Bikram Postures – Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana

16The floor series! Ah, finally, we’ll get a break. After all, anything we do lying on the floor has to be a breeze. If this what you think then the heat has gone to your head, because the floor series gets the heart rate up just as much as the dreaded triangle, or balancing stick, or awkward pose or…well you get the idea.

If you’re new to Bikram, it’s important to listen to the instructions very carefully for cobra. Getting the hand placement right is key, as is keeping your legs glued together like…..wait for it….a cobra tail! The strength of your legs held tightly together from your hips down to your heels will ground you through this posture. And once you have your hands in alignment with your shoulders you can lift your head up, using only the muscles in your back to achieve maximum height.

If you have herniated or slipped disks in your lumbar spine, this posture is your new best friend and it even helps to alleviate the discomfort of scoliosis and arthritis. In addition, you can expect improved digestion and ladies may see relief from menstrual symptoms as well. Men, if YOU see menstrual improvement, please let us know. We’d love to feature you for a number of reasons!

Cobra pose begins the work on the low spine and we’ll be building up the spine from here, so settle into your mat and breathe!

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Student of the Month: Mark

mark SOMHappy April yogis! The student chosen for this month is Mark, who began at the studio in January.

Mark says that he started Bikram yoga as an alternative to jogging…which makes a lot of sense considering the winter we’ve had in Cincinnati! Although he’s always been a weight lifter and runner, he found himself looking for a more long term fitness strategy and one that would be less jarring on his body. The yoga has been a great way to deal with stress, and according to Mark, his blood pressures have “dropped by 15-20 points!”

The first few times Mark came to class, he thought the environment was quite mentally challenging and felt even “claustrophobic” at times. As an “explosive athlete” he was used to needing high energy workouts to  break a sweat, so the high heart rates he could achieve in the meditative workout were surprising to him.

But it’s been a good fit. According to studio owner, Chelsea, Mark has “come in and worked and I mean