Karma Spotlight: Maria Ortiz 1

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. 

Karma Spotlight: Stanley Lamar Mims 2

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

my30day30 consecutive days of classes isn’t easy.

Cue our “30 Days to a New You” program, complete with daily tips and inspirations from our instructors, delivered to your inbox each morning.

What is a 30 Day Challenge?

Challenge yourself to complete 30 classes in 30 days. That’s it. Pure and simple. While true, the challenge is a commitment of time, it’s more importantly a commitment to one’s health, wellness and spirit. Experience for yourself the amazing physical, mental and physiological benefits of a daily practice. Enjoy a wide range of benefits including stress reduction, weight loss and an improved overall sense of well being!

What do I get for completing it?

Obviously the most important benefit of completing the 30 day challenge is a healthier, more energetic you! However, in addition we include a number of prizes upon competion:

  • FREE 7 days of yoga, just for you. Valid anytime you want to use it
  • 2 FREE 7 day guest passes for you to share with a family member, friend or co-worker
  • 10% OFF any full priced package we offer (auto-debit excluded)
  • 300 Reward Points – The equivalent of spending $300 at the studio

What are these daily emails all about?

Illustrated to the left, is an example of one of the emails you will receive. Each day, the morning message will begin with a statement from one of our instructors with some insight about where you are in the 30 day cycle.

For 26 of the 30 days, we’ll send posture tips for our Bikram method classes from our “Posture of the Week” series. More importantly, the section will also link to a video that breaks down the posture of the day in detail.

The email ends with an inspirational message or quote to energize your day, and of course the all important button to book that day’s class. We encourage you to visit as many studios as possible, and to take class with a variety of instructors to keep your routine fresh!

Interested? Sign up on our 30 Day Challenge Page and be sure to indicate the start date for  your challenge.

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.

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!


It’s hard to believe that Summer 2016 is just about a month away. Are you ready?!?

During the Month of May we have a number of unique classes, workshops and events to help keep you motivated and coming to class. June will be here before you know it so the time to start working on “Summer You” is here.


The 90 Minute Miracle 

We call this class the “90 minute miracle.” This traditional 90 minute class is designed for the stiffest beginners to the most flexible of yogis. Appropriate for all skill levels. > See all 90 Minute Classes

6075minclassesThe Effective 75 

Slightly abbreviated version of the classic 90, moves with a bit more tempo, more concise dialogue and less instructor demonstration.  Please be punctual, starts promptly on time so it can end on time. > See all 75 Minute Classes

60 Minute Maintenance

This one-hour class moves through the traditional series with tempo and flow and is specifically designed to maintain your regular Bikram Yoga practice on the days that you just don’t have the time. > See all 60 Minute Classes

New Workshops & Clinics

Monthly clinics and workshops from guest and resident instructors cover a wide array of topics. Recent 2.5 hour Master classes compliment upcoming backbending workshops, clinics that help you go deep into your practice and those focused on Women’s health. > Read about our upcoming Workshop with Kathryn Leary

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Music Classes

Currently a monthly event called Chillax led by Chrystine Cooper, this 90 minute Bikram Yoga class is accompanied by music for a fun and unique Bikram Yoga experience. Expect an expanded music series in the coming months. > More about Chillax

On Saturday, May 14th – We are hosting a PRINCE TRIBUTE CLASS – 7pm at Bikram Yoga NYC Flatiron. This class will be led by instructors Charly Seamon and Upkar Chana. > Register Now

Around the World Classes

Starting in May Bikram Yoga NYC is going to be offering a class that is led in a different language on the 2nd Thursday of every month. To date we have commitments from instructors who speak Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Lithuanian and German. The first edition of this class will be in Spanish on May 12th, 8pm at Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side.

