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1 minute Breakfast: Acai Smoothie Bowl

When I’m sick of making smoothies for breakfast, I go really wild and make… a smoothie bowl! Smoothie bowls are all the rage for many good reasons: they are easy to make, delicious, loaded with antioxidants (hello acai berries) and you can top it with fun nutrient dense superfoods (think bee pollen, hemp seeds, chia!). Eating it with a spoon is another plus because it forces you to sit and slow down (and hopefully eat mindfully), all of which aids digestion. It’s all too easy for me to down a large smoothie in 15 seconds and get an unpleasant brain freeze.

Eating low sugar fruits such as berries every day is a great way to ensure you are getting a healthy dose of anti-aging antioxidants, which help neutralize some of our toxic lifestyle (poor diet, pollution etc). I often do a simple experiment with my clients to demonstrate the power of vitamin C. I cut two slices out of an apple and sprinkle one with lemon juice but not the other. After a while, the slice without the lemon juice starts to brown and wrinkle, while the slice with the lemon remains unblemished and fresh. Guess what? The exact same thing happens to our skin and internal organs.

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When they are nourished with a steady supply of daily antioxidants from fresh food your body is able to combat aging, inflammation and chronic diseases. Why daily? Because Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that your body doesn’t store it for future use; any excess leaves the body through urine.  Bottom line is we need to ensure a constant supply of Vitamin C rich foods (think beyond berries and include leafy greens, parsley, kiwi, citrus fruit, red bell pepper, broccoli).

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff, what is a smoothie bowl? A smoothie bowl is just fruit (and sometimes greens!) blended to a frozen yogurt consistency with a splash of yogurt or almond milk and garnished with your favorite toppings. So it’s essentially your standard milk and cereal of the nutritionally conscious crowd. I like to use frozen fruit and very little or no liquid so my smoothie bowls often resemble ice cream. A strong blender, like the Vitamix or equivalent, is essential to making a smooth final product, you really don’t want chunks of frozen fruit turning off your peops (or your taste buds). And finally, a frozen banana is always a great addition to add sweetness and creamy texture.

Here are some of my favorite smoothie bowl combinations:

  • frozen raspberries/cherries, banana plus almond butter, cacao powder and spinach
  • orange, frozen mango and coconut milk
  • frozen raspberries, banana, peaches and organic greek yogurt
  • Pineapple, banana, frozen acai berries

Here are some of my favorite toppings:

Ania's Superfood Granola

Ania’s Superfood Granola

  • My Superfood granola
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • fruit: fresh berries, kiwi, banana slices
  • shredded coconut
  • cacao nibs
  • flax seeds
  • mulberries
  • bee pollen
  • pomegranate seeds

The fruit and veggie combinations are endless so in no time you will be hooked on creating pretty, Instagram-ready bowls (make sure you tag me 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries/raspberries
  • 1 frozen acai packet
  • fresh berries, granola, bee pollen, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts for topping

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a strong blender, like the Vitamix and blend on High until creamy and smooth for about 30 seconds. You would need to use the tamper that comes with the Vitamix to make sure the blades can grab the frozen fruit and blend it properly. Add a splash of liquid if it’s too thick. You are aiming for a frozen yogurt consistency.
  2. Top with fresh berries, granola, nuts and seeds. Serve immediately.
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Workshop Series: Awaken the Warrior within You

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED

Join us on Sunday, June 12th – 2pm-3:30pm at Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side for the next installment of our workshop series – Awaken the Warrior within You – led by Natalia Maldonado.

Learn how to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit.  Natalia will share a power talk on resilience , 5 moves with affirmations for upper body and core that will improve your Bikram Yoga practice and a meditation to relieve stress. You will leave this workshop feeling invigorated, empowered and focused. Pre-registation only. 

