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Master Class w/ Craig Villani

Craig Villani is a highly experienced Bikram Yoga teacher and the former Director of Bikram Teacher Training. He is also the co-founder of LUX Yoga in France gives Bikram Yoga seminars and workshops worldwide. We are thrilled to welcome Craig back to Bikram Yoga NYC for a Master Class/Clinic on November 21st!

Whether you are a beginner at yoga or have been practicing with us for years, this is your chance to learn a lot more about Bikram Yoga and to take your practice to the next level. If you have questions about certain postures and/or your own practice, this is the perfect opportunity to get them answered.

Craig will take time to explain postures, give demonstrations and share information about the yoga during class. During class you will have the opportunity to ask questions as well. This will be an interactive session.

To learn more about Craig, please visit villanihealth.com

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Master Class/Clinic with Craig Villani
Saturday, November 21st
10am to 12:30pm at Flatiron
$50 in advance – $60 at the door
Limited to first 50 Students

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Craig Villani is a passionate student of life. He began speaking publicly at age six and won national awards for writing before graduating high school. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he entered into the developing field of health and fitness as a wellness consultant.

Craig has been teaching yoga since 1999 and served for nearly a decade as International Director of Education and Teacher Training for the Yoga College of India. Throughout his tenure, he guided thousands of yoga instructors and facilitators through what was widely considered one of the most challenging and successful hatha yoga training programs in the world.

He has led thousands of classes and hundreds of seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences, and retreats throughout the world, focusing on yoga therapy, mindfulness, and integrative health. Internationally recognized for his expertise in professional development and leadership, Craig’s practical and accessible teaching style is grounded in efficacy, precision, and a somewhat irreverent sense of humor.

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Scary Good Deals: 10cc + 20% Off Merchandise

Through October 31st, pick up 10 classes for just $149! Also take 20% off all merchandise including apparel, mats, bags at the studios. These deals are only available through Midnight on Halloween so don’t miss out!

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Pro Tip Series: Feeling Overwhelmed

It’s no mystery that Bikram Yoga is a challenging practice. The conditions in the room, while ideal for gaining flexibility without chance of injury may not seem favorable, especially to a beginner. More often than not, life is very similar. When are all aspects of your life in perfect order? And how often are you in total control of each and every aspect? Rarely! The way we practice will often reflect upon the way we face our challenges day-to-day. Cultivating patience, stillness, faith and breath may come naturally to some and take time with others, but a regular practice will indefinitely transform one’s behavior outside of the hot room. Feeling overwhelmed in class? Here are some suggestions on how to get through (because in most cases, the only way out IS through):

Breathe: always through your nose with your mouth closed (with the exception of our two breathing exercises Pranayama and Kapalbhati). Slow nose-breathing will calm down the central nervous system allowing your body to make the transition from merely surviving a class/posture to finding relaxation within it. Mouth breathing will evoke panic and activate a “fight or flight” response. Make your breath inaudible to your fellow yogis, only audible to you. Slowing down your exhale can further calm down your central nervous system and prevent you from going into panic mode.

Take Breaks: real breaks! Both beginner and veteran practitioners often need a break. If you are unable to control your breath, feel dizzy, light-headed or nausea a break might be necessary. It is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, it should be applauded because it’s an indication that you are listening to your body.

Taking a break is NOT sitting down for 15 seconds and then popping right back up. Sit out of an entire posture or several to reestablish calmness and breath. This will only serve in enabling you to finish your class strong. During the standing series try to keep your head above your heart when taking a break. Either take a knee or sit upright. Lying down and closing your eyes is not recommended. When you lay down blood pressure drops significantly which will cause dizziness when you get back to standing. Furthermore, closing your eyes will take you out of your practice entirely. Keep your eyes open and observe the class, you will likely learn something new!

Stillness: resist the temptation to fidget, move around, drink water (during postures) or wipe sweat. Fidgeting stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, promoting a “fight or flight” response and induces tension/stress in the body. Stillness is the key to gaining a calm and focused mind, giving you the opportunity to really listen to your body. It teaches you how to relax regardless of your surroundings and any discomfort you may be feeling.

Sweating is unavoidable; learn to love it! Keeping sweat on your body helps to regulate body temperature. Sweating is our bodies “natural air conditioner”- the evaporation of sweat off the skin prevents us from overheating. If you wipe sweat away your body will use energy to create more which will have the adverse effect of disrupting homeostasis making you even hotter.