Intro to Bikram Method

This clinic-style class will introduce you to the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises in the Bikram Method class. In this lightly heated one-hour class the instructor will guide you gently through the series and offer tips on how to prepare for class, take care of any injuries, and ultimately get the most out of your Bikram Yoga practice. > More Info

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Teacher Features

Every week Bikram Yoga NYC shines the spotlight on one of our instructors in a series we call Teacher Feature. Get to know your instructors, see what they’re reading, what they’re doing outside of the hot room, see a few more pictures and even book a class. > See Teacher Feature Archive

Student Stories

reginasddWe’re lucky to have such a strong and dedicated student body at Bikram Yoga NYC, many with incredible stories to share about weight loss, disabilities, improved focus or how the yoga has helped them heal injuries. Read some of their stories by visiting our Student Stories Column

Posture of the Week Series

Over the last 5 months we’ve made it though nearly all of the 26 postures in the Bikram Series, each posture coming complete with tips and tricks for help mastering the series. > See All Postures of the Week Here

Healthy Living Series

Certified Nutrition expert Ania Dunlop has a monthly series about Healthy Living outside the yoga room, offering guidance on everything from getting your hydration though food, to 5 ways to boost your immunity, to keeping weight off during the holidays and much more. > See All

BYNYC Rewards 

Earn points by purchasing packages, taking class and referring friends. Use those points to redeem Rewards from our network partners for items like salads and massages, creams, flowers and more from partners like Aveda, Just Salad, Bikram Yoga NYC, Inday, Vitamix, Meatball Shop, and many, many more. > Go to Rewards site.

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Karma Spotlight: John Vitale 3

My Bikram Yoga journey began 4 1/2 years ago practicing at various Bikram studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan, finally finding a home at bodē NYC.

As a fitness buff in my 20’s and 30’s; karate, distance running, and weight training was a big part of daily life. Early in my 40’s I was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own systems.  Chronic muscle cramps, joint pain, and fatigue eliminated those activities at the level I was used to. Dejected with my inability to exercise as I once did, I basically “tread water” for years waiting for something to change.

The Bikram practice answered that call and has treated my symptoms magically. My personal practice is now between 3-5 days a week. I was practicing 5-6 days for a good while but my life felt unbalanced. Work, traveling to and fro, recovery from class, I found I was not spending enough time with home responsibilities.

I started in the Karma program here about 3 years ago, primarily working at the UWS but also filling in at all studios as my schedule allows.  I thought that the idea of receiving yoga classes in exchange for a few hours of work (Karma) was a fabulous trade, but I also wanted to get closer to the practice and get to know the instructors better as well, so I signed up.

While the cleaning aspect is never glamorous, I take pride it doing it because as a practitioner I want a clean, safe, and special place to come to after a hard day. A funny thing about my days at Karma shift that I often reflect on is that when I was a kid on a “chore”, my mom had myself and my brother doing similar types of cleaning that I do here. Early Karma training I guess. I’m a natural.

On a serious note the program is a great way to give to the students, staff, and to oneself.  As a member of the karma program I see students before and after class, and it’s great to see their stress release after class. Instant good feelings.

For the last 9 years I have worked for NYC Transit in the Department of Security, and prior to that had a career in law enforcement and as a paramedic.

Some personal interests : sports and fitness, cooking, animal lover, grandkids.

John Vitale

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

I started practicing Bikram Yoga in February 2009 after struggling with a hip injury from running the NYC marathon.  I instantly fell in love with the practice.  The combination of the heat with the 26 postures and two breathing exercises worked very well for me.  After practicing regularly for three months, my hip improved dramatically. That was one of the many changes that occurred in my life.  I also improved physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Both my personal and professional life changed for the better. I reconnected with myself on several different levels.  This practice helps me each day to be the best person I can be and I try to find out something new about myself each class.

I decided I wanted to share my love for this yoga with others and help people gain all the benefits this practice can provide. I decided to go to teacher training in spring 2012 and I am so happy that I did. Teaching brings me tremendous joy and I love connecting with all my students and helping them to change their life for the better.  The energy my students give me and seeing their hard work and dedication is very inspiring.  Being a Bikram yoga teacher and helping people achieve their goals pushed me to follow my dream to go back to graduate school to receive my Master’s degree in Social Work. I am so thankful to be part of the Bikram community and am excited for what is ahead!

What year did you attend training? Why did you go?

I went to training in spring 2012 (in Los Angeles) to become a Bikram yoga teacher so I could help others gain the benefits from the practice and help them improve their lives.

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

I love my schedule and having recurring students. I am able to develop a connection with the students in my class and I find joy in seeing their progress as students.

Tell us about your own practice. Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?

Several postures are challenging for me. When I first started practicing I had very little patience with myself. I work very hard today to be in the moment and focus on the posture that I am doing at that moment. I focus on alignment now and performing the posture the correct way. It has been 7 years and there are certainly days where I let my ego creep in and forgot about being in the moment and my mind wanders. But each day I try my best

Outside of yoga, what projects are you involved with? What do you do for fun?

