Savasana, Interrupted

It was with great, great sorrow that the BYPS community said farewell to our other location on Fifth Avenue and 15th Street in Brooklyn, which closed on December 31, 2015. A number of us, myself included, shed tears when we first heard the news of the impending closure. Many longtime members of our community considered our South Slope location their “yoga home” for a number of years, and have spent the past few months, since the announcement of the necessity to close, coming to terms with this change, wrapping their heads around negotiating the commute to the Lefferts’ location, and the subsequent adjustments in scheduling and logistics that now have to be made.

Change tends to have both good and bad elements to it; one great thing that has come from this event has been to bring our already close-knit community of yogis even closer, as significant upheavals can sometimes do. We’re all using our practice to process the grief over leaving a beloved space, realize our gratitude for having been able to practice there, accept this change gracefully, and find a way to turn toward the positive with regard to this and other of life’s inevitable shifts.

I will let the memory cards from the Fifth Avenue lobby, written by some of our community members in the final days of the studio, tell their stories:

What happens in the studio stays in the studio. That means my head will always be here – Y

Thank you for providing a lovely, safe, and friendly sanctuary! This was my home away from home, 2013 – 15! XOX – J

S. Slope, Dec 2015: You are my home studio – that happens once in a life! – C

Dear BYPS – I have been practicing here since the start – Thank you.  – S

Beautiful studio I will certainly miss. Great memories! – D

2007 – 2015 – With whole-hearted thanks to you that walked through these doors and the space that held each of us with such grace, allowing for extraordinary transformation. – J

This studio has made me a better teacher and a better person. Thank you, South Slope! 2011 – 2015 – P

And when you are gone, I will miss your gentle noises. Namaste – S

Completed my 30-day challenge today!! Thank you for being a part of my life. I’ll miss you, South Slope! – T

Thank you Roody, Jessica, Denise, Jessica M, Peter, & the 6:30am crew! 2011- 15 – A

Memory highlight  … Sharing clementine oranges with my fellow yogis on 30-day challenge back in 2013

The smell … – A

From brittle and tense to juicy, lean, and calm, to teacher of health and peace. I’ll always remember you as the gentle push that the new me needed. Thank you for the love, light, and support – S

On December 31st 2014, I took my first ever Bikram class here. Thank you, South Slope, for completely transforming my life. – J

((heavy sigh)) Thank you for healing my knees and making me strong and confident. Some days offer profound insights and deeper understanding of how I interact with the world.

I will miss this studio so, so very much as it has been the most vital healing space when I was in a fragile and difficult space in life and this studio saved me!!!! Love you so much – K

Been coming here regularly since 2009. One of my favorite memories is trudging to the studio through the snow piled up high on the quiet streets. Hot yoga in snowfall. Thank you for an amazing community – A

12-30-15 Thank you BYSS for being an amazing constant in my life for over six years. I’m very sad to see this studio go but I am hopeful for a new incarnation. Park Slope needs this space and all of the wonderful teachers! Best wishes – YJ

2010 – 2015 When my doctor gave me the all clear after six rounds of chemotherapy and seventeen radiation treatments, I returned to Bikram a cancer survivor … ready to work, sweat, love, and connect. This studio was always love!! – L

Such a warm and welcoming community of yogis! Thank you for lighting my passion for yoga. – C

When I first moved to South Slope seven years ago, finding this Bikram studio made me feel like I’d found my new home … a constant source of healing and growth. Thank you!

Started at Flatbush in 2007; continued when South Slope opened; bounced back and forth. I love the peace and space you’ve provided. Thank you, South Slope! – K

This studio–this community–has been such a strong and important place for us these past five years. Thank you. – J & T

2011 – 2015 This studio has been such a special place in my life! I feel like I grow into myself and my “adulthood” through my practice here. So much love. – M

What C said! I will never have another home studio. Forever grateful! – A


Tocando la Luz

Join South Slope yogis Jen and Tim for the NY premiere of their film Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light) at DOCNYC next Sunday 11/15 at 4:45PM! The film will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger and a reception hosted by PBS’ DOC WORLD.

Trailer & Tickets: exclusive clip of a baseball game for the blind:

Synopsis from the DocNYC catalog: Havana, Cuba. An up-and-coming singer searches for confidence, a young woman in love longs for motherhood and a veteran of the Revolution comes to terms with the death of her husband. Three women, united by blindness and a desire for independence, guide us through Cuba’s current economic and social landscape while pursuing their dreams and breaking through personal and societal limitations.

Photo by Monica Felix @

What most yoga websites fail to mention

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

I’ve been doing yoga for eight years.

And what’s fascinating is how my experience has evolved. In the beginning, my practice was largely physical. The purpose was to develop a healthier relationship with my breath and body.

Next, my practice became highly spiritual. The purpose was to develop an existential connection. Later, my practice became highly emotional. The purpose was to work through my feelings and problems.

And lately, my practice has become highly communal. The purpose is to share my humanity with the other practitioners.

The point is, there’s no right or wrong. Yoga is a mirror for what’s going on in your life off the mat.

They never write that on the website.

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.

Photo by Monica Felix @

Fast heart, slow lungs

Photo by Monica Felix @ www.monicafelix.comInner peace is not something that you create, but rather something that already exists within you as a part of your true identity.

That’s exactly how you delete the drama. By tapping into your indispensable stabilizing element. Something to anchor you when world tries to knock the music out of you. Something to help you soar above the turmoil that surrounds you.

As a yoga student, mine is my breath. The mantra is, fast heart, slow lungs.

This reminds me that more that chaos erupts around me, the deeper I need to breath through my diaphragm. That’s how I cope calmly with my inconveniences. That’s how I avoid becoming wrapped up in the injustice of the situation. By using my breath to remind myself that there are no emergencies, there are no emergencies, there are no emergencies.

The tricky part is, human hardwiring predisposes us to react, which is a conditioned reflex. We have to teach ourselves to respond, which is a conscious choice.

How’s your breathing?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.

Photo by Monica Felix @

Water is your second lifeline, breathing is your first

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

When you’re practicing yoga in a hundred degree room with forty percent humidity for ninety minutes straight, the natural inclination is to medicate your suffering with water. Because it’s cold and refreshing and hydrating and satisfying.

But as my teacher loves to remind his students, water is your second lifeline, breathing is your first.

Think about it. When a person experiences a health emergency, the first thing the paramedics provide is oxygen. Nobody inserts a water tube up your nose. People need air. Breath is life. It’s the source of all things.

And nothing against water. It’s a close second on the scoreboard of human survival. But you can survive for three days without water. Oxygen is only three minutes.

And so, in yoga class, when the dizziness and the leg cramps and the dark thoughts come crashing in, the smartest response is to breathe, not drink. No matter how much money you spent on that shiny new vacuum insulated double stainless steel water bottle that keeps contents icy cold for up to eighteen hours, the smartest response is to breathe.

Oxygen first, water second.

It’s a perfect metaphor for life outside the yoga studio, too. Because when our suffering becomes intolerable, we’re given that same choice. We can reach for a crutch to soothe our pain, or we can regulate and refresh and rebuild ourselves with lifelines that are healthier.

And don’t make us have to pee every twenty minutes.

What’s your preferred method of medicating?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.