In the four months he's been attending our Langley studio, Francis and his beautiful dahlias have become a familiar sight. This 68 year-old husband and father of three has made some incredible progress in his health, and he's not shy about sharing the benefits he's experienced from doing Bikram Yoga.
Sports were a way of life for Francis, whose business was real estate development, until he suffered a severe back injury in May of 2011. At that time, he was confined to bed, being only able to lay on his stomach in a concave position with head and feet elevated.
Bikram Yoga was first mentioned to him when he sought treatment for his neck while on vacation in Hawaii in February of this year. When he returned to Langley, his local RMT strongly cautioned him against Bikram Yoga, suggesting that it would be too much for him, but endorsed yoga as rehabilitation.
Swallowing what he now realizes was false macho pride, Francis began to practice yoga to relieve his pain and immediately took to it. Again and again, Bikram Yoga would come up in conversation, and again and again he was warned off of it.
As a hockey player Francis prefers to meet challenges head-on rather than back off, so decided to see for himself what Bikram Yoga was all about - he's never looked back. Francis says, "I was immediately addicted and have not gone back to regular yoga since (4 Months now)." To all of his macho hockey and golf buddies that scoff at his yoga, Francis dares them to try a class and heal themselves. So far, three of his friends are also doing yoga at his prompting.
The healing that Francis has undergone is incredible. "When I began, there was virtually no pose I could manage save the breathing exercises, which in themselves were a challenge," Francis recalls. With perseverance, he has improved his range of motion and balance: "I am elated that I can do nearly all of the poses." He also loves getting his aerobic workout in yoga class rather than through swimming, which he complains is boring.
"The biggest excitement is that a severe stenosis emanating from my spinal column injury is easing a little so that there are occasions that my right foot is not numb and tingling."
From bedridden to hitting the links, is quite a journey. Especially for someone who as little as three months ago dreaded that he would never be able to golf again. Francis states with no small anticipation, "I am very much looking forward to rejoining my buds at our annual fall golf get-together."
Life certainly is coming up a bed of dahlias for Francis, who has also lost 15 pounds, mostly from the waist, without changing his eating habits.
"I hope I am not too optimistic, but I am quietly confident that with another number of months of continued Bikram Practice, my back injury and stenosis will have dissipated to the point where it is an insignificant factor in my life."
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