Teacher Story: Katia

What tips can you give students to support their practice off the mat?
Just basic stuff: drink plenty of water, eat a high-quality diet, and sleep 7 hours every night.

What lead you to teacher training?
I knew pretty early on–during my second class–that one day I would teach this method.

Dealing with personal injury
After I stopped dancing ballet, I discovered that my skeletal system was quite twisted, and that my hips were constantly inflamed, a situation that has never quite resolved completely. Bikram Yoga helps me to manage this condition by realigning and creating more space in my joints, increasing the blood flow there and making my body feel better.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your teaching style or philosophy?
I teach from a perspective of believing that it is an honor to be standing in front of people who are allowing me to guide them through their yoga for 90 minutes. It’s my responsibility to give a challenging class while at the same time keeping it light emotionally. In addition to inspiring the students, I have discovered that I must find something different to teach or emphasize each and every class. We have many practitioners who have challenges such as injuries, different conditions, or perhaps recovering from surgery; I use my medical experience to help them practice safely, and in turn, working with them helps me to understand their conditions better.

Anything else?
Bikram Yoga definitely makes me a better and more balanced person. I believe that yoga changes the world for the better. Everyone has to try it!


Student Story: Vivian

Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I started practicing yoga later in my life (in my 30s) for a number of reasons; my mom had taken me to a hatha yoga class when I was in grade school and while I was terrible at it, I loved the savasana at the end and it planted a seed in me that told me I would need and love yoga later on in my life. Later, in my 20s, I was living in Park Slope, swimming at the nearby branch of the Y for an hour a day which I loved, however when I moved to Prospect Heights in 2003, the Y was inconvenient to get to regularly. One day I walked into the Flatbush Bikram studio, and I just loved it immediately. I enjoy all kinds of yoga but at that time, my wrists were very weak and downward dog was painful; the Bikram method was great because it didn’t have that.  The Flatbush studio was close to where I lived and it’s always been important that my workout place be nearby otherwise, I know I won’t go.

How has your practice affected your life?
I like to say that it cures suicidal tendencies (and homicidal ones, too!).  But seriously, this yoga method really is wonderful for putting things in perspective and clearing your mind and body of interference, negative thoughts, and general worry.  Also, as a musician, I use my body a lot and I find the practice to be essential as a restorative therapy for holding your arms up asymmetrically with an instrument that weighs 8 pounds around your neck for 6 hours a day.

What keeps you coming back for more?
I always feel better after class, no matter how the class itself goes.  If I’m worried or confused about something in my life and I can’t stop worrying about it and trying to figure it out, I notice that after class, even though nothing has changed, I feel more confident and empowered to keep working to figure out a positive solution.  Also, I really like the community of people at the Lefferts studio, which I still go to even though now it’s a mile and a half away.

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?
The main advice I have for new yogis is to breathe, listen, and be patient.  Most importantly, do not force postures; if you cannot maintain your calm breath, then leave a posture out and stand in mountain savasana. Breathe and stay as still as possible.  Our tendency in this competitive world is to only hear the teacher when they say, “push”, but not hear them tell us to maintain calm and focused breath. I often see new students huffing and dramatically trying to make every pose and I want to tell them that I’ve “candy-assed” my way through some classes, only doing one set of every posture because I’m too tired or sick and at the end, as long as I maintained a calm focus on my breath, I will still feel as great as if I’d “kicked butt” on every posture.


Student Story: Wayne

Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?

The idea of a hot  yoga was/is appealing to me, although I practice all types of yoga as well. I started doing yoga in order to feel better and stay young, and started practicing Bikram in 2001.

How has your practice affected your life?

My yoga practice, including Bikram, provides me with peace of mind, a feeling of well-being, ‎and the luxury of feeling young as I grow older.

What keeps you coming back for more?

The heat‎, and desire to stay “forever young,” and the opportunity to find spiritual meaning to life.

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Do it! You will grow older whether you do it or not. Make excuses to yourself  and no one will care. ‎You can grow old feeling old and rickety, or you can grow old feeling healthy, strong and alive … It’s that simple!


Teacher Story: Saya

What tips can you give students to support their practice off the mat?
Just like your practice on the mat, always work on your awareness and pace yourself throughout your day so you don’t wind up over worked, over stressed, or over whelmed.

What lead you to teacher training?
I was introduced to Bikram yoga where I grew up in Greenwich, CT back in 2001. I fell in LOVE with the practice right away and knew it would be a part of my life forever. It was actually the studio owners there who suggested I go to teacher training and teach for them once I became certified and that’s what I did.

Dealing with personal injury
The wonderful thing about yoga is that it does not discriminate, so you can come in pretty much any condition. You can be any size, you can be pregnant , and even show up with an injury; anyone can benefit as long as they are practicing with care and working with good form. When practicing with an injury, always be on the side of less and focus on the therapy. Yoga is one of the oldest forms of physical therapy and it really works when practiced with patience and care.

What other skill or perspective in related fields do you bring to teaching?
I am a certified pre-natal yoga instructor and am a trained doula as well for over 7 years now.


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: http://bit.ly/1ScNVR6Indiewire exclusive clip of a baseball game for the blind: http://bit.ly/1Sdqrfq

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.