"I am so honored to be the student of the month. Kiva Hot Yoga has been my main form of exercise for around 7 years. It is so addicting because there is no other workout where you sweat, stretch and burn calories. Also, Kiva Hot Yoga gives you such a boost of energy afterwards. If I had to pick a favorite pose, I guess it would be standing head to knee just because it is the most challenging. There are 26 poses and each have such great health benefits, which makes it hard to decide. For instance, there are stretching poses, like Rabbit or Half Moon, that are awesome for lengthening your body. Advice to new students is to hang in there and to keep coming back. The more you practice the faster you will not only fall in love with Kiva Hot Yoga, but you will see a definite change in your body!"*

– Carolyn C

"Although I have always been active, a normal exercise routine fell by the wayside while raising kids. In 2010, I took some hot yoga classes at another studio but one day while searching the Internet, I saw that Kiva Hot Yoga was opening in Vestavia. I began taking classes right after they opened. Kiva Hot Yoga makes me feel great. I am more focused, flexible, and stronger with regular practice. I have better balance and put my socks and shoes on while standing on one leg every morning! I have definitely gotten rid of a lot of the kinks and creaks that seemed to increase exponentially after my 50th birthday. Regular practice, consistently, provides physical and mental benefits that always surprise and amaze me. Balancing stick and triangle are my favorite poses because they are both very physically demanding. Standing head to knee is my least favorite because my mind overwhelms my “English bulldog determination” so I struggle to lock my standing leg for more than a few seconds. My biggest breakthrough in class is being able to do camel without feeling dizzy and sick. Every class is a breakthrough somehow, either mentally or physically. I would tell new students not to be too hard on yourself. Do the best that you can whenever you can and then come back as soon as you can. Coming to class is the hardest part and just being in the room has amazing benefits. Thank you, you’ve helped me change my life."*

– Nina M

"I saw the Kiva Hot Yoga studio and was curious about it for months before I tried it. I’ve been practicing since December 13, 2011. A bunch of my clients had been telling me they were going and all the benefits they had received so I decided to give it a try. In my career, I stand up all day, bend over a shampoo bowl, and blow dry hair, which all was really starting to take a toll on my body. I was starting to get carpel tunnel, and I had an endless case of back pain. A week after I started Kiva Hot Yoga, my carpel tunnel was no longer bothering me. Within a couple months my back was feeling a lot better with the help of the instructors’ advice for lower back pain. I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. That crazy person driving down the road and doesn't bother me like they used to, and all of my relationships have improved greatly. Most of all, I love myself more than I ever have! My biggest breakthrough in class was the first time my mind was silent, and my body was just doing what the instructor said, without me having to think. It is very difficult to silence the mind and open the ears; it is still a breakthrough every time it happens. My advice to new students is to never stop coming to class, and never give up on yourself. The more you come, the more results you will see and feel."*

– Sarah C

"I have done many forms of exercise over the years. I still do interval running and a little strength training, but Kiva Hot Yoga is the practice I Iove the most. The physical benefits I see are more flexibility and better balance. These things are very important to me as I grow older. Another benefit is that I have lost about 8 – 10 pounds. This weight has stayed off. Not only have I seen physical benefits but I feel more focused and I feel less anxiety. You know those hot flashes women my age sometimes get; I can make them go away by calming myself down and doing some deep breathing. I rarely have them now. I come to class about 3 or 4 times a week; more when my schedule permits. My advice to new students is to not give up after that first class. After the first Kiva Hot Yoga class I did years ago, I had a headache the rest of the day and was very tired. I didn’t know what I was in for and I think I was dehydrated. Hydration is very important! Come back the next day if you can. Come as many days in a row that you can when you first start and you will feel and see the benefits beginning to happen. And I would like to shout out a big “Thank you” to Kate for bringing this awesome studio to Birmingham. I am looking forward to having a lifetime Kiva Hot Yoga practice. I want to be doing this when I am 80 years old (and older)!"*

