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5 things you can do to stay slim and sane during the holidays

Sausage filled stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, pecan pie, oh my! The holidays are a time for family, celebration and comfort food, but sadly for many also a source of anxiety about overeating and, consequently, weight gain. While attending family gatherings, work parties and social events is fun, those extra glasses of wine interfere with our appetite control and suddenly every high calorie food around us starts to look extremely appetizing. After all, we don’t want to be rude to our hosts… But when a one day celebration (Thanksgiving is not a four day feast!) turns into a month long libation, it’s time to set some rules that will keep you slim and healthy without feeling deprived.

Here are some things that you can do to counteract the dreaded holiday weight gain:

1. Change your mindset. 

Healthy living is a lifelong adventure rather than an inconvenient diet. There is nothing sinful about having a big Thanksgiving meal. So put on your finest and tightest outfit (overeating will be seriously unappealing in a skin tight dress or pants), leave your anxieties at the door and enjoy food and drink for this one day. The point is not to overindulge and use the holidays as an excuse to have cheesecake every day in December. If you do overeat, make Friday a detox day, complete with a green juice, lots of veggies and lean protein. This mini detox will rebalance your palate and stabilize your sugar cravings. Being able to self-regulate is the secret to a lifetime of steady weight.

2. Eat (lightly) before parties. 

Don’t “save” your calories! Keep your appetite in check and blood sugar steady by eating light meals and protein-rich snacks to avoid arriving at a party starving and devouring everything in sight. I find that eating a healthy breakfast is key to making good choices later in the day. A protein shake or a veggie egg scramble in the morning is all you need to keep you energized before the festivities.

3. Eat mindfully. 

Many of us eat in a rush, absentminded, distracted by our thoughts or conversation. Choose only the foods you actually like to eat. Don’t load your plate with aunt Mary’s stuffing only out of politeness. Next time you sit down to a meal, smell your food, chew it slowly and savor the texture and flavor. Put down your fork in between bites to ensure your brain has enough time to receive a signal of satiety (this takes about 20 minutes). If you have a sweet tooth, it helps to have a 3 bite rule when it comes to desserts. You will get to taste your favorite treat without the risk of overeating and regret later.

4. Keep up you fitness routine. 

Just because your in laws are visiting doesn’t mean you should skip your yoga class. Sure, the holidays are a busy time, so planning your exercise a week in advance is essential. When traveling, pack your runners, take advantage of hotel gyms or just head outside for a run. Thirty minutes of moderate jogging will burn off those two glasses of wine that you had last night. Plan ahead and make your commitment to exercise non-negotiable.

5. Consider intermittent fasting.

If the holidays left you with a few extra pounds and raging sugar cravings, rebalance with a gentle cleanse (think no wheat, dairy, sugar or alcohol for 5 days) coupled with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean severe calorie restriction; it’s simply eating within a specific time window of the day. For example, you may choose to eat between 10am and 7pm, essentially fasting for 15 hours. Alternatively, you may decide to restrict your calories to 500 per day for a couple of days a week and eat normally the rest of the week. This mimics the eating patterns of our ancestors, who did not have access to 24 hour grocery stores. The great news is that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, eliminate sugar cravings and normalize ghrelin, your hunger hormone. This may be the easiest path to wellness you’ve been looking for.

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Teacher Feature: Emily Faurholt

Emily found yoga in college while she was playing basketball for the university of Idaho.  However, it was when she finished her career overseas that she was looking for something to fill the void that yoga became a part of her daily life.

Emily fell in love with yoga as an expression of her love of dance and her love of sports.  Her meditative nature found a home in the quiet movements and focus of practicing the physical exercises of yoga.

As Emily pushed herself to excel in yoga the teacher and nurturer in her person desired to share with those around her.  In Fall of 2008 Emily completed her first training in Acapulco, Mexico with Bikram Yoga.  Since then she has completed trainings with Pure Yoga NYC, the Prenatal Yoga Center and Karma Kids Yoga as well as completing a mentorship with Kay Kay Clivio and a continuing education course with Forrest Yoga Guardian, Erica Mather.

Emily currently lives and teaches yoga in New York City.

Favorite quotes:

Get fascinated with your breath, it is what keeps you alive. – Tanya Boulton

Take a moment of gratitude for this incredible vessel that walks you through life. – KK Clivio

Favorite songs (Follow ‘Emily Faurholt’ on spotify for more great playlists).

Iron & Wine -- The Trapeze Swinger

East Forest - 10 Laws

Currently reading: “Anatomy of the Spirit” by Carolyn Myss

Favorite Prayer/Meditation:

May I be safe
May I be healthy
May I be free from all suffering
May I be truly happy

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Posture of the Week: Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

Cures and prevents sciatica by stretching and strengthening the sciatic nerves and the tendons of the legs. It helps the functioning of most of the internal abdominal organs, especially the small and large intestine and gives you added flexibility in the pelvis, ankles, and hip joints, and especially in the last five vertebrae of the spine.  This posture is very good for depression, loss of memory, constipation, abdominal obesity and helps with diabetes and hyperacidity.

