Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: Yoga and Cancer Patients

In yoga, everyone has a story to tell and wisdom and information to share about their own experiences, but it should also be noted that Bikram Yoga itself really does have the ability to help individuals who are struggling with debilitating illnesses, and so I have had the privilege to finally be able to have a guest blogger on my site. Hot Yoga has many advantages that I have touched upon in previous blogs but today I would like to share the table with Krista so, without any further ado, here is Krista's insight she wishes to share with you all:

The therapy and treatment stages for a cancer patient can be excruciatingly difficult. Extended rounds of chemotherapy and radiation have been known to bring on many side effects that have an impact on quality of life. Luckily there have been growing options in complementary treatment options that are directed towards alleviating some of these symptoms. One of the popular and growing options includes Bikram yoga, primarily because of its ability to mix both physical and mental benefits for patients.

Bikram yoga has a great impact on regular participants for its ability to cleanse the body and its impact on cancer patients is no different. Patients have been known to help reduce their acidity through hot yoga. Acids are removed from the body during hot yoga through working the lungs with heavy breathing, the kidneys with increased metabolism and heart rate, and creating an alkaline environment within the body. All three of these elimination methods help to cut down on the acidity within these cancer patients.

Hot yoga also allows patients a chance to get more oxygen in the body. Because breathing is such a heavy focus during hot yoga, they help to move stagnant air out of the lungs. What this is doing is taking out acids and making room for oxygen to come in. This oxygen goes on to diffuse in the blood and be carried throughout the body of a patient.

Perhaps the biggest reason that hot yoga is so popular with cancer patients is because of the ability to connect the mind and body. The treatment stages of cancer can be busy, stressful, and fearful. Hot yoga provides a chance to reconnect the mind and body through tranquility and peace. All types of yoga, including hot yoga can help people to find peace of mind. A great example of the impact that hot yoga can have on cancer patients involves its help with mesothelioma patients. This is a type of cancer that results from asbestos exposure and forms within the lining of the lungs and abdomen area. These patients have an extremely low average life expectancy and hot yoga has been known to give them peace of mind and tranquility during the stressful and fearful time following diagnosis. The ability of hot yoga to have astounding mental benefits is one of the main reasons it is continuing to grow as a complementary treatment option.

While hot yoga is not as popular with cancer patients as traditional forms of yoga, it is continuing to grow. More research from physicians and scientific evidence will continue to make hot yoga a great option to cancer patients looking for a complementary therapy to alleviate some of their side effects.

Krista Peterson is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer. As a health and safety advocate, she shares a strong passion for the wellness of others in her community. Krista has been practicing yoga for 3 years and loves to encourage others to do so as well. Through her writings, she helps to spread awareness of such issues as cancer and chronic illness and how they can be treated." If you wish to contact Krista she can be reached at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Set Yourself on Fire!- A Competitor's Goal

I open my eyes, slowly, aware that I am facing away from the clock I turn over to see the alarm; yet even as I gaze upon it I know already it's ten minutes to 7. I take a deep breath in and go over in my mind the days events that will take place. START. It's the same routine I have had for the last week and a half. Protein for breakfast and lots of water, tea to soothe my nerves and some fruit to quench the sugar and water fixes. Stretches to loosen my legs and a little music to lighten the mood before I head on over to my 930 Bikram Yoga class. I walk in the frigid January air trying to keep my body from cramping anticipating the heat that will wrap itself around me. The moment I see friendly and familiar smiles and faces from the receptionists and students, my mind is already a little more at ease. BREATH. My mind seems to time the minutes to each posture I've been waiting for, my legs holding out the endurance needed for standing head to knee and that released freedom I start to appreciate when I'm able to bring my elbows down and think about one symbol of my strength to keep my forehead on my knee. FOCUS. Class lets out and I lay in savasana knowing what comes next. I bring myself in bridge to stretch out the back and it lets out a little crack to tell me it's ready for some back bends. The wall bends are not my favorite but as I peer into the mirror to my side I see a beautiful display of an arch. RELAX. A familiar voice tells me it's time for practice to begin; more standing head to knees, more standing bows, more floor bows, more rabbits, more stretches. The hot room no longer has the same effect anymore, it becomes an immersement of energy now, a place to feel the forca of strength. PUSH. After two hours of practice I come out to the explosive fresh air; throat burning, ears in pain from infection, muscles screaming, blood pumping, tears overwhelming, hands shaking, elbows blistered, feet numb. PAUSE. I look into the mirror and notice there is something different about me; it's in my eyes.. A look of wanting, a feeling of needing... a confidence, a determination.. a desire. TIME.
...Beep...Beeep...Beeep...My alarm goes off and small smile stretches across my face, yeah, it's going to be a good day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Namaste Yogi's!

After a few months I return again with more followers lol, thank you to everyone who has been to this page and I apologize for no response from me for awhile. It seems every time I thought of some idea or had a moment of inspiration the old writer's block floated on in and I could not put down one single thought.

I am officially in the 8th Annual Western Hatha Yoga Competition as of this Saturday. What have I learned or tried to incorporate into my test of skill (if you may)?

* A proper diet is essential in maintaining energy, flexibility, hydration, strength and endurance.
* I miss my sugar, dairy and wheat:(

* There are many challenges towards this type of goal and lots of stress factors that will rev up your emotions. It is normal to feel temporarily discouraged but the most important thing to know is that another day lies ahead to keep yourself balanced. Another day to revive your confidence.

