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: Neyda Martinez

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

I was walking down Flatbush Avenue one day in a state of deep pain and emotional anguish, having lost my mother just a few months earlier. Feeling like an empty shell of my former self, I was “running on empty” when quite suddenly an ethereal voice whispered in my ear and directed me to “just melt the pain away.”  When I happened to look to the right, there was the Bikram Yoga studio! I’d never ever thought of doing Bikram Yoga before.

Coincidentally, the day before, I’d met Robbin Farrell. She joyfully stopped to say hello and acknowledged me for no reason but to say how lovely the flowers that I had just purchased were—sunflowers and white lilies. The following day, when I walked into the studio … there she was!  I started my practice in May of 2012 and I’ve kept it up ever since.

How has your practice affected your life?

When I started the practice, the physical and emotional pain was so great, I’d cry before, during, and after Pada-Hasthasana (Hands to Feet pose). I suffer from back pain and sciatica due to a series of falls I’d had in my early 20s and was also experiencing excruciating knee pain for nearly a year which my doctor could not explain.

It only took me a few weeks to get hooked. I bought both Bikram books and studied them religiously. I could feel the healing effects of the series early on, and the smallest gain in strength or an inkling of flexibility as I continued to practice got me excited. I was also grateful for the new-found ability to rest and to quickly rid my mind of any annoying thoughts and stupid chatter. However, it was the community of kind yogis at the studio and the compassion of the instructors that gave me the most hope. Reflecting now, I must have really been a mess with all of that crying during and after class, but at that time, I felt a break-through was on the horizon. A year later, my sister came with me to a class. She now practices too. And, though we live in different cities, we share this connection; it’s the most beautiful gift in the world!

What keeps you coming back for more?

Well, I’m hooked for life. No matter what I do … dance, ride my bike, or work out at the gym, the Bikram series is my priority and my anchor. I love that these postures are among the oldest forms of physical therapy. I have faith in the method and the discipline in keeping up with the practice. I do believe that it’s a mind-body-spirit connection with yourself and the universe around you that is developed and strengthened. Now, every day on the mat is a day for which I am grateful. I never leave a class without having learned or experienced something new. The hardest part for me sometimes is just simply looking at myself: I see my fears and I see my vulnerabilities. But there’s nothing to do in that hot room but to work through it. On days when I am exhausted or feeling especially challenged or fidgety, I remember to smile (a little or a lot) during my practice. I love the simplicity of it all.  A mat and a bottle of water and a little nourishing food is all we really need. Well, that and love!

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Well, it’s not my advice but rather the words of a fellow yogi who shared this with me recently after a class: “This yoga is life; it has nothing to do with feeling comfortable. We must learn to live outside of our comfort zone.”

My simple advice: Don’t give up! If this particular type of yoga is not for you, try other forms of yoga until you find the right one for you. You deserve the peace, the health, and the mental clarity that comes with it. You are worth it.


Student Story: Viviana

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

I started practicing Bikram yoga in January 2014 as part of the whole “new year, new me” idea as well as the plan to finally lose the weight I had gained with my third child (who at this point was 5 years old and no longer could I use the “I just had a baby” excuse!)

How has your practice affected your life?

Bikram yoga has made such a wonderful impact in my life. Everything has changed, and I do mean everything! I started practicing as just a way to lose weight from a vanity perspective and quickly did I realize how short-sighted I was. I’ve been fighting with my body image for years now; From being an obese child to an obese woman to losing weight in an unhealthy way … it was a constant struggle. This fight would not only affect my self esteem but my relationships with my husband and children. My stress level and anxiety was off the charts.

As I continued to practice Bikram I started to notice that I was sleeping better. My gastritis wasn’t acting up as badly as it had been, my anxiety was reduced, my level of stress was going down, and best of all: I was smiling more! By this point I wasn’t even focused on whether I had or had not lost any weight. My size didn’t seem to be the main agenda anymore: what became my priority was that I felt–and still feel–the healthiest I have ever been. I have learned how to manage stressful situations, I have learned how to be more patient with my family, and most of all, I have learned to love myself. That constant fight that I’d had for years, that fear of looking at a reflection in the mirror and hating what I saw had gone away. Because of this practice I am able to love more, feel more be more grateful for things I might have taken for granted before.

