Category

Testimonial

Taka Kibby Seeks Flexibility, But Finds More With Hot Yoga

By Testimonial

Hot Yoga Benefits Customer Satisfaction Client Testimonial

When she first discovered hot yoga at SHYW after someone recommended it to her six years ago, she didn’t like it at first. “It was hot and steamy and smelly,” she said.

But after practicing at SHYW regularly since then, Taka described the practice as “addictive.”

“My body appreciates it,” she said.

Initially, her goal when she started her yoga practice was to gain and retain flexibility. But Taka said she’s experienced even more benefits than that.

“I don’t get sick like catching a cold,” she said, “I’m more focused, and I know how to find a peace within myself.”

Now Taka would say it’s what she wasn’t looking for that keeps her coming back to her mat. Among those reasons, she listed “to meditate, to keep me in shape, to detox and to get total body therapy.”

Everyone who’s tried—and loved—hot yoga has often not always felt that way about it. But the difference is they tried and kept trying.

That’s Taka’s advice to new students interested in trying hot yoga for the first time. “Give yourself an opportunity to try to find yourself and peace within,” she said, “and you will find strength, flexibility and relaxation.”

Just because you try doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Even for Taka, who practices consistently, some days can be a struggle, but pushing through that is what makes yoga worth it.

“Every practice is different—some days are more of a struggle than others,” she said. “It is up to you to make it happen, for better or worse. But those days that you make it for a class are better than the days you missed.”

Taka encouraged first-timers to try hot yoga at SHYW because the staff will make it easy. “All the staff at Sterling is very friendly, open-minded and helpful,” she said. “They will make you feel welcome.”

Interested in trying hot yoga? Sign up here for our $30 introductory special and take unlimited classes in your first 30 days. The best deal in town!

Scott Singleterry Finds One Challenge Leads to Another

By Testimonial

Scott Singleterry Testimonial Hot Yoga Benefits Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile AL

In his early 20s, Scott Singleterry immersed himself in running. Pushing himself through training and running long distances, sprints and hills became routine.

“As I was starting this journey, I became interested in breathing techniques that would help to excel my practice,” he said. “This led to reading and researching that would eventually transfer my regular practice from running to yoga,”

Seven years ago, Scott’s yoga practice began with a book on asana. He specifically searched for ways to open his hip flexors and take pressure off his knees.

That was before his father introduced him to Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile, now Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness. “Before I ever thought about having a regular yoga practice, my father introduced me to the founder of Sterling Hot Yoga, Lucille Allen Moran,” Scott said.

Thanks to her dynamic personality and inspirational influence, “Sterling was an easy choice,” he said.

In the six years since that he has been practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness, Scott has not only immersed himself in the original hot yoga practice, but also he completed Sterling Hot Yoga Works Teacher Training in Summer 2015.

“Sterling has been a solid foundation that has allowed me to grow in ways that I certainly didn’t expect, but in ways that make me grateful for each new moment of expansion,” he said, reflecting on his journey.

“This has become much more than a fitness routine for me,” Scott said. “It opens my mind and spirit. I remember thinking early on after one of the 90-minute classes that it didn’t matter what else happened out in the world that day, I had just conquered my own world in the hot room.”

Scott said he is reminded that he can’t control everything that happens, but that he simply has to take one day at a time and “just breathe, everything else is optional.”

It didn’t take long for Scott to fall in love with the traditional 90-minute original hot yoga sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises—the only style of yoga offered when he first started practicing at the studio.

“I had done the long runs, I had done the weight lifting, and though I experienced benefits from these styles of fitness, it’s hard to describe the feeling I had as I laid in savasana after kapalbhati (the final breathing exercise),” he said. “I felt exhausted, rejuvenated, invigorated, all at the same time. It was a link to discovery of something that shall continue to help me grow for many decades to come.”

One of the most surprising lessons Scott has taken away from yoga, among the “too many to count,” is the power of control over distractions and the acceptance of change.

