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Karma Spotlight: Elizabeth Aquino

Elizabeth is a native New Yorker and took her first class in 2011. Her mother introduced her to yoga and thought it would be good for her scoliosis. With a busy life as a mom and a freelance performer, Elizabeth practiced when she could. When her mother passed away in 2015 she started practing more regularly and joined our Karma team at the Upper East Side. After taking a break due to a few injuries, she returend to the Karma program and her practice in 2017.

What she enjoys most about being a Karma Yogi is feeling like she is part of a family. When she comes to the studio, it feels like a second home. She also loves making friends at the studio and practicing with a group of people that are like-minded.

Currently Elizabeth is practicing often, getting into the yoga room at least 4 but sometimes up to 8 classes a week! What keeps her motivated is watching herself grow in mind, body, and spirit. It really is addicting!

Elizabeth has practiced all of our classes and truly believes that Bikram Yoga is well complemented by Hot HIIT, Hot Vinyasa, and Yin Nidra. Hot HIIT has been especially transformative for her and she loves that it is like a party instead of a workout!

Elizabeth is still a performer and is currently a director of children’s musical theater in Times Square. In her spare time she loves traveling, sitting on the beach, cooking, reading, gardening, going to support her friends in their shows, and drinking good wine with her husband and friends.

Are you interested in joining our Karma Program? Click here to learn more!

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Karma Spotlight: Silvia Medina

Silvia is a dedicated Karma Yogi at our Flatiron studio and long time practitioner.

How long have you been practicing Yoga?
15 Years

What brought you to our studios?
I took my first Bikram class 15 years ago with my best friend. I immediately fell in love (she didn’t). Within months I signed up to become a permanent karma member and in 2008, I completed a 100-day challenge during one of the busiest times of my life (finishing my MS thesis, working a full-time internship during the day, and a part-time gig nights).  After having my daughter in 2010, I transitioned into a Karma substitute.

What do you enjoy most about being a Karma Yogi?
In my professional life, I’ve held very demanding roles and experienced quite a bit personally. I’ve also lived in six different cities during my karma program tenure. One thing has always remained consistent – the fact that after crawling (sometimes 😀) the flights of stairs, I’ve seen Flatiron as a second home.

How many classes a week do you take?
I currently take an average of five classes a week, but look forward to reinvigorating my practice
by completing a modified 100-day challenge.

Have you tried our bodē360 program? ( 3 hot yoga, 2 hot hiit, 1 yin nidra a week?)
No, not yet. I travel an average of 2-3 days a week in my current role.

What profession are you in?
I manage Hotel Solutions in the Americas region for a company focused on corporate travel spend.

What are your favorite hobbies/passions?
Quality time with family/ friends, reading with my 8-year-old, working out (especially Bikram!)

Thank you, Silvia!

Are you interested in learning more about our Karma program? Click here to read more and to apply.

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bodē360 Review: Aryn Kyle

bodē360 reviews are in!

Check out what long time practitioner Aryn had to say about the program!

Did you complete the challenge?
Yes

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hardest), how difficult was the challenge?
3

Would you recommend the challenge to a friend?
Yes

Did you lose weight, gain strength or increase your flexibility? Please describe your outcome in a few sentences.
All of the above. It was great! I’m a pretty religious practitioner in general, so the challenge wasn’t too different from my normal routine, but it did encourage me to take a few Yin classes (which I don’t usually do), and I really loved them and plan to fold more of them in to my practice.

Do you have any additional comments?
I’ve belonged to the studio for over eight years now, and I just wanted to say how much I love the community and how important it is to me. You have such wonderful teachers, and the new classes are fantastic. Thank you so much for providing this oasis. I really don’t know what I’d do without it.

Click here to get more info on our bodē360 program!

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Ambassador Spotlight: Hope Adams

I have been practicing yoga consistently for about 2 years. I initially came to bodē NYC because my friend was telling me how the classes were great cross training for runners. Outside of bodē NYC, I work in media buying. I have lived in NYC for about 3 years now, but continuously exploring all the new places with friends is the best. What am I passionate about? My friends would probably say yoga, learning, and Emergen-C because I believe it is the remedy for everything, haha! The thing I love most about bodē NYC are the teachers. They lead amazing classes with their words. I always leave with a new peace of mind.

Think you have what it takes to become an Ambassador?

Learn more about the program and fill out an application here

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Karma Spotlight: Maria Ortiz

If you’ve spent any amount of time at our Upper East Side studio, you’ve probably seen Maria practicing, helping clean, or both. Her determination, strength, focus, and integrity in and out of the room are hard to miss.