– Theresa D

"I’ve been involved in yoga since my second year of physical therapy school at UAB, after a guest presenter in one of my alternative medicine courses introduced yoga as a treatment technique for therapy patients. After a knee surgery this spring I began to look into Kiva Hot Yoga. I spent some time on the hot yoga websites and discovered that hot yoga was designed to be a “healing” practice. That alone really appealed to me. Once I was cleared by my surgeon, I began my Kiva Hot Yoga practice three months after surgery in July of this year. I still had a significant limp and functional weakness of my quadriceps months after my surgery. After only one month of Kiva Hot Yoga I could really tell how much stronger I was becoming and how much less I was limping. After three months of Kiva Hot Yoga my patients were even remarking on how well I was walking. And, I’m continuing to improve. My favorite pose is standing bow. Watching all the regional competitors execute this pose really allowed me to see where standing bow can go. I love the extension coupled with the balance, plus it reminds me of Nancy Kerrigan on the ice at the Olympics. My biggest breakthrough in class has been developing the ability to go back to my foundation when I’m not in control of a pose. Just accepting the importance and benefit of first locking the knee in so many poses has helped me to accept wherever I am in my practice on a day to day basis. I would advise new students to give themselves time when developing a pose. Our instructors have so much valuable information to share; it can seem like a lot of words at first but just taking one piece and focusing on that piece helps to keep the mind calm during your practice. Over time you can add more pieces to each pose as you begin to really digest all of the instruction that you’re getting. We have amazing instructors that can help you get wherever you want to go if you can be patient with yourself."*

– Traci S

"My wife, Sara, and I have 5 grown (and out of the house) children, two boys and three girls aging from 18 to 30. We’ve been in Birmingham since 1998 and are from Cedar Falls, Iowa. We’ve lived in California, Utah, Missouri, Florida and Wisconsin. Sara thought I’d be interested in hot yoga after she attended a class several years ago. But I wasn’t ready to listen until my daughter, Julia, told me about her experiences with hot yoga and said I should try it. That was about 3 1/2 months ago. I didn’t come into Kiva Hot Yoga with any expectations, but was impressed with what Julia told me about how she felt, emotionally and physically, as a result of Kiva Hot Yoga. So, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see great improvement in the functioning of my knees. I had both knees scoped several years ago and never properly rehabilitated them. The improvement in strength of the muscles and joints surrounding my knees are amazing. I also had a spot under my left shoulder blade that caused me sleeping problems for years. Gone now. The class I felt the best about was on Thanksgiving Day when Kate was wearing her Indian headdress and every spot in the studio was filled. While yoga seems to be an individual thing, I didn’t realize how much energy I gather from those around me and the comfort I have when I’m in the room. That day was amazing and I came out of it really charged up. I can hear Jaime saying, “yoga doesn’t give you what you want, it gives you what you need.” I think just showing up is the key. Then don’t think about what you want to accomplish, but rather let the class take you where you will go."*

– John R

"I am 25 years old and a nurse at UAB hospital. I have been practicing Kiva Hot Yoga 6 months. Physically, Kiva Hot Yoga has increased my strength and flexibility. I’ve lost 10lbs and am more toned. Mentally, Kiva Hot Yoga is teaching me how to let go and relax. It is also teaching me to be fully present and not in my head- in and outside of the hot room. I have learned to accept my body and listen to what it is telling me. When I am stressed, anxious, or feeling any discomfort for whatever reason, I remember that if I can get through a 90 minute Kiva Hot Yoga class, I can get through anything! My favorite pose is camel. It hurts, but feels so good at the same time! I love the way I feel as I am getting into savasana, almost like I can feel the worries and negativity leave my body. My least favorite pose is rabbit because my forehead does not touch my knees! It also causes that discomfort the teachers talk about that is so good for us. The biggest breakthrough in class was when I really learned that it’s not about how well I do each posture, it’s about coming to class and doing the best I can that day, even if it means just breathing. My advice to new student is to not listen to the excuses your mind tells you."*

– Julia R

"This yoga has helped me by increasing my energy and serenity at the same time. I experience moments of sheer bliss and my back and neck pains have been eliminated. Also, intimacy has been better!"*

