The sweat poured from my body as my legs and arms found themselves in unfamiliar positions. Looking around I noticed people removing their shirts, figuring it was okay to do so I peeled my shirt from my sweat soaked torso and let it hit the floor. Blood was pulsing through my veins as I inhaled and exhaled the energy that surrounded me.
No, this wasn’t my experience on the dance floor at Jungle last weekend. I was taking my first Bikram Yoga class at LGBT-owned Bikram Yoga Marietta.
I consider myself to be in decent shape. I may not spend every day at the gym but I do run and exercise regularly. Yoga has always been something I wanted to try but I considered it daunting. I have a wacky sense of coordination and the thought of holding poses which would have my body in positions it had never been is intimidating. In reality, I have the everyone is going to laugh at me mentality.
2012 has been tough for LGBT-owned businesses. The community has lamented the loss of Outwrite and Poster Hut. Since we tend to have more disposable income, it’s important that we are conscious of our community and where we choose to spend our money. In an effort to find more LGBT- owned businesses in Atlanta, I was introduced to Naedra Fox, owner of Bikram Yoga Marietta. Naedra answered a few questions for us and extended an exclusive offer to David Magazine readers.
How has yoga benefited your life? How long have you been doing yoga?
I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for 10 years. From my earliest days practicing this yoga, I’ve been impressed not only with how the series makes my body feel cleansed and toned after every class, but also how it clears and calms the mind. Before I started teaching yoga, I worked in a busy office, and I used to come to yoga with my mind tied up in knots. But somehow through those 90 minutes of postures and sweat, not only did my body get stretched, but the mental knots stretched out, too. I would walk into class one person and walk out another.
This yoga has taught me patience and perseverance. It’s humbled me and at the same time made me stronger. I’ve gained in flexibility, strength, endurance and balance.
Tell us a little bit about why you went into the yoga business?
I practiced yoga for several years before deciding to go to Teacher Training. I know what it is to struggle and come through on the other side, and it was yoga that helped give me strength and direction. I became an instructor because I wanted to share this life-changing practice with others. I started teaching at Bikram Yoga Marietta in 2004. I’ve been teaching there since that time. When the studio became available for sale in 2011, I decided to purchase it, because I wanted to take part in the continuation of the BYM family after being a member of it for so long.
How would you respond to someone who is afraid to try yoga because they don’t think they can do it?
The #1 reason I’ve heard people give as to why they think they can’t do yoga is that they think they have to be flexible. The good news is that yoga is not about turning yourself into a human pretzel, rather it is about bringing the body back into proper alignment, increasing postural integrity, clearing the mind, stimulating the organs and systems, improving lung capacity, detoxing, and so much more. In other words, it’s not about pretty poses – it’s about creating a healthier body and mind and increasing your quality of life. This means that if you are inflexible, out of shape, suffering with injuries, have back problems or misalignment, are mentally bogged down, stressed, overweight, depressed, etc. those are all good reasons to start Bikram yoga.
It’s also helpful to know that Bikram Yoga was designed with beginners in mind, and beginners are welcome to all classes. Every posture starts with a set-up of precise instructions. Then more steps are added on. Everyone starts with the first step and only goes as far as they can that particular day while maintaining proper alignment and breathing to the best of their ability. This means that beginners as well as experienced practitioners are able to take the same class together.
Tell us about Bikram Yoga Marietta? How long have you owned it?
Bikram Yoga Marietta opened in 2003. Its original owners, a gracious lesbian couple, always sought to create a friendly, warm and even family-like environment. I purchased the studio in 2011 and am continuing to promote these same values. Regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, fitness level, religion, beliefs, age, or ability, everyone is welcome at Bikram Yoga Marietta. There is even babysitting available to help parents get to class! New students will find caring and knowledgeable instructors and a non-judgmental space to learn and grow in.
Is there a difference between Bikram Yoga and other hot yoga classes?
Hot yoga means yoga being practiced in a heated room. Any style of yoga could be practiced in the heat and called a “hot yoga” class. There are different sequences offered at Hot Yoga studios, and the rise in Hot Yoga has been growing over the past decade.
Bikram was the first to have his series practiced in a heated room, thus Bikram Yoga is referred to as the original hot yoga. It is practiced in a room heated of 105 degrees and 40% humidity, which makes the body more malleable and less prone to injury. It also causes perspiration for detoxification and increases calories burned. Every time you go to a Bikram class, it is the same yoga prescription of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that has stood the test of time since the 1970’s. Classes are taught according to Bikram’s specific guidelines, and all instructors at Bikram studios have completed an intensive teacher training and been personally certified by Bikram himself.
Tell us about the exciting changes coming to Bikram Yoga Marietta?
The studio has been getting a make-over the past few months (repainted, remodeling, new products, new logo), and I am continuing to work on improving the facilities. Tile is currently being installed in the locker rooms and a new website is in the works as well.
Bikram Yoga Marietta is located at 80 Powers Ferry Road SE. Naedra and Bikram Yoga Marietta offers David Readers an introductory special choice of 10 consecutive classes for $30, 10-class card for $50 (valid for 30 days of use) or a 10-class couples’ card for $70. Just mention David Atlanta when attending a class. Find more information at www.bikramyogamarietta.com or by calling 770-578-6555