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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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Teacher Feature: Pejman Akbari

Pejman (PJ) Akbari began practicing Bikram Yoga in 2007 when he was suffering from back and neck pain due to years of office work, stress, and misalignment. At that time, he was a full-time professor of Aerospace Engineering in New York City.

After observing so many physical and psychological benefits, PJ quickly evolved his Yoga practice to a high degree and decided to switch his engineering career to become a Bikram Yoga teacher and share this unique practice with other people who are suffering from physical and mental discomfort.

When I am at work, I might not be the best one among my genius colleagues and sometimes I feel vulnerable, but when I am at my mat doing Bikram Yoga, I know I am the best because I am doing the hardest thing in the world!

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Posture of the Week: Wind Removing Pose

Wind Removing post helps prevents flatulence, which is the source of most chronic abdominal discomforts. It improves the flexibility of the hip joints and firms the abdomen, thighs, and hips. Strengthens the bicep and tricep muscles of the upper arms and all the muscles of the forearm.

3 Tips for this Posture:

  • The tendency is to take your time to get into the posture, but students receive greater benefits when getting into this posture quickly and staying in it longer
  • Use your arm strength evenly so you don’t roll to one side. Do your best to get both shoulders on the ground
  • In order to keep the back of your neck on the floor look with your eyes down the center line of your body
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Valentines Day Partners Workshop

Profile4-2-Edit-Edit-EditWe are incredibly thrilled to have Francisco Morales-Bermudez join us on Sunday, February 14th for a partners workshop at Bikram Yoga NYC Flatiron! Francisco travels the world bringing his workshop to countries like Japan, Peru, Denmark, Morocco and Mexico and this will be the first time it’s being offered in NYC!

Please note this is an all-levels class and no previous partners yoga experience is necessary. Don’t have a partner to come with? That’s OK! Francisco will team you up with someone at the studio. Have questions? Email us!

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

synergypicAll partner stretching, massage, strengthening, and flying techniques have tremendous healing and therapeutic benefits; physically and emotionally. Synergy classes teach these methods and techniques for people of all levels of ability.

WHAT’S A CLASS LIKE?

Each class consists of group circles, creative movement and warm up exercises, flying, partner stretches, strengthening exercises and thai massage. It is a 90 minute class and a space for students to slowly but consistently build on:

  • the physical skills of partner yoga:
    flexibility, strength, massage techniques, balance, and partner-assisting skills
  • the energetic attributes of the practice:
    trust, communication, playfulness, connection, listening, healing touch

While always inspiring a sense of community and unity.

PHILOSOPHY

464160570_1280x720Our philosophy emphasizes listening, compassion and understanding as important and essential pieces of the Synergy practice. Francisco is trained to listen to the needs of his students in order to understand and move at their level. Classes will aim to challenge your strength, flexibility, and communication skills in a healing environment.

Valentine’s Day Partners Workshop
Sunday, February 14th – 1:30 to 4pm
182 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor
$50 Pre-Registration Only
Includes mat and towels

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About Francisco

Francisco Morales-Bermudez founded Synergy Partner Yoga in 2005. Since then his mission has been to share this practice in order to assist people in alleviating pain in their bodies, maintaining physical well-being and cultivating trust, connection and a playful vibration.

Francisco grew up in Lima, Peru where he spent time in the ocean, playing soccer and becoming intrigued with healing touch. His intrigue turned into a passion and for many years he studied and learned from different art forms and exercise systems.

Francisco studied: creative movement through afro-peruvian folkloric dances and performances & breakdancing yoga “School of Life” yoga ashram with Victor Landa, Bikram yoga, yoga with Dharma Mittra and Rusty Wells. He also studied capoeira angola (an afro-brazilian martial art) with Mestre Cobra Mansa healing touch & thai massage with Kam Thye Chow. These experiences contributed to the formation of Synergy Partner Yoga today.

Francisco discovered that by creating a practice that brought together aspects of the art forms he studied, cultivated the space for healing. A healing that affected people emotionally, physically and spiritually in a profoundly positive way. Seeing how this practice changed his life and how it built community, transformed the way people relate and interact with each other, he decided to make it his mission to share what he had learned with as many people as possible.

Today Synergy has traveled to homes, studios and families around the Globe. It continues to expand and touch peoples lives through the growing, dedicated Synergy Teacher family, supported and guided by Francisco. Francisco conducts workshops, classes, teacher trainings, and continues to learn, evolve and grow through developing Synergy Partner Yoga as well as from the people he meets and the places on his life journey.

