Hi there, my name is Lindsey and I would like to tell you a little bit about my journey at Bikram Yoga Hampden to help heal my hip. First let me tell you how I ended up in Baltimore. Originally from Chicago, I graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. I moved to Baltimore after I was accepted into the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. As a former college soccer player and avid runner, I have always valued and enjoyed exercise—especially running. I have completed 6 marathons in the past 5 years with my best time being one minute short of qualifying for the most prestigious marathon, the Boston Marathon. I was convinced that all I needed to do was keeping running—increase my mileage so that I was running at least three 20+ mile runs during my training cycles. However, my right hip sure had other plans. My hip pain started back in 2012 and since then has been a nagging and deep ache on the anterior aspect. Some days were good days and I could run without pain, however, other days were really bad days and I could hardly walk without pain. Fast-forward and the bad days quickly began to outnumber the good days. As an orthopedic physical therapist, I was aware and scared of what could be generating my hip pain. After weeks of no running and mostly swimming and proximal hip muscle strengthening, my hip pain was not decreasing. I had an MRI and the findings left me feeling puzzled and worried—“full thickness articular cartilage fissure with tiny separation at the chondrolabral junction”. My mind was racing with thoughts! Do I have a labral tear? Do I have femoroacetabular impingement?
I had done yoga several times and had taken a vinyasa class back in college. I had never done Bikram before, but for some reason I had this calling to sign up at Bikram Yoga Hampden. Soon enough, there I was standing in the hot room with my towel, mat, water bottle, and my hope. Everyone was so friendly! Sarah and Henri, the owners, both took the time to listen to my story and to help guide me through my first classes. I found myself feeling so relaxed after Bikram, my posture was improving, and I was able to sleep better at night. Prior to starting Bikram, I was very frustrated with myself and my body. I was angry at my hip for not allowing me to run. As the days went by, the Bikram classes began teaching me to me to appreciate what my body can do despite my injury. I was truly relearning to love my body and to be more aware of how it moves. I was learning imbalances and asymmetries that were limiting my movement and contributing to my impaired posture and hip pain. And yes, like most runners, I was stiff!!
As a runner, I often found myself craving that feeling of exhaustion that occurs after a really good and hard run. So imagine my surprise when suddenly in savasana I was hearing, “be still, relax all your muscles, focus on your breathing—this is one of the most important postures you can do for your body”. Bikram has taught me that an intense work out does not have to mean feeling exhausted at the end. Bikram is hard, really hard—but I leave class feeling refreshed, energized, and well. Years of running my body into the ground definitely made my running better, but Bikram is making me well. I modify the poses according to how my hip feels and I do not push through the pain. I have already noticed great progress, specifically in eagle pose (garurasana) and standing head to knee (dandayamana-janushirasana). Initially during eagle pose, I was not even able to lift my right leg up onto my left leg because of pain and feelings of tightness. I was very afraid to even attempt standing head to knee because I was scared it would injure my hip and make my pain worse. Each class I try a little harder to flex my right hip. As the weeks go by, I find myself being able to bring my leg up higher and my head and trunk down closer to my leg.