Twelve years ago, David Miller was lying in a hospital bed listening to his doctor tell him he needed quadruple bypass surgery and, if they could keep him alive until morning, he would likely survive the surgery. "That got my attention," David says, "and I knew I needed to do something."
That something was Bikram Yoga, which his daughter Joanne (our own Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas studio owner!) persuaded him to try "under duress," says David. "I didn't really want to go, but Joanne was an avid student at the time, and she promised me it would change my life. It did!"
Initially, however, it was just hard. "I actually felt worse in some ways," he recalls. "I was sore, I collapsed on the floor, I had a number of issues. But she kept encouraging me and promising me that it would help. I've trusted her for a lot of years, and I took her at her word. Eventually, I became addicted to the hot room and the way I felt after a class. Joanne was right--it changed my life."
When he started practicing years ago, David (a dentist) was overweight, had back problems from constantly bending over patients, was on heart and blood pressure medications, and was contemplating early retirement because he was in so much pain. "Today, I'm in great health," he says. "I don't have any issues whatsoever! I'm not on any meds, my heart and blood pressure are great, my back and neck are fine. I've lost 30 pounds, am rock hard, and am in better shape now than I was 30 years ago." And although David is semi-retired (at age 69, he still works two days a week), he retired because he chose to and not because he physically had to.
"My dad exemplifies the concept of slow and steady, and also the idea of consistent effort coupled with time," Joanne notes. "Dentistry is a tough profession on the back and neck, and yoga undid that damage. I am so proud of Dad, and it's an honor to have him working here at the studio with me!"
David has completed a couple 30-day challenges and is now earning the Slow and Steady Challenge, consistently practicing at least three times a week. He is a regular at the 6 a.m. class and gets emotional when he talks about the special bond he feels with his fellow early-morning yogis. "The people are definitely part of it," he says. "These are my friends, and I've grown to love so many of them. At Joanne's studio, there is nothing but acceptance and encouragement and support. I love coming here."
Like his daughter, David has become a Bikram Yoga missionary, preaching that anyone and everyone can benefit. "Bikram is great for the extreme athlete, who needs to regularly take a day off intense exercise to stretch out, get rid of the muscle tension in the back and hamstrings and glutes, and sweat out the toxins. And it's just as beneficial for the person who is just trying to get into shape. Bikram gets people moving without damaging muscles, and it strengthens bit by bit. I experienced that in my life. Even now I can't do all the poses to perfection, but I do my best and enjoy full benefit. Bikram Yoga is part of my life. . . like getting up and breathing. I just do it."