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yoga testimonial

Sterling Hot Yoga Provides Everything David Rubey Needs

By Testimonial

David Rubey took his first hot yoga class at what is now Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness about 10 years ago. Though he wasn’t able to begin practicing consistently at the time, he says he never forgot his experience at Sterling, and that’s part of the reason he came back.

“When I moved back to Mobile after establishing a yoga practice at the downtown Birmingham YMCA, I needed to find a studio here,” he said. “I picked Sterling because I had my very first yoga experience there and it was close to my house in Midtown.”

David resumed his yoga practice in Mobile during the COVID lockdown, and he said Sterling came to the rescue with virtual classes that helped him ease back into a routine after being out of it for several months. Though the online classes served their purpose, he was glad to get back into the hot room.

“There’s nothing quite like it,” he said.

David had mostly practiced hot vinyasa, but at Sterling, he has found everything he needs in the combination of instructors and classes offered.

“I can work on strength training in my yoga sculpt class or mindfulness meditation in yin yoga. I can work on flexibility in the 26/2 hot yoga class or go for a balance of strength, flexibility and meditation in my vinyasa flow class,” he said. “I don’t need any other memberships to the gym or other health clubs. All I need is the Sterling community of instructors and students and their hot yoga room. Overall, my decision to join Sterling has been a huge upgrade to my personal wellness.”

With consistent practice, David has noticed changes in mood regulation, body weight regulation, core strength, and flexibility which helps him avoid injuries during high impact activities like playing soccer.

“I have the ability to stay focused, present and be a good human even during the difficult times in life,” he said.

All it took for David to get hooked on yoga was to accept a friend’s invitation to take a class, and the result has been life-changing.

“Practicing yoga is one of life’s hidden gems. If you put effort into your practice, the benefits are priceless,” he said. “It is like a long-term investment in your mind, body and spirit that you will never regret.”

David has experienced firsthand how important and powerful the physical and mental benefits of his yoga practice are, and that’s something he says he will treasure forever. 

“My yoga practice has been an investment in my physical and mental health as well as my spiritual well being. It has helped me overcome addiction, recover from losses of loved ones and generally keeps me in a mindful and healthy lifestyle,” he said. “My yoga practice is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

How could yoga change your life? There is only one way to find out! Sign up for our 30-day new student special here so you can experience all the classes and benefits Sterling has to offer you!

Christy Lock Finds Community and So Much More at Sterling

By Testimonial

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!

 

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!

Christa’s Original Hot Yoga Practice Replaces Need for Knee Surgery

By Testimonial

Yoga Benefits Yoga Testimonial Yoga for Knee Injury Sterling Hot Yoga MobileSometimes yoga testimonials can seem unbelievable. Could yoga really help the body repair itself enough to not need surgery?

But for Christa O’Harrow, it’s quite true. Four years ago when some knee problems flared up after her years of jogging, a friend gave her advice that would change everything.

“I required a knee operation and actually was scheduled for one when a friend suggested I try Bikram yoga instead,” Christa said.

At the time, Bikram Yoga Pensacola had just opened. “Not wanting to have the operation in the first place, I gave it a try,” she said. “The best decision I ever made!”

Not only did her newfound Bikram practice improve her knee problems, but also eliminated the need for the operation.

“I absolutely love the practice,” Christa said. “It’s not only beneficial for my body but also my mind.”

Before she discovered Bikram, Christa practiced hatha yoga and Baron Baptiste hot yoga. About 20 years ago, she sought out yoga for some of the reasons people usually do.

“I needed to improve my posture,” she said. “Sitting bent over a computer most days, along with dealing with a stressful career, I needed some relief.”

And, as usual, yoga provided that and more. “It changes your outlook on life,” Christa said. “For me, I became much happier and more grateful for being alive.”

Less than a year ago, Christa became a beautiful addition to Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness. (She even moved to be closer to us!)

“I moved to Mobile for a number of reasons, one being Sterling Hot Yoga,” she said. After Bikram Yoga Pensacola closed, she found Sterling’s environment to be “friendly and inviting” and the teachers “knowledgeable and helpful.”

