I love stories about the healing powers of Bikram. Cila, who works on the blog with me, shared these quotes from Jeff Cooper, a coach and ultra-runner who regularly runs 50 and even 100 mile races.
How long have doing Bikram yoga?
I’ve been doing it for about six or seven years. I tore my Achilles and couldn’t run. I had surgery and was in a cast for months, then I had to try to get back into it. All I could do was walk on the treadmill and ride a bike. I went to a Christmas party and a girl said, “You should try Bikram yoga, it would strengthen your calf and Achilles.”
I went home and looked online but never went to class. A year went by. The following year I had another injury (I had eight surgeries in eight years). I was at the same Christmas party — it was a runners Christmas party. This same girl said, “You should go to Bikram yoga”. The next day I went and have been going ever since.
How did your body respond?
Bikram is everything a runner needs. You’re strengthening, balancing and stretching. You’re using all those muscles. You’re getting stronger and healthier. It’s a perfect fit with running.
Did Bikram help your specific injuries?
It’s been awesome. I had two surgeries on one knee, one on the other. I have to be careful in some of the postures not to overdo it, but it definitely helped strengthen my Achilles tendon. Overall, I’m more balanced. I had therapists talking about orthotics and stuff. That’s why I go to yoga.
What are the biggest benefits of Bikram for runners?
To me three keys are stretching – the heat definitely helps you stretch, the postures definitely help you. Balancing – I broke my neck in 1990, then had surgery to fuse the rest of my spine, I lost a lot of balance. If I close my eyes I can fall over. The standing series teaches you to balance your feet, spread them properly when you’re standing, and that helps in running a lot, because you learn to hit your feet the right way. Last but not least, core strength. Bikram hits everything you need for running. No other cross-training exercise does that. I tell everyone I’m coaching or training to try yoga.
Jeff is a running coach – you can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your Bikram healing story in the comments!