Sweating and Bending to Uncover a New You

Sweating and Bending to Uncover a New You
Today’s Omaha Woman (March 2002)
By Wendy Townley

As the swimsuit season approaches, it’s inevitable that the reluctant quest will begin for yet another bathing suit. Is it finding harder each year to find something that fits your body? Perhaps it’s not your body that needs a workout, but your mind and spirit as well.

If aerobics leaves you exhausted, running leaves you sore, it’s time to look inward and try Bikram Yoga. And no, it’s not just for super-flexible, skinny twenty-somethings in black leotards.

“People start loving how they feel in their own skin by doing yoga,” explains Tippi Denenberg, owner of Bikram Yoga Omaha near 50th and Dodge streets. “You feel beautiful and act beautiful.”

Which is one of the largest benefits this type of yoga (which means “union”) provides: The practice of 26 poses in a heated room reaching 100 degrees gives people the bodies they were meant to have. The 90-minute class is designed to strengthen and enhance flexibility and balance. The heat allows the muscles to move more easily and aids in removing toxins from the body during each pose, which is repeated twice and held anywhere from 20 seconds to one minute. The poses move needed blood and oxygen to all parts of the body.

But the benefits don’t stop there. The practice of Bikram Yoga also helps to build self-control, focus and patience–which are things most people could use in today’s fast paced world.

“Even though we have this little teeny studio, magic happens in that stinky room,” Denenberg says. Such magic can occur for many people who begin their yoga practice looking for more flexibility or muscle tone–but walk away with something much more. “That’s the power of the practice,” she says. “You can start going looking for great abs, but you can end up really finding a lot of spiritual peace.”

If after your fist class you become discouraged at the challenge, don’t be. Bikram Yoga is considered a 100-year journey: If it takes you 100 years to perfect a specific pose, it’s OK. The belief revolves around the importance and benefit of residing in the present.

“You are seizing the moment of what you’re doing. You aren’t damaging yourself by projecting how you should do it in the future,” Denenberg says. “You only are what you are today.”

Best of all, Bikram Yoga doesn’t discriminate against age, sex or body type. Anyone of any age and fitness level can do Bikram Yoga. “It puts your body in the most balanced situation it can be in,” Denenberg says.

Seeking such balance requires an examination of what you have in your life and what you are working to achieve. “A lot of yoga is about dumping old stuff and creating space for stuff you need in your life,” she adds. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

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