how much of a difference a consistent yoga practice made in such a relatively short period of time, especially in terms of being more mindful of my breathing patterns.

“It’s made a noticeable difference in how I work through my daily runs and has also made me more aware of subtle nuances in my daily life and how I respond to stressful situations.”

What can a consistent yoga practice give you? There’s only one way to find out! Sign up here for our new member special, $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice!

Candice said, “The hardest part is showing up! It’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay to be a little intimidated—acknowledge that trying something new is scary. It was everyone’s first yoga class at some point! 

“Take it one step at a time, and celebrate all the tiny victories and improvements along the way.”

One 90-Minute Class and Teddy Ward ‘Was Hooked’ on Hot Yoga

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Benefits of Hot Yoga Yoga Testimonial Sterling Hot Yoga MobileIn 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! 

 

Mandi Cameron Finds Transformation in Yoga, Inferno Hot Pilates

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Yoga Pilates Transformation Before and After Workout Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile ALMandi Cameron admits she was unhappy, but she was more determined to make positive changes in her life. When she saw that Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness was offering an open house almost three years ago, she “jumped at the opportunity to try two free classes.”

“After the birth of my youngest daughter, I was extremely unhappy with not just my appearance, but my overall health,” she said.

It didn’t take long for her to decide she wanted to commit to Sterling. After the first class she took during that open house weekend, Mandi said, “I went straight to the front desk to sign up!”

That was almost three years ago, and her progress has been significant—in many ways.

“Most people probably don’t remember when I first became a member at Sterling,” she said. “I had not worked out consistently in years. I had just had my second child and my body was most certainly not in shape.

“I was so unhappy,” she admitted. “I hated taking pictures and I feared seeing anyone I knew out. I wanted change.”

Mandi found the change she wanted—and a lot more—by consistently practicing Inferno Hot Pilates and vinyasa flow.

“Honestly, a consistent practice at Sterling helped me to believe in myself. Every class, I try to take the opportunity to be a little better than the class before, stretch deeper, let go, push harder,” she said. “I never considered myself to be athletic, but Sterling has brought out the fitness fanatic in me!”

Sterling was an easy choice for Mandi. It’s only a couple of minutes away from her house, and the benefits she’s experienced—overall improved mood, greater flexibility that enhances her weightlifting, and ability to focus and stay in the present—are worth it!

When asked what keeps her coming back to practice, she sums it up in one word. “Um…sanity! Well, that was what kept me coming at first…that and sheer determination!,” she said. “The quick results you see sure help your drive to come as well. I absolutely love the feeling of sweating everything out— toxins, bad energy, a day that didn’t go right. I ALWAYS feel better after a class. I’ve never regretted taking a class for sure!”

If the process seems too easy, Mandi assured that it hasn’t been. “It was hard. There were a lot of early mornings in the cold, late nights rolling out my sore muscles, begrudgingly making healthier choices,” she said. “But I completely finally fell in love with working out and—MOST IMPORTANTLY—I fell in love with my own skin. Working out wasn’t a chore, but an opportunity to prove to myself what my body—what I—am capable of.”

For that, she credits Inferno Hot Pilates, one of Sterling’s most popular classes that is a bootcamp style, high intensity interval workout, for making her “absolutely fall in love with working out.”

“That hour I carved out for myself where I didn’t have to think about my to do list, what I needed to do for everyone else, just an hour to push myself to the limits while barely hanging on—it was everything I never knew I needed. And it didn’t stop there!,” she said. “Everything I had ever tried before at the gym that I hated? I started loving it. I can’t stop trying new lifts, new classes, learning new things.”

It should come as no surprise that Mandi is now an Inferno Hot Pilates teacher. She pours her heart and soul into every class, just like she does as a student, and everyone loves her and the challenging, but rewarding workouts she leads.

Because of her own journey, Mandi encourages others to try yoga at Sterling. “I think a lot of people are intimidated by the heat. I tell them to embrace it and use it to detoxify their spirit,” she said. “Also, everyone is so encouraging and that there are all levels in every class. You’re so focused on your personal practice that  no one is looking around, so don’t feel embarrassed or like you’re being scrutinized…. We’re all just trying to make it through, I promise no one noticed you fall out of a pose!”

Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness offers a new member special, $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice, to encourage everyone to experience all of our classes. But don’t expect the change you want to happen right away.

“Transformation is a slow journey. Real change is not a quick fix, but day after day of consistency, hard work and commitment. It’s also not linear. Everyone gets in a rut—we’re human!

“Honor yourself, make time for yourself every day, and if you’re unhappy like I was, make a decision right now to do something about it,” Mandi said, “or better yet, come try a class with me!”