Q: How do you stay motivated to practice?
A: I always look forward to how I will feel after class : Calm, Balanced, and less angry!

Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: 10 years

Q: What brought you to bodē nyc?
A: The convenience of 4 locations and when I took class and loved the teachers that kept me coming here.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Karma Yogi?
A: The customers, the staff, and the teachers. The interaction with everyone is rewarding.

Q: How many classes a week do you take?
A: I would love to do it everyday but I shoot for 6 classes a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Q: What profession are you in?
A: I’ve worked for UPS now for 28 years. I had different positions – I started as a part time high-value clerk, then billing, payroll, and currently I’m an Operation Management Specialist. There never is a dull moment at work. So many parts make UPS run. People have no idea what goes into delivering just one package!

Q: What are your favorite hobbies/passions?
A: I love traveling which I will do more of when I retire in 8-10 years. For now I am a homebody. I love to watch movies and old classic TV shows but when I am not home I love working out. I was a personal trainer and also into Bodybuilding from 1998-2000. I did a few shows I won lightweight division once never won overall but I enjoyed the training and preparing for shows. People see you on stage flexing but have no clue what it takes to get up there. I love taking my 8 year old boxer Buster on long walks. My biggest passion is my son Dayhon G. Wheeler. He’s a 24 year old marine serving in Serbia Embassy Guard deployment. I miss him every day, and I’m so proud of him.

Thank you Maria, for all of your hard work!

Interested in joining the Karma Program? We’re looking for help!

Click here to learn more. 

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Karma Spotlight: Stanley Lamar Mims

Stanley has been practicing Bikram Yoga since his first class in London in 2003.
He discovered our studio when it was Bikram Yoga NYC by seeking out high caliber instructors that have their own consistent practice in perfecting the craft of the 26 & 2 series.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Karma Yogi?
A: It’s Relaxing. I am more mindful. I can “Turn-Off” and “Un-Plug”.Focus on the work at the studio.

Q: How many classes a week do you take?
A: Depends on my schedule… I travel for work. I tend to practice regularly when I am London at Hot Yoga London Bridge.

Q: Have you tried our bodē  360 program? ( 3 hot yoga, 2 hot hiit, 1 yin nidra a week?)
A: It’s on my list.

Q: What profession are you in?
A: Independent Consultant

Q: What are your favorite hobbies/passions?
A: Exploring new Plant Based/Vegan Eateries, Spending time with my grandsons, traveling with my family, and travel the world, especially Northern Europe.

Learn more about the Karma Program here and apply to give back to your community

Student Stories: Jeniel Bamberg

Jeneil M. Bamberg recently crossed the 1,000 class mark at bodē nyc! We caught up with Jeneil recently to ask her about her experience with us over the years.

When did you start practicing at bode nyc (formerly Bikram Yoga NYC), and why?

I started practicing at bode nyc, formerly Bikram Yoga NYC, around September 2009. I moved to New York City in July 2009, from China via Michigan, or, you could also say, Michigan via China. I’m from Michigan originally, but I had been doing a graduate certificate in China Studies in China from fall 2008 to spring 2009, and went home to Michigan for a few weeks that summer before making the big move to launch a career/experience the big and fabulous US city that is New York. While I was home those few weeks in June 2009, my mother introduced me to Bikram Yoga – fortunately, we had a Bikram Yoga Studio in Traverse City, one of only three Bikram studios in Michigan, at least at the time – and she had been doing it for several months and highly recommended the practice for its detox benefits, as well as weight loss potential. I’ve lived in East Asian countries long-term several times, and I tend to pack on the pounds when I’m there, so weight loss was a top priority for me when I first started Bikram Yoga!

After I moved to NYC, I tried a few Bikram studios around the city, but landed at Bikram Yoga NYC Upper West Side because of its close proximity to my home at the time, and because I found the staff and instructors to be friendly and more chill (a lot more chill! But still challenging) than at other Bikram studios elsewhere in the city.

