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yoga for stress relief

Sterling Changed Tyloria Crenshaw’s Life in Multiple Ways

By Testimonial

Like many people when they seek out yoga, Tyloria Crenshaw was looking for something to help relieve stress when she discovered Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness in 2011. 

“I had gone through some life changes, and one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said. “I saw a story on Today about Bikram yoga. I googled and found a studio in Mobile. I called Lucille, went by the studio and the rest, as they say, is history!”

Tyloria hadn’t practiced yoga prior to her start at Sterling, but the initial results were enough to keep her coming back! 

“When I first started, I dropped about 2 dress sizes and came off several medications,” she said. “Now that I have a consistent practice, my doctor just tells me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

But Tyloria didn’t stop there. 

“My friends encouraged me to share this [before and after] after so many people were shocked by my previous photo. The one on the left was taken Sept. 12; the one on the right Dec. 31,” she said. “What did I do? A major lifestyle change! I changed my eating, took a good long look at myself and stepped up my yoga practice. I made it through the holidays and gallbladder surgery and still managed to lose more than 20 pounds!”

Among those changes were giving up sugar, stepping up her yoga practice with the help of Sterling’s 2020 year-long yoga challenge and regularly using red light therapy with Coastal Contours & Wellness.

“I have lost 31 lbs since September, 4 inches off my waist and I’m building muscle in my legs and arms,” she said. “I’m so grateful for this challenge and this yoga. I’m committed to my healthiest self!”

Seeing those results is part of what keeps Tyloria motivated to keep practicing. 

“I see the changes in my body and my health overall, and everyone is always so positive and encouraging,” she said. “I get support from people as soon as I walk in the door. After a while, your body gets used to it and starts to crave the stretching, breathing and sweating. It’s great stress relief, it’s meditation and relaxation. I don’t have ANY trouble sleeping!”

But it wasn’t always as easy as Tyloria makes it seem now, going on nine years after she started practicing. 

“My first class was a 90-minute class, and it was taught by a visiting teacher,” she said. “It was challenging, but it was something I wanted to do. With every posture, I kept thinking ‘I’m going to learn this; I’m going to do this; I’m going to get this!’

“I wasn’t’ discouraged—just determined,” she said. “It was hot and I kept looking for ways to cool off. I was wiping sweat! But after a while, I was so focused on what I was trying to do, I didn’t worry about sweat or anything else.”

Along with Tyloria’s determination, staying focused on her newfound yoga practice was easier because Sterling was close by, convenient and it offered a flexible schedule. 

“Most of all,” she said, “ everyone was so friendly and positive. Even when I was feeling down, no matter what was going on with my day, I would be so glad to get the studio. It is truly my happy place!”

Since practicing consistently, Tyloria has noticed major changes in her body and mind, but she’s most surprised at the smaller changes that happen by being dedicated to showing up on her mat often. 

“I’m surprised by the way my body responds in small ways,” she said. “Maybe deeper breathing, greater stretching, lengthening and expanding. I’m building muscle and feeling and looking leaner. I’m amazed that I can put my leg over my head in standing bow (my daughter begs me not to tell people that) and that I finally can touch my forehead to the floor between my feet!”

Getting started can be intimidating for new students, but Tyloria said it doesn’t have to be because yoga is “equal opportunity.” 

“Anybody can do it! You don’t need special skills or equipment,” she said. The hardest part is getting in the room—just do it! You will get so much support from teachers and other students. It is the most positive, encouraging thing you can do for yourself. Your body will thank you and your mind will be grateful!”

But perhaps the biggest impact Sterling has had on Tyloria’s life is influencing her to become a yoga teacher. 

“Even as a teacher, I feel that my first responsibility is to a consistent yoga practice,” she said.

“I owe it to myself and to my students. I think the students are encouraged by it and I think it makes me a better teacher because I’m right there with them. Bottom line is that I believe I should ‘practice’ what I preach!”

Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness changed Tyloria’s life in many ways, and it can change yours too. To get started, sign up here for our 30-day intro and get unlimited classes for just $30! 

 

Haley Hall Loves Sterling Classes Because They’re Different

By Testimonial

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!

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!