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Learning how to refresh mind, body

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When Rockaway Beach resident John Nash’s doctor told him to try yoga to help alleviate pain from a back injury he received in 1997, Nash was a bit incredulous.

The Queens man had never considered yoga as something he would want to do to relax, let alone as a remedy for an injury he received while working at his city Department of Sanitation job.

“My chiropractor told me I have to do yoga, and I just looked at him and laughed,” Nash said. “But, eventually, I was in so much pain that I was hunched over, and I finally took a yoga class. After two or three weeks of taking classes, I had no more pain. I haven’t had back problems since then.”

Nash, 37, became so much of a yoga convert that he and his wife, Yolanda, opened their own yoga business in Rockville Centre, L.I., six years ago. That business became so successful — it now has about 12,000 members — that they decided to expand their ventures and open up a site in Rego Park this winter.

Word has spread quickly about Bikram Yoga Rego Park, and the 12 teachers who share their time between Rockville Centre and Queens now instruct about 1,000 people at the 2,500−square−foot studio.

“We have 23 90−minute classes in heated rooms every week,” Nash said. “The rooms are between 100 and 105 degrees. In the first 15 minutes, the heat helps to loosen the connective tissue so it helps prevent injury. The heat also helps to release toxins.”

Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, who was trained in India and now teaches yoga in Los Angeles, and it involves 26 postures and two breathing exercises.

“The 26 postures are a series of postures that address general health and well−being,” said Nash, who became a certified yoga instructor in 2001.

For many of Nash’s clients, yoga has been a driving force behind changing their lives. Nash’s wife credits yoga with helping her to become more outgoing.

“My wife couldn’t stand her first yoga class,” Nash said. “She didn’t want to do it again. But she took it again, and it enhanced her life. She was so shy nine years ago, and now she can easily talk in large groups. Yoga makes you comfortable in your own skin.”

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