Being closer to the studio helps Christa get more of the practice that her body craves.

“Honestly, it’s my lifeline. I need it,” she said. “I travel a lot and my body revolts after missing a week or two of Bikram. My joints ache and my knees act up.  For me, it’s the best way to keep old age at bay.”

Christa had her doubts about whether original hot yoga—the standard 26 postures and two breathing exercises—was the best way to prevent the aches and pains of aging. But, of course, consistency with the practice proved to her otherwise.

She said even the slower pace of the practice encouraged her to come back. “The yoga I practiced before Bikram was fast-paced flow, and as I aged, my ability to move slowed, so Bikram was perfect!”

Christa credits a consistent practice with keeping her “young, mindful and grateful,” and she has some simple advice for new students considering yoga.

“Do yourself a favor and try it,” she said. “Your body and mind will be forever grateful.”

Ready to get started? Click here to sign up for our new member introductory special, just $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice!

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!

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!

James Willis Changes Mindset About Yoga, Changes His Life

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James Willis Yoga Testimonial Benefits of Yoga Weight LossSeveral years ago, James Willis took his first yoga class on the day after Thanksgiving with results for which he wasn’t so thankful.

“It was so overwhelming to me that I was unable to get through the entire class,” he said.

He tried again the next year—on the day after Thanksgiving again—with similar results.

But James knew he needed to make a change. Deconditioning, past injuries and poor lifestyle choices were taking their toll.

“Over the years, I’ve had several lower back operations; experienced severe limitations from chronic pain elements (rheumatoid and osteoarthritis), and had bilateral knee problems from years of running and playing league tennis,” he said.

“I also ruptured my left Achilles tendon in 2005. These factors, unfortunately, contributed to a low phase in my life that I believed would be permanent.”

Rather than giving up, James changed his mindset. But he admits it was a struggle between his inner critic and his determination, especially during the first two to three months of the regular practice he began in June 2016.

And then there was the heat. “The heat only intensified my struggle until I ultimately learned how to soothe the intensity of my emotional responses,” he said.

Ultimately, his determination was stronger than self-criticism. “I had reached a point where I realized I needed to adopt a different mindset and consider a healthier approach (with reasonable goals) to living,” he said. “I decided to take control of my circumstances and improve my quality of life.”

Since then, James has maintained his practice, incorporating hot 26/2, hot hatha, yin and restorative yoga styles into his routine.

“Because of the benefits of yoga, I started modifying my diet and levels of nutrition to accommodate my regular yoga schedule which directly led to a reduction in weight within the first year of 53-plus pounds,” he said.

James credits yoga for being “a life-changing experience” personally and professionally. His successes led him to incorporate yoga into his practice as a mental health professional with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I am working to gain credentials for teaching a broad spectrum of trauma-sensitive yoga techniques to some of our military service members and veterans,” he said.

Multiple research has shown the positive impact yoga and meditation can have on the health and healing of military communities, particularly in the treatment of PTSD. In some of those programs, yoga has become mandatory.

At Sterling, James said he has found a “wonderful sense of community and support” with a schedule that offers options to help maintain a consistent practice and a location that’s convenient to his office and home.

But it’s the sense of health and fulfillment on the physical, psychological and spiritual levels that keeps him coming back.

He’s grateful for overcoming his initial struggles, so he has some words of advice for new students or anyone considering trying yoga for the first time.

“If you care enough about yourself, commit to practicing three months of consistent yoga,” he said. “The benefits of yoga will eventually consume your life, for the better.”

While James cautions that it won’t be easy initially, the struggles, the challenges hold valuable lessons.

“Expect a war between your mind and body as you establish a new direction in your life course,” he said. “Embrace the benefits of each class; refrain from making any judgments, comparisons, or setting any expectations for yourself; and honor where you are at each moment.”

What does yoga have in store for you? You’ll never know unless you try! Get started with our introductory special—$30 for 30 days of UNLIMITED practice—and experience how yoga can change your body, your mind and your life!