Utkatasana

Here we go! The next in the line up of our postures we are releasing once a week in the Bikram series. Use these videos to support your practice when you find yourself away from your home studio and remember to send us a shot of you in your favorite pose @bikramyogaparkslope #itsmyhotasana

 

 

Here are some benefits to Utkatasana:
  • Relieves sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism and gout in the legs
  • Firms all muscles of the thighs, calves and hips
  • Creates traction in the spine, increases strength in the weight-bearing joints
  • Improves blood circulation in the knee and ankle joints

Pranayama: Standing Deep Breathing

This month we are releasing one posture per week to lead you through the 26 + 2 Bikram yoga series. We know many of you are away over the summer — we miss you over the holiday and look forward to seeing you when you are back! In the mean time, use these videos to support your practice when you find yourself away from your home studio.

Some benefits of Pranayama breathing:

  • Encourages mental relaxation
  • Supports good blood pressure and circulation
  • Improves conditions of the lungs – increasing lung capacity

We would love to hear what Pranayama does for you! Share with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Kangen_Water

Introducing Kangen Water

Have you discovered the water and technology being used by the most forward thinking, heath aware people in the world?

Introducing Kangen Water. It’s better than any other water or drink. It goes deeply into the fluid surrounding the cells and bathes and feeds those cells thus giving them more hydration that allows for quicker recovery, increased stamina and extended energy. A far more superior approach to healthy athletics and rapid reduction of lactic acid rather than the sugar, unhealthy alternatives. Beat that, Gatorade.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Kangen Water has been used in Japanese Hospitals for 40 years

• Kangen Water hydrates 4 to 6 times more effectively than other drinks

• Kangen Water can help flush built up toxins and impurities from the body

• Kangen Water can help our planet and environment by stopping plastic bottle waste

• Kangen Water can lead to an increase in energy, improved digestion and better sleep

“A person cannot eat enough fruits and vegetables in a day to come anywhere near the antioxidant power of one glass of Kangen Water.”
–Dr. Horst Filtzer, MD, Vascular Surgeon, Educated at Harvard University

Next time you come into our studio, try Kangen Water for yourself! Also, check out this incredible story about how Kangen Water changed the lives of one particular athlete.

And, if you have questions about hydration, connect with us on Twitter or Facebook to find out more!

Cheers to your health!

KarliBackbend

Cultivating A Home Practice

As a busy New Yorker, it can be challenging to make it to the studio as frequently as you might like. We asked Karli, one of our Bikram Yoga Park Slope teachers, for some tips on how to bring your yoga experience into a home setting so that you can realize the benefits you’ve grown to enjoy. Here is what she has to say: 

Like most worthwhile disciplines, a home practice is a tough thing to cultivate. In theory, it is the most convenient way to fit your yoga into your day without the commute to the studio, or the cost of a class. This theory is similar to the one we tell ourselves about hemming our own jeans, or painting our own walls and making our dream DIY Pinterest projects. To some, these things come easily, to others, actually getting around to it is a pipe dream.

It is worth the reminder that the most important part of your home practice is steadiness. Not your designer yoga clothes, not your essential oils, not even your favorite playlist. You showing up consistently for even two minutes to sit with your breathing is the most important part of your home practice.

Consider this quote from Sri Dharma Mittra:

In dealing with meditation, it is always worth mentioning that you don’t have to be sitting to practice, but you have to be steady in one thing. For example, I have a student who came to my class every Saturday for over ten years, but every Saturday without fail. That is the very definition of steadiness. So, to meditate is more about steadiness than it is about how you sit or the quality of your concentration, or anything else. Let’s say you remember G-d once a day even for just one second, but every day. That is concentration. This steadiness in concentration brings fruits (results). It’s not that you concentrate on G-d for one whole day, and then you forget about Him – no, that’s not concentration. The secret is to have firm regular concentration on one thing.