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Student Stories: David Levin

IMG_0605-(002)Almost 15 years ago, on Sunday, February 11th, 2001 I took a deep breath and walked up a flight of stairs to the original West 72nd  Street studio to attend my first Bikram Yoga class. A business colleague had raved about this hot yoga practice and told me it was life changing.  He said that it would not only alleviate my stress in the business of representing entertainers and athletes,  but I would lose weight, escape from my blackberry and cell phone for an hour and a half and possibly find myself again, after having been somewhat lost for years in the agony (and ecstasy) of living and working in NYC.

So there it began. And 90 minutes later, soaking wet, exhausted and out of breath (and overweight), I was hooked and knew I had found something special. Many of the people that stood near me in that first class are still at the Bikram Yoga NYC studios to this day and I smile each time I see them in class. My most memorable class was on September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on NYC. The room was not only filled with sweat, but with heartache, tears, anger and trepidation but most of all there was genuine hope and love for each other, for NYC and for the unfortunate families who lost loved ones. To be embraced by this yoga community on this horrific day was indescribable and it will forever be etched in my mind.

Having Bikram Yoga in my life and being part of the Bikram Yoga NYC community has been rewarding beyond words, not to mention the cosmetic effects of a 30-40 pound weight loss and a daily 105 degree (or more !) facial. This practice has given me balance in my life, kept me on a daily healthy path and taught me spiritual and life lessons that I believe have made me a better human being.

There are too many teachers to thank for guiding me over the 15 years but I must thank my first teachers –  Emily Weinberg, Mike McArdle and the incomparable Georgia Ballagian for their inspiration and  Donna and Jen for providing this sanctuary for our Bikram practice. I have practiced around the world and it is always great to come home to my (almost) daily practice at Bikram Yoga NYC.

To conclude I must mention my friend and teacher, Kathryn Leary. In her spiritual Bikram class she quotes so eloquently various philosophers and I have taken many of these brilliant statements to heart and they have become personal mantras. I would like to share the following two which have resonated most in my life:

Rumi: “What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.”

Buddha: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go  of things not meant for you.”

And as for my favorite posture…. that’s easy –  party time ! (or any posture when Angela is by my side?).

See you all soon in the hot room.

Namaste.
David

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6 Reasons to Make Bikram Yoga a Priority in 2016

It’s common in January for regular students (and new students alike) to commit to making Bikram Yoga regular part of their lives in the New Year. While some of the items in our list below are obvious, others might not be.

Do you plan to make a habit of regular visits to Bikram Yoga NYC in 2016? We hope so!

1) DETOXIFICATION

The heated environment in which Bikram Yoga is practiced promotes detoxification through sweating, and sweating is great on so many levels. It clears pores, smoothes skin, removes bloating and water weight, promotes weight loss and eliminates toxins that have been ingested.

2) IMPROVED MENTAL CLARITY

Everyone knows Bikram Yoga is good for strength, flexibility and overall physical health, but the benefits extend far beyond that in terms of the mental benefits our students report seeing when making the yoga a regular part of their lives. Indeed the assertion is backed up by medical science!

3) INCREASED STRENGTH & FLEXIBILITY

Bikram Yoga is mainly comprised of 3 things: 1) Balance 2) Strength and 3) Flexibility. It’s often the case that students are strong in one area and have room for improvement in others. With a regular practice, stronger students become more flexible, those without much balance see increased strength and already bendy yogis are able to focus on improving balance.

4) DEAL WITH REAL LIFE ISSUES MORE CALMLY

Working though 26 postures in 100+ degree heat requires a lot of fortitude and concentration. It also requires that you think calmly about your decision making process. “Do I push through or should I take a break?” A lot of that thinking can translate to your work, love and family life. Incorporating Bikram Yoga in your life benefits you and everyone around you.

5) LOOK BETTER NAKED

Everyone knows that incorporating Bikram Yoga in your life is great for leading a healthy lifestyle. It has very real benefits for weight loss, detoxification, improved strength, balance and flexibility, which usually make for a better looking body. However maintaining a regular practice also provides practitioners confidence. Confidence in life, with work, in love and yes, when you are naked in front of the mirror.

6) WE OFFER 300 CLASSES A WEEK LED BY 50+ INCREDIBLE INSTRUCTORS

Bikram Yoga NYC is proud to offer a huge variety of classes at 4 Manhattan locations, in 7 yoga rooms, that are led by an amaing team of 50+ instructors. We offer state of the art booking through our website and mobile app, offer 60/75/90 minute classes, lots of workshop options and plenty of studio amenities. With all that variety, we hope that making us part of your life in 2016 is as easy as possible.

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Holiday Charity Challenge Winners

On December 21st, 2015 Bikram Yoga NYC wrapped up our first ever Holiday Charity Challenge. The concept was simple, take 30 classes in 40 days and we will donate $50 to your favorite charity. We asked, you delivered! We had nearly 60 people enroll in the challenge ready to commit to their own well-being in both mind and body. In addition to the $50 for our challengers’ charities, we sweetened the pot with half a dozen prizes from Susan Ciminelli Spa, Kulae, Core Natural, Sylvia on Broadway and our own rewards as vouchers from Bikram Yoga NYC and credits for our Rewards program.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that just a few days ago we donated $850 to the charities dear to our challengers hearts. Below, we’ve listed the challengers who won the raffle would like to give everyone who participated a whole-hearty congratulations and well done!

Zandra S (The Chamber Music Center of New York) – Susan Ciminelli Gift Bag
Noriko N (Charity Coming Soon) – Kulae Gift Pack (Mat + Bag)
Michelle C (UNICEF) – One Case Core Natural Water
Annabella E (Team for Kids) – Bikram Yoga NYC $100 credit
Linden B (Circles of Support) – Bikram Yoga NYC 1,000 Rewards points

Congratulations winners! Please check your email for a message from us if you haven’t already.

We would like to acknowledge each person who took the challenge, successfully or otherwise. Whether you completed the challenge or not in no way takes away from the moment you decided to commit. And it’s that kind of moment, that we salute here at Bikram Yoga NYC. Commitment strengthens over time, but begins with a single decision: Commit to your practice.

Below is the list of charities to whom we made a donation in our students name. Take a moment to click through a few, or all, of these great charities.

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Special Event: Backbending & Meditation Workshop

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, January 24th
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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Teacher Feature: Jennifer Lobo

We sat down with our very own studio owner Jennifer Lobo for a Q&A session about yoga, life and being a busy Mom!

When and why did you start practicing Bikram Yoga?

When I was living in San Francisco in the 90s I was doing a lot of Marathon running, as well as skiing and playing soccer.  Two friends of mine, Sara and Mary Corpening, suggested I try Bikram Yoga as a good way to cross train.  I was hesitant because I had tried yoga many times and found it a little slow for my athletic background.  But after much encouragement, I took my first Bikram Yoga class. I remember the teacher saying “see you tomorrow” when I walked out and I thought she was crazy. But then, about a half an hour later, I felt like I was walking on clouds and my body had never felt lighter and better. So I went to class the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Bikram Yoga became part of my weekly routine and my running became easier and my Marathon times became better. In fact the last one I finished, I felt like I could run another 3 miles, and I was doing more Bikram Yoga than Marathon training!

What is your favorite thing about being a Bikram Yoga Instructor?

This is an easy one and I would say that most of our teachers would say the same.  The best thing about teaching this yoga is the satisfaction of seeing so many people heal injuries, change their bodies and also witness the new calmness that overcomes them in and outside of the room.

Tell us about your own practice

I love taking class as often as I can and I always enjoy class. There is no other time in my life that I can have a period when I do not have to talk, and can just listen and get deep into a moving meditation.

I am not a naturally flexible person so I have worked for every inch of my flexibility and I am a million times more flexible than when I started. I know that I am never going to be the person doing a standing split in the bow pose, but the benefits that I have gained from this practice are incredible, both mentally and physically.  I can now touch my toes easily even with 5 inch heals on with no problem!

This is why I push people who say “I can’t do yoga because I am not flexible.” HOW DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO GET FLEXIBLE IF YOU DON”T DO YOGA?!?!? People cannot stay on an exercise diet of pounding, running, weights, cycling, etc, without incorporating yoga into their routine. It is not healthy and sustainable as people age, especially in this age of technology and increased use of computers and smart phones.  We can’t hunch all day without some backbends!

You are a mother of three boys.  How do you balance being a business owner, wife and mother with your practice?

This is also an easy one – when I do not take a yoga class, I am not as good a wife, mother or business owner.  After I take a yoga class, I am able to be more efficient in my work, think more clearly and make better decisions.  As a mother and wife, I do not “blow my lid” when things get tough if I have taken a class that day.  From the moment I walk in the door to the time the kids go to bed, it is total chaos.  Then there are soccer practices, hockey games, basketball games, playdates all in between!  If I am about to yell or “lose it” I literally give myself a 1 minute “time out” and walk in another room and do a few pranayama breathing exercises. It really works!

So I make my yoga practice a priority in my life and make sure to try to get 4 classes in during the week. Weekends are reserved for kids’ sports!

What are you currently reading or listening to?

Unfortunately, at this very moment I am not deep into a great novel but hoping January will be a good time to start one.  I have been reading a lot of “The Week” to at least keep myself up on world events and news.  It is a great magazine that summarizes the major events for people who don’t have time to read the paper! For music, Ben Harper is always one of my favorites. I also still love the Grateful Dead and when I hear their music it takes me back to a time of much less responsibility so it’s a great way to relax!  Recently, an Uber driver turned me on to Vis a Vis – great stuff!

Favorite Inspirational Quote –

“You only live once” – so work hard and play hard.

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Make 2016 The Year of You

Happy 2016 Yogis –

Thank you for being a part of our family in 2015 and we look forward to seeing you at the studio in 2016! With the new year upon us, we’d like to outline some of what to expect in 2016 at Bikram Yoga NYC — from the yoga itself to our amazing staff that teach it, from the state of the studios to exciting events and more.

The Yoga

In 2015 we held more than 13,200 classes. While nearly all of them were the traditional 90 minute method, on October 1st we rolled out 75 minute classes, followed by a 60 minute class offering that started in November. All of these classes feature each of the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that make up the Bikram method, taking into consideration the busy lifestyles of our New York City area students. Haven’t tried one? Head over to our schedule.

Our Staff

Our knowledgeable and seasoned teaching staff are the finest group of Bikram instructors on the planet, bar none. With all of our veteran instructors remaining on staff from 2015 to 2016, we added several new faces to our staff in the last year. As always, we encourage you to take class with as many of our instructors as possible to find the one that’s right for you. Our staff is as unique as our students, each offering a style and personality unmatched by another. Head over to our instructors page to meet them and challenge yourself to take class with a handful of different teachers this year.

Our Editorial

In 2015 we made a strong push into publishing and improved communications with our students. We started a weekly email newsletter, usually with 10 features in each edition, that covers everything we offer at Bikram Yoga NYC from workshops and special classes, to teacher features, student stories and more. Think of it as a buffet of sorts, odds are there’s at least a few topics that might pique your interest. If you’re not subscribed, please visit our subscription page and sign up, you’ll be glad you did!

Our Social

We continued in 2015 with a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With more than 3.2 million impressions combined last year we reached people in over 75 countries around the globe. Leading the way with the most liked Bikram Yoga studio page on Facebook, we approached it cautiously keeping in mind a golden social networking rule for businesses like ours, 1 promotional post to every 9 editorial, human interest or original content pieces. Notably, in December we launched “Yoga Shorts” – short popular culture TV show clips that have been dubbed with yoga based conversation. Check out Jerry brings Elaine to Yoga, the inaugural episode.

Our Special Events

Perhaps our most well know special event of the year is Solstice in Times Square and 2015 was an exceptional year with June 21st also being the 1st Annual International Day of Yoga. An exciting, but little known fact, is that Bikram Yoga NYC conducted it’s own fact finding mission, meeting with leaders of the Government of India in their NYC headquarters, to determine how the United Nations official event could tie in with the Times Square event.

In 2015 we started a new series of workshops at the studio as well. In addition to our bi-annual posture clinic with studio owner Donna Rubin, we started a series of master classes. First with Craig Villani, then John Salvatore and in January with BridgettAne Lawrence. On Valentines day we have an exciting synergy partner yoga class in the works with Francisco Morales-Bermudez. Announcement is forthcoming, but in the meantime visit synergypartneryoga.com for more information.

Our Studios

If managing nearly 300 classes a week at only 4 locations requires an intricate ballet of well timed coordination and teamwork, then it’s the hard work and dedication of our amazing maintenance and cleaning staff that keep our facilities sterile and hygienic that deserve the credit. Unlike many other yoga studios, we employ paid cleaning staff to insure our studios are as germ free, the rental items are completely sterilized and the flooring maintains it’s certified hypoallergenic status. We made capital improvements too, adding new windows at Midown, new flooring at UWS, fresh paint, new chilewich and many other improvement at all 4 locations. Hats off to our resident maintenance manager Steve!

Our Promise

2016 marks Bikram Yoga NYC’s 17th year in existence. In that time we’ve offered over 200,000 classes and had over 4 million visits. Throughout the years we’ve honed our craft focusing on the most important things: quality of instruction, excellent customer service and the diligent maintenance of our facilities. In 2016 and beyond, we promise to continue our effort to maintain our high standards as they relate to all 3 – and that we put you and your goals at the very top of our priority list.

Thank you for making 2015 great and if there’s anything we can do to help make your experience at Bikram Yoga NYC a better one, we genuinely welcome your feedback.

Warmest Regards,

Kevin Gregor
Marketing Director