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.

Bikram yogi Ruchika Muchhala

Ruchika Muchhala

My sister had been practicing Bikram Yoga for awhile and she convinced me that it would really help me detox. It was only until the winter break after a busy first semester in graduate school, that I agreed to join her for a class in 2012 and immediately bought the unlimited monthly plan as a christmas present to myself!

As a graduate student and then a freelancer who has strange “working hours” and can work remotely, Bikram Yoga is the time in which I get to put the gadgets away and disconnect, literally! However, unlike working out at the gym or going for a long meditative swim, I feel that my practice challenges me to not only have the chance to keep trying and trying, pushing and pushing until I come to “perfect” my poses, but to just value the process of it.

With my work, making documentary films and non-fiction content, oftentimes it is only the final edited outcome that one sees and as an artist, we feel rewarded when others are affected by our work and acknowledge it. However, we fail to acknowledge our own process of making it. The film I am screening on March 8, 2015 is deeply personal, as I am the one who navigates through the arranged marriage system and my parents are pressuring me to get married. The process of making the film emotionally as well as logistically, was difficult and sometimes painful and oftentimes, like with Bikram Yoga, you just want to run to a window or to the door and escape!

I am happy to finally have the chance to share the film and have the chance to engage audiences with a relevant discussion with some of the amazing artists and activists who I admire on the panel discussion after the screening. We are screening the film at 7 p.m.the Tank Theater (151 West 46th Street, 8th Floor).


Yoga Baby is here for the holidays

Read more about BYPS instructor Saya Ishii Velazquez, mother of Santigo (6 yrs) and Sakura (3 yrs) as she shares about birthing her latest project: Yoga Baby

What was your experience with yoga during pregnancy?

I practiced and taught yoga through out both pregnancies and got my prenatal yoga certification and Doula certification when I was pregnant with Santiago seven years ago. Practicing yoga meant the world to me during pregnancy. Yoga helped me be more aware of the changes happening internally and externally while pregnant. Yoga helped me to feel strong and confident during labor and in giving birth. Practicing yoga gave me the courage to give birth to both my children at home.

Tell us about Yoga Baby.

Yoga Baby is my first book. The story just came to me one day while reading to my little ones. The book is about my son, Santiago. The story is told in Santiago’s voice and it is about how he used to do yoga in my belly, how he practices yoga by himself now and how yoga makes him feel.

I contacted my friend and illustrator, John DeVore, right away after writing my story to collaborate. John was excited about the story and the idea and the rest is history. We took many twists and turns until we had the right marriage of content and pictures to best express this story and we are so happy with the outcome.

What advice can you give new mothers?

My advice to new mothers is: life is practice. Just like yoga, we get better at it the more we do it. Don’t sweat the little stuff especially when it comes to raising little ones. Enjoy the process! It goes fast!

Saya Ishii VelazquezBYPS is hosting a book signing for Yoga Baby on Friday, December 5th, at our newest studio space: Prospect Park – Lefferts. The book signing kicks off at 6 p.m. and continues during our First Friday community class. Snacks will be provided by BYPS student Emily Hannon and her very own Brooklyn Porridge Co. Saya will have 200 copies of her book for sale on site.