For Couch Potatoes to Athletes, Bikram Offers Benefits

Thursday, February 12, 2015 | 8:44 pm

For Val Sklar Robinson, yogi and owner of Bikram Yoga Pasadena, yoga didn’t just help her become a fitter person—it spared her from a life of constant pain.

Robinson was 13 when she broke her hip, which then caused degenerative arthritis in her right hip joint. Over the years, specialists told Val that nothing could improve her condition. When she was 27, her doctor advised her to get hip replacement in the next five years.

“I basically refused that diagnosis,” said Robinson. “Five months later, I was in the shoe business. I had a successful retail and wholesale career, and I was traveling in Denver, Colorado where I stayed with a friend’s parents. The second night I stayed with them, they took me to a Bikram Yoga class.”

Little did she know that her first Bikram Yoga class was going to change her life.

“The initial experience was pretty miraculous. I stopped taking the prescription drugs that I’ve been given by that doctor to reduce the inflammation and my limp became much less [prominent]. My pain also became much less,” said Robinson. “Over the course of six months, thanks to regular yoga practice, I felt like I got my life back.”

Robinson eventually quit her job and participated in a nine-week intensive Bikram teacher training. After 6 months of traveling to other studios and teaching, she opened Bikram Yoga Pasadena in 1998.

Since then, Robinson has been on a mission to educate people on Bikram Yoga and its many benefits. “Bikram yoga won’t cure most ailments, but it can reduce the symptoms and severity of many long term ailments” said Robinson. Robinson loves living in Pasadena. She met her husband who is from Pasadena, where they settled down to raise their 2 little girls.

After putting off her hip replacement for 15 years, Robinson underwent the procedure to get a new hip and came back to practicing Bikram Yoga as soon as she felt able. She continues to inspire many folks with limitations and injuries on the benefits of practice.

“Bikram Yoga is a scientific, 26-posture yoga series. It is always the same. It works the entire body from the inside out. It works the natural ranges of motion and it is incredibly healing to the body and de-stressing for the mind,” said Robinson.

And the best thing is, anyone can do it. “It’s a beginning series. It is not advanced. It’s very simple. “The most challenging part is the heat.” said Robinson. But even though it is a beginning class, it is a great work out.

In fact, her studio attracts a hodgepodge of students. “We get young and old. We get thin and fat. We get triathletes and marathon runners, and people who have never exercised,” said Robinson. Yup—even those who don’t work out can do and enjoy Bikram Yoga. “It really is about having an open mind and the desire to come and try the right way and do the best that you can.” I think the most important thing is that you are ready to commit to live and feel better,” said Robinson.

“While Bikram Yoga did not cure my arthritis, it reduced the symptoms and pain and helped me live better for 15 years. I still needed a hip replacement in 2010 at the age of 42, but thanks to my yoga practice I live an excellent quality of life.”

Bikram Yoga Pasadena is located at 2089 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 304-9642 or visit www.bikrampasadena.com.

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