I work for a Wealth & Asset Management team at a bank, I go to school part time to receive my Master’s in Social Work, I teach bikram yoga, I practice bikram yoga, I do something active every day, I am trying to get better at tennis, I love going out to eat, I am getting married in September, I love to travel to new places, I try to cook a new recipe each week, and I spend as much time with my family and friends as I can! Bikram yoga helps to keep me calm and centered to do the things that I love.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?

“If you don’t mind, it don’t matter” – my father. I say this to myself a lot when I feel myself getting overwhelmed or frustrated. I also like the saying “no worries mate”.  I went to Australia last year and try to keep that carefree attitude with me (not so easy in the Big Apple, but I try).

What are you currently reading or listening to?

I read a lot for school. I am currently writing a research paper on the impact of physical activity and depression among adolescents. I love listening to music – Ray Montagne, Ben Harper, and James Morrison have been soothing artists for me lately.

Any final words?

If there is a will, there is a way!

What year did you go to training?  Why did you go?

I finally went to training in the fall of 2008.  I started practicing Bikram in 2002 and knew after a few short months of practicing that I wanted to go to training.  I loved the yoga so much and as teachers would talk about the training I knew that it was something I had to experience.  The thought of practicing this yoga 2 times a day and learning from senior teachers that have been a part of the series since as early as the 70s sounded so exciting.  I did NOT know however that I wanted to be a teacher.  I had a full time job that I really enjoyed but I thought it would be a great adventure and learning experience.  After going through 9 weeks of the intensive training I was so inspired that I knew I wanted to share this yoga with the world.  When I returned to NY I taught full time for a few months.  It was an amazing experience however I eventually returned to my job in the medical field and balanced my time between that and teaching 4 classes a week.  I luckily still maintain a daily practice which I know helps motivate me to inspire others the way I was first inspired!

 What is your favorite thing about being a Bikram Instructor?

My favorite thing about being a Bikram instructor is seeing the positive changes it brings to so many people’s lives.  Whether is curing chronic back and knee pains, changing bodies and weight loss, healing old injuries (both mental and physical), or simply helping people feel better it always still makes me so happy when I see a student first realize that change.  It is an amazing feeling when a student comes up to me and tells me how Bikram has helped them.  Over the past 8 years of teaching at BYNYC I have witnessed countless examples of this change.  I love being just a small part of this amazing community.

Tell us more about your own practice.  Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?

The most challenging part of class for me is definitely the spine strengthening series.  Physically, it is not that bad… but mentally, I really struggle with it.  I know it is an integral part of class and a healthy strong spine is imperative but those 5 to 10 minutes seem to last forever.  I used to skip a set of one of those postures here and there, or even tune out, but that only seemed to make it worse.  What has helped me tremendously is focusing on just the task at hand.  Listening very carefully to the set up and hyper focusing on everything I am doing allowed me to “tune in” to the posture even if I was exhausted.  I would tell myself, ‘just set it up and see what you can do’.  When I focused this way, I realized that my spine strengthening postures greatly improved and the entire series was over in no time at all.  My best advice to anyone struggling with any part of class is to take away the pressure of doing it “perfectly” and tackle it head on by focusing on the set up, the alignment, and even the benefits.  When you start approaching a posture or part of class this way, not only does it go by much faster, but before you know it, it may be your favorite part of class!

Outside of yoga, what projects are you involved with?  What do you do for fun?

Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my favorite things to do (no matter where I am) is start my day with Bikram.  Outside of yoga however, I love all sports and activities.  I still love to run every week.  I love to snowboard (despite how much I detest being cold).  I also love the beach and the ocean (which is why it is hard to find me anywhere else in the summer). 

As far as special projects go, one of the things I am most proud of is my volunteer work at the VA and with nursing homes.  There, I teach yoga to veterans and senior citizens.   Although the series is obviously modified it is inspiring to see what this community can do and extremely rewarding to be a part of! 

Any final words? 

Just get to class!  It does not matter how long you have taken off, how “out of shape” you think you might be, how much you have going on, or how badly you may feel… Just get here!  You always feel better after the 90 minutes.  I have been fortunate enough to have been practicing for almost 15 years.  Although I have practiced all around the world I could not imagine my life without Bikram Yoga NYC!  Not only are the classes amazing, the teachers the best, and the facilities great, but the community at the studios is inspiring.  Miracles certainly do not happen overnight, but if you can just get to class you will be well on your way!   

