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

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

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

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

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

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

What do we do with our pain? Do we let it destroy us? Or, do we let it transform us? Yarrow Kae invites you on a journey through your heart center into the most vulnerable places of you. She takes you to the places that have brought you deep pain in order to alchemize it into light. To begin that journey she will tell you her story, how she sat with her pain, and how she learned and grew from that pain.

This is a vinyasa flow and backbend workshop designed to crack open our heart chakra, which holds our most potent emotional pain. Together we will dissolve blockages that keep us from reaching our fullest potential, ones that keep us trapped within our pain. Under her expert guidance we will identify the pain, release it, and transform it into light, love, beauty & poetry.

Some of the greatest art has been made as a result of emotional pain. The more quickly you get in touch with yours the more quickly you will be able to alchemize it into light and give your unique gift to the world.

Workshop includes:

  • 75 min vinyasa flow and backbend workshop to ignite your heart
  • kundalini meditation techniques to remove blockages
  • chakra clearing
  • pranayama breathing techniques
  • free write journaling
  • heart-centered meditation
  • restorative yoga designed to soften your heart and free your spirit by getting you in touch with your most valuable trait, your vulnerability

Sunday, January 24th
Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side
173 East 83rd Street – 2nd Floor
1pm to 4pm
$45 in advance $55 at the door

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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.

Happy 2016 Yogis –

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

The Yoga

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

Our Staff

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

Our Editorial

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

Our Social

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

Our Special Events

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

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

Our Studios

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

Our Promise

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

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

Warmest Regards,

Kevin Gregor
Marketing Director

Thank you once again for being part of our community this year! As you might have seen in a recent email, we offered over 100,000 classes in 2015. Where you in one or more of them? Would you like to know how many exactly?

While we wish there was a date range selector option in our software, we’re afraid to report it’s not available at this time. That said, should you want ot know your number, please visit the link below and simply review your 2015 visits. When you have the number, first of all we hope you feel great about it. Secondly, if you’d like to share your visit history with your friends on Facebook, simply click the SHARE button below and add the total to the status box!

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Georgia Balligian has been practicing Bikram Yoga since since January, 1971, a total of 45 years next month.

Georgia graduated from New York University in 1970 with a degree in Film and TV production. Post graduation, she traveled through the South Pacific and ended up out of funds and in Hawaii. Soon she was waitressing in the Wailana Coffee Shop in Honolulu.  As fate would have it, Bikram Choudhury, newly arrived from Tokyo, was teaching his yoga in a small studio in downtown Honolulu.

Georgia’s first class was about 2.5 hours long and had a total of 7 students in it. Everyone was working hard, getting a lot of laughs, encouragement and lots of “tough love.” At the end of class, Georgia tells us, there was the “unforgettable moment.”

Bikram looked at Georgia with an intense, but kind gaze and said “I don’t know what you did in your past life” (yogis believe in reincarnation). “You have no strength, no flexibility, no balance, but, I can fix it. You have to take class every day for 2 months and I will fix you, I will change your life if you trust me.” Georgia went to class every day for nearly 2 years, Bikram “fixed” her, and the magic continues to this day.

Since 1997 she has been teaching non-stop for Bikram Yoga NYC, averaging 9-10 classes a week and we’re so incredibly fortunate to have her amazing spirit and presence at the studio. In closing, she wanted us to pass along this quote:

You’re never too sick, never too old, never too bad, to start from scratch once again. See you in class!

Please take a moment to visit Facebook to see this post, and share a comment with Georgia. We are collecting them all, likes and shares included, and printing out a list for her as a surprise! 

In early November we announced our first annual “Holiday Charity Challenge.” The idea is simple, complete 30 classes in 40 days and we will donate $50 to the charity of your choice.

The response was overwhelming!

Today, on day 28 of the challenge, we wanted to add an update. With many of our challengers successfully on their way to the 30 class minimum, we wanted to shine the spotlight on a few of of the charities our students told us about. In an effort to support your fellow yogis, please consider a small donation to them listed below.

Listed in no particular order:

Tracy Perlman is one busy lady. As vice president of entertainment and marketing for the NFL, she’s got an extremely tight schedule. But no matter how crazy her day, Tracy finds the time to take a 90-minute Bikram Yoga class.

Traveling an average of 165 days a year complicates that task, but Tracy seeks out studios in all corners of the United States and beyond. In a New York Times feature article about her, “Staking Our Her Place Among Men Atop The N.F.L.,” Tracy notes:

Through the years, Perlman said, she felt burdened by her job, and when she saw a photo of herself at 39, she thought she looked unhealthy and unhappy. A friend steered her to a Bikram Yoga class and, Perlman said, she has been obsessed with it ever since. She attends one 90-minute class every day — even amid the Super Bowl craziness.

That’s right, even on Super Bowl Sunday Tracy takes an early morning class to prepare her mentally and physically for the day.

At a recent Pro Bowl event, Perlman said, she had a heated discussion with the fellow yogis Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals and Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints that included demonstrating postures and ribbing Graham for saying he had left a class early.

Perlman said she had never left a class early. Perseverance, after all, has been part of her job.

Click here to read the New York Times article about Tracy.

Above photo by Kevin Gregor for Bikram Yoga NYC during Solstice in Times Square 2014 when Tracy demonstrated on stage for Bikram Yoga NYC.

I believe. Say it, out loud. Let it sit inside and reverberate through you. Do you BELIEVE it?

I believe.

Seems so simple, right?

It’s far from it. Believing comes from extracting fear and worry. The extracting of fear and worry is hard work. And in order to get to the other side, in order to get to the place where you believe, you have to go through.

When I go through, I’ve found that the old habits and fears come to the forefront and it’s quite easy to latch onto those, to let them run amok on my mind and send my heart into a panic. It becomes comfortable to attach to my habitual ways of being and to need validation that everything is going to be okay.

I’ve been guilty of this always. Even though my intuition is strong, I have a had a hard time believing it. I let my mind play tricks on me. Our minds are slippery characters capable of sabatoging even our best intentions. Mine likes to build paranoid delusions, destroying the beauty that only moments before glimmered in my view.

When we don’t feel safe and secure in the material world, when we don’t feel grounded, it leads us to create fears and worries. These fears and worries  stop us from believing. And when we don’t believe we can’t achieve.

I never realized how strong the world BELIEVE actually is. It’s in our believing that we create our own magical, joyful world. I was one who enjoyed the cynicism, the painful analyzing of a situation. I am still guilty of falling into this habit at times.  But, no amount of analyzing ever made me feel safe. Rather, it made me feel crazy. But I would do it anyway. I’d run away with stories and talk myself in circles driving myself nuts. My mind took control overriding our most valuable asset, our intuition. A regular Bikram yoga practice has nearly eliminated this nasty habit.

Through our practice we extract and go through. And as we are going through we have our mats to come home to where we can kick, stretch, and breathe– where we can let go. Our asana practice helps us to wrangle our wild horse of a mind into submission so that we are able to be still, be quiet, and to trust.

In our yoga practice, while we are kicking and stretching and breathing, our minds surrender. As we move from one asana to the next we are able to extract the fear and the worry, the stagnant energy that holds us back and we are able to go through it without attaching to it. Through the sweating, the stretching, the contracting of muscles we release, we let go, and we learn to believe. And when we believe we are safe. When we believe we know we are loved. When we believe we are home.

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