Awaken the Warrior within You

 

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR THE FALL

Memorial Day Weekend Schedule

Please be aware we have a variety of class cancellations this upcoming weekend on Monday. We expect the remaining classes to be busier than normal so please make your reservations in advance. Thanks and see you this weekend!

Pre-Summer Sale: 5 Classes for $99 + 1 FREE Class

Buy 5 classes for $99 and get one on us! These classes are valid any time at all 4 locations and have no expiration! Must be activated by July 1st.

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Bikram Yoga & Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path of Yoga

Would you like a map for living in the world with ease?  

Chrystine Cooper has put together her interpretation of Patanjali’s teachings and how they integrate with and can deepen your Bikram Yoga practice. Patanjali is often credited as the author of the Yoga Sutras which can be viewed as a guidebook to greater happiness in your life.  These texts written nearly 2000 years ago still resonate to this day.  Climb as high as you want onto the Eight Fold Path, and watch it transform you.  Here are two links that will help explain how it works and start you on a deeper journey: 

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/beginning-journey
http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/path-happiness

On the community board at each studio we will have this posted to help remind you of the steps and help make your practice that day a celebration of you.  


1st FoldYamas; moral imperatives.
How you treat others and your community.  The mirrors help remind us that we are all in this together, just like life.  Moving together and supporting each other creates an atmosphere of higher consciousness for us all.

2nd FoldNiyamas; how you treat yourself.
Your body is the temple for your soul.  Bikram yoga cleanses and nourishes you “inside out, bones to skin, fingertips to your toes.”  It is a total mind body workout.

3rd FoldAsanas; disciplined practice.
Patanjali wrote that “Asana is thus a posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless.”  Steady your gaze on one spot on your image in the mirror, move with the words, be diligent about your alignment and watch your practice transform as you gain a stronger mind body awareness.

4th FoldPranayama; awareness and control of breath.
Prana is often translated as ‘life-force’ and ayama  as ‘extension of’.  An awareness of your breathing has profound affects on your central nervous system as measured by the brain imaging capabilities of modern science.  The opening and closing breathing exercises in Bikram strengthen your respiratory system and improve stamina and the steady breathing through the nose throughout class will melt the stress away.

5th FoldPratyahara; withdrawal of the senses, freedom from cravings.
The more you practice you’ll discover that if you have applied the first four folds your willpower improves.  You’ll be able to resist the external ‘go to’ things when life’s waters get choppy.  You realize that the answers to your questions are inside you.  You are the one you have been waiting for.

6th FoldDharana; concentration.
Concentration is utilized throughout class, and the balancing series is where you begin to fuse your mind and body and concentrate on using your muscles to optimally support your skeletal structure.  You’ll discover this is the portal to transforming your class into a 90 minute meditation.  Still your body, still your mind.

7th FoldDhyana; mediation.
With your new concentration skills you will begin to move into a deeper moving meditation in class which will have profound impacts on your life outside the studio.  Patanjali wrote in the Sutras that ‘yogas is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind’.

8th FoldSamadhi; enlightenment.
Patanjali proposed that enlightenment could be experienced in delight within everyday occurrences, not just upon transcendence.  When you are doing something you really love to do, those are moments of samadhi to be savored.  The more you practice Bikram yoga the more blissful you’ll feel and the easier it will be to see moments of samadhi show up in your life.

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Yoga Science: How Bikram Yoga Effects Your Mental Health

Last week we shared a post about the physical benefits of making Bikram Yoga a regular part of your life. Since physical benefits are only part of the mind/body equation, we wanted to discuss some of the mental health benefits, supported by medical science, of course.

1)  Bikram Yoga reduces cortisol and binge eating

binge2

Overview from the Doctors: Cortisol reactivity to stress is associated with affective eating, an important behavioral risk factor for obesity and related metabolic diseases. Yoga practice is related to decreases in stress and cortisol levels, thus emerging as a potential targeted complementary intervention for affective eating. This randomized controlled trial examined the efficacy of a heated, hatha yoga intervention for reducing cortisol reactivity to stress and affective eating.