“Life is strange sometimes, hard sometimes, confusing sometimes. Yoga is a break from these distractions of me getting in my own way. It allows me to stop, take inventory of where I’m at that day, pause, and just breathe,” he said. “I have learned that change is the only constant, and as long as I am open to my awareness of myself in the moment, I can make these changes more intentionally to propel me in the direction of where I desire that I am.”

Scott encouraged others who are thinking about beginning a yoga practice at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness to just do it! “You are stronger than you know physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” he said. “Awaken yourself to your full potential. You can!’

Experience the power of mind-body connection through yoga like Scott has with our new member introductory special. It’s just $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice. Sign up here!

 

Consistent Practice Makes Progress for Sujin Kim

By Testimonial

yoga testimonial sterling hot yoga mobile al customer satisfactionFor two-and-a-half years, Sujin Kim couldn’t sit her hips on the floor between her heels and rest on her elbows in fixed firm pose, the first seated posture in the original hot yoga series. For three years, she couldn’t get her upper body relaxed on the floor.

“I thought I would never be able to master this pose,” she said. “For this particular pose, I just did not know what to do with my body…”

Through a consistent yoga practice, Sujin slowly but surely strengthened what she described as a weak lower back, knees and ankles to finally progress in her expression of the posture.

“I truly appreciate all the encouragement, commitment, dedication and, more importantly, challenges that every instructor provides for students’ best yoga experience and practice,” she said. “Without their loving and caring “pushes,” I couldn’t make it this far.”  

That’s not the only changes Sujin has experienced in her last three years practicing yoga, all at Sterling.

“After practicing the 26-posture sequence of hot yoga in the same order EVERY class for 60/90 minutes in the room heated to 100+ degrees, I get an exhilarating sense of freedom and fulfillment from the satisfaction that I pushed myself through all the physical and mental challenges of each posture,” she said.

Outside of the hot room, Sujin pursues an intense, goal-oriented lifestyle, but she said she needed something to help her achieve more mindfulness, presence and calm.

“I needed something to draw me to the present moment in order to enter a deeper and balanced  relationship with myself,” she said.

Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness was an ideal choice for her to begin her yoga journey because of its convenient location. The reason that she started her practice is the same reason she keeps coming back.

“I really enjoy and welcome the mental and physical challenge of the 26-posture sequence that forces me to give the best with my body at that very moment,” she said, “by embracing the present moment with a calming mind and being totally present with myself.”

Getting to that point took some time. During her first class, Sujin said for the entire 60 minutes of her first class she “wondered why in the world was I putting myself through this.”

Now, Sujin is motivated to practice regularly because she is so in tune with the benefits it holds for her.

“The benefits of hot yoga can be manifested in many different ways. One of them is preparing myself for whatever today has in store: pain and sadness or celebration and joy,” she said. “Being able to embrace myself and push through a tough class helps my attitude toward the ups and downs of daily life – bring it on!”

Are you ready to take the first step of your yoga journey? Sign up today for our $30 intro special, and you get 30 days of unlimited practice. It’s the best deal in town!

Reid Gilbert Experiences Less Stress, Anxiety Through Yoga

By Testimonial

customer satisfaction client testimonial yoga testimonial sterling hot yoga mobile alReid Gilbert had a passing interest in yoga, trying a few classes at gyms over the years. But when he found himself between jobs a few years ago, he dabbled with practicing on his own using a manual.

“Once I realized that was a ridiculous idea, I sought out a studio,” he said.

Thanks to friends and family members, he knew that yoga held positive benefits. And thanks to friends, he was familiar with Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness.

“I decided that sweating through a yoga class would be an interesting workout,” Reid said. And two-and-a-half years later, he’s still committed, and the changes he’s experienced keep him coming back.

“It’s pretty simple:I always feel great after yoga practice, and the benefits are cumulative, so it’s been easy to integrate into my life,” he said. “I also love the daily challenges and discoveries that come with a consistent practice.”