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

My goodness, it is hard to single people out. Correct me if I’m wrong, but all the instructors who teach Bikram Yoga at bode nyc are certified to teach through Bikram Choudhury’s grueling ten-week training process. They are experts at teaching Bikram Yoga. I can’t really speak to the type of instruction that teachers who teach other forms of yoga at the studio get. All the teachers are great. I thank all of my teachers for their guidance throughout the years. That being said…

The ones who have stand out for me in terms of what I have learned over time are Patrick Lynch, Yarrow Kae Buncans, Kathryn Leary, Omri Kleinberger, Emily Vartanian,  Olivia Anselmo, and Chrystine Cooper. Patrick… I mean, he’s famous, right? Who doesn’t know Patrick? Patrick is not afraid to push you really hard in way that he will admit borders on “mean,” but he teaches an amazing class where you grow and change your body. He’s not afraid to admit that we are all “decaying and dying,” but reminds you that this practice is meant to help slow that process. And he’s hilarious. Yarrow is a healer who I have watched over the years find her true calling to heal, it has been absolutely amazing to witness, and she packages her message with this wry and saucy sense of humor that is spot-on what we need. Kathryn is serene, calm and has a healing energy that reaches out and touches you, but she also comes from this business background so she will give you all these amazing motivational quotes in class from thinkers and philosophers throughout the world. Omri is driven to see you get better and push yourself hard in class – he also teaches a class where you feel you need to push to the maximum, and is always thinking of creative ways to teach you something new about the practice or postures, every time. Emily – I love her – I rarely take class with her anymore but she is so intelligent and is hands down one of the most positive people I have ever met, and you need a lot of positivity to get through a Bikram class! Olivia is one of the first instructors who really taught me to start thinking about anatomy, and made me think about how the practice is changing my body from a muscular and skeletal down to the cellular level. Chrystine is who I want to be when I grow up – she’s a boss, she works for a hedge fund by day and teaches Bikram at night, but doesn’t seem to have that “hedge fund” personality – she infuses all her interactions with grace, kindness, humor, and laughter.   

What is it about our classes that keeps you coming back?

Not only have I experienced changes in my body, mind and spirit that have been both subtle and profound throughout the eight or more years that I have spent working on this practice at these studios, but we have built a community, and I feel that I am part of a fellowship. Peni Landisi, another one of my instructors, talks about how young people (and I think people in general nowadays) flit from one thing to another, wherever the newest trend is shiny and attractive – spin class, rowing, whatever. There is nothing wrong with trying something new of course, but commitment and dedication to a Bikram Yoga practice are essential because as any Bikram Yoga instructor will point out, this is meant to be a lifelong practice, where you will never ever experience perfection, but you will always strive to improve and get better, change and grow. Therefore, the community and fellowship that we have built at these studios have been truly magical and the support is what helps keep me going.

Favorite posture? Least favorite posture?

I try not to pick favorites! For the most part they are all challenging, haha.

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

Oh, so much. I currently work in grant writing for a health center – a quite involved and not always so riveting job. The focus that Bikram Yoga has taught me in the face of challenging and adverse circumstances has been immeasurably helpful in doing detailed technical work, and in breathing through other challenging circumstances in life!

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

Just do it. Do it and stick to it – I hear a lot of people say “I’m not sure if Bikram Yoga (or yoga in general) is for me” but if you can commit and become part of this community and practice, the dividends in improving your body, mind, spirit, and life will be tenfold or more over time!   

Student Story: Monica Serra

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

I was a swimmer for years, nothing special, just meditative laps in a pool at Manhattan Plaza Health Club and took the yoga class they offered. I met the now-beloved teacher, Georgia Balligian, there one Sunday at an afternoon yoga class. Before her, that class was a mishmash of various  yoga postures. I have a permanent wrist injury from acrobatics as a teenager so when Georgia showed up with Bikram yoga I was so happy because there were no modifications I had to do with my wrist since there is no pressure anywhere with these 26 postures on the wrist. I felt it was God-sent and so was Georgia. There was no official Bikram yoga in NYC at that time. It was 1998. As soon as Bikram Yoga NYC opened, Georgia made me go, and I was reluctant because of the heat. I still hate the heat but it doesn’t matter. I feel good, clean and better afterwards.

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

I ask myself this question all the time.  There is something to the depth of the practice since it is the same 26 postures all the time that I find so appealing. After I don’t know, almost 20 years of practice… I am just now learning the postures – believe it or not – and I love that that is true. I think this practice is a metaphor for life. You keep doing the same things over and over and hopefully fall in love with these things over and over and let them reveal themselves, like a true love affair. If you pay attention and allow the postures to speak to you, and not force the postures to obey your demands, you could have a very blossoming  relationship throughout your life. If not, if you force your will your yoga and your life, it could get painful.

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

I am an artist and a songwriter… and my practice has helped me to stay fit and focused.  Painting is a very physical endeavor and both of these disciplines, art and music, are exactly that: disciplines. And so is yoga. In the hot room you have to be quiet, listen and respond. The same is true for art. You have to listen and show up and do the work.   

Do you live by any inspirational quotes?

