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Student Story: Jorge Hidalgo

When did you start practicing at Bikram Yoga NYC, and why? 

In the summer of 2015. I have knee, hip, shoulder and wrist injuries from accidents and I am on a journey of healing and Bikram Yoga is an important part to getting there. Also to stay focused, get stronger and and my biggest desire, to be flexible.

Who are your favorite teachers and why would you recommend their classes? 

Pamela Herron, Patrick Lynch, Natalia Maldonado and Georgia Balligian.
They are loving and inspirational with their teaching.

What is it about Bikram Yoga that keeps you coming back?  

The relief my body gets from the pain I have from lifting weight and injuries and an accident I had long ago. It helps me feel more energize, present and gives me great strength. It supports my healing journey and self love awareness. And one of my dreams today in life is to be flexible.

image4-1Favorite posture?  

Sit up and savasana.

Least favorite posture?  

Sasangasana/ Rabbit pose.

Has being a regular practioner of yoga helped your work life? 

Yes , I am a massage therapist and it helps by giving me strength and focus I need during my sessions.

What would you say to someone new who’s unsure if Bikram is for them? 

Listen to your body not your mind. Keep coming back until you are one with the class.

Do you live by any inspirational quotes? 

Let go, let God/The Universe in and just show up.

What is one thing you love about Bikram Yoga NYC? 

Is 2 blocks away from my home, the teachers are inspirational when they live by the words they use. Judgment free zone!

Final thoughts? 

At times when I am in class, I notice how what am feeling projects onto my practice. But the moment I focus and let go of my mind, and just breathe, I can do more than I think I can and become present. It’s like pressing a reset button. It’s a hardcore class but so worth it, I referred a few of my friends because I believe the beauty of life is sharing… so sharing such an amazing practice that helps heal people is a total pleasure.

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Posture Of The Week: Bow Pose

Improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen. It helps straighten rounded spines, relieves backaches, and improves pigeonchest by opening the rib cage, permitting maximum expansion of lungs and increased oxygen intake.

Bow also revitalizes all spinal nerves by increasing circulation to the spine. It improves digestion and strengthens abdominal muscles, upper arms, thighs and hips (it is especially good for increasing the flexibility of dancers’ hip joints). It also improves the flexibility of the scapula, latissimus dorsi, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.

3 Tips for Bow Pose:

  • When grabbing your feet, make sure that you place your hands over the center of the foot between the toes and the ankle. Also be sure to keep your wrists strait.
  • Before you start to kick be sure to bring your knees together so that while you’re kicking your knees stay in alignment with your hips.
  • The kicking action is in two directions, both back and up. When you are kicking in both directions equally, the body weight will be in the soft part of your abdomen.
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Teacher Feature: Justine Kay

I plunged into the hot room and committed to my first 30 day challenge at a time in my life when I had let my guilt of things past and fear of moving ahead keep me running in circles with severe back pain and a job that paid my bills but did not fulfill my passions.

On the surface everything was fine. I was a hard-working artist in a loving , healthy relationship and I felt lucky to be living in one of the most diverse and forward-thinking cities in the world. But I felt stuck in my chosen career path and finally my body forced me to pay attention to what was happening deep inside.

Sciatica had reared its ugly head in my lower spine and with it came crippling hip pain that forced me to pay closer attention to how I was treating my body, mind and spirit. I knew there had to be a way to heal that was natural and addressed the root of my condition, not just its symptoms.

I didn’t have health insurance so I had to find another way outside of the traditional medical system here in the US. I found some relief with community acupuncture & a compassionate chiropractor, but those were just temporary fixes. I knew I needed to do something more proactive. Something that would not only heal the pain temporarily, but prevent it from recurring repeatedly.

For years I had flirted with all different kinds of yoga, including Bikram yoga, but never maintained a frequent practice. It was at this time that I knew I had to make a commitment, and I knew it had to be Bikram because no other class had ever made me feel as good, mentally, emotionally and physically. In fact, I found I often aggravated my back in other classes. So after I took the plunge with that first 30 day challenge, I maintained a regular practice, 3-4 times a week.

