When did you start practicing at Bikram Yoga NYC, and why?
I started practicing at Bikram Yoga NYC seven years ago because I just had this mysterious sense that I would connect with the practice. I had taken a few “regular” yoga classes before, and although I loved the feeling of opening entirely unfamiliar parts of my body, I was craving a higher level of intensity — basically, if I was going to do an activity for an hour or 90 minutes, I wanted more to show for it. Bikram yoga did exactly that, and from the first few moments of my first class, I was hooked.
Who are your favorite teachers and why would you recommend their classes?
I tend to gravitate towards teachers who find deeper meaning in each of the postures and employ creative ways of connecting the yoga instructions with life, rather than those who just spout off the dialogue. Also, being a musician, I find vocal cadencing very important: some teachers very clearly indicate the pacing of the postures through the intensity and pitch of their voices. Georgia brings such positivity and grace to her classes, and she is always the teacher that I recommend first and foremost to any student, new or experienced. I also love Kathryn, with her regal presence and soothing spirituality, and Paul with his own set of creative instructions to accompany each posture. I also used to absolutely adore Mary Dillon, but unfortunately she no longer teaches at Bikram Yoga NYC.
What is it about Bikram Yoga that keeps you coming back?
I can tell when I haven’t been to a class for a while — the toxins that I usually sweat out in class begin to back up in my body and noticeably cloud my mood. I am positively addicted to the clarity and energy that comes at the end of each class, as well
as the feeling being able to fully disconnect from the outside world in order to move through a beloved series of postures for a full 90 minutes. It feels so luxurious, productive, and inspiring. Bikram Yoga has also profoundly affected my violin playing and performance career — in fact, I devoted an entire page on my website to yoga and the merits of a consistent practice as related to classical musicians. You can read more here: http://elenaurioste.com/category/yoga/
It completely depends on how I’m feeling from day to day. Whichever part of my body is feeling tight or neglected might crave a certain pose — for example, if my lower back is feeling crunchy, rabbit will stretch it out; if I really need to flush oxygen through my system, prana yama breathing makes me feel completely rejuvenated… it really depends on how I’m feeling on any given day.
Least favorite posture?
Probably half locust. Intellectually I know this is one of the poses I need the most — as a violinist, my arms are bent in a strange way for much of my day, so to have the opportunity to iron them out is really a privilege, but I just… ugh. It’s unpleasant.
Completely. My muscles feel infinitely more responsive, I can work through my nerves on stage with deep, flushing breaths, I know how to root my feet into the ground when I’m feeling wobbly, and in general I feel so much more free to let my music flow through my body and out of my instrument.
What would you say to someone new who’s unsure if Bikram is for them?
Try it! The worst that’ll happen is that you’ll lie down and take a very pleasant nap, like in a sauna.
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Rock landscapes Photo Credit: Brittany Bartley