Turning up the heat on working out
Sisters, Heidi Bernover and Holly McGregor both say they are addicted to Bikram yoga, so much so that they started their own studio in Glenview. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
1926 Waukegan Road
Updated: October 23, 2012 11:18AM
GLENVIEW — Holly McGregor and Heidi Bernover are sisters who share a passion for yoga.
Not just any yoga, though. The girls admit they are “addicted” to Bikram Yoga, a form of yoga that led the two to open Bikram Yoga, a new yoga studio on Waukegan Road, just north of Chestnut Avenue.
“From the very first class I took, I knew this could be life changing,” said McGregor, who was in health care marketing for 13 years before becoming a Certified Bikram Yoga instructor in 2009. “I knew Bikram wasn’t available in Glenview and saw an opportunity to bring it here.”
Bikram yoga is a 90-minute class that involved a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. It is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees.
McGregor said the heat has two benefits: detoxification and better results in body changes, due to the fact that a warmer body is more malleable.
“Some people come in wanting to lose weight, other people come here for joint pain and other issues,” she said. “The end result over the long term is that people recognize the mental benefits, including better focus and clarity, less stress and better sleep and circulation. You just feel more balanced and you have more energy.”
“The postures have been around for 1,000 years,” said Bernover, who with along with her sister became a certified instructor. “What’s unique is the series. They are systematically done to work through each part of your body and to work each organ, tendon, tissue and cell.”
Rebecca O’Brien has been a fan of Bikram Yoga for many years, and said the practice is the reason she feels “amazing all the time.”
O’Brien said if she misses class for a week or two, she doesn’t feel as good in her everyday life.
“In India, when you have a chronic illness, people go to a yoga guru,” she said. “Yoga is prescribed for healing. It’s a prescription. Yoga is very medical and that makes sense.”
Bernover, who has been a full-time Bikram Instructor at a Bikram Yoga studio in Chicago for three and a half years, said it keeps all the systems in the body working properly and efficiently.
“Everything from immunity to digestive to cardiovascular and endocrine, lymphatic and skeletal,” she said.
Bikram yoga was created by yoga guru, Bikram Coudhury. All Bikram Instructors are required to attend and pass a 500-hour certification course over nine weeks. When practicing Bikram, the sisters recommend wearing as little clothing as possible, due to the extreme heat. Shorts, tank tops, or sports bras are what they see mostly.
“I started doing this because I was bored at my gym and wanted something different,” said Ashley Pincus, who has been practicing Bikram for five years. “I needed more of a challenge.”
The studio has seven certified instructors, is open seven days a week and offers child care.
Bikram Yoga has no membership fee. Each class is $17, but the studio offers different packages that decrease the cost of each class. The first visit is $25 for one week of unlimited classes, and the second week is free if you show up four times in the first week.
Bernover says most people practice Bikram 3-6 times per week.
“This isn’t just going to the gym and burning calories,” she said, “When you come here, you’re getting the whole package, a physical and mental workout. This is your flu shot, your therapy appointment and your treadmill workout.”