The same can be applied to your yoga practice (considered by some to be a “moving meditation”). Steadiness is key. You do not have to put unreasonable pressure on yourself to practice seven days per week. Choose a consistent routine that fits easily within your schedule be it five times per week, once per week, once per month. What matters is the regularity of practice, whatever “regular” is to you.

Whether you are a home practice warrior with beautifully draped tapestries and flowing Zen fountains, or if your mat just barely fits snugly in the space between your bed and your dresser, the practice is the same. You are showing up to be with yourself and to enrich your life mentally and physically, regardless of the setting.

Sometimes we need a little extra motivation; this is where triggers might be helpful. Aromatherapy is a lovely way to settle your mind and your nervous system and prepare you for practice. As an alternative to essential plant oils, try infused herbal oils. According to internationally renowned herbalist, Susun Weed, “Infused herbal oils use a small amount of plant material; essential oils require tons of plant material [read: unsustainable]. Infused herbal oils are safe to use internally or externally; essential oils are poisonous internally, and problematic externally.” Best to embrace natural scent therapies such as growing live aromatic plants, or using dried aromatic herbs.

Music or soothing sounds from nature could be another way to create a vibe of focus and being present. If you have a go-to favorite playlist or Pandora station, or a favorite recording from nature, save them! Listen to them only during your home practice so that you’re excited for your next time spent on your mat. This habit will also train your mind that when your specific sound current begins, it is time for focus and mindful breathing or movement. I find that I end up dancing to the music instead of moving with my breath, so keep an eye on your pace to make sure it is yours, not your favorite band’s.

If you have one space dedicated to your practice, plants are a nice addition because they work symbiotically with your own breath as they purify the air. Also, the soft green tones are relaxing to the eyes all too often strained by back-lit computer screens.

Running late? A five-minute meditative breathing break or a quick asana warm-up can reset you as effectively as turning off your phone for a few minutes will reboot the operating system. The quality of your practice will change day to day, and it’s the days when it seems least likely to get on your mat that you probably need it the most.

Peter.Web

Teacher of the month: Peter Finlon

BYPS teacher Peter Finlon shares about his practice and why he keeps coming back for more.

I started practicing on New Years Day in 2009, which makes 6.5 years of practice.  I was (poorly) recovering from a surgery and unable to go to the gym, and a coworker recommended that I try Bikram.  I was frustrated and desperate at that point, bought one month unlimited, and honestly had very low expectations for myself. I was surprised to notice a dramatic change in my mobility, stamina, ability to sleep, and mood. I ended up going nearly every day that month, and started a 30 day challange immediately thereafter.  In fall 2010, I completed teacher training.

The biggest changes occured in the muscular adhesions that resulted from improper wound healing, and the emotional issues connected to the places in which I was physically stuck.  I started out barely able to lift my arms over my head for half moon and completely incapable of keeping them straight!  Illness, injury, and immobility can have an immense psychological impact, and I know that first hand.  My body felt broken and alien.  Doing something athletic to address and and even reverse physical limitations in a fun and supportive environment made me feel strong again.  This experience lead me to become a massage therapist, a teacher, and recently, to finish my degree and pursue a career in public health. 

I keep coming back because my body is in constant flux and the practice helps keep me aware of that.  Especially living in New York, it is easy to be overwhelmed with outside stimuli and that can take focus away from what is going on physically, mentally, emotionally with myself.  Bikram yoga guarantees that for 90 minutes, I have no escape, no “out”, no distractions, no choice but to tune in.

My advice to new yogis ties into the above.  Don’t be afraid to tune in!  It is normal to try to create special personal rituals and distractions to avoid being with yourself and the practice for 90 minutes.  We all try to escape at some point.  Go to that scary place in which you don’t have that extra sweat-wiper towel, the cell phone,  that different version of triangle that makes you feel stronger and more capable, or that mental to-do list in savasana that keeps your mind busy.  If we get rid of these road blocks and directly face whatever is scaring us in the room, we’re building useful neural pathways that will allow us to do the same when faced with fears and challenges outside of the hot room.