Derek Cummings: Co-Director
I discovered Hot Yoga in my late 30’s. At the time, my life was in shambles. I had neglected myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and was headed for serious trouble. I weighed nearly 300 lbs, was a heavy smoker, an active alcoholic/addict, and had the beginnings of major health problems as a result. I had sky-rocketing blood pressure and cholesterol, hypertension, insomnia, depression, and was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. After my wife left me and my marriage dissolved, it was literally time to sink or swim. After several unsuccessful attempts at getting my life back on track, and being advised by doctors that the only option was to take massive amounts of prescription medication to manage the symptoms of my ill health, I stumbled into a Bikram yoga studio in San Francisco and took my first class. I don’t really even remember my first class very well. I know that I couldn’t even touch my knees, let alone my toes! I absolutely hated it, but somehow I knew that I needed to return the next day, and I did. It wasn’t long before there was a profound shift in my life. During the next year, I practiced at least 3 times per week. I was finally able to quit smoking, dropped over 100 lbs, joined a chemical dependency recovery program, and found the desire to take better care of myself in every way. I have been drug and alcohol free for nearly 14 years now. Without resorting to medications, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped to normal levels, and the depression and anxiety that plagued me for years is gone! I’m still a stiff guy and constantly struggle with balance and flexibility, and probably wont be on the cover of Yoga Journal any time soon, but my dedication to my practice of Hot Yoga has paid off big time and helped me in all ways to be a better person. I have more Faith, Determination, Self-Control, Determination and Patience, and most importantly, I have my life back!