This Bikram practice and the community Diane Ducharme Gardner has built has been my sanctuary for 13 or 14 years (lost count). It’s given me different gifts at different times. I have many physical conditions that have required medical attention. My body is never without pain. Thankfully now I am able to use my 3 day a week practice for psychological, emotional, and spiritual assistance.
I never want to go since I experience a feeling of loss when I cant get my body or soul to the place that was once a given and a source of great enjoyment, satisfaction, and pride. But once I enter the yoga bubble, the painful self assessment becomes accepting and I want to be there. I leave feeling hopeful, not that my postures will improve, but rather my acceptance of my reality and appreciation for all that I still have.
This studio is like no other. I have traveled to many. It is not about a beautiful dancer pose. It is about doing the best with what I have and being part of the circle of yogi love.
I thank Diane and the rest of our truly inspiring tribe members.
Yoga is my Therapy
When I first stepped through the doors of Yoga for You it was June of 2009. I was 21 years old and had just lost my older brother to an overdose a month before. At the time I was more lost than I have ever been. After a lifetime of my parents’ addiction, my mother leaving when I was 13, and my brother’s unexpected passing I was completely broken and numb.
Diane taught my first class. To be honest I hated it and I was angry that I was even taking it! It was difficult and completely out of my comfort zone. I had never really exercised. I went to a seminar Bikram had in Boston around that time which Diane also attended. I was impressed but didn’t come back to the studio until 6 months later. That is when I started practicing consistently and my whole life changed forever.
This yoga has given me everything and more! After 11 years these 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises have healed every single part of me. All of the anxiety, depression, pain, sadness, resentment, and anger. I have learned how to heal it all. I have learned how to let go. I have learned forgiveness, discipline, strength, unconditional love for myself, and total joy! I never needed to go to therapy because I had this yoga. I feel better with each passing year. Thank you for this beautiful and magical gift! It is the greatest gift I have ever been given. I wish the whole world knew about it.
I’ve often wondered how I got so lucky to have you and your studio right in my hometown of West Roxbury all those years ago? What are the chances I would find you and this yoga when I needed it most? Who would I be without it? What would my life be like? I don’t want to know! You gave me the structure and stability that I needed.
I love the way you teach your classes. You command the room and have a powerful energy which only you possess. I admire how strong, smart, and witty you are! I value your teachers and students. I appreciate the amazing community you’ve built here at Yoga for You. I am forever grateful to you Diane. You have had a profound effect on me. You’ve changed my life for the better in countless ways.
Thank you for opening your studio 25 years ago. Thank you for sticking with it and never giving up —even when it was hard! Thank you for all of your wisdom. Thank you for being you! All the best, Grace M
The value of a Private Lesson
At the beginning of the private lesson, Diane talked to me about my specific injuries, asking for details, demonstrating her extensive knowledge of the nature of my injuries and how that would affect my yoga practice. My initial anxiety moved towards enthusiasm and concentration. We went over each posture slowly. After the lesson, she was warm and encouraging. After two weeks practicing the very specific technique of the postures, my back pain was virtually nonexistent throughout the day.
Life Changing in Uncertain Tiems
I have significant physical limitations, chronic pain and I am waiting for a hip and knee replacement. Yoga for You has been in my life since my now teenagers were toddlers. Coming back after a (too) long time away from my practice when the COVID restrictions lifted was revelatory. It is the first time in ages I’ve walked without a pronounced limp. Emotionally, it’s a relief to be back in the studio: it’s a calming place to stay centered when the world feels so unsettled and uncertain. So grateful for Diane and the teachers at the studio.
Never Too Old
I am 74 It years old and suffered with sciatica for years. Also a lot
of discomfort with lower back and aches and pains in upper body aggravated by
simple every day tasks. Picking up something off of the floor was a challenge
in dealing with the discomfort caused by this simple task.
I was absolutely terrified to go to class considering it takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees
and class lasts for an hour and a half. I could not sit in a movie theatre for that long
I survived my first class and strangely enough felt really good. I felt
good enough that I attended two more classes that week and just kept feeling
better and better. My aches and pains were becoming less and less and I was being
transformed into a Bikram Yoga advocate. My sciatica caused flashing pain
down my leg into my instep or sometimes ankle. Some days it was the right leg
and other days the left leg. Now it’s all gone!
It significantly improved my overall mental and physical capabilities.
Bikram is a healing Yoga and is good for everyone, young and old. It works
every muscle and tendon in your body head to toe. Even the fingers, wrists
and elbows are worked which can help in preventing arthritis. It’s use
it or lose it when we get older. A sedentary lifestyle is definitely
not good particularly when we get older.
Most people if not all would benefit from Bikram Yoga. Yes the 105 degree
heated room also plays a part in your recovery as well as the carefully selected
26 postures that are done in class. Please note that I have a long way to go
before I will even come close to mastering most of the postures but seeing and
feeling the changes it has made for me are encouraging and positive. Have
the support of first class instructors which are all knowledgeable and always
open to your questions and concerns.
I have been a student for a number of years and I have never been disappointed in the sheer joy instructors take in helping participants. Everyone of them greets you as a friend and takes the time to discuss where you are in your practice. Simply a great group of instructors.
Caring for the Caregiver
My mother just passed away from Breast Cancer and Altzheimers. She was diagnosed with dementia
about 10 years ago, and then my father, who had been taking care of her, died. I have been responsible for her care for the past 7 years.
