What year did you attend training? Why did you go?
Fall 2000. I started my practice while in Graduate School getting my Master’s in Education. By the time I earned my degree, I was so passionate about the benefits of the practice, the decision to shift into teaching yoga was very easy.
What do you do for fun?
I just moved into my dream apt. on Riverside with unobstructed views of the Hudson, Palisades and GW Bridge….so lately I spend a lot of time marveling out my windows. I am also an avid (window) gardener, and I study Tai Chi.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I have been re-reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali mostly because I am finding that students are, now more than ever, interested in the wisdom contained within.
You’re a performer/writer… can you tell us what you’ve worked on lately or when your next gig is?
In the last year I co-starred with Dov Tiefenbach in a terrific little play directed by Michael Beckett called, Talkback”. I also had the pleasure of headlining a benefit concert promoting literacy in San Miguel de Allende Mexico. When I returned to NYC in February, a little play I wrote, direct and star in was chosen as a Finalist in the Manhattan Rep Spring Play Festival, so that has been fun. Presently, I am editing some other work, which I hope to perform this Summer…stay tuned.
Donna Rubin and Jen Lobo opened BYNYC nearly 18 years ago with the goal of improving the overall well-being of New Yorkers. As the first boutique fitness studio in NYC there was no roadmap for how to manage a studio so in the beginning our policies, guidelines and etiquette came about on an as-needed basis.
As a studio that specializes in classes that take place in warm and humid environments, managing the heat, airflow and humidity took on huge importance when the Midtown studio opened in August 1999. While managing those aspects of a room’s environment are pretty straight forward with the technologies available to us, students have always been a variable we can’t anticipate.
We take pride in the fact that each BYNYC instructor is CPR certified, that we have ongoing continuing education, that we communicate and meet regularly, with student safety frequently discussed. On that note, as we move into Summer ’17, our instructors are taking on a greater role as it relates to the observable conditions of our students.
Since opening we’ve said “if you’re feeling dizzy or nauseas, please sit or lie down until you’re feeling better.” Today, we’re taking that policy a step further. For your overall safety and well-being, our instructors have been requested to ask students to step outside to cool their bodies down if they appear unwell. If you appear to be struggling or otherwise not participating in class, you may be asked to leave temporarily in order to recuperate. Please sit right outside the door so the teacher can keep an eye on you. When you’re feeling better, at the teacher’s discretion you may come back in join the class.
Participation vs Non-Participation
We want to be clear that being asked to step outside the classroom is not punishment, it’s simply a condition that our instructors are able to observe. We highly encourage you to take a break if you are not feeling well. Taking a break is a signal to you, and us, that you need to slow down a bit and rest.
Sometimes as a practitioner, you may think that you are OK or WILL be OK, but the instructor is trained to look out for signs that may indicate otherwise. Here are some things to look out for:
- Feeling Dehydrated
- Any numbness of limbs
- Loss of color
There are ways to insure you have the best possible experience in a class with us and we encourage you to include these activities as part of a regular life pattern, as their benefits go well beyond our studio walls:
- Hydration – Being properly hydrated heading into a class in a warm and humid environment where you’ll be sweating is more than just drinking water. Pre and post class replenishment of electrolytes is critical.
- Meals – We do not recommend taking class on a completely empty stomach, or if it’s been greater than 7 hours since a meal. We recommend foods that are hydrating 1-2 hours before class such as watermelon, grapes or cantaloupe.
- Rest – Anyone will tell you that sleep and overall rest are key to clarity of mind and physical performance. If you don’t feel properly rested, we recommend skipping class and coming to visit when you are.
- Injuries – Before each class our instructors ask the room if anyone has an injury they should know about, and for good reason. Please share this with your instructor privately in the lobby or when asked before class.
- Stress – Try to be self-aware if you have a high level of stress walking in to a class. Stress has a high impact on your hormones and can effect your performance in class. Try to arrive early and take a 10 minute savasana.
- Apparel – Wearing the appropriate amount of breathable fabric will help your body self-cool. We recommend a jog-bra and/or tank with shorts or leggings for women. Just shorts and an optional loose tank for men.