Full Study: Heated Hatha Yoga to Target Cortisol Reactivity to Stress and Affective Eating in Women at Risk for Obesity-Related Illnesses: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Funded by our friends at Pure Action

2) Bikram Yoga helps you sleep better

sleep

Overview from the Doctors:: Further studies are required to determine which aspect(s) of Bikram Yoga can be most important for impacting sleep physiology. For example, physiological changes could be attributed to changes in hydration, to performance of vigorous exercise in general, or to indirect effects (such as being more mindful about avoiding other disruptors of sleep). We did not detect any significant differences in terms of the portion of days in which subjects reported alcohol, caffeine, naps, or other exercise when comparing Bikram versus non-Bikram days (data not shown). Future studies should compare Bikram to other forms of exercise as well as forms of relaxation, to determine which aspect of Bikram was most relevant to effects on sleep. Specifically, Bikram Yoga was associated with significantly faster return to sleep after nocturnal awakenings

Full Study:  Decreased Nocturnal Awakenings in Young Adults Performing Bikram Yoga: A Low-Constraint Home Sleep Monitoring Study

3) Long term practitioners have larger grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with attention & self control 

selfcontrol

Overview from the Doctors:: These areas have been shown to be associated with sustained attention/cognitive control, emotion control, interoceptive perception and feelings of compassion, suggesting that long-term SYM practice may potentially enhance the functions mediated by these regions and consequently lead to neuroplastic enlargements.

Full Study: Increased Grey Matter Associated with Long-Term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study

 

4) Bikram Yoga lowers distress tolerance and emotional eating

emptions

Overview from the Doctors:: This study offers preliminary evidence for the benefits of yoga interventions for problems characterized by elevated stress and poor affect regulation. First, our findings underscore the promise of hatha yoga practice for increasing DT and reducing emotional eating tendencies. Second, our mediation analyses revealed a particular component of the cognitive processing of distress – Absorption – mediated the effects of yoga on disordered eating. Interventions that aid in affect modulation and enhanced coping are crucial for reducing the public health burden of an array of psychological disorders, and this study provides support for further development of specialized, mind-body interventions for those low in DT.

Full Study: The Effects of a Hatha Yoga Intervention on Facets of Distress Tolerance

These studies provide proof that a regular yoga practice can provide real world mental health benefits. Dr. Hunter, arguably the world’s leading authority on medical science as it relates to yoga, is hosting a research conference in Texas this summer dedicated to this topic. For more information click below.

Pure Action 1st Annual Research Conference

stacy-218x300Dr. Stacy Hunter received her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2008 where she studied racial differences in anaerobic performance. In 2011, she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education working in the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory where the focus of her dissertation was on the effects of yoga on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function. She has published several studies on the effects of yoga on indices of vascular and metabolic health. As a pioneer in this widely unexplored field, she performed the first yoga studies of their kind and continues her efforts in bridging the gap between the anecdotal and empirical evidence of the health claims associated with hatha yoga as the research director for PURE Action.

Summer Schedule at Upper West Side

We have a variety of class changes and cancelations that will take effect June 1st, 2016. The schedules will be posted at the studios, but are also now available online. Below is what June 1 through June 8 looks like at Upper West Side.

Summer Schedule at Upper East Side

We have a variety of class changes and cancelations that will take effect June 1st, 2016. The schedules will be posted at the studios, but are also now available online. Below is what June 1 through June 8 looks like at Upper East Side.

Summer Schedule at Midtown

We have a variety of class changes and cancelations that will take effect June 1st, 2016. The schedules will be posted at the studios, but are also now available online. Below is what June 1 through June 8 looks like at Midtown.

Summer Schedule at Flatiron

We have a variety of class changes and cancelations that will take effect June 1st, 2016. The schedules will be posted at the studios, but are also now available online. Below is what June 1 through June 8 looks like at Flatiron.