matchatlogoIlene Kristen is an actress and producer, known for her roles in Ryan’s Hope, One Life to Live, General Hospital and Grease. Watch this week’s Mat Chat as studio owner Donna Rubin talks Bikram Yoga with Ilene.

The forward tilt of your torso sends high-speed blood pouring into the heart, especially the neglected lower region, cleaning out the veins and all the arteries, strengthening the heart muscle.  The same rejuvenating flood rushes into the brain as well.  It is also one of the best exercises for bad posture.  By perfecting body control and balance it strengthens physical, psychological, and mental powers.

3 Tips for Balancing Stick:

  1. The hardest part about balancing stick pose it to take with you some of the things you worked on in the previous posture. Specifically focus on your standing locked knee. You will notice your thigh muscle will want to remain loose but you have to work hard to contract your thigh muscle.

  2. In order to keep your arms with your ears try thinking about your upper back muscles activating to make it a little easier.

  3. Before you bring your body down and leg up parallel to the floor transfer your weight to your standing foot and strong solid leg to stabilize your self and the proceed from there.

Lisa began practicing Bikram yoga in 2001 and found that a regular practice resulted in numerous physical and mental benefits. She took a break from the corporate world during the summer of 2004 to attend Bikram’s teacher training in LA. Although she currently works at an asset management firm, she enjoys teaching a few classes a week and finds that doing both brings a sense of balance to her life.

Favorite quote:

To make the right choices in life you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear  the truth and know the solutions – Deepak Chopra

Currently reading:

  • The Mountain Shadow, by Gregory David Roberts…which happens to be the sequel to my favorite book ever, Shantaram

Favorite things, besides yoga (of course):

  • Cooking – working my way through Yotam Ottolenghi’s amazing cookbooks
  • Hiking… both  in upstate NY and around the world…thinking that a trip to Patagonia, Chile is going to be next
  • Wandering… around NYC discovering new restaurants, cute shops and cool street art


Upcoming Silent Class

This upcoming November 22nd, 5pm at Bikram Yoga NYC Upper East Side, Lisa is leading a Silent Class. Online booking for the class opens on Sunday, November 15th. Important: Students must have taken at least 10 classes in order to participate. 

Lisa’s description of the class:

I think it is a great chance for students to deepen their practice, as they are able to really focus on their breath while in the postures. And really, as New Yorkers, particularly this time of year, everything is so hectic, it’s a nice chance to do something they love in a new and different way.  I always find that in silent classes, students almost intuitively know what to correct/adjust. The classes always seem really calm and peaceful.

Do you love Bikram Yoga? Would you like to join the Bikram Yoga NYC team?

We are looking for students with a passion for yoga who would like to utilize their expertise as a part of the Bikram Yoga NYC team. We’re always looking for sharp students, with an eye for detail and an enthusiastic attitude to join us a variety of capacities at the studio. Here are some areas where we’re looking for help:

  • Studio Managers
  • Weekend AM Desk Managers
  • Facilities Management (i.e. Cleaning Staff)
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Social Media Experts/Bloggers

Do you have an expertise to lend to the studio that does not fit in any of the above categories? We’d still love to hear from you!

If you’re interested, please use this link and fill out a short survey. If you decide to include an official resume, please be aware we do not accept attachments and any resumes must be included in the survey form box (via cut and paste).

We will be replying to candidates by November 17th. If you do not hear from us by that date, rest assured we’ve received your information and will keep it on file if an opportunity arises.


Thank you!
Donna Rubin & Jennifer Lobo
Co-Owners, Bikram Yoga NYC

Eddie Marco, a native of Miami, Fl., is an accomplished musical theatre performer who has performed all over the United States, as well as abroad. While on tour in Washington, D.C., Eddie was introduced to his first Bikram class and was instantly hooked to this amazing series.

After a few months of steady practice, he decided to head to Bikram’s Yoga World Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. A graduate of Bikram’s Yoga Fall 2003 Teacher Training, Eddie has taught all over the NY Metro area including South Beach and North Miami.

Some quotes that inspire Eddie:

“The only way to succeed, is to not worry about what anyone else is doing”

“If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO”

“If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place”

Through October 31st, pick up 10 classes for just $149! Also take 20% off all merchandise including apparel, mats, bags at the studios. These deals are only available through Midnight on Halloween so don’t miss out!