It was never easy, but I was determined. I asked my instructors a lot of questions. I came to class even when I really didn’t feel like it and was still feeling some pain. I took it easy when I had to, but I continued to practice regularly. After one year of dedicated practice, I didn’t have to visit the chiropractor or receive acupuncture anymore. I was truly healing and truly amazed.

However, just as I was starting to experience some long term benefits and was ready to celebrate my one year anniversary with another 30 day challenge, it became very difficult for me to afford classes. Fortunately my home studio offered a work study program in exchange for classes. I enrolled and the studio owner quickly recognized my diligence and strong practice. She invited me to attend their advanced classes and I began practicing postures that only a year earlier would have brought me pain just thinking about them. It blew my mind.

As I was practicing and healing in the studio, I also found the courage and confidence within myself to pursue an artistic project of my own in India and Nepal. I created a Kickstarter fundraiser and received full support for the project, which combined photography and meditation with travel and the art of observation. In order to see the project through from beginning to end, it took enduring patience, determination and faith in my ability to persevere and succeed against the odds. All things I had improved with my Bikram Yoga practice.

justinecamelAfter one year of advanced practice I competed in the USA Yoga Regional Championship in New York City. I choose to perform a posture that had me bend my spine so far back that I was able to grab my heels with my hands, elbows on the floor, while touching my face in between the soles of my feet. I was convinced. This amazing, healing practice, was something I needed to share with others. So I made another commitment to myself to make it to teacher training, however possible, as soon as possible.

It took quite a bit of sacrifice, but six months later, in Fall of 2013, I made it happen. I could never have done it without the support of my family and the advice and encouragement of my many teachers and mentors. Two and a half years after making that first serious commitment to healing and growing with Bikram yoga I became certified to teach it. Now after over two years of teaching, I can say for certain that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

The transformational power of this practice is evident to me, not only in my personal life, but also as I witness it improve my students’ lives and from the multitude of stories I’ve heard from other practitioners. Over time, the extraordinary physical results are accompanied by genuine mental and spiritual growth. A dedicated, consistent Bikram Yoga practice can truly help build the foundation for a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Justine is also a photographer.

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Special Event: Backbending / Meditation Workshop with Yarrow Kae

Clinic sponsored in part by OMSHOP

Clinic sponsored in part by OMSHOP

What do we do with our pain? Do we let it destroy us? Or, do we let it transform us? Yarrow Kae invites you on a journey through your heart center into the most vulnerable places of you. She takes you to the places that have brought you deep pain in order to alchemize it into light. To begin that journey she will tell you her story, how she sat with her pain, and how she learned and grew from that pain.

This is a vinyasa flow and backbend workshop designed to crack open our heart chakra, which holds our most potent emotional pain. Together we will dissolve blockages that keep us from reaching our fullest potential, ones that keep us trapped within our pain. Under her expert guidance we will identify the pain, release it, and transform it into light, love, beauty & poetry.

Some of the greatest art has been made as a result of emotional pain. The more quickly you get in touch with yours the more quickly you will be able to alchemize it into light and give your unique gift to the world.

Workshop includes:

  • 75 min vinyasa flow and backbend workshop to ignite your heart
  • kundalini meditation techniques to remove blockages
  • chakra clearing
  • pranayama breathing techniques
  • free write journaling
  • heart-centered meditation
  • restorative yoga designed to soften your heart and free your spirit by getting you in touch with your most valuable trait, your vulnerability

Sunday, March 20th
Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side
173 East 83rd Street – 2nd Floor
1pm to 4pm
$45 in advance $55 at the door

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[mk_countdown date=”3/20/2016 13:00:00″ offset=”-5″]
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Bikram Yoga NYC Featured in the Wall Street Journal

Last week Bikram Yoga NYC owners Donna Rubin and Jen Lobo were interviewed for a story about 30 Day Challenges by the Wall Street Journal. Having started these challenges back in 2002, Bikram Yoga NYC was among the first, if not the very first boutique fitness studio in NYC offering these challenges.

See the live article here!

If you are blocked or encounter a paywall, or registration prompt, you can view the full article in PDF form by clicking here.