I thank my luck for finding Diane’s Bikram yoga studio. It got me through many tough times. Often I would be so exhausted that I would just lie in dead body pose and listen to the words. They were metaphors for many things in my life. “Do the best you can with the body you have today” It brings so much peace, comfort and common sense. Now my mom has passed. I did a good job looking after her because I was able to keep my strength and spirits up mostly through the yoga. I am so very grateful!
YOGA FOR YOU has literally given me back the ability to stand on my own two feet.
When I first met Diane Ducharme Gardner, I was 32 years old and had spent half my life walking with a cane, crutches or confined to a bed. I had already had two total hip replacements and was desperate to avoid the same fate for my knees.
I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis since I was kid. It would go into remission from time to time, but when the disease was active, it was devastating. At various times it affected every joint, large and small, and did its damage. I was taking dozens pills every day and receiving weekly injections in an attempt to keep the disease under control. Even when my RA was in remission my doctors wanted me to continue taking the toxic medications and were unable to offer any relief from pain that the disease was causing except for joint replacements. I had lost substantial range of motion in most of joints and felt incredibly old. I couldn’t stand in place for more than 10 – 15 minutes a day in total. If I did, the pain would become increasingly unbearable, and I would need to use crutches to walk instead of cane, or be stuck in bed for days until the pain subsided. Sometimes my knees would also just give out from underneath me when I walked. If I didn’t have cane with me, I could fall. My legs muscles were strong. Except for getting on and off, I could easily ride a bike for miles, and could use some gym equipment, but standing and walking were very difficult and painful for me.
I wasn’t particularly impressed after my 1st class. I could hardly do a fraction of any of the postures, and didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. Diane told me if came 6 days a week for 90 days I would get better. She said, even though I couldn’t really do any of the postures, that if I tried to do what little I could do as correctly as my body would allow, even if it was only 1% percent of the posture, I would get 100% of the benefits. I was dubious about her claims after trying so many other alternative cures and remedies to no effect. Besides, there was no way I could afford to go to class that often anyway. But, Diane said she would let take class for free. I left that day with no intention of ever returning. [Side note: he walked out WITHOUT his cane]!
The next day I could feel that the muscles along my spine had been worked hard. I knew something positive was starting to happen to my body. I began to realize Diane had offered me the bargain of a lifetime and there was no way I wasn’t going to take advantage of it. Slowly, I began to get better. I practiced 5 days a week and never missed a day. When I couldn’t get to class, I would practice at home. Little by little I began to reclaim full range of motion in my joints, and the constant pain I was in began to disappear. I think it took about 6 months before I could kneel down on my mat without folding 2 bath towels to kneel on. The quality of my life continued to get better and better. I was able to get off disability and return to work. I gave up my handicap placard and was able to stand in place and walk without any sort of aid for hours at time with no ill effects.
That first class was 24 years ago. Bikram Yoga continues help me so many ways. One of which is that besides having RA, I also have a few other autoimmune diseases including Crohn’s disease. Since I have been practicing, I have remained symptom free and have not had any flare ups of any kind. Other than when I needed to have a revision performed on one of my prosthetics, I have never used a cane or a crutch since or had to take any medications. The prognosis for anyone who has as a severe case RA as I had is bleak. I had literally been told by my doctors to give up hope of ever getting better and things were only going to get worse for me. I consider Bikram Yoga nothing less than a miracle and so did they!
Thank you, Diane.
Cannot live without it
The day is ALWAYS a good one when I go to Bikram Yoga—anywhere, but especially Diane Ducharme Gardner’s studio and her tribe of fabulous teachers and students (it’s a community) in Dedham. Aside from the physical benefits (which are many in my case), the centering, the tranquility, and the sense that I can handle whatever happens is all from doing Bikram Yoga.
I have multiple problems and pain from arthritis. My sanctuary used to be swimming a mile everyday; but 10 years ago, I couldn’t rotate my left shoulder–rheumatologist said: “the only thing that will help your pain is Bikram yoga”. So I’ve done 5-6 days a week for 10 years. Four surgeries later it still is my medicine for pain.
I LOVE being there; I LOVE the sequence; I LOVE the breathing; I LOVE the belonging. I used to be quite a flexible and strong “athlete” and still consider myself “incredible” for my age (67); but age and arthritis does alter my capacities. Bikram Yoga helps me to accept that.
Because of Bikram I feel “young” and really forget my age most of the time. I have the teachers (especially Diane) to thank for holding me to “the prescription.”
Thank you to all the yogis and yoginis in all the places I practice—especially at YOGA FOR YOU!
Recovery After Surgery
Recently I had laparoscopic surgery. Recovery time was estimated to be three days. When I awoke from surgery, however, my left arm didn’t work from the shoulder down due to a “positional neuropathy.” As a result of this injury, all the muscles on my left side were tired and tight. I was extremely uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours at a time and walked with (as my physical therapist described it) “a posture of pain.” Afraid to move for fear that I would hurt myself more, I continued like this for more than three weeks. As a student of Yoga for You for six years, I knew the benefits of yoga and decided to attend a class. Three breaths into the first breathing exercise I was ready to throw in the towel. I couldn’t lift my arm and felt ridiculous. Years of yoga had worked their magic, however, and that little voice in my head said, “Just do what YOU can do.” I stayed for the whole class and left feeling so rejuvenated that I went back the next day for more and continued to attend classes for most of the month. It’s been four weeks since that first class back and I am pain-free and have most of the motion back in my arm. Thank you to the instructors at Yoga for You. Always helpful and encouraging.