- Research – Before taking a class for the first time, take the time to read the class details including length, posture types, and heat level so you’re aware of the environment you’re entering.
These policies and tips are offered with your well-being in mind. Sometimes in class students can become unaware of their own condition and push a bit too hard and we are here to help. Remember, it’s never a problem to sit down, lie down, leave the room or otherwise ask for help!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.
Sabrina approached her first Bikram yoga class in the summer of 2012 unsure if yoga was a good fit for her. She was always active in sports growing up but after her first class at the Bikram Yoga NYC Studio on the Upper West Side, she knew that yoga was exactly what she needed.
A senior teacher she admired said “give me 60 days and I’ll change your life” and Sabrina was up for the challenge. She did her first 60 day yoga challenge and never looked back. Far more than recognizing the physical aspects of the practice, the meditative part was just what she needed to thrive in the hustle and bustle of New York City. No matter what goes on in your daily life, the opportunity to seek peace and calmness is ever present within yoga. While learning to let everything else go within the sacred space of the studio, Sabrina continued to practice and learn about the true art of being present.
In turn, Sabrina helps others find their peace both passionately and professionally. She completed her Bikram yoga teacher training in the fall of 2015 in Thailand and her Yin Nidra and Hot HIIT trainings in 2016. Her love and passion comes first from being a student, as she enjoys learning each day she enters the studio. Sabrina hopes to travel the globe to continue sharing and spreading the joy of yoga throughout the world.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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
What year did you attend training? Why did you go?
I went to Bikram Yoga training in the fall of 2008. I had been practicing consistently for 7 years. I made the choice to become an instructor because the practice had changed me for the better and touched me very deeply. I wanted the opportunity for Bikram Yoga to become even more of a central focus in my life and to share it with others. I went to Hot Pilates training November 2015, because it is such an important compliment to Bikram Yoga. It makes your practice that much stronger.
We’re thrilled to to welcome you back, and are really excited about this week’s launch of your Hot Pilates classes. What are some things you’d like to share with our students about High Intensity Interval Training?
HIIT is the most effective way to burn fat and increase your endurance quickly. In Hot Pilates, we work at 110% for 20 seconds and rest for ten, doing either 4 or 8 sets of each exercise. The Pilates Principles we use create long, lean muscle mass, and especially in the hot room, you see results rapidly. It is challenging, but just like in a Bikram class, you do the absolute best you can with the correct form and every day you will become stronger.
The important thing is to keep moving, even if you have to drop your intensity level down. You have to overload the muscles to improve them. The great thing about this program is it is all zero impact, so it is the perfect high intensity workout for anyone who has been injured during Crossfit, or any other high impact workout, but still craves that high. It is up to each student to find their perfect balance of working as hard as they can, and maintaining the integrity of their form.
Tell us about your own practice. Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?
Hands down my most challenging postures, mentally and physically, are planks. Forearm plank, side plank, you name it. Any time your life is going by quickly, do a 60 second plank. Everything will slow right down for you. There are days when it literally feels like time is standing still while I’m in it. Exactly because of that, I do a minimum 2 minute forearm plank every day. I do it because I know the postures and exercises that are most uncomfortable and challenging are the ones we need the most. I do it because I know I can. I do it because the challenge reminds me to not take myself too seriously. I do it because every second longer I hold it, I get stronger.
Outside of yoga, what projects are you involved with? What do you do for fun?
I had my own yoga studio for three years, which closed this past August. I was very busy with my business during that time and did not have many outside projects. Now that I have more free time, I am enjoying all the doors that have opened for me. I love to long distance run, but have been mostly doing interval training as of late. Honestly, I go to yoga and hot pilates classes for fun. It sounds silly, but I am so blessed to be doing for a living what I love the most in the world.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I am currently reading “Pilates’ Return To Life Through Contrology” by Joseph Pilates. I’m listening to my Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify so that I can get you guys some new music for your Hot Pilates classes!
Any final words?
I’m honored and excited to be teaching Hot Pilates at Bikram Yoga NYC. It is something I feel passionate about and believe in completely. You get very strong very quickly, you see changes rapidly, and it is so fun to take it. I have a blast teaching it. I hope to see everyone in class soon!