3 Tips for Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

  • This picture is very difficult if you have tight hamstrings and lower back but the only way to improve is to practice everyday and let your muscles open up gradually. If you are really struggling to grab underneath your feet you might have to start by putting your hands on the floor In front of you and work on straightening your legs first.
  • It is very important to get in touch with contracting your thigh muscles when your legs are straight because contracted thigh muscles will relax hamstrings.
  • If you are very flexible please make sure your body weight is forward towards your toes and not back in your heals or your risk over stretching your hamstrings.
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Student Stories: Thomas Jackson

Thomas attended his first yoga class at age 50. Now 55, he reports having the energy of a 25 year old, takes no medication and after having years of difficulty trying to fall asleep, now does so effortlessly.

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Master Class Series: John Salvatore

We’re excited to present the next installment of our new Master Class Series!

John Salvatore was one of Bikram Yoga NYC’s very first instructors and was a mentor to many in our current teaching staff – he’s a Teacher’s Teacher! While many of our long time students will remember John and his amazing classes, the name might also be unknown for many. The unfamiliarity may be due to John’s new location in Las Vegas, Nevada where he has a starring role in the stage version of the popular Jersey Boys musical.

His Master class on the 17th will be the first time John has led one with us in over 5 years. The class will be an interactive session, breaking down each posture, discussing biomechanics, alignment, breath, depth and much more for each of the 26 postures and two breathing exercises in the Bikram method.

DETAILS
Thursday, 6:oopm – 8:30pm
Bikram Yoga NYC Flatiron – 182 5th Avenue
Checkin starts at 5:30pm

Questions? Email us!

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ABOUT JOHN
I decided to go to my first yoga class after a friend told me that it was the hottest and most challenging workout they have ever done. I never did yoga before in my life, but for some reason I felt compelled to go that very day. It was called Bikram yoga. Little did I know that this so-called “workout” I was about to casually throw myself into would end up changing my life. After my first class I was hooked. I practiced every day for 2 years before I made the decision to become a teacher. I honestly felt that it was a sin to keep this wonderful thing all for myself. I had to share it and felt inspired to pass on this amazing gift I had received. It was my duty. I graduated from Bikram Yoga’s teacher training in the spring of 2001. Since then, I have been teaching not only in my hometown in New York City, but all over the United States and now here in fabulous Las Vegas. Don’t ever give up, don’t ever lose hope and don’t quit 5 seconds before the miracle.

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Mat Chat with Donna Rubin featuring Ilene Kristen

matchatlogoIlene Kristen is an actress and producer, known for her roles in Ryan’s Hope, One Life to Live, General Hospital and Grease. Watch this week’s Mat Chat as studio owner Donna Rubin talks Bikram Yoga with Ilene.

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Posture of the Week: Balancing Stick

The forward tilt of your torso sends high-speed blood pouring into the heart, especially the neglected lower region, cleaning out the veins and all the arteries, strengthening the heart muscle.  The same rejuvenating flood rushes into the brain as well.  It is also one of the best exercises for bad posture.  By perfecting body control and balance it strengthens physical, psychological, and mental powers.

3 Tips for Balancing Stick:

  1. The hardest part about balancing stick pose it to take with you some of the things you worked on in the previous posture. Specifically focus on your standing locked knee. You will notice your thigh muscle will want to remain loose but you have to work hard to contract your thigh muscle.

  2. In order to keep your arms with your ears try thinking about your upper back muscles activating to make it a little easier.

  3. Before you bring your body down and leg up parallel to the floor transfer your weight to your standing foot and strong solid leg to stabilize your self and the proceed from there.

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Teacher Feature: Dionne Presinal

Born in New York raised in the Bronx, Dionne took her first bikram class in the summer of 2008 at Flatiron. It took her a couple of months to take her second class and now she plans her entire day around yoga. She can’t go a day with out practicing. She fell in love with the yoga’s physical challenges and mental relaxation. She graduated in the fall of 2011. She loves to see students achieve things in that room that they never before thought was possible. She has passion for what she does and believes that everyone can live a healthy and happy life.

Dionne wanted us to pass along this quote she enjoys:

” All great achievements require time. ” ~ Maya Angelou

 You can follow Dionne on Instagram under the handle @spiritualmsd

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Group Privates for Businesses

Celebrate this holiday events season by scheduling a group private class at one of our locations. Have your HR or Benefits Manager contact us to book a class for you and up to 50 of your co-workers!

At Bikram Yoga NYC we have 4 locations, 7 yoga rooms and capacity to host your company for a unique team building exercise that will leave everyone refreshed a rejuvenated. We can tailor the class to your groups availability according to date or even the length of class (60, 75 or 90 minutes).

Work with our booking manager to choose from among 50+ instructors to lead your team through 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. For more information, please contact privates@bikramyoganyc.com

Photos are from a recent class with the staff at SELF Magazine

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Posture of the Week: Standing Bow Pulling Pose

This posture transfers the circulation from one side of the body to the other, and then equalizes it-circulating fresh blood to each internal organ and gland to keep them healthy. Physically, it firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks and improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine.  It develops balance and increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs.  Mentally, this pose helps develop concentration, patience, and determination.

  • Standing bow pulling posture is a beautiful pose and you can really build from the last pose. You must still concentrate on your standing leg and make sure your knee stays locked and your thigh is contracted.
  • When you kick your leg back make sure you do not sink back into your heel. Keep your body weight forward so you don’t over stretch your hamstring.
  • The quicker you can get your body down parallel to the floor the more cardiovascular benefits you will get. Don’t give up.

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