What keeps you coming back for more?

There are so many reasons I come back for more! Who doesn’t love seeing happy, sweaty glowing yogis! I’ve met so many wonderful people who are always smiling and with such positive vibes. Also, I want to continue to getting all the health benefits I can get with each class. I haven’t had a gastritis-related hospitalization in over a year! (Those events were common before I started practicing and I do not wish to go back to those days!) I also want to continue to feel good about myself so I can teach my children the importance of self-love and acceptance.

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

KEEP COMING BACK! Remember that every day is different, and that it is normal to have those days were you can’t even hold one pose without falling out. Our bodies are different each day, and just as you can sometimes have those out-of-sync days, you will also have really awesome days where you might go past your norm and you might even surprise yourself, coming out of practice feeling so strong. So don’t give up, even on the bad days: Think  that at the end of practice: you came to practice and that is what matters. Tomorrow is another day.


Yulia’s Message to Rebecca Causey After Posture Clinic

Periodically, BYPS offers posture clinics to their students which focus on the finer details of  a particular series of postures. Our student, Yulia, reveals her big “thanks!” to Rebecca.

Dear Rebecca,

First of all, thank you so much for the wonderful posture clinic! It was very interesting, enlightening, and somewhat surprising. I especially loved the opportunity for one-on-one attention, which, I’m sure doesn’t happen too often.

There were a few things I particularly benefited from. In general, I definitely enjoyed picking your brain for little bits and pieces of Bikram technique that I was missing; Those tips truly have made all the difference in my practice, and in the process helped to fix the tunnel vision I seem to shift into during class.

Triangle posture is usually one of my favorites, and so it’s especially exciting to see that mine can be improved; I know that my hip joints will probably thank both of us later as well. I find that I have to dig deeper and deeper during practice as time goes by so posture clinics are very helpful in that regard. I am presented with a different perspective on the things I’ve come to take for granted.

I also loved the detailed instruction on separate leg stretching. Your corrections are already helping me mitigate the neck issues I’ve had in the past. (cue a loud “whew” from my neck!)

But most of all, thank you for helping me understand that sometimes I do certain “helpful” things simply because I think that I’m not physically capable of the right way (such as bending my knees in order to grab my heels during separate leg stretching). That was a welcome reminder that sometimes I just have to try the right way first and see how it goes. I might just get pleasantly surprised… Or I might fall on my face which is still very much ok! Either way, I’m having a lot of fun ;).

Rebecca, thank you,


P. S.: I look forward to the posture clinic on the spine strengthening series; though I suppose there’s still tree, toe, wind removing and savasana.


Community Acupuncture

Drop in any Tuesday from 3 – 6 p.m. at our Lefferts studio to receive community style acupuncture from Maryam Mehrjui, LAc, RN of HeartBodyMind Acupuncture.  This is acupuncture made affordable by treating patients simultaneously in a large and comfortable community room, such as our commons space in our Lefferts studio.

Maryam offers personalized acupuncture and herbal treatments as well and sees this work as part of a growing movement in affordable healthcare. She is committed to making holistic care as affordable and accessible as possible. These treatments are offered at a significantly reduced fee compared to the standard, private room acupuncture treatments.  The rate is $25 for each visit.

Community AcupunctureMaryam is a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Acupuncturist in the State of New York.  She is also a Nationally Certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, which includes Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology from the National Certification Commission for Acupunture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).  She has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and Holistic Nursing at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and holds a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine.As a Registered Nurse, Maryam has worked in many New York City hospitals, mostly in Emergency, but also in Pediatric, Psychiatric and Neo-Natal ICU.


Please visit www.HeartBodyMindAcu.com for more information.