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My Health Story: Yoga in a Hot Box |

My Health Story: Yoga in a Hot Box Filipina, Filipinas, New Filipina, Pinay, Pinays, Pinay 2014, Bagong Pinay, Filipina Woman, Health, Lifestyle, Reflections, Yoga, Bikram Hot Yoga, Hot Yoga, Wellness, Good Health
Innie Williams

Imagine yourself in a heated room of up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, sweltering while doing 26 yoga postures with all your might. Would you stand the heat and the humidity with about maybe 10 or more students taking the same class with you?

When my daughter first told me to join her yoga class I was like, “ hmmm, that is so boring and I don’t think I could do all the bending and stretching beyond what my aging body could do.” But she insisted and assured me, “Just try it, you’ll love it.”

I have been taking Zumba classes where I dance Latin and some hiphop for quite sometime now. I follow dance steps, enjoy the music and never feel I am working out. But last December was a breaking point for me. While transferring the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I felt my meniscus slipped out of my patella that caused me to fall on the floor. I was so helpless and scared. I could not even crawl under the dryer door where I slipped. I felt lifeless. I called for my husband who was then in his office and asked him to get me out from under the dryer door and help me get back on my feet. That incident scared me. The nurse in me suddenly did not know what to do.

The orthopedic doctor I saw recommended to do physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my weakened knees (due to aging), and do some Range of Motion exercises to both of my tennis elbows. I didn’t want to undergo any surgery to correct them.

I was a mess.

So, I took the prescription to the closest physical therapy clinic and decided to start my therapy. After all the paperworks were filled up, the secretary then explained to me how it works. They do not accept my work insurance so I have to shell out $400 out-of-pocket as down payment and pay them $20 for each session for four weeks. I thought I heard her wrong so I asked her to repeat what she had just told me.

As soon as she clarified it I backed off. I said, why would I be paying for the treatment when I pay for my insurance so it could take care of me when I need it. So, I decided to do the therapy on my own.

Before summer began in July, I started to take hot yoga classes with my daughter. I read in some articles that hot yoga is very good in strengthening and loosening tight muscles. It also helps our body’s flexibility. So I enrolled in The Breathing Dragon that teaches Bikram Hot Yoga. The room was heated up to 105 degrees when we arrived. Almost half of the students were in their two-piece outfits and lying on their mats and towels like they were in the beach.

Filipina, Filipinas, New Filipina, Pinay, Pinays, Pinay 2014, Bagong Pinay, Filipina Woman, Health, Lifestyle, Reflections, Yoga, Bikram Hot Yoga, Hot Yoga, Wellness, Good Health

Innie Williams, a former journalist in the Philippines and now a nurse in New Jersey, doing yoga poses.

In the beginning I struggled to do the poses. I found myself out of breath in some of the poses that raise my heartbeat. I was breathing in through my nose and breathing out through my mouth. I started to become slightly lightheaded. The instructor, Mori, noticed how I was catching my breath and said I was doing it wrong. I should breathe in through my mouth and breathe out through my nose. Following her instructions, I noticed some difference. I was no longer catching my breath and the dizziness dissipated. After the unlimited introductory session that month, I signed up as a regular member.

For the past two months, I noticed the difference in the range of motion in my arms and knees. I can now bend my knees, lift up my leg while holding it up in the air like a warrior and bend backward while standing on my knees. I can now do all the 26 poses in my Bikram hot yoga classes without panting. Proper breathing was the trick in order to endure that whole 90-minute session in a real hot and humid room. Since I started hot yoga, my blood pressure went back to normal. I still feel pain in my knees and elbows but not as much as before. My labs went back to normal. (There are other Pinays who advocate healthy life. Meet the Healthy Pinay and read her “7 Healthy Sparkling Tips From Breakfast to Dinner.” We were also inspired by the story, “Her Inner Light Shines; Her Medicine Cures.”

All images are courtesy of Innie Williams unless otherwise noted.

Innie Williams

Former journalist in the Philippines covering government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, and Bureau of Customs before emigrating to America in 1989.
Works at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital as a staff nurse, holds Clinical Ladder III, co-chairperson of the hospital's Nursing Safety Committee, Board-certified by the American Nursing Credentialing Center in Medical Surgical Nursing and Board Certified in Wound Care, member of the Philippine Nurses Association Middlesex chapter, member of the American Nurses Association
Worked as per diem night shift nursing supervisor at the Integrated Health Services Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center
Is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing at Kean University
Presently completing graduate studies in Nursing
Writes features and news articles and Press releases
enjoys dancing and writing.

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  1. Innie, thanks for sharing your story about healing through hot yoga. I took my first Bikram class under a Filipina teacher who taught in Danbury, CT, in 2004. I love hot yoga, too. Because of hot yoga, I no longer take RX meds for hypertension, even if my doctor told me I would always have high blood pressure after I got pre-eclempsia with my third son 15 years ago. Aside from health improvements hot yoga has also helped me cope with hot weather in the Philippines and Texas. I now go to a place called Sunstone Yoga because of their affordable prices. I hope to hear more about your health and/or your life hear at Salamat gid. Shine, Innie, shine!

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