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On a freezing winter day, Debbie accidentally walked into a Bikram NYC studio. She was looking for a wellness center located on the same city block, but—by fluke or fate—she ended up in the hot room. Debbie describes the benefits of her early yoga practice as “almost like magic”. As her practice deepened, it became a passion. Debbie traveled to Thailand for Teaching Training in Fall 2014. She is also a licensed Social Worker—and feels empathy and compassion to be essential when up on the podium.

Debbie’s inspiration:

At Teacher Training, I heard this great quote – “The darkest place in the world is under the brightest lamp.”  Bikram yoga is an incredibly honest practice – 90 minutes in the hot room.  Alone on your mat.  No distractions—no music, candles, Buddha statues. Not even any variation in the posture sequence!  It’s just you and your reflection—and, I think, that’s part of what makes the yoga so challenging.  But also so rich!  It’s a real opportunity to learn about yourself.  As your practice develops, you’ll notice changes in the way you think about yourself and treat the people around you.  I showed up to my first class with self-esteem that was seriously lacking. It took a couple years before I finally began to accept and appreciate myself.  It’s a tough journey–but stay the course.  This yoga really can change your life!

Hands to feet pose increases the flexibility of the spine, the sciatic nerves and of most of the tendons and ligaments of the legs and strengthens the biceps of thighs and calves. It also greatly improves blood circulation in the legs and to the brain and strengthens the rectus abdominus, gluteus maximus, oblique, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.

  • As a beginner if you are not able to get your hands under your feet with your elbows behind your calf muscles don’t worry. Just grab wherever you can to make sure you can rest your belly on your thighs and eventually with practice you will be able to do this.
  • Don’t forget to use your bicep muscles as much as possible when you pull on your heel which will help to tone your arm muscles.
  • When you start pushing your knees back to stretch your hamstrings listen to your body so that you don’t overstretch. You should feel a good stretching sensation but nothing that you should feel alarmed about.

Through midnight on Friday (10/10) pick up 20 classes for just $279 (retail $360, 23% off). The package is valid for 180 days after first use.

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by student Steve M. authored in August 2015

It all started in the summer of 2011 with severe back pain.  I had been an active gym goer and was in excellent health so it seemed like a minor back injury.  As the pain got worse I was referred to a spine specialist who suspected a disc problem and ordered an MRI.  The results were shocking in that a tumor the size of a fingernail was found growing in my spinal cord (at L1) attached to several nerves.

So, the tumor, later biopsied as an unusual Myxopapillary Ependymoma, a low-grade form of cancer — had to come out.  In October, I underwent a 5-hour neurosurgery where 99% of the tumor was removed.  The surgery required a delicate procedure called a triple laminectomy that refers to the removal of a portion of three vertebral bones to get to and open the spinal cord to remove the tumor.  After five days of immobilization where I could not lift my head (to prevent loss of spinal fluid), I recovered sufficiently to sit up in bed for two additional weeks.  During that period, it remained unclear if I would walk again.

Fortunately, the nerves sacrificed in the surgery did not deter me from starting the three months of therapy to walk again despite some neurological damage and chronic pain.  Six more months of physical therapy and pain management followed but simple tasks like picking something up from the floor felt impossible.  The chronic pain persisted.

Two years ago, one of my best friends, a woman six years my senior, then at the age of 76 — said let’s try something very different and maybe counterintuitive as she invited me to her Bikram yoga class in Midtown, where we fortunately met Georgia, who is absolutely amazing.  She assured us that we were not “too old” or “too disabled” for yoga and that we were very welcome.

The last two years I have been practicing up to three times a week, with some disruption from travel.  Interestingly some of the balancing work is very similar to the physical therapy routine for my spine recovery. Though the spinal series in class was at first unachievable due to pain, I can now work through the pain and find value because these routines later provide symptom relief for a full day or more after class, strongly improving my daily quality of life.

A special thank you to Christine and Jon who have worked with me on several helpful adaptations to protect my back. Being a scientist by profession, I was first hesitant to connect with the emotional side of yoga, but I started listening to Christine about this and now appreciate the positive mental benefits.

Importantly, after two years of mostly hiding in the back of the room and feeling sorry for my disabled self, I am now feeling rather proud of myself as a man in his seventies with a compromised spine who is fighting back against an ambiguous and rare cancer.  As a Professor of Medicine, take it from me – friends and yoga can be good medicine.

– Steve