I’ve always been the girl who tried a lot of things but never stuck with any of it. I would join a gym, work out for two months, then quit. I would take up running, and four weeks later, hang up my sneakers.  I would sign up for kickboxing, and allow other commitments to take precedence over attending class. I knew I desperately needed to incorporate consistent, preferably daily, movement into my life, but it had to be something that was sustainable. I decided on Bikram yoga.

I had already taken classes before [I did a 30 day challenge the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday in 2013, and pretty much stopped going once it was over] so I was familiar with the practice. I hadn’t practiced in a long time (8 months) so it was still considered a new activity. I love to be barefoot and I always sweat when working out so it seemed to be the perfect environment. When I was doing my 30 day challenge, I stumbled upon a blog about a worldwide 101 Day Bikram Yoga challenge. 101 days?! This would definitely be a challenge. I set the intention and I selected a start date: New Year’s Day 2015.

Even though my goal was 101 days of yoga, I was afraid I wouldn’t accomplish it so I told everyone I was just doing a 30 day challenge. The great thing was that I met other yogis who were also doing challenges and that motivated me to continue to show up every day. 30, 60, 90, 100 days passed, and I reached my goal of 101 days on April 11th. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve done anything for 101 days straight. The best part was that I had no desire to stop. I think when Bikram says ‘Give me 60 days and I will change your life’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all circumstances will change (i.e. I will have lost X number of pounds, quit my job, found love, etc.) Sometimes, it just means I’m no longer counting down the days of my challenge; now I’m embracing a new lifelong practice.

In the 365 days of yoga, I have found space in my body and clarity in my mind. I’ve experienced an increase in strength and flexibility, I have a greater ability to focus, and I’m becoming more disciplined. Most days, this was the hardest thing I did, but I was dedicated to showing up every day and doing the hard thing, because that’s where the greatest reward comes from.

This hasn’t been an easy journey, but I remind myself that there is a higher purpose to this practice. What that purpose is isn’t fully revealed right now, but I trust that there is something happening. Growth is definitely happening. My muscles are growing. My flexibility is growing. My mental strength is growing. My emotional stability is growing. My spiritual growth is growing.

To encourage other yogis who may be considering a daily challenge or anyone who wants to embark on a new journey, I’ll use a quote that our dear instructor, Kathryn Leary, often shares during class:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe

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

I started there after I had begun practicing vinyasa and kundalini  I loved the heat, and the sweating and the wonderful high 20 minutes after I’d finish.  

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

Upkar  – her incredible energy and her true believer enthusiasm, Eddie Marco for his dry matter of fact delivery, Patrick Lynch because doesn’t play the diva card although he could, Christine Cooper for her constant elegant care, Omri for his curls and casual yoga evangelism, Jonathon Stewart because he is voting for Bernie Sanders, too, and can get you through Pranayama  painlessly, and Dionne who manages to watch me like an invisible and unobtrusive hawk, John Mabry gently worrying and confidently leading, and Dionne  – you can do it, she just knows it; I’ve missed several, and they all had something to share; forgive me. 

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

I just feel so much better after a class.  I have Multiple Sclerosis and the heat is rough me some days, but it quiets down the constant static my nerves give me.  My neurologist says if it makes you feel better, go, every patient is different.

Favorite posture? 


Least favorite posture?

Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose). 

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

When you take ALL the time we take to breath those 2 sets  of Pranayama in the beginning, you begin to realize that being aware of the breath is a lead into the meditation aspect of the yoga.  I often find myself reminding myself to breath, and outside yoga I now am more aware of my breath.  When I start of feel anxious, I take a couple of breath, and calm myself. Listening to my breath makes me listen to everything a little more closely.  

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

Try it. If it clicks for you, you have found something to take with you for years. 

Do you live by any inspirational quotes?

Listen more, talk less. 

What is one thing you love about Bikram Yoga NYC?

The work studies, who care for the students and the studio, and the efforts the owners place on providing a clean and quiet place to enjoy some yoga in community with others. 

Final thoughts?

The managers are real professionals.  It can get pretty crazy, and they are problem solvers.  The Bikram yoga experience starts with the managers.