* If you just ask for help, it is always there within your reach. My stubbornness can outweigh my need for support sometimes but through my favorite yoga guru, Frank (have I mentioned he is temporarily back in town?) I understand my body, it's abilities, my capacity for learning and most importantly the confidence I now have to firmly walk up on that stage and say 'I can do this'.

* I am in awe of the other competitors who I will have the privilege of competing with, I understand their struggles, their emotions, and their nervousness and they all have my utmost respect.

*The flu, ear infection, sore spine, bruises, sore elbows, sleeping problems and a stubborn cough are not going to get the better of me!

*I am going to order my favorite pasta with a ginger ale and a mouthwatering chocolate dessert the day after the competition. It's about balance, right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Hey Fellow yogi enthusiasts, it's been awhile but I have recently written a post for OhMyBikram and I would like to share it with all of you.

Enjoy and Namaste

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cure for What Ails You

When I completed the challenge, I felt so many emotions including relief, sadness, sense of accomplishment but a lot of anxiety as well. I didn't know what to do with myself with the days following the challenge and I went on a roller coaster of ups and downs. One day I felt like I could work, clean, take on the world; the next I could barely manage to get out of bed. I felt lost with out this yoga in my life and I only went three whole days before I was back at my studio. I have taken days off here and there but the reality that hit me was I am truly addicted: the endorphins that run through my body shortly after class and the warm presence I receive at the studio makes me realize this really is a lifelong journey.
We have had such beautiful sunny weather that I take a few moments before class to walk out on to the balcony and take into some refreshing sun and a light breeze that brushes over my skin. Brian, a fellow yogi and one of my favorite yoga buddies, surprised me with a visit to this class as well as another yoga buddy Gerta so we 'uni-sized' ourselves in a triangular formation to give each other a strong energy balance lol. Anthea is great at keeping the class in a strong formation but always adding such great humour to her dialogue. For example, once we completed the full locust posture she warns us not to come out too quickly "you don't want to come crashing down out of the sky like a 747". And I have given Anthea the title of sit up queen because..well..she loves sit ups always telling us the health benefits and making sure we do the proper form. There is no question her classes bring upon a sense of giddiness and humour which can seize any moment of unassurance and should be noted that in any sense of uncomfortability, humour can be the cure for what ails you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well Howdy Everyone!

I'll have to admit, I haven't ventured onto my own site in a while, I have been taking classes, not consecutively but I frequent at least five to six days a week. I come back here and lo and behold I have more followers! LOL ...
Since my "break" I have learned some new things about my practise
* There is so much more appreciation for this yoga when I don't feel the pressure to go everyday. My energy is more consistent and I don't feel so guilty about taking days off.
*There is life outside yoga and I have taken what I have learned inside class and used it as a tool to deal with all the issues I avoided for a few months.
*You have to find something that fills the time you would have spent going to yoga or you will go crazy and suffer yoga withdrawal which includes, anxiety, boredom, chocolate and carbohydrate divultion (or just plain gluttony), irritation, and spending time in a sauna just to get the similar sweat profusion.
*Karma really does work: shortly after my 150 day challenge my studio had a potluck with three month of unlimited yoga door prizes and I won!
*Appreciation for this yoga goes above and beyond myself- I have taken this time to reflect on all the people who gave me encouragement and love throughout those months- those are the ones I hold close to my heart.
*I want to pursue the Western Hatha Yoga Competition this year. That is my next goal in this yoga.
*I will never do another challenge again (at least in the limelight). You have to remember that it's about you, everyone and everything else is just surface.
* I think I will continue this blog though because I really miss writing about my journey through this amazing practise.
Before I sound out for the day, I would like to give a big congratulations to all the BIKRAM 101er' have inspired so many people and shared the word of Bikram love to all those unaware of what it's all about. Your hard work and determination never ceased...Much love.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 30-150-March 2nd (Tuesday)

Studio-Metrotown, Burnaby

150 days..It's hard to believe I have gotten this far. I started out in October just wanting to do the 30 day challenge, never would have imagined that six months later I would be in a hot room being taught by one of Bikram's Canadian right hand men, Brad Colwell, also the director of this studio. I choose to take Brad's class because both Candice and Frank spoke highly of him and it would be an interesting way to see someone else's view of my practise.
Unlike Langley and White Rock, this studio has two hot rooms (as they have classes running every hour) and our class was apparently in the bigger one of the two (could have fooled me, I felt a bit claustrophobic at first), with only one window in the corner it was a little isolated for my taste but the atmosphere was quite different than what I am use to. The lighting is a bit darker, and the room has a soft, beige color to create a deep relaxing state of mind.
Brad is a perfectionist but his focus on helping the student's perfect form is much different than what I am use to, for he literally made me redo postures like balancing stick, cobra and fixed firm to make me aware of the small details I was either slacking on or have not focused enough attention to. The heat even felt different where I literally felt nauseous at times but even in my moments of panic (he is not a lover of fans), I was determined to take in this experience, even if I dropped to my knees at the end, however, I kicked past the mind BS and kicked my own butt.
The greatest moment tonight was when Brad asked me after when I was going to take TT because he said my passion and energy were there, he was excited to see me pursue this-true honour and privilege to have him congratulate me and say " I hope to see you in Las Vegas soon, come back to this studio anytime". And of course I was speechless.
Great night, that's why I'm up till midnight writing this, too excited to sleep♥
Last note-I have learned so much from many instructors but I believe my true determination and drive has always been from Frank, and I feel like he was there with me tonight and everyday in my heart and spirit. I hope to see him soon.