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes. – Proust.

Final thoughts?

Yoga has brought me to many places within myself and ideas pop up in my mind and I have learned to listen through yoga. For example I recently wanted to start a kindness, beauty and wellness movement because something inside me told me it was time. And so I listened and started Blossom NY with my co-founder Brittany Holmes, who also practices at Bikram Yoga NYC. Jonny Stewart, a fantastic and compassionate Bikram teacher, is also part of this enterprise. It is an initiative to wake people up to life around them through the simple act of planting flowers. Take a look at the website to learn more blossomny.org.  Do your yoga, plant a flower and watch your life grow.

Finding Love at Bikram Yoga NYC

We want to congratulate some of our customers who have met their significant others at Bikram Yoga NYC. 

Congrats to Bridgetane & Simon

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I was working as a manager at Bikram Yoga NYC Midtown in 2005.  Evan was teaching & had already gone down for the 6pm.  The elevator doors opened & out came Simon, in a bit of a fluster as he was late.  I calmed him down and assured him there was no need to worry as Evan was sure to still be giving his preamble.  I must have checked in thousands of students over the years at BYNYC but strangely remember Simon’s check-in with film like quality in my mind.  We didn’t meet again until 2006 at which point Simon had established a regular practice & I’d become a teacher.  Our courtship lasted about a month & our love is still growing more each year.  Grateful beyond measure to Donna & Jen – thanks to you we have our practice, our love, our yoga school & this beautiful life together!  

Congrats to Herve & Anna

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Bikram yoga NYC was the place it all started for two yogis, from completely geographically different places.  Hervé Kwimo from Douala, Cameroon, Anna Lewis from Boston, met 5 years ago at the Upper East side BYNYC. They have practiced together from day 1 and feel it makes them stronger mentally and physically. They are thankful for the BYNYC community from which they have formed lifelong friendships and are excited for the happy and healthy future Bikram enables them to have.

 Congrats to Philip & Alanna

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Philip and Alanna met at the Midtown studio in March 2007. Philip was doing his weekly workstudy shift, signing in students for Bernadette Duthu’s class at 9 AM on a Monday. It was not a day or time that Alanna normally practiced, but how fortunate it turned out to be. Small talk at the desk eventually led to our first date on June 18th and our marriage in May 2011. We are grateful to Jen and Donna, and to all the BYNYC community members, who share the spiritual warmth that Bikram Yoga practice brings out in us — and for encouraging us to open our hearts to one another.

Congrats to Heidi & Frank

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Frank and I met in 1999 just a few months after Donna and Jen opened their first Bikram studio on W 48th St. Frank was one of their first yearly members and I was one of their first teachers. I had just finished the training in May and started teaching there over the summer. We formally met at Donna’s Roshashanna party in October. We often took Georgia’s class together. Our preferred spot was in the front by the slightly opened window. We would hold hands lying in shavasana. We were married a year later.

 

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2016 in Review + January 2017

With 2016 coming to an end, we wanted to extend our sincerest gratitude for being part of our community and supporting our local, privately owned business. 

Since many of you are such strong practitioners, this year we felt it was time to introduce new classes that complement the Bikram practice – such as Hot HIIT and Yin Nidra Yoga. You’ve embraced these changes beautifully, and we look forward to finding new ways to motivate, challenge and inspire you in 2017.

We’re working hard to complete many upgrades at the studio and want to thank you for your patience. After years of researching the best type of studio flooring, we’ve chosen Zebra Athletics, the most safe, sanitary and environmentally friendly flooring we could find. We’re really excited about this change and hope you are too!

With 2017 around the corner, we’re thrilled to start another year of new classes, workshops, special events and more. Until then, enjoy this year in review post and once again, thank you for being a part of our community!

Happy New Year!
Donna Rubin & Jennifer Lobo

Studio Renovations

As seen in our Mannequin Challenge at the Upper East Side studio, we’re in the process of installing new flooring in each of our studios. With just two room left to complete, we’re almost there! We are also in the process of upgrading, renovating and painting all of our location lobbies, hallways and locker rooms.

New Classes

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Perhaps our most notable change in 2016 is the addition of new class types to our schedule. For our Bikram method offering, we’ve continued to expand the number of shorter (60 & 75 minute) classes to the schedule, while continuing to offer a large number of 90 minute classes each week.

We also are very proud to be the only studio in NYC offering Hot HIIT classes. They’ve been so popular, we’re offering a Hot HIIT Teacher Training this January. The deep stretching and meditation practice that is Yin Nidra was also added along side our Intermediate Series. Book any of these classes on our app, or by visiting our schedule page.

