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
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Student Story: Scott Smith

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

I began in January 2011 after starting an exciting (and high-stress) desk job in Philadelphia. I needed relief from the sedentary activity of desk jockeying all day, and there was a Bikram studio right around the corner from the office. The practice helped with physical, mental, and general well-being, and I loved the teachers.
How has your practice affected your life?

I have Increased energy, appetite, physical stamina, mental clarity, overall happiness … the full bag. I wish I could practice all the time!
What keeps you coming back for more?

This yoga makes me feel healthy, young, and vibrant. It impacts every other activity in my life in a positive way. I crave that burst of inspiration that I always get right after my yoga class.
Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Just go, no excuses. Getting to the hot room is the hardest part. Everything falls into place once you practice regularly.

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.

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Student Story: Soji

Seven years ago, I stepped into my first hot room.  Back then, if someone had told me my future, I might have responded with an eye roll.  Dear inquirer, one day you will greatly enjoy walking half-naked into an obscenely hot room to spend 90 minutes twisting, bending and dripping with sweat among strangers.  And one day, you will teach others to do the same.  An eye roll and some choice words.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to explain the appeal of Bikram yoga.  I gave her the usual reasons: a great work out, an increase in strength and flexibility, an awesome form of stress relief, and so on.  And then, after a beat, I came clean.  I told her that the real reason that I keep coming back is that the lessons that I learn in class have made life better outside the studio.  In the hot room, lessons, like sweat, have a way of sneaking up on you and sticking.  Here are my favorite three:

1) You can do anything in the world if you learn to master your breath…

My first few yoga classes were humbling in part because they showed me that I didn’t know the first thing about breathing.  My lungs were the lazy guy at the office that does just enough work to not be fired.  They got enough oxygen into my body to keep me among the living but they were hardly standout performers.  Eventually though, I learned to use my breath during class for extra endurance in a posture, to steady my heart beat, or to access muscle flexibility.  Then one day I found my breath coming to my aid when I needed it.  I could use it to diffuse road rage on the BQE, rub out stage fright before a speaking engagement, steady my nerves during a difficult conversation, or focus my mind before the planning phase of a new project.  All due respect to the folks at Red Bull, but it’s breath mastery that really gives you wings.

2) Being a warrior isn’t about force but about balance…

Once I laid my mat down behind a trio of yogis that taught me something in the most beautiful way.  One of these yogis was a young guy with the build of a professional athlete.  In a past career, he might have been a football player or body builder.  We’ll call him “Ahnold”. Next to Ahnold was a petite woman who looked like she walked into the studio directly off the set of Cirque du Soleil.  Before class I watched her warm up by twisting her body into shapes that made me nauseous to behold.  We’ll call her “The Contortionist”.  The last of the trio was a middle aged woman with a lean but unremarkable build.

As class went on, I watched Ahnold go in and out of the poses that require a lot of muscle strength, e.g. Awkward Pose, with ease but grow frustrated and angry during the asanas that develop flexibility like Standing Bow.  The Contortionist’s standing back bend was the most beautiful that I had ever seen but her legs wobbled during the second part of Awkward like a baby giraffe first learning to walk.  The last yogi, however, was inspiring to watch from start to finish.  She came in and out of the most difficult of postures like a pro.  When she landed a full split in Standing Bow, she looked at herself in the mirror and winked.  She was kicking ass and having fun.  And it was because unlike Ahnold or The Contortionist she had equal parts strength and flexibility.  She was a warrior.

I left class that day thinking about all the places in my life where I might be favoring one thing at the expense of another—work vs play, wake vs sleep, etc.—and how the unbalance was preventing me from being a warrior.

3) The things that are the most uncomfortable are exactly what you need…

An early yoga instructor once noticed an unhealthy and uncourageous habit of mine during class.  He called me out immediately and said something that I’ve never forgotten: You can chase the pain in your life or you can let it chase you. We all have an instinctive reaction to retreat from discomfort.  That instinct keeps us protected in the short term but it also lets that discomfort live to fight us another day.  Showing up to class every day and coming face to face with the points of resistance in my body has slowly built up a skill and a tolerance that I find myself able to tap into outside the studio.  Crossing paths with challenges or difficult situations is now a much different experience for me.  I’m better able to welcome the challenge in, offer it a cup of tea and listen to what it wants to say.  Nine times out of ten once it is heard, it lets itself be dealt with and quietly exits stage left.

In a few weeks, I head out to Bikram’s “torture chamber” for the spring 2015 Bikram Yoga Teacher Training.  I can’t wait for all the new lessons to stick.

By the way, that friend of mine—she now has a membership at her local studio.

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!