Some of the positive changes Reid has experienced through a consistent yoga practice are keeping physically fit, improving his diet and sleeping better.

“Most importantly, practicing 26/2 taught me how to properly breathe,” he said. “My anxiety and stress levels are lower than ever, and I attribute that to simply being mindful about my breathing patterns.”

Reid said he’s surprised at how easy it was to make healthy choices as a byproduct of his practice. “It’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be,” he said.

His thoughts after the first class were definitely different though. Reid said his first thought was, “‘What in the hell just happened?’ And then I came back the next morning!”

He credited Sterling’s welcoming and supporting environment as encouragement for new students to come in an practice. “If you have even the slightest interest in yoga, show up and take a class,” he said. “It will be rewarding!”

His advice to first-time students?

“Are you interested in improving your health, cultivating better focus, or becoming more self-aware? That’s what you’ll gain from yoga,” Reid said. “It makes no difference how flexible you are, or what your fitness level is. There are no requirements other than being open-minded about the experience.”

Are you ready to see what a consistent yoga practice can do for you? Sign up for our new member special, $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice, and experience the benefits for yourself!

 

Casey Kuluz Finds Relief From Stress at Sterling Hot Yoga

By Testimonial

Sterling Hot Yoga Yoga for Stress Yoga Student Testimonial Mobile AL

Casey Kuluz hated the heat, sweat and “all things exercise.” And she had a stressful IT job that she knew affected her blood pressure.

But when she heard “some lady from California” was opening a hot yoga studio in a space near her house, she was intrigued.

So much so that she and two friends bought the $50-for-10-class online special to what would become Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile.

“We had no idea what to expect for our first class, so we were not hydrated but looked cute in our long, cotton yoga pants and big, baggy cotton T-shirts,” Casey said. “We also learned that classes were 90 minutes long right before the teacher walked in to begin class!”

Despite her feelings for the heat, Casey kept showing up on her mat, though she admits she didn’t enjoy the first six or so classes. “I don’t know what made me keep showing up,” she said.

“Deep down, I must have liked it enough to continue. After my 10-day deal ended, my mind had me pre-pay for an entire year to ensure that I would keep practicing. And this is from someone who hates exercise and sweating!”

Of her group who started hot yoga in their “cute” attire, Casey is the only one still practicing. She soon realized she needed a consistent practice for the mental break it provided from her stressful IT job.

When she started practicing six-and-a-half years ago, Casey was at a different company, but as a young female among an older male management team, she had to work even harder to prove herself and gain respect.

“My last two blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office were high, which I knew was all work-related,” she said. “My yoga practice really helped get my blood pressure under control, and to better deal with the uncomfortable management style (that includes relationships inside and outside of work).”

The high blood pressure isn’t an issue like it was then, but Casey’s yoga practice continues to help her with her job in a different way.

“I work at a different company now, and my CEO says that I’m the only director who hasn’t gotten into an argument with him (yet),” she said. “I have yoga to thank for helping me keep my cool!”

Prior to joining Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile (now Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness), Casey had taken some Pilates and vinyasa classes at the University of South Alabama Rec Center. But she wasn’t able to focus or relax. “My mind kept thinking about all of the things I needed to be doing instead of in yoga class,” she said.

At this point in her practice, Casey can fully focus in the classes and block out distractions for 60 or 90 minutes—and that’s one of the most important changes or benefits she’s experienced. Off the mat, she said she has developed “the ability to quickly process and let things go that are out of my control.”

Casey has come a long way since her first class—now she doesn’t mind the sweat! “Also, I’m surprised at how my body subconsciously reacts to various outside factors,” she said. “For example, I find myself doing breathing techniques when I’m getting overwhelmed or stressed without realizing it.”

Though managing stress is high on the list of reasons Casey continues to practice at Sterling, she said she can’t overlook the feeling of community she has found at the studio. “I’ve made some really dear friends who are caring, supporting and interested in the welfare of others… all things that I strive to be,” she said. “It also helps that the studio is close to my house!”