For just $30, you can take a class with Mandi or any one of our other great instructors at Sterling. Click here to sign up and take the first step of your own transformation!

 

Flora Thompson Finds Balance, Flexibility and Friendship

By Testimonial

 

Flora and Sheri - SHYWFor Flora Thompson—and many others—Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness is more than a place to practice yoga. Sure, that’s how it begins. But alongside this healing practice, friendships are forged as well.

Three-and-a-half years ago, Flora made the decision to try yoga. “I noticed a pattern among older people of my acquaintance. Some died of dread diseases, but more often it seemed that they died after experiencing a fall, then another fall, and then a life of incapacity and decline,” she said. “The best weapons against falls are balance and flexibility, and those weren’t things I could start working on at age 70.”

Flora admits she didn’t do much research on yoga studios in the area, but there was one she passed regularly on Old Shell Road. “It was the only studio I knew about when I decided to give yoga a try,” she said.

In the three-and-a-half years she’s been at Sterling, Flora has been a faithful member of “The Breakfast Club,” the affectionate term for the 6:15 a.m. yoga crowd, because it’s the only one that fits with her work schedule.

“I am one of the least athletic people you will ever meet, and my joints seem to be unusually stiff and inflexible, so it was extremely humbling to suddenly find myself in a class with people 30+ years my junior who can move their bodies in ways that make you wonder if they’ve had bones surgically removed,” she said.

But with a consistent practice, Flora has experienced improved balance, flexibility and posture, and she said she continues to see results, especially now that “The Breakfast Club” meets four times a week. In particular, improving the flexibility of her hip flexors has been beneficial for RLS, a neurological problem she has.

Flora readily admits that she is not a morning person. In fact, she has been most surprised by the fact that she has been faithful to an early morning exercise regimen after failing so many times before.

“I have said many times that the fact that I’ve stuck with a 6:15 yoga class for almost four years is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit because the two things I hate most in life are getting out of bed and exercising,” she said. “I’m not sure why this is the one that finally clicked for me after all these years, but I am grateful.”

The results keep Flora coming back to practice, but it’s also the “kindness, encouragement and support of the instructors and others in ‘The Breakfast Club,’ especially Sheri and Chad,” she said.

“When I first started, my instructors, especially Anna and Michelle, would make a point of saying something encouraging to me during class. I confess that my initial thought was, ‘They’re just glad I haven’t died on their watch,’” she said. “Then one day a few months in I was doing Bow and finally managed to grab both of my ankles at the same time. It never occurred to me that anyone would notice, but Anna started applauding; I think she was more excited than I was.

“It really drove home how deep the connection and commitment is among those of us who are taking this journey together,” Flora continued. “Our class is a place where we are able to celebrate each other without comparison or competition. That’s a rare gift.”

When Flora first started yoga, she was hoping to improve her balance and flexibility. Along that journey, she made a special friendship with Sheri Granberry—a faithful member at Sterling since the first week the studio opened!

“One of the great blessings I’ve gotten from Sterling is becoming friends with my Yoga Buddy and Official Conscience, Sheri Granberry,” Flora said. “Sheri has been doing yoga since she was in her 20s, and is a poster child for correct posture and perseverance.”

Sheri is also a dedicated member of “The Breakfast Club,” and she and her tea cup are fixtures in the front right-hand corner of the hot room.

Sheri’s practice has included everything from Iyengar and Ashtanga to Baptiste and Anusara. When she began her Bikram practice, there was no studio in town, but she bought a Bikram book and “practiced at home for years,” she said.

Soon after Flora began practicing, she realized she’d need the help of the ballet barre, which runs along the back right-hand side of the hot room.

“We don’t have assigned places in class, of course, but most of us have preferred spots and I took up residence behind Sheri in the back right-hand corner by the barre,” Flora said. “We had a speaking acquaintance after class, but didn’t really know each other.”

Sheri did take notice of how being by the ballet barre helped support Flora’s practice, especially when someone would set up near it before Flora could get there.

“Sheri is usually the first one to arrive each morning, and after watching me struggle without access to the barre a few times, she started placing her towel in “my” spot to save it for me,” Flora said. “I was incredibly touched by her kindness, and made a point of texting her if I knew I wasn’t going to make it to class so she wouldn’t have to save my place.”

Then, as Flora said, a funny thing happened.  

“What began as an act of kindness on Sheri’s part morphed into accountability for us both. On mornings when rolling over seemed an irresistible temptation, I’d think, ‘No—gotta go. Sheri saved my spot,’” she said. “When she was tempted, she would come just to help me out by saving my place.

