On January 1, 2016, husband and wife duo Rachel & Tim Zeithamel, took over ownership of Bikram Yoga Toledo (BYT) on Monroe Street. A 90-minute series of 26 beginning hatha postures and 2 breathing exercises, Bikram yoga is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Why the heat? The concept is that warm muscles become more flexible and less prone to injury, while toxins are eliminated via copious amounts of sweat.
Coming in hot
Rachel felt an instant passion for Bikram after her first class in Coralville, Iowa in 2003. “I immediately felt better about myself, mentally and physically. It evened out my moods. I learned patience,” Rachel said.
Though Rachel often invited her husband Tim to join her, she was never pushy. A year after taking notice of the positive changes in his wife, Tim decided to give Bikram a try. At that time, he weighed 370 pounds and had chronic back pain, “Initially, I was apprehensive about the heat, the length of the class, the fact that I’d never done yoga before— and did I say the heat? I quickly realized all those fears were made up excuses in my head.”
Tim completed 14 classes in 14 days, and has not looked back in the three years since. “Bikram Yoga helped change my entire lifestyle. I made better choices in what I ate and drank, I slept better, I felt less stressed, and after a few months the weight started falling off. I found that the yoga gave me better control of my breathing, and provided advances in my strength, flexibility, balance, confidence and endurance. Currently, I am down to 190 pounds, and I feel like a new person.”
Three years and 180 lbs later, Tim Zeithamel holds the pair of shorts he wore to his first Bikram class (with wife Rachel Zeithamel).
Teacher training to share the love
In spring 2014, Tim and Rachel decided to attend a 9-week Bikram Teacher Training in Los Angeles. Planning stops at Bikram studios, the pair attended classes in Oklahoma City and Albuquerque en route. They have been teaching at BYT ever since. “I am in no way a yoga guru, but I know how it makes me feel and I want to share that with everyone,” Rachel said.
Tim encourages anyone who is hesitant to try Bikram, “Put all of your fears aside and give it a shot. The community of people here are very supportive. The community was really important for me to keep coming back because they don’t judge. It’s uncomfortable at first but there’s nothing in that room but support. You walk out feeling recharged.”
In addition to their recent venture as business owners, the two are both successful musicians. Rachel is the Director of the Toledo Symphony School of Music (TSSM) and privately instructs about 50 piano students. Tim is Associate Principal Violist of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin and viola.
Bikram Yoga Toledo, 5107B Monroe St. | 567-343-2298 | bytoledo.com