Like everyone else, Casey didn’t feel the way she does now about hot yoga after the first class. “I had a hundred different thoughts,” she said. “‘Why is it 90 minutes long? Why is it so hot? I need to buy some new clothes that don’t stick to my sweat. I need a water bottle that keeps ice frozen throughout class. And I have to come back within 24 hours?!?!’”

These days, Casey is a regular at the studio, and she is well on track to complete Sterling’s year-long “18 in 18 Challenge,” which requires 18 classes a month for every month of the year.

Making that transition from hating the heat to loving it, from control freak perfectionist to letting things go hasn’t always been easy, she said. But the change does happen, and she encourages anyone thinking about trying hot yoga for the first time to get past their excuses.

“You will have a million excuses. You don’t like heat. You don’t want someone else’s sweat to touch you. You can’t spare the time. You tried yoga before, and it wasn’t your thing. You can’t drink THAT much  water to stay hydrated,” she said.

“Just show up, and keep showing up. You will likely not enjoy your first few classes, but it will pass. You will get used to the heat (and save on your A/C bills because you acclimate outside of the hot room). You won’t mind when you put your foot down on the floor, and it is sweat-soaked from the previous class. You will learn to drink water throughout the day, even coconut water (flavored is the trick for me!)”

Are you ready to try hot yoga? It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! Join Casey and the rest of the Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness community today. We’ve got a great introductory special where new members get 30 days of unlimited practice for just $30! Sign up here to get started!

 

Sterling Hot Yoga Likely Helped Save Reggie Wilson’s Life

By Testimonial

Hot Yoga Benefits Yoga for Knee Injury Yoga for Cardiovascular HealthWhen Reggie Wilson started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga in August 2014, he was carrying old aches and pains from lingering injuries from his service in the 82nd Airborne Division.

But the 22 classes he took during his introductory month and the three times a week practice he maintained after that could have well saved his life, according to Reggie, his wife and his doctor.

On Feb. 1, 2015, Super Bowl Sunday, Reggie went to the hospital after feeling tightness in his chest. Several tests helped doctors determine he had a 100 percent blockage in one of his arteries, and he underwent triple bypass surgery.

After surgery, the doctor asked what he had been doing. Reggie told him, “Sterling Hot Yoga.” The doctor said there’s a good chance yoga saved his life because his heart developed alternate routes around the blockage. Plus the strength of his systems helped him through the surgery with relative ease!

He returned to Sterling Hot Yoga during his recovery with modifications in his practice, then after knee surgery and knee replacement surgery less than two years apart, he made the decision to come back.

“After having two knee surgeries, my health was starting to decline,” he said. “I noticed that I did not have too many health issues when I was practicing yoga consistently.”

Over the past five years of Reggie’s practice off and on at Sterling, he’s experienced changes in body composition and sleep patterns and found more inner peace and relaxation, and that’s what keeps him committed to showing up on his mat.

“Yoga is truly a connection between the mind and the body,” he said. “The health benefits associated with yoga is the main reason that keeps me coming back.”

With a consistent practice, Reggie said he was even amazed at what he experienced and most importantly by what he learned about himself. “One of the most surprising things I have learned about myself is that I am capable of doing 20 times more than what I think I can do,” he said.

Yoga was—and is still—hard work, and Reggie realized that as soon as his first class. He said he thought, “This is going to take English bulldog determination, Bengal tiger strength and the tenacity to see it through.”

Now, it’s easy for Reggie to realize the benefits of yoga, and that’s what he stresses to anyone thinking about trying hot yoga for the first time.

“Yoga is the best investment you can make for your health and fitness,” he said. “By practicing yoga consistently, the return on this investment is priceless.”

Everyone at Sterling Hot Yoga is happy to see Reggie back in the hot room! He still has to take modifications in postures due to his knee surgeries, but most importantly that regular practice helps him feel better and stronger!

For that Reggie is thankful for David and “his staff of trained professionals” for welcoming him back to the studio.