Special Events

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We’re very lucky to have so many talented instructors on our staff! We’re also fortunate to have relationships with teachers from around the world who offer their incredible guidance in our special events and workshops. Pictured above is one of two sold out Master Classes offered by Rajashree Choudhury. Special thanks Pamela Herron, Cynthia Wehr, Joseph Encinia, Kathryn Leary, Yarrow Kae, BridgettAne Lawrence and Omri Kleinberger for their amazing events as well.

January 21st, 2017 – Special Event with Zeb Homison! Stay tuned for details

Series: Student Stories

Nothing makes us happier than to hear about the progress our students have made at the studio, with their bodies, minds, and in their lives as a whole! This is our motivation. In the last year we’ve heard so many stories from our students about the impact our classes have had on them. Quickly flip through all of them here and get inspired!

Series: Teacher Features

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In 2016 we ran features on nearly every single one of our 50+ incredible instructors, including our founders Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo. We asked them what teaching classes means to them and about the joy they get seeing students progress. See a full list of every instructor we’ve interviewed here and connect with them at the studio. Show them a gesture of appreciation, guaranteed they’ll appreciate it!

Series: Healthy Living

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Ania Dunlop, Certified Nutrition Expert and Chief Editor at Food for Zen has been supplying BYNYC exclusive content, recipes, strategies and educational programs to help encourage a healthy lifestyle outside the studio. This post covers a comprehensive 21 Day Food Detox Program. Clicking this link will reveal at least half a dozen other recipes and ideas to encourage healthy living.

Series: Quizzes

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Bikram Yoga classes can sometimes be challenging, and there’s a lot to understand and remember. In 2016 we put together this fun quiz series that can help educate and inform students about the nuances of the practice in a fun and entertaining way. Take the quiz above, or to see our full list click here.

Series: Posture of the Week

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For each posture in the Bikram series we’ve authored a “how to” complete with 3-5 tips to help you better understand the pose. Compiled by a variety of our teaching staff, the tips are short, easy to understand instructions designed to help you get the most out of your practice. To search for a particular posture, use our search function, or to see them all click here

Series: Yoga Shorts

Hilarious short films we’ve put together that use footage from events like the Oscars, Super Bowl and the Clinton/Sanders debates, television clips from Seinfeld and Game of Thrones and films like The Departed. Click here to check out our take on the DiCaprio / Nicholson scene in The Departed, or here to watch the full series on Facebook.

My 30 Day Challenge

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In 2016 we took our 30 Day Challenge to the next level! We conceived, designed, implemented and deployed a comprehensive 30 day email campaign that acts as a virtual coach for your challenge. After signing up for the challenge, participants receive 30 consecutive emails starting on Day 1, each with motivational messages from our staff, exclusive 1-2 minute posture videos and a daily dose of inspiration designed to help motivate you. Interested? Sign up for the challenge starting January 1st!

We Supported Charity

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In early November 2016 we announced a partnership with Causely, a program where each check-in on Facebook at the studio would help fund educational programs about prostate cancer that would reach at least 13 men. In December each check-in helped to deliver a toy, book or gift to a less fortunate child via Toys for Tots. 2016 also marks the 2nd consecutive year of our Holiday Charity Challenge where BYNYC donates $50 to the charity of a students’ choice.

We Turned 17

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Bikram Yoga NYC opened it’s doors on August 8th, 1999 at 797 8th Avenue, near Times Square. Since then we’ve gone on to open 7 yoga rooms across 4 locations in Manhattan. As part of a retrospective in August 2016, we look a look at 10 Historical Facts about Bikram Yoga NYC that you might not know!

Trending: Yoga Science

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We’ve always been a supporter of Medical Science as it relates to our classes. So much so, that we hosted New York City’s very first Symposium on the subject in February 2014. In May of this year, we authored a post titled Yoga Science: Why Does Bikram Yoga Make You Feel So Good? which went on to be shared over 2000 times on Facebook. Our follow up post Yoga Science: How Bikram Yoga Effects Your Mental Health was equally well received.

January 2017 & Beyond

Having laid substantial groundwork in terms of renovations, new classes, special events and our overall offering at the studio, we couldn’t be more excited moving into 2017! Here’s a taste of what to expect at the studio this January:

  • More Hot HIIT classes being added to the schedule
  • Hot HIIT Teacher Training – January 13-15
  • Special Event with Zeb Homison – January 21st
  • Regional Asana Championship – January 22nd
  • Key Anatomical Concepts for Yoga – January 27-29