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.


Testimonial: Alessandra De Almeida

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

I started practicing Bikram because I was interested in going a bit further with my practice. I love all different kinds of yoga and believe that they each serve beautiful purpose. I was looking for something that would push me physically further. I started doing Bikram yoga 11 years ago.

How has your practice affected your life?

The greatest thing that this practice has taught me is patience, both with myself and my body. If you push too far beyond your limits in a Bikram class, you get dizzy/sick or uncomfortable. However, finding that beautiful balance of challenging yourself while being kind and acknowledging when and where you should stop or slow down is wonderful. It has given me insight into how to self-care in other aspects of my life.

What keeps you coming back for more?

The heat and community. I love warmth and sweat, and it makes me feel like I have worked out. Our community at the Bikram Yoga Park Slope studios is so awesome, I love all the ages, peoples, and bodies that practice there. Its not a competitive place.

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Be gentle on yourself, this isn’t a competition. Enjoy the postures and find grace in them. HYDRATE!!!!!!


Liberation Prison Yoga

Join our next benefit class on Friday, December 5th at 7 p.m.

Mats and towels will be free. Suggested donation is $20. All proceeds will go directly to Liberation Prison Yoga. This is a silent class to music so get ready to party!

Refreshments are provided afterwards in our beautiful new space and instructor Saya Ishii Velazquez will be selling and signing her new book, Yoga Baby.

507 Flatbush Avenue, 2nd Floor. B, Q, S train to Prospect Park or B41 to Lincoln Rd.

What does Liberation Prison Yoga do?

  • Serves jails and prisons in New York City and State bringing trauma sensitive yoga and empowerment programs to incarcerated women, men and youth (16+),  and trains yoga instructors to work inside the prison system.
  • Has 19 weekly programs in three NYC jails and two NY state prisons.
  • Works with 22 volunteer yoga instructors,  many with backgrounds in social work and psychology, who use the trauma-sensitive approach while sharing their yoga style. Each class is comprised of hatha yoga and meditation. Some programs also include discussion, free-flow writing or other healing modalities.

For more information, please visit their website and check out their Facebook page too