We’d love to welcome you too so you can experience the benefits of yoga for yourself! Sign up here for our $30 introductory special, and you can try all of our classes UNLIMITED for 30 days!

Carlos and Monica Gonzalez Find New Home in Mobile

By Testimonial

Client Testimonial Yoga TestimoialWhen Carlos and Monica Gonzalez relocated to Mobile from Colorado, they knew they would have to find a new yoga studio to call home.

With a combined 15 years of practice between them (12 for Monica; three for Carlos), the couple had practiced mostly vinyasa, some Bikram method and “one attempt at aerial,” according to Monica.

So when they found Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness, they found a studio that offered the classes they loved—and more!

But even more important than what was on the schedule, the “good vibe” they felt at the studio kept them coming back.

After her first class, Monica said, “I was grateful for the opportunity to have found a great place to practice yoga in my new hometown, Mobile.”

The Gonzalezes moved her to be closer to their son, who is attending the University of South Alabama where he is studying accounting.

Monica was the first to seek out yoga, looking for a way to reduce work-related stress. But she found so much more.

“My inner being is more accepting and loving of me and everything around me,” she said. “My days that start with yoga practice are more productive and joyful.”

Carlos began his yoga practice as a way to share time with Monica, but he’s found that he’s gained more flexibility through a consistent practice.

“I can bend more than I thought I could,” he said, “and that feels awesome!”

Right away, they’ve had to adjust to the heat and humidity of Mobile—in and out of the hot room. After his first class, Carlos said he thought, “OMG!!! It is really hot, but I did it!”

The Gonzalezes have experienced so many benefits from their yoga practice, and they emphasized those in their encouragement for first-time students.

“It is an exercise that works well as a standalone practice,” Carlos said. “Contrary to what most people believe, yoga is a complete workout, but it can also complement any other physical training practice.”

Just as she has experienced in her own consistent practice, Monica noted the mental and emotional gifts yoga can offer.

“Yoga is essential to be centered, to be loving and to get in good shape,” she said. “More importantly, yoga practice is for all ages.”

Carlos and Monica have quickly become a part of the Sterling community, and we are so happy to have them. (When you see them at the studio, please help us welcome them to Mobile and to Sterling!)

“I really enjoy all the people there,” said Carlos. “From the yoga instructors to all practitioners, it is a pleasant environment to practice.”

Monica continued: “This place has a genuine good vibe. You find the owner that treats you like a friend, his dog, Yogi, that is adorable, the teachers are committed yet gentle in helping you to improve, and your classmates are in their own practice or helping you to adjust to the new place. Thank you for receiving us with open arms!”

We’d love to make you feel welcome at Sterling too! Click here to sign up now for our introductory special—$30 for 30 days of unlimited practice—and be a part of something special in Midtown Mobile!

Mia Keller Turns to Yoga After Lupus Diagnosis

By Testimonial

Yoga for Lupus, Client Testimonial, Benefits of Yoga, Sterling Hot Yoga, Mobile ALAfter being diagnosed with a disease, how likely would you be to start researching local yoga studios?

But Mia Keller did just that. “I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus,” she said. “I read up on the studio, as well as others, and Sterling was the one for me.”

Systemic lupus erythematosus—or simply lupus—is an autoimmune disease that is not curable, but can be managed. Caused by genetic or environmental factors, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the body.

Lupus affects everyone differently, and symptoms, such as swollen joints, hair loss and fatigue, can range from mild to severe. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that yoga can help manage lupus symptoms, and some doctors even recommend it as part of treatment.

Specifically, the main areas yoga can benefit those with lupus are:

  • Improved flexibility and mobility
  • Improved physical energy
  • Stress management
  • Pain management
  • Improved mood and coping

Mia has found all of these (and more!) in the hot room at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness, where she has been practicing for three years off and on. Among the changes she’s experienced are: body transformation, strength, better sleep and less stress.

“I keep coming back because of the way it makes me feel inside and out,” she said. “I am stronger than I thought I was, and I can see my body changing.”

