Bikram Yoga NYC has been a vocal advocate of the medical benefits of yoga for years and in February 2014, we hosted a research symposium that looked at the relationship between science and yoga. We all know it makes you feel good, but what exactly does it do? What are some of the benefits of making Bikram Yoga a regular part of your life?

1) It works ALL of your muscles

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2) It works ALL of your body systems

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3) It works every organ, joint, tendon, ligament and bone

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4) Keeps you constantly hydrating and that’s a good thing

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5) Ph.D Research studies on the medical benefits show conclusive correlations 934045_10153239247061994_8707007435731422194_n

The graph in the illustration above was taken from a research study at Colorado State University and released through Pure Action – Yoga is Medicine. While the data points of students metabolic rate, heart rate and core temperatures are interesting to know, Dr. Stacy Hunter, Research Director at Pure Action is also behind a number of research studies, including:

Hunter SD, Tarumi T, Dhindsa MS, Nualnim N, Tanaka H. Hatha yoga and vascular function: results from cross-sectional and interventional studies. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 17(3): 322-327, 2013. 

Hunter SD, Dhindsa M, Cunningham E, Tarumi T, Alkatan M, Nualnim N, Tanaka H. Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram yoga in older, obese adults: a pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 17(4): 404-407, 2013.

Hunter SD, Dhindsa M, Cunningham E, Tarumi T, Alkatan M, Nualnim N, Tanaka H. The effect of Bikram yoga on arterial stiffness in young and older adults. J Alt Complement Ther. 19(2): 930-934, 2013.

Miles SC, Chou CC, Lin HF, Nualnim N, Dhindsa MD, Hunter SD, Tanaka H. Arterial blood pressure and hemodynamic responses to yoga practice. Altern Ther Health Med. 19(1): 38-45, 2013

These studies provide conclusive proof that a regular yoga practice can provide real world medical 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.

Though December 31st, get 10 free classes when purchasing a 50 pack! Valid for a full 365 days, the package does not activate until you come take your first class using it. Purchase now and hang onto this deal until you’re ready. Also receive 875 Rewards points to use toward discounted at the studio and awesome free/discounted rewards from our network partners.

Questions? Give us a call! Contact numbers for all 4 locations are at the bottom of this page.

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We’re thrilled to announce this year’s Winter Solstice class led by the amazing Chrystine Cooper! This silent class is recommended for students who’ve taken at least 10 classes. Call any studio to reserve your spot ahead of December 15th. On and after December 15th students can visit bikramyoganyc.com/schedule to reserve a spot with their existing package.

Details
Winter Solstice Class 2016
Date: Wednesday, December 21st
Time: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Location: Bikram Yoga NYC Flatiron
Phone: 212.206.9400
Price: Use any existing package to reserve your spot!

 

Unsure what to give or ask for this holiday season? Gift Cards at Bikram Yoga NYC are easy, affordable and most importantly show the giver cares for the health of the recipient. For a limited time, take 15% off any size gift card (for example, $100 gift cards are $85). Sale ends December 8th.

GIVING YOGA

Using the link below and you’ll be able to design a gift card of any value using your card on file. Customize the picture, text and recipient name. You can even specify the gift card to be sent on a specific date! IMPORTANT – be sure to check the box next to “Send recipient gift card via email” and insure the recipient’s email address is correctly.

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RECEIVING YOGA

Ask your friends, co-workers or loved ones for the gift that keeps giving all year long, Bikram Yoga. Either forward them the link to this page or the link directly below. IMPORTANT – in order to have the giver avoid having to register as a student, please let them know to click “Login as Guest” during checkout.

CLICK HERE TO GIVE A BIKRAM YOGA NYC GIFT CARD

Pick from $50, $100, $200 or $500 values or create your own.

Questions? Send us an email or a call (full list of phone numbers at the bottom of this page).

The ancient Ayurveda medicine from India dictates that majority of our food should be chewed for optimal health. In a perfect world, we would all be eating perfectly balanced, nutrient-dense meals that we chew, not drink, and there would be no need for concocting elaborate green drinks mixed in expensive blenders. I don’t know about you but my world is far from perfect and eating the recommended amount of vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, feels like a herculean effort.

So why drink green smoothies?

  • it makes the transition to a plant based diet easier and more enjoyable

  • eating drinking  green leafy vegetables is the easiest, most natural way to reduce your biological age (do I have your attention now?!)

Besides the fact that you are getting raw greens into your diet that you normally wouldn’t, greens do fantastic things for your body. They are cleansing, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, have anti-inflammatory properties and protect against certain cancers. Green veggies are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium (which most people lack and then get it in the form of synthetic supplements). Got Kale?

Leafy greens contain large amounts of Vitamin K, which plays a super important role in bone health. While bone loss and osteoporosis are a major health concern for western women, countries like Japan with mostly vegetarian diets have a much lower incidence of fractures. For years, we have glorified dairy as a prescription for strong bones, but studies failed to find a link between dairy consumption and lower risk of fractures. The Nurses’ Health Study, a long term study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health following thousands of nurses, found that individuals who drank one glass of milk (or less) per week were at no greater risk of fractures than were those who drank two or more glasses per week, debunking the hypothesis that high dairy consumption protects against fractures. Confusing right? The little known Vitamin K (not found in dairy!) may very well be the missing link to nourishing our bones (along with magnesium, Vitamin D and weight bearing exercise, but that’s a whole other post)!

