Welcome to the first column from your Bend Hot Yoga Community. This column/feature will be called Community Voice and is a forum for anyone in our BHY Community to share with others via a column or article.

We are so grateful that the hot room is back – along with all of you to help fill it with energy and soul. And sticking with that theme of gratitude, I’d like to take this inaugural column to tell you how this yoga studio, this “space” and the people in it helped save my life.A little over 3 years ago I entered Bend Hot Yoga to take my first class. I had been suffering from a flare-up of back pain that’s plagued me for over ten years, and I was struggling with some issues in my personal life. The hot room changed how my body felt and how I felt about my body. It changed the way I thought about my “pain”.

For 90 minutes I could move in meditation that was just for me – and slowly, very slowly, each day, I got a little better. I had no idea that this yoga would also change my mind. For 90 minutes I could only focus on my breath, my posture, my heart beating.

I had done everything and was doing everything for my pain – acupuncture, chiropractic, laser, PRP, PEMF, therapy…but yoga is what made me whole. I was more healed than I had been in a long time. When I took that first class, I wanted my body to feel better, I wanted my pain to go away. But I didn’t know then – that I would need the studio to help me through something much worse than my physical pain.

About a year before COVID changed all of our lives – my struggling marriage came apart, from the tiny shreds that were holding it together. I lost what, at the time, felt like almost everything that I cared about, and had worked so hard to achieve. My farm, the animals that lived on it with me, the massive gardens that provided me with so much peace.

Sometimes I couldn’t answer when Wendy or Sooz would ask “How are you” – I couldn’t speak – I could only cry. I formed no words, and no words were asked of me. I received a hug, or just a “We are here for you”. I cried in class, and it was okay there too.

For months and months as I went through the darkest of days – I didn’t know how to get through each minute. I felt like I was trying to move through cement-like I was being buried deeper and deeper under this crushing weight every day. Except in the studio. On my mat, I was free to move without being stuck. Besides my animals, this is what got me through those moments.

My divorce was final on February 28, 2020, and 13 days later the United States was in a national state of emergency. I remember walking, dazed, and feeling empty – through the streets of downtown Bend. Reading the signs “Closed due to COVID”.

And still, the studio was my one constant. I was as stunned as the rest of the world…and alone…in my new home. And then the studio closed. The zoom room became my main source of contact with these amazing teachers who, whether they knew it or not, were giving me a daily reason to keep going.

As COVID went on, and we all rode that roller coaster of ups and downs, with nothing being for sure except uncertainty. I clung to my practice – and to the news that a new hot studio with new owners was coming.

And like the sun that always rises, and the moon that always sets – the constant that was/is my yoga studio was back. Sooz, Heather, Kathy, Wendy – all of them and the room they fill, filled me when I was empty. And my hope for each one of you that walks through that door, is that you feel the love, acceptance, peace, energy, and healing that I have.

If yoga, this studio, this space, your mat – has touched you in some way then please get in touch with us -bhycommunityvoice@gmail.com .We’d love to hear your story. Or if there is a subject you would like addressed in this column, please share that with us as well.

We are a community. Namaste.