Mia is recently back to a regular practice at the studio after taking time to heal an ankle injury, but her dedication is still just as strong.

That wasn’t always the case. After her very first class, she said she was thinking to herself, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Now it’s rare that a day goes by that Mia isn’t practicing or sharing her enthusiasm for the yoga and the studio with others.

“Sterling is a great place to practice,” she said. “They are very knowledgeable and experienced, and their teachers are awesome!”

Mia loves the fun, friendly community at Sterling and appreciates the cleanliness of the studio. And that just enhances her overall experience.

“I love my yoga practice,” she said. “I would not change it for the world. I feel strong after each class, inside and out!”

Mia understands that first-timers may be intimidated to try hot yoga or even try yoga at all. Her advice?

“You have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” she said. “It can really change your life.”

Ready to try yoga with Sterling? We have a great introductory special for new students! Sign up here to get 30 days of unlimited practice for just $30, and see how yoga could change your life too!

Phillip Ward Finds Low Back Pain Relief and More at Sterling

By Testimonial


yoga for crossfit yoga for back pain yoga for weightlifters
Phillip Ward, once an avid weightlifter and CrossFitter, was looking for something to soothe his low back pain when he found Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile.

“I was into weightlifting for about 10 years and began to practice CrossFit for a little over a year before I came to Sterling,” he said. “I started having discomfort in my lower back and thought that integrating yoga into my strength training routine would be a good way to relieve some of the physical pain.”

After just a few yoga sessions, Phillip said the pain went away. As he incorporated Iron Hour and Inferno Hot Pilates—some of Sterling’s popular strength-training classes—into his practice, he realized he found something special.

“I felt that I had found a routine that benefited the entire body—from head to toe, inside and out,” he said. “It wasn’t long before I cancelled my CrossFit membership and focused my time and energy in the hot room.”

Phillip has been a consistent practitioner at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile for two years, and he took that dedication to the next level last year when he became a Hot Pilates teacher. Exercises in his classes are challenging, no doubt influenced by his strong fitness background.

Even as a student, Phillip has gained more from his practice than physical strength. “I feel stronger, physically and mentally,” he said. “I have more energy during the day (when I need it) and I sleep like a baby. My attitude is more positive, and I am a much more pleasant person to be around (especially in the mornings).”

The emphasis on the present moment in yoga or the concentration and focus in other classes have made an impact on Phillip’s mindset off the mat.

“Small things no longer bother me,” he said. “I approach larger obstacles in life with a clearer head and make much better decisions.”

A consistent practice, Phillip said, has led to him feeling “stronger, more confident and happier” in his everyday life, and he described those feelings as being “contagious.”

As a student and teacher, Phillip has diligently worked as an ambassador for Sterling, encouraging friends and family alike to attend classes and experience the positive benefits they hold.

After all, that’s how he got his start at Sterling in the first place. Thanks to one of his best friends who was a teacher at the studio, Phillip tried a class and has been practicing regularly ever since.

“When a class ends I am already looking forward to the next one. I find that I can hold a posture a little longer, I can balance a bit better, and I can breathe deeper into a pose with less effort in each class,” he said. “It just kind of clicks. I love it. It’s like a drug for me.”

Understanding that not everyone may take to the yoga practice like he did, Phillip did have some words of advice for new students. “Don’t give up after the first class,” he said. “To truly experience yoga, you may need stick with it for a while. You might find that it’s not your cup of tea, and that’s fine, but you’ll never know the benefits if you give up after one or two classes.”

Even if one class doesn’t resonate, Sterling has a variety of options, ranging from heated to unheated. Some classes are ideal for building strength; others are recommended for improving flexibility.

“Try to attend each one at least once to see if there is one class that suits you the best,” he said. “I find that each one offers a different experience, but they all fit together like pieces of a puzzle.”

To get started at Sterling, first-time students can take advantage of our $30-for-30-day introductory special. Sign up here to begin your yoga journey with us!