“I had enjoyed the class and was committed to it up to that point, but felt fairly anonymous,” Flora said. “Once we made that connection, however, the practice became more enjoyable and my commitment deepened knowing that I was sharing the experience and was accountable to someone else—my wonderful Yoga Buddy.”

Sheri said she is just as inspired by Flora to show up on those early mornings to practice. “Let’s face it, some mornings it would be easier to roll over and go back to sleep instead of getting up for early yoga,” she said. “But I know my peeps, especially Flora, will all have made the effort to get up, so I roll out and make it there.”

Sheri referenced the unspoken pact that they have to show up for each other as a way to stay accountable to themselves. “I’m always glad once I get to the studio,” she said. “Flora inspires me to keep up my steady practice because we are official Yoga Buddies!”

In addition to the balance and flexibility she wanted, Flora found inspiration and motivation in the hot room that she needed. That’s a far cry from her thoughts after her first class—“hoping that I had listed the correct contact information for my next of kin,” she said.

Now she encourages others to try yoga too. “Give it a try,” Flora said. “You haven’t sweated until you’ve sweated in Sanskrit.”

To explore the benefits, friendships, inspiration and motivation you could find at Sterling, try our intro special, and get 30 days of unlimited practice for just $30. Sign up here!

Mel and Chanda Washington Find Strength, Flexibility and Each Other at Sterling

By Testimonial

Mel and Chanda Washington Testimonial - SHYWStrength, balance, flexibility and peace often come to mind when you think of what you could expect to find at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness. But two students found all of that—and each other.

Mel and Chanda Washington were dedicated yogis before they met at Sterling and married in 2017. Both had only ever practiced original hot yoga or the Bikram method before the studio brought them together.

For Mel, as a competitive tennis player and runner, he was looking for something that would help improve his flexibility and fitness. About 17 years ago, he found it.

“I no longer run road races,” he said, “but I still enjoy long bike rides and hot yoga.”

In 2011, Chanda’s childhood dreams of being a dancer were replaced with the gift of yoga.

“I was always drawn to it,” she said of yoga. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dancer. I didn’t make it, but yoga seemed close. I signed up as a birthday present to myself.”

Not long after then Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile opened in 2010, Mel moved to Mobile from New York City.

“I was looking for a hot yoga studio to continue my practice,” he said. “Lucille (the founder and original owner) welcomed me like family, and it has been like home ever since.”

Chanda was intrigued by the thought of hot yoga. “I am also an athlete and enjoy a good sweat,” she said.

From day one, she was hooked. The first class left her feeling like she could “fly,” she said. “I knew the moment after my first class that I would do this yoga for the rest of my life.”

Though Mel’s reaction to his first class was somewhat different, he was determined to keep coming back.

“My first class was in NYC. I remember how hot and crowded the room was. Within the first 15 minutes, I was on the floor gasping for air,” he said. “However, I stayed in the room and survived my first 90-minute class. I was determined to get better, so yoga became part of my weekly workout regimen.”

That approach has paid off. Mel said his regular practice improves his balance, flexibility and overall fitness, and the desire to improve keeps him coming back.

The most surprising thing he’s learned from his many years of practice is to take the practice one day at a time.

“Every experience or day is different. Accept what your body can do on that day,” he said. Hydrate before class.”

Chanda has experienced greater strength and flexibility through a regular practice, but she gets even more than physical benefits from yoga. “When I am practicing, I am able to calm my mind,” she said.

And it’s that feeling that keeps her coming back. “I need hot yoga in my life,” she said. “The feeling I get after practice is always amazing. It doesn’t matter what is going on in my head or in my body, I always feel better after class.

Like Mel, Chanda has learned patience with herself and her body. “Some days the poses are easy and some days not so easy. I have a very competitive nature.” she said. “I have learned to be easier on myself and remember that yoga is a practice and that every class I show up on my mat is is a good class.”

While the practice provides life-changing benefits, it’s still accessible for first-time students. Every class is a beginner’s class!

“It will change your life! Not only will it change your body, but it will change the way that you think both in and out of the hot room,” Chanda said. “You will be a better person!”

Mel’s advice for first-time students? “Remember to breathe and stay in the room.”

Mel and Chanda said they feel a deep sense of belonging at Sterling.

“SHYW is like family,” Mel said. “They care about your health and well-being.”

Chanda agreed.

“Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile is my happy place! As a regular at Sterling, I feel like I am part of a family, a healthy family that looks out for each other, motivates each other and nurtures each other’s growth,” she said. “It will also always be a special place for me because it is where I met my husband.”  

What can you find at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness? Only one way to find out! Sign up for our new member special. It’s $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice. Click here to get started!