We’re also thrilled that the editors chose to lead the article with a feature image taken by our very own Marketing Director, Kevin Gregor!

Interested to know more about the challenge? Click here.

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Posture of the Week: Full Locust

This posture firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks. It increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs, improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine and most of the body’s muscles.

Three Tips for Full Locust:

  • The stronger you can make your arms and legs, the lighter the body actually feels as you lift up off the floor. Also try squeezing your fingers together to lengthen and strengthen the arms even more.
  • This posture is the perfect asana to practice  the 80/20 breathing exercise. Exhale all of the air out of your lungs as you are lying flat on the floor and inhale fully as you lift your body up off the floor. When you reach your maximum, exhale 20% of air out of lungs and then inhale as you lift up a little higher. Try this one or two more times until you reach your full expression.
  • Think about lengthening the crown of your head up towards the ceiling while lifting your chest up. Many students tend to drop their head back too far which inhibits their ability to left up higher and open the chest up.

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5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

1. Start thinking of food as medicine.

It is not a surprise that a healthy diet is the cornerstone of a strong immune system. It all starts with what we put in our bodies since food is our primary defense against illness. But how do you define healthy? To me, a healthy diet is mostly a plant-based lifestyle, rich in fruit and vegetables – especially dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Lots of people eating the Standard American Diet are deficient in micronutrients, substances that your body needs in small amounts but are very important for good health (think zinc, selenium, magnesium, vitamin C and K etc). A well planned out plant-based diet will ensure you get all the nutrients you need, keep inflammation at bay and protect you not only from colds and flu but also from chronic diseases that plague our society.

Does plant based mean vegan? Absolutely not.  Eggs, wild fish and pastured chicken (from clean sources) are great sources of protein. I recommend eating protein (plant or animal) with every meal to help you feel full and heal and repair your body. Just remember to eat meat as a side, the size of your palm, not as the main event.

2.  Nurture your microbiome

We have trillions of healthy bacteria living in our digestive tract that perform countless functions in our body. From helping us digest our food, defending against pathogens to affecting our mood, they are incredibly important influencers of our health. This invisible ecosystem of bacteria living inside you is called a human microbiome and numbers anywhere from  30-100 trillion microorganisms (weighing about 3 pounds!). You could say we are more bacteria than human!

Since 60-70% of our immune system sits in our digestive system, feeding your microbiome is one of the most important things you could do to build great health. Unfortunately, bad diets, antibiotics, stress and environmental toxins can throw this delicate ecosystem out of balance, encouraging bad bacteria to grow and lowering our immunity. Probiotics are extremely helpful in replenishing us with healthy bacteria and bringing us back to equilibrium. Find a strong probiotic (at least 50 billion CFUs) with multiple strands and incorporate taking it into your daily routine. I like to buy a (refrigerated) powder and add it to my smoothies.

3. Supplement wisely

Certain supplements and herbs can be extremely beneficial to both preventing and treating colds and flu.

  • Vitamin D, actually a hormone, is a wonderful miracle worker and sadly many of us are deficient. Since sunlight exposure in not enough in the winter, supplement daily and consume oily fish, grass-fed butter and eggs.
  • Zinc is a mineral essential for the immune system to work properly. If you don’t get enough from your food (shellfish, pumpkin seeds, lentils) or have been getting sick a lot, take a supplement to boost your immunity.
  • Essential fatty acids Fish oil is a superb anti-inflammatory and important for mood and brain development. Eat low mercury fish (sardines, salmon) twice a week or supplement with cod liver oil (ex. Nordic Naturals, Carlson).
  • Elderberries have been used for many centuries as a natural antiviral remedy to treat cold and flu symptoms. Studies also show that they can shorten flu duration by up to three days, alleviating allergies and boost immunity. Gaia makes a great tasting syrup that goes well in your or your kid’s smoothie.

4. Get enough quality sleep

Like a healthy diet, sleep is one of those no-brainer health boosting strategies that most of us conveniently ignore. But there is no way around it. On average, human beings need 7 hours of sleep for our bodies to rejuvenate and function optimally. There is a strong link between lack of sleep and an impaired immune system, making you more likely to get sick during periods of sleep deprivation. So make it your personal challenge to hit the sack on time and then watch your focus, mood and immunity skyrocket.