Faith/Patience: have faith in yourself and the practice. Postures that once seemed impossible eventually become easier. Same goes for dealing with the conditions of the hot-room. While the effects of Bikram Yoga are often felt immediately after that invigorating post-class shower, do not expect changes to develop overnight. Nothing worthwhile and long-lasting occurs instantaneously. Bikram Yoga is NOT a fad (how did that Cabbage Soup diet work out for you?!), the series was created over 50 years ago with roots dating back to the 11th century. Keep a positive attitude knowing that millimeters eventually turn into milestones. Have faith in the journey. It may take you five years to touch your forehead to your knee…so what? The gratification felt after five years of hard work will certainly surpass any feelings of accomplishment if you were able to nail “head to knee” on your first day.  

Come back: return to class the next day ESPECIALLY if you struggled. If you wake up sore, find solace knowing that you worked hard. Muscle soreness is a buildup of lactic acid. This may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to relieve soreness is by stretching in a heated environment. Waiting too long to come back feels like starting all over again.

To derive maximum benefit and enjoy prolonged health, the series should be practiced on a regular basis. Bikram Yoga can be practiced daily, unlike most forms of exercise where rest days are necessary. As the frequency of your practice increases you will notice improvements, not only in the hot-room but in your life! Embrace the challenge that is Bikram Yoga…“with a smiling, happy face,” of course!

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Teacher Feature: Donna Rubin

Donna stumbled upon Bikram Yoga by accident while visiting her sister in Florida. The only yoga studio in the area was a Bikram inspired studio. After 3 days she was hooked when she realized that her body felt better, more flexible, and more in shape than after anything other form of yoga or exercise she did. After practicing regularly she realized that the physical and emotional benefits were something that needed to be shared and that set in motion a career transition from performer to yoga teacher to studio owner.

Inspiration – these words helped inspire real change in my life.

Do the best you can for today.

As long as you try 100 percent the right way you get 100 percent of the benefits.

This really helped me not be so hard on myself and gave me the space to be open to change.

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Posture of the Week: Eagle

Eagle Pose is the only pose that opens up the 14 largest joints in the skeletal system.  Eagle also supplies fresh blood to the reproductive organs and the kidneys, increasing sexual power and helping to clear up reproductive problems. It helps firm calves, thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper arms.  It also improves the flexibility of the hip, knee, and ankle joints and strengthens the latissimus dorsi, trapezius and deltoid muscles.  This posture is very good for varicose veins.

  • This posture can be really easy for some people and really difficult for others. Don’t force yourself into the pose.
  • Use a little momentum When you bring one leg over the other to help hook your foot around your calf muscle.
  • If you have trouble getting your foot under your calf muscle practice it in a seated position.
  • Try to get into the posture as quick as possible so you can stay in it longer and get the cardiovascular benefits.
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Score: Gravity: 0; Yoga: 3

After the class gratefully exited locust the other night, the teacher chastised us all for kerploping our four limbs to the ground. Lower them slowly instead, she said. Make the motion weight-bearing. Don’t give in to gravity.  Instead of taking that moment to be lazy, to let your legs and arms drop fruitlessly, exert muscle against gravity, lower them slowly, like barbells, using the opportunity given by gravity to grow strong.

“Don’t give in to gravity,” is a strategy that maxs out your postures. In triangle, for example, holding the torso aloft, so that the spine is a straight diagonal with the back leg, is far harder work than letting it curl down. Half the point of balancing stick is to resist the torso’s inclination to succumb to gravity and topple to the floor. Indeed every one-legged posture doubles the exertion against gravity, and the point is to bear that doubled weight and not give in.

Along with conquering gravity with muscular force, yoga also conquers gravity by toning the body, enabling it to resist gravity’s downward drag.  After age 40, the spine shrinks half an inch per decade. But this is not biology, not inevitable. It is caused by gravity compounded by laziness. Stretch the spine with yoga—and Bikram yoga focusses on the spine—and gravity will literally not lower you.  (And if you do headstands, those spongy discs in your spine get a chance to decompress and plump up, keeping your height.) And every teacher or blogger who extols yoga as the fountain of youth mentions the sag it reverses,  how it prevents the drooping and pebbling that gravity inflicts on thighs and arms.

If yogis don’t give in to gravity in our postures, and our bodies don’t give in to gravity because of years we commit to our practices, yogis also don’t give in to gravity in our hearts and spirits. As our teachers advice us over and over, “don’t let anyone steal your peace.”

