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Karen Harelson

Karen Harelson

I started practicing the Dayton Method Hot Yoga on January 8th 2012. 5 days after I started, I started the 30-day challenge, and then continued into the 60-day challenge; only I call it my “60 day transformation.” By all odds, I never should have started this. I have heard about hot yoga from time to time and always immediately ruled it out using self-talk like “I’m too old, I’m injured, too fat, too out of shape and especially I hate heat.” I had some serious injuries, shattered my shoulder requiring plates and screws 1 ½ yrs ago, neck surgery and knee surgery. This caused me to not be able to exercise to the point of cracking a sweat in almost 2 years, which resulted in feeling tired all the time and depressed. I read that it would be good to use a sauna to at least get heart rate variability if you “can’t exercise,” and began thinking, “Why go into a sauna and just sit down? Maybe trying this hot yoga would be better.” So . . . having never done any kind of yoga and feeling somewhat intimidated, I just walked in, plunked down 20 bucks, thinking that even if I only last 5 minutes in there, it would be O.K., at least I tried it.

I had been on-line to read about studios, and choose Hot Yoga Dayton Method studio even though there are many closer to my home after seeing the nice website and then reading someone’s comment that he “likes it that Jason is a clean freak;” this last statement brought me in, and I’m so thankful that I found this particular studio. Physically: I am still rehabilitating my shoulder, knee, and neck, and have had more progress with these in the last 3 months doing Hot Yoga than I had in the previous 1 ½ years. My entire body is stronger, more flexible, and limber. My favorite pose is Triangle because it is SO HARD and yet, I can do it. I’m just amazed every time. During the hold, I literally can feel every muscle in my body and legs getting stronger. I am 57 years old, and was starting to feel and move “likes an old lady,” and now I feel like I’ve discovered the Fountain of Youth . . . I feel like I did 20+ years ago; I am not exaggerating here! I have been “eating clean” and the yoga causes me to not want to eat things that make you feel bogged down, resulting in 27 lb weight loss so far.

I teach at the College, and even after only about 3 weeks of continuous yoga practice, I could feel a difference when standing in front of a classroom, I could feel my strong legs and posture. I also feel much less stressed, at all times. I think the Yoga releases stress from my body and also create a mindfulness to stay in the relaxed mode. I realized it the 1st session when lying prone in Savasana and Jason said, “put left (or right) ear to mat” and I could! (Hadn’t been able to since the injury and neck surgery) . . . I realized right then and there the value of the heat in increasing the suppleness of the muscles. I walked right out and signed up for the upcoming 30-day challenge. I know that your thoughts create your experience; sometimes it’s easy to forget to walk the talk. As soon as I quit telling myself that I couldn’t possibly do this, that I hate heat etc., and just came in with an open and curious mind, a whole new world opened up for me. I even found that: Yes, I can too stand on my knees, or grab my feet from behind, and eventually move into postures that I never in a million years would have thought I would be doing.

I am so honored to be selected for the May student of the month. It is my hope that some of what I said might encourage or inspire someone, as I have received so much encouragement and inspiration from the staff and clientele at HBHY.I am thankful to have found hot yoga and especially this studio. It really has changed my life. If you are new to this, my advice is to show up often, and trust the process. I’m so excited about it, I could scream!