5. Get a handle on stress and anxiety

It’s not easy to stay calm in our overscheduled and overconnected world. Stress releases cortisol, which in turn suppresses your immune system and makes us more susceptible to catching whatever is going around. Studies show that exercise can alleviate stress and anxiety. So can focusing on the present moment. My favorite way to handle the crazies in my head is finding 10 quiet minutes to focus on my breath. There are countless books and resources out there, but lately I’ve been using the Insight Timer app. It’s a tool that has hundreds of guided meditations from practitioners around the world that will lull you to calmness or sleep, whatever you desire.

Need a practical boost right now? My Super Immunity Elixir is a smoothie I drink in the mornings when I feel rundown and needs a little boost. This smoothie is full of superfoods: Vitamin C rich fruits like lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit, anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric, and detoxifying vegetables like kale. This stuff will make you feel revived and able to defend against any nasty bugs that come your way.

SUPER IMMUNITY ELIXIR

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cup water or coconut water
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ lime
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 small piece fresh turmeric (or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric)
  • Optional: frozen banana, kale, parsley
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a powerful blender and drink immediately.
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Teacher Feature: Lesley Klose

This week we’re thrilled to feature Bikram Yoga NYC General Manager and Instructor, Lesley Klose!

Lesley has been a New Yorker since 2002, but didn’t discover Bikram Yoga until 2007, when a friend suggested she give it a try.  Knowing that she came from a theater/dance background, he thought it might be “right up her alley.”  Reluctantly she came, but has been hooked ever since.  The rest, as they say, is history.  She started managing for the company in 2010, and finally made it to Teacher Training in the Fall of 2013.  Needless to say, she is thrilled to be part of the BYNYC family!

Here’s a short Question and Answer session we had with Lesley recently:

1) What year did you attend training? Why did you go?  

I went to training in LA in the fall of 2013. I wanted to be a Bikram Teacher almost right away after I started practicing. I fell in love with this practice after my first class and knew shortly thereafter  that I wanted this to be a big part of my life. 

2) What is your favorite thing about being a Bikram Yoga instructor?

Being able to create relationships with clients and watching them change and grow, physically and spiritually with the practice.

3) Tell us about your own practice. Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?

This has shifted a lot for me over the years.  It is hard to just give one posture.  What was hard for me when I started, is different now and has changed more since I had a baby. Postures that were easy before I was pregnant are now more difficult. I think that’s a big part of the practice. Every day it is different. One day I can do something, the next day I can’t. The key is to just be in the moment, trying my best the right way, breathing through it,  and excepting what it is for the day.

4) You are a new mother. How do you balance being a Bikram Yoga NYC’s General Manager, a mother and wife, with your practice?  

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie about that. I have learned to cherish the time I get to practice and teach as well as my time with my family. It is important to do both. Being a mother has made me more patient as a teacher and has taught me so much, while my practice is making me a better mother. It really does work hand in hand.

5) Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?  

This shifts for me quite frequently as well.  Right now, it is a quote one of the staff members at training used to say. “Trust the process”  This works on so many levels.  In the hot room, it is trusting the practice and the teacher, not worrying about whether it is too hot or to cold.

It also works in life.  The universe has a way of throwing different things at you, so sometimes you have to just trust that things will all work out. I wont say that I always follow that way of thinking, but it is a good thing to try. 

6) What are you currently reading or listening to?

Lots of kids books, kids TV shows, etc. With my new little man at home that is where my focus is these days.

7) Any final words?

I am just so thankful for this practice.  I come from a dance/theatre background and I didn’t know if I would ever find something that I was as passionate about, until I found this.  It really is amazing.

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Taylor Swift Invents A New Yoga Pose: Pegacornasana

On The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Swift talks about her love for yoga, when teachers get caught up in a correction and a new yoga posture she invited: Pegacornasana. Watch the video below!

#yogashorts #parody #grammys #pegacornasana