March 2014 Student of the Month

Renee Edward Torres

TorresPlease tell us a little about yourself.
I am a 46 year old, happily married, father of three boys. My happiest moments are spent with my smoking-hot wife Michelle, or watching/playing sports with my boys Silas, Joshua and Isaiah. I have been in and around the medical field for over 25 years including an Army Medic, a nurse, and my current role in medical sales. My other interests include music, reading, and volunteer work.
What brought you to the yoga practice?
I started practicing hot yoga as a way to try to undo some of the stupidity I put my body through as a young man. Yoga helped immensly, but the damage was already done- I had two torn disks with disk material wrapped around the nerve to my right leg. Surgery was inevitible, but my surgeon told me that practicing yoga “probably prolonged my need for surgery a few years.” I look back on my days of taking morphine and washing it down with alcohol, and I am grateful to God that I found the Union.
How often do you practice?
Ideally, I try to practice some mix of hot yoga and crossfit 4-5 times per week.
What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?
Growing up, I played all kinds of sports. I achieved my greatest level of fitness in my early 20’s serving in the military. Unknown to me, I had damaged my back and struggled to keep in shape in my 30’s-where fitmess became less of a priority with the demands of my career and a young family. Changing to a more sedentary lifestyle, and unawareness of how injured my back really was, lead to a lot of painful misery and frustration.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
After taking a year off from my surgery, I returned to regulary practicing hot yoga on the long road back to recovery. I am proud to say that alcohol and pain medication are no longer part of my life. I think it is also worth noting that the only rehab excersizes my renowned surgeon gave me to strengthen my back are yoga poses. ;) The Union/Bikram Yoga/Bust a Move Crossfit has greatly improved my quality of life through fun and fitness!
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?
Through my friends and instructors at the Union, hot yoga has become a part of who I am. When I look at myself in the mirror during my practice, I am usually smiling because of the humor I find in a guy my size in a pair of stretchy yoga shorts. I have become stronger and more flexible over the last couple of years. I also have become healthy enough to begin practicing crossfit at Bust a Move Crossfit. Crossfit satisfies my craving for intensity, while hot yoga keeps my body balanced and recovering easily.
What is your favorite part of the yoga?
I possess an intense personality and yoga provides me a way to center myself, while caring for my body. As a Christian, I frequently meditate on the Word of God and pray during my practice. No matter what worries or concerns I walk into the yoga room with- I am changed for the better in my body, soul and spirit when I walk out!