To me, a green smoothie is a whole food supplement. Instead of popping pills, make a batch of this alive food, brimming with nutrients, to ensure you are getting several servings of vegetables that otherwise may be hard to squeeze in your daily meals.

 Are green smoothies for everyone? Almost! Although if you are prone to kidney stones or have thyroid problems, please consider this:

  • Rotate your greens in your daily smoothies for variety and maximum calcium absorption. Some greens (spinach and chard top the list) are high in oxalates, compounds that bind to calcium in the body and decrease its absorption. Traditional guidance for people with kidney stones was to limit foods high in oxalates, however, the evidence that this prevents kidney stones is inconclusive.  Read about it here. While some people might benefit from reducing high oxalate foods, more recent research indicates that an alkaline diet high in fruits and vegetables and drinking lemon water is a far more effective kidney stones prevention strategy.
  • If you have thyroid problems, listen up. Cruciferous veggies such as kale, broccoli or cauliflower are goitrogenic, meaning they can interfere with thyroid function. Does it mean you should avoid them entirely? No! They are full of micronutrients and anti-cancer antioxidants.  Instead of eating them raw, just steam, cook, or ferment them to reduce the goitrogenic properties.

Finally, here is my favorite green smoothie recipe.

My Flat Belly Green Smoothie will replenish your body with missing nutrients, leave you re-energized and ready to tackle the day with a new sense of self-care. If you are using this recipe as a meal replacement, consider adding a clean plant protein powder (like pea or pumpkin or a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds) or simply follow with a couple of hard boiled eggs to give yourself a protein boost. Otherwise, you will be hungry by midmorning and reaching for snacks.

I make a big batch and store leftovers in glass mason jars in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, so I can have breakfast or snack ready to grab. Having prepared food that is ready to go is the secret to effortless clean eating.

Now go make a green smoothie and congratulate yourself for doing something amazing. You took care of YOU!

To your health!

Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 1 green apple
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • juice from ½ lime
  • 2 cups water or coconut water
  • 1 cup ice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (or small piece of fresh turmeric) – optional
Instructions
  1. Blend in a powerful blender like the Vitamix. Add more water if the smoothie is too thick. Pour into mason jars, store leftovers in a refrigerators for up to two days.

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

Life is crazy in New York City.  Chaotic crazy.  And I’m a creature of habit. But I also crave a challenge, and as a child therapist, I need a way to begin my day at peace so I can bring peace to my clients or to exorcise my demons at the end of the day.  I love that Bikram Yoga is the same 26 postures every class and I know what I am going to get. 

But I also love that every single Bikram class I have taken for the last six and a half years has been different, and challenged me in different ways.  I won’t lie though, it is the heat and the intensity of the postures that has become almost addictive.  I love challenging my body in new ways, and I owe every advance I make in my practice to the incredible teachers who take the time to notice my postures and what I can improve on.

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

Not only has being a yogi helped my work life, my work life has helped me reach a different level as a yogi.  I am licensed social worker and child therapist, and I have been able to use many aspects of yoga in order to treat my clients.  In fact, yoga has been proven very effective in treating Post traumatic stress disorder, and I have used aspects of yoga such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and the mindbody connection in treatment. 

On the flip side, anytime I feel like I am having a difficult class or am frustrated with myself or my body because my practice isn’t as “good” as it was the day before,  I think of the incredible obstacles my clients are working through or have overcome, and  it really lends perspective.

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

I would say you will never know if you don’t try.

Do you live by any inspirational quotes?

I don’t necessarily live by any quote, but I do make up a mantra for myself for each class I take and repeat it over and over.  Maybe I am dedicating my class to somebody else, maybe that mantra is a positive thought during a hard time I am having, or maybe it’s an intention I have to accomplish.  But it really helps focus my practice.

As far as my regular life, I just try to take every day as it comes.

What is the one thing you love about Bikram Yoga NYC?

Just one? Hahaha. Well, I LOVE the flexibility in class times because I work long, varied hours in the Bronx.  And I do have to give a shout out to those incredible teachers and staff who have gone above and beyond to showing me that they care about me, not only as a customer or yogi but as a person.    

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.

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.

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.

Savasana promotes blood flow and lets circulation return to normal, creating internal cleansing and greatly magnifying the benefits of the postures that precede it. It also teaches complete relaxation.

Here’s 3 tips to help with this important posture:

  • When you get to the floor and relax in Savasana the tendency is to want to close your eyes. Try to find something on the ceiling to focus on to help you keep your eyes open.
  • Be disciplined during your Savasana and notice even the smallest of movement. Try each time you arrive in Savasana to truly stay still.
  • Focus your mind on your breath and you will be on the way to learning how to meditate.