– Michael W

"I was having some knee problems that prevented me from doing any regular exercise. My daughter (a medical student), who has practiced Kiva Hot Yoga in the past, suggested over the past couple years that I try this type of yoga. I just ignored her thinking that “I can’t even walk or sit like a normal person, how can I do yoga?” Finally, she pushed me to try one class. So I went to my first Kiva Hot Yoga class in September 2011. Although I felt almost dead after my first class, I felt like I should try it a few more times before I decide to continue or not. The studio was offering the 30 day challenge in October, and I just signed up. Now, I’m hooked and have signed myself up for a year-long commitment! This yoga has helped me in many ways. I used to do some light exercise regularly. However, for the last few years, my knee problems really limited my regular exercise. Doing the Kiva Hot Yoga regularly had helped improve my flexibility and also reduced the stiffness of my joints. It is unbelievable that I can actually do certain activities every day without the consequence of stiff joints and pain. My advice to new students is that you don’t give up after that first class. It’s important that you come back as soon as you can. Keep working hard and you’ll surely be rewarded."*

– Asima P

"I started hot yoga specifically in Oct of 2010 when a studio opened in Mobile, AL, where I am from. I have practiced other forms of yoga for several years prior to being introduced to hot yoga. I even traveled to Rishikesh, India to study yoga and lived in an Ashram for three weeks. I was immediately awestruck by the intensity and challenge of this yoga and now prefer to practice in the heat! Some of the changes I have noticed since practicing hot yoga consistently are: my skin remains hydrated day in and day out. My metabolism has increased. My body became more toned and my endurance has increased. I became a stronger runner. I became more sensitive to the effects of food and alcohol on the body. However, the most significant change that occurred in my life was the increase in my self confidence. I have a lot of fun during the balancing postures- just when you think you got it, you lose it and tumble out of balance. And, sometimes the opposite occurs and you find considerable balance- what an amazing feeling! My biggest breakthroughs in class have been balancing on one leg the whole time the teacher speaks during Standing Bow, seeing my toes in Bow and Camel, and finding more depth in standing back bend. My advice to new students is to keep coming back! I would encourage every new student to reserve their judgement of Kiva Hot Yoga until they have completed at least 10 classes. Fortunately, when I began, I had purchased the grand opening package which was 10 classes in 30 days. So I decided to at least finish my package. By the end of my 10 classes, I was hooked! Give it a try and you will be too!"*

– Shea S

"Before coming to Birmingham I worked in insurance, advertising, and in skydiving for a number of years. For far too long I let my health get away from me and I weighed 260 lbs a little over 4 years ago. I went to my doctor for a physical and he wanted to prescribe me a cholesterol medication. I was 28 at the time and did not like the idea of taking a medication for something which I could control. That is when I began to take better care of myself and when I first discovered yoga. My only regret is not discovering Bikram Yoga sooner when I began to change my life. I have been practicing Kiva Hot Yoga a little over 1 year continuously. I attended my first Kiva Hot Yoga class in November of 2010 in Atlanta. As soon as I learned that Kiva Hot Yoga had opened, I began to practice regularly. Kiva Hot Yoga has tremendously improved my health. My cardio endurance during all types of exercising has greatly improved since I first began to practice. I haven’t been sick in over a year. I have noticed significant improvements in my joints, especially with my “bad” knee. I underwent 3 reconstructive surgeries on my right knee by the time I was 25. About a year ago I injured my knee again. I had to stop all exercising except for swimming and yoga. It was painful to even walk. The doctors wanted to operate and I was looking at surgery # 4. I am not sure why, but something told me to hold off on the surgery for at least a little while and really give Kiva Hot Yoga a chance. I started to attend classes 4 and 5 days a week instead of just once or twice a week. Within a month I was running and exercising again like nothing had happened. I am a full believer in Kiva Hot Yoga because of what I have personally experienced. My biggest breakthroughs in class are basically whenever I can come out of a pose and smile to myself knowing I achieved something new with it. Sometimes it’s going deeper in the pose. Other times it’s holding a pose longer or even reaching a deeper meditative state of mind in a pose or even through class. My advice to new students would be that they breathe, breathe and BREATHE! Breathe continuously in every posture, during all 90 minutes of class. And, lock the knee, lock the knee and LOCK THE KNEE! Locking the knee is far more important than most of us think and practice."*

– Lee M

*Result may very from person to person.