One of my favorite things about Bikram Yoga is not only that it’s a workout in itself, but also that it helps people do other workouts as well. The combination of strength, balance, and flexibility that we practice in each and every Bikram Yoga class has an energizing and therapeutic effect, therefore making other forms of exercise all the more accessible. Furthermore, practicing yoga postures in the heat makes a hot day on the golf course or athletic field and road race route seem completely manageable.
Each month, my studio runs a “Student of the Month” feature. We interview yoga students who have experienced positive effects in their lives from practicing Bikram Yoga, and we hope to inspire others to keep practicing or to give it a try in the first place. I am so proud that our July Student of the Month is my father-in-law, Bob. We talked to him quite a bit about how Bikram Yoga has helped his golf game, and he so perfectly captures the essence of “Rather Be Sweating.” He sweats in the hot room to continue to be able to sweat (and play!) on the golf course.
As someone who has been lucky enough to play many, many rounds with Bob, he really is amazing. He makes every shot look easy, and I’ve never seen him lose his cool on the course (not an easy thing to do – talk about not letting anything steal your peace)! He’s been practicing Bikram Yoga for six years now, and the physical and mental benefits of Bikram Yoga have helped add new life to his golf game.
Here is his interview that we ran, and if you know someone who is a big golfer, please send this piece along to them.
BYN: When did you start practicing Bikram Yoga and what made you get into the hot room for the first time?
BM: I started when we moved near the studio in 2011. I had never practiced yoga and I was concerned that I was not in good enough physical condition to start but I was assured that I could and should just get started and do whatever I felt I could do without too much strain and take it from there.
BYN: Tell us a little bit about your physical history in terms of injuries, chronic pain, and/or limitations and how Bikram Yoga has affected you.
BM: I am 68 so there are bound to be some physical issues that come with age. In my case, the most notable were chronic back pain (herniated disc, etc.) and one troublesome knee (way back to football injury). I had always played a lot of golf but by the time we moved to Natick I was no longer playing because of the knee and back problems. In fact, I was getting very little exercise and my weight was getting to be a pretty good bowling score. The Bikram Yoga has been fantastic for me! The back-strengthening postures have been incredibly effective in reducing back pain and so many of the postures have been helpful for my knee. I have been back into golf for several years now and my weight is back to what it was when I graduated from high school. I have also been able to do other exercises that I wasn’t able to do before Bikram Yoga. None of this would have happened if I had not gone to Bikram Yoga (and kept going). It’s the fountain of youth but you have to keep drinking.
BM: I won’t get into too much here except to mention that I was 50 when I gave it a shot and I was thrilled to qualify and get to play in the tournament which was held at Pebble Beach that year (1999). It is a one-day 36 hole qualifier and I put a couple good rounds together and was one of 3 qualifiers out of 100 players at our site. At the tournament, I was one of the oldest in the field; most of the players were in college. Thanks to Bikram Yoga, I can still play golf and I am flexible enough to make a good turn. I carry a 3.5 handicap index. Some days I play well and some days I don’t but I always enjoy getting out with friends.
BYN: What would you like golfers to know about Bikram Yoga?
BM: It is a great way to stay flexible. It is also good for improving focus and staying calm in the moment. And, of course, playing on a hot humid day is not such a big deal (it’s not likely to be 105 degrees).
Bob in Half Moon Pose (Above) and Locust Pose (Below)
In my book, the whole point of practicing Bikram Yoga isn’t to be awesome at the postures, but rather to be able to continue to do the stuff we like to do outside of the hot room. The 26 postures and two breathing exercises that make up the Bikram Yoga series are the vehicles to this long-lasting, high quality of life, filled with memorable rounds of golf. 🙂