The choice to emotionally or psychologically not crumble or rage at the grave is a choice to not give in to gravity.  Crumbling or raging will not change gravity nor the grave. Not giving in is the first step toward thinking, now what, what is the next step given this serious pickle? Thinking, not buckling to the weight or the downward force, while standing straight, feeling tall, and, well, defying gravity.

Score: Gravity, 0; Yoga, 3.

Namaste,

Yoga Lily

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Teacher Feature: Debbie Ginsburg

On a freezing winter day, Debbie accidentally walked into a Bikram NYC studio. She was looking for a wellness center located on the same city block, but—by fluke or fate—she ended up in the hot room. Debbie describes the benefits of her early yoga practice as “almost like magic”. As her practice deepened, it became a passion. Debbie traveled to Thailand for Teaching Training in Fall 2014. She is also a licensed Social Worker—and feels empathy and compassion to be essential when up on the podium.

Debbie’s inspiration:

At Teacher Training, I heard this great quote – “The darkest place in the world is under the brightest lamp.”  Bikram yoga is an incredibly honest practice – 90 minutes in the hot room.  Alone on your mat.  No distractions—no music, candles, Buddha statues. Not even any variation in the posture sequence!  It’s just you and your reflection—and, I think, that’s part of what makes the yoga so challenging.  But also so rich!  It’s a real opportunity to learn about yourself.  As your practice develops, you’ll notice changes in the way you think about yourself and treat the people around you.  I showed up to my first class with self-esteem that was seriously lacking. It took a couple years before I finally began to accept and appreciate myself.  It’s a tough journey–but stay the course.  This yoga really can change your life!

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Student Stories: Nicole Robertson

Nicole is a busy New York City mom with 2 kids, 2 jobs, 2 cats and 1 husband who also happens to be getting her Masters. Find out how any why Nicole makes Bikram Yoga a part of her life.

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Posture of the Week: Awkward

Awkward Pose will tone and shape your legs. The definition and strength you gain here are among yogas’ fastest results. It opens the pelvis and makes the hip joints more flexible and also firms the upper arms. This posture will increases blood circulation in the knees and ankle joints and will help to relieve rheumatism, arthritis, and gout in the legs, and helps to cure slipped disc and lumbago in the lower spine. Awkward Pose also promotes concentration.

3 Tips for the 3 parts of Awkward Pose:

Part 1
Most beginners don’t sit down low enough because they feel funny sticking their buttocks out behind them. It will feel very strange the first time you sit down all the way but it will help to increase flexibility in your hips.

Part 2
It is difficult to balance when you are standing on the balls of your feet. Think about locking your ankles in place as if you had ski boots on. This image will help you not wiggle your ankles in or out and just concentrate on bending your knees. Nothing else moves. Engaging your core muscles will help as well.

Part 3
If you are having trouble sitting all the way down because of knee issues, you may help yourself down by putting putting your hands on the floor to lower yourself down. Once you are all the way down, then lean back to get your spine straight and use your core strength to sit up a little off your heels.

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Making Strides: Central Park Walk Supporting Breast Cancer Research

Why Bikram Yoga NYC is Making Strides

Almost everyone has been touched by breast cancer in some way, so we’ve decided to make a difference by walking and raising money in our local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. The donations our team raises will enable investment in breast cancer research as well as provide free information and services for those diagnosed with the disease. More than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday this year!

Why We Support the American Cancer Society

Saving lives from breast cancer starts one team, one walker, and one dollar at a time. We know that the American Cancer Society is the leader in the fight to end breast cancer. We know that supporting them will ensure that if you need someone to talk to anytime of the day or night, they’ll be there. If your friend is losing her hair from chemo, your mother needs a ride to treatment, or a loved one needs a place to stay when treatment is far from home, they will be there to help.

How You Can Help

Join us and thousands of others in Central Park this upcoming Sunday, October 18th at 8am as we walk to support Breast Cancer Research. Want to help but can’t make it to Central Park? Visit our team page where you can make a donation to support the cause. To visit our team page please click here.

We are meeting at 72nd Street and 5th Avenue at 7:30am prior to registration. The walk begins at 8am. If you have any questions, please use the email icon in the bottom right corner of this screen to send us a message. Thank you and hope to see you there!

Details

Date: Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Time: 7:30am meetup, 8:00am walk
What to Wear: A Bikram Yoga NYC shirt or tank if you have one
Meeting Point: SouthWest corner of 72nd and 5th Avenue
Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy. Low of 39F, High of 54F, 41% Humidity
More Information or Donate Online

meeting