Anne Adams Faced Breast Cancer With the Help of Hot Yoga

By Testimonial

Hot Yoga Benefits Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile Yoga for Cancer Patients Hot Yoga BenefitsNaturally flexible after a childhood and adolescence dedicated to ballet, Anne Adams was drawn to yoga.

More than 20-plus years of vinyasa, power yoga, gentle flows, and prenatal, laughter and breath yoga helped her maintain her flexibility—just as yoga had done for her mother. “My mother does yoga,” Anne said, “and is very flexible at 70.”

Flexibility is one of the top reasons many seek out yoga, along with balance, strength, weight loss and stress reduction.

But more than the flexibility, yoga helped provide Anne the strength and calm to navigate one of the toughest challenges of her life: cancer.

“Yoga helped me prepare for and recover from a bilateral mastectomy,” she said. “I was very diligent in my attendance prior to surgery and recovery to help with my anxiety and to boost the health of my body as much as possible, and it worked.”

She credits her consistent practice for helping her feel strong despite the surgery that left drains in her torso for six weeks.

“My strength from yoga (and Iron Hour and Pilates) helped me to be able to do very basic things that, had I not been so fit, would have made recovery tougher,” she said. “I was able to recover quickly and feel strong again very quickly.”

Physical strength wasn’t all Anne got from yoga. It gave her peace in times of stress, worry or pain.

“I used my yoga breathing to calm myself during doctor’s appointments,” Anne said, “and to quell the anxiety of having cancer with a young child or to deal with pain.”

Still, yoga provided more. Through yoga, Anne also found a compassionate yoga community that enveloped her in love and support before surgery, during recovery and after she returned to her practice.

“The yogis at the studio supported me throughout my breast cancer journey. When I worked so hard in classes working through my anxiety and cried at the end of class in full exhaustion, they let me do it, were comforting to me and let me get it out,” Anne said.

“They set intentions for their classes to send me good vibes while I was out recovering. They sent me pictures of classes in which I was a regular,” she continued. “They were encouraging when I returned and couldn’t quite do everything I was used to being able to do.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, according to the American Cancer Society, and there is a 1 in 8 chance that a woman will develop the disease. Not surprisingly, others in Anne’s support group knew what she was facing.

“Unfortunately, some of them had also had cancer, and they had important advice they shared,” she said. “They gave me a lot of fight, courage and strength, while also giving me genuine empathy because they actually understood.”

Anne has since resumed her practice with a passion, but it was getting back to her routine and getting back to her yoga community that fueled her.

“I had never had such a fire to get back to something,” she said. “I believed that the richly oxygenated blood would heal my surgical wounds faster and more thoroughly, and I wanted to prove to myself that I would fight for my health and that I could still be strong after a cancer diagnosis.”

Anne has been a part of the Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile community for more than three years, thanks to repeated invites from her friend Shellene McLean. A back injury forced an exercise hiatus, but when she resumed, she accepted her friend’s invitation and decided to try hot yoga “because it was a way to see her,” Anne said.

“I came back because y’all say to come back within 24 hours. I kept coming back because of the feeling afterwards,” she said. “It was very different from anything else I had done. It’s very hard, but it leaves me with a great feeling.”

That feeling differs from student to student, and sometimes it’s hard to describe. It can refer to the physical, mental, emotional or energetic self. But at the heart of it all is an acceptance of and peace with the present moment.

“Yoga teaches me humility, consistency and patience. And I’m constantly having to learn them again and again,” Anne said. “It teaches me that every class isn’t going to be the same, my balance isn’t going to be the same, nor is my flexibility. Consistency helps, but I have to continuously learn to be patient with the limits of my body.”

Like it did for Anne, yoga holds a wealth of benefits, but you’ll never know what those may be for you until you show up on your mat. “I would encourage others to try yoga to complement their other forms of exercise,” she said, “because in turn they will find so much more.”

Are you ready to find more of what you want in your life? Try our introductory special, $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice. We would love to see you on your mat!