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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Emily stumbled into her first Bikram Yoga class back in 2005, and she has been practicing ever since. She is truly grateful for the balance the practice has brought her, both mentally and physically. The same year that she graduated from Bikram teacher training she co-founded a nonprofit dance organization, and the yoga has been an important part of her life while trying to make artistic work in New York. Yoga has helped her to both heal and prevent injuries from dancing, to focus on long-term goals rather than short-term difficulties, and to learn how to properly rest both her mind and her body. While many artists wait tables or work temporary jobs, Emily considers herself truly lucky to teach and finds tremendous inspiration from her students.
Beyond the hot room, she has served as a performer, choreographer, as producer on both the east and west coasts. Her most recent adventure, outside of General Mischief Dance Theatre, was dancing for Weird Al Yankovic.
Favorite random adventure of 2015: Dancing in a fun stunt for Improv Everywhere
Emily’s Favorite quote:
The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. –Margot Fonteyn
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.
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).
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
Lisa began practicing Bikram yoga in 2001 and found that a regular practice resulted in numerous physical and mental benefits. She took a break from the corporate world during the summer of 2004 to attend Bikram’s teacher training in LA. Although she currently works at an asset management firm, she enjoys teaching a few classes a week and finds that doing both brings a sense of balance to her life.
To make the right choices in life you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions – Deepak Chopra
The Mountain Shadow, by Gregory David Roberts…which happens to be the sequel to my favorite book ever, Shantaram
Favorite things, besides yoga (of course):
Cooking – working my way through Yotam Ottolenghi’s amazing cookbooks
Hiking… both in upstate NY and around the world…thinking that a trip to Patagonia, Chile is going to be next
Wandering… around NYC discovering new restaurants, cute shops and cool street art
Upcoming Silent Class
This upcoming November 22nd, 5pm at Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side, Lisa is leading a Silent Class. Online booking for the class opens on Sunday, November 15th. Important: Students must have taken at least 10 classes in order to participate.
Lisa’s description of the class:
I think it is a great chance for students to deepen their practice, as they are able to really focus on their breath while in the postures. And really, as New Yorkers, particularly this time of year, everything is so hectic, it’s a nice chance to do something they love in a new and different way. I always find that in silent classes, students almost intuitively know what to correct/adjust. The classes always seem really calm and peaceful.
Eddie Marco, a native of Miami, Fl., is an accomplished musical theatre performer who has performed all over the United States, as well as abroad. While on tour in Washington, D.C., Eddie was introduced to his first Bikram class and was instantly hooked to this amazing series.
After a few months of steady practice, he decided to head to Bikram’s Yoga World Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. A graduate of Bikram’s Yoga Fall 2003 Teacher Training, Eddie has taught all over the NY Metro area including South Beach and North Miami.
Some quotes that inspire Eddie:
“The only way to succeed, is to not worry about what anyone else is doing”
“If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO”
“If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place”
It all started in the summer of 2011 with severe back pain.I had been an active gym goer and was in excellent health so it seemed like a minor back injury.As the pain got worse I was referred to a spine specialist who suspected a disc problem and ordered an MRI.The results were shocking in that a tumor the size of a fingernail was found growing in my spinal cord (at L1) attached to several nerves.
So, the tumor, later biopsied as an unusual Myxopapillary Ependymoma, a low-grade form of cancer — had to come out.In October, I underwent a 5-hour neurosurgery where 99% of the tumor was removed.The surgery required a delicate procedure called a triple laminectomy that refers to the removal of a portion of three vertebral bones to get to and open the spinal cord to remove the tumor.After five days of immobilization where I could not lift my head (to prevent loss of spinal fluid), I recovered sufficiently to sit up in bed for two additional weeks.During that period, it remained unclear if I would walk again.
Fortunately, the nerves sacrificed in the surgery did not deter me from starting the three months of therapy to walk again despite some neurological damage and chronic pain.Six more months of physical therapy and pain management followed but simple tasks like picking something up from the floor felt impossible.The chronic pain persisted.
Two years ago, one of my best friends, a woman six years my senior, then at the age of 76 — said let’s try something very different and maybe counterintuitive as she invited me to her Bikram yoga class in Midtown, where we fortunately met Georgia, who is absolutely amazing.She assured us that we were not “too old” or “too disabled” for yoga and that we were very welcome.
The last two years I have been practicing up to three times a week, with some disruption from travel.Interestingly some of the balancing work is very similar to the physical therapy routine for my spine recovery. Though the spinal series in class was at first unachievable due to pain, I can now work through the pain and find value because these routines later provide symptom relief for a full day or more after class, strongly improving my daily quality of life.
A special thank you to Christine and Jon who have worked with me on several helpful adaptations to protect my back. Being a scientist by profession, I was first hesitant to connect with the emotional side of yoga, but I started listening to Christine about this and now appreciate the positive mental benefits.
Importantly, after two years of mostly hiding in the back of the room and feeling sorry for my disabled self, I am now feeling rather proud of myself as a man in his seventies with a compromised spine who is fighting back against an ambiguous and rare cancer.As a Professor of Medicine, take it from me – friends and yoga can be good medicine.
Practicing Bikram Yoga since the summer of 2000 and teaching since December 2005, Chrystine is a devoted Bikram Yogini. She grew up out west in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada and moved to The Big Apple in September of 1986. Bikram Yoga has taught her the tremendous importance of the mind-body connection in overall health and well being and she feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to help guide people through their practice.
We asked Chrystine to put together some of her inspirations for this teacher feature, and goodness did she deliver! The following content is directly from Chrystine…
We all have various things that inspire us throughout our lives and in addition to my yoga practice here are a few things that are giving me hope and good cheer these days.
Some of my favorite quotes
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor worry about the future, but to live to the present moment wisely and Earnestly.
Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness for both sides.
Blayne Zucker decided to give Bikram Yoga a try in 2006 when she heard it was one of the best solutions for healing pattelar tendonitis. She discovered that after years of trying different solutions such as physical therapy and orthopedic steroid remedies to alleviate her knee pain, Bikram Yoga was the only cure! Blayne decided to combine her love for performing, teaching, and helping to heal people by becoming a certified Bikram Yoga instructor. She completed Teacher Training in the Fall of 2013, and is honored to be working both as a teacher and weekend manager for Bikram Yoga NYC!
Blayne on working through discomfort:
One of our biggest challenges in the hot yoga room and in life in general, is working through discomfort. When I finally learned to stay on my mat and breath through the discomfort, I was able to face uncomfortable situations in and out of the hot room much more effectively and productively. This is a lifetime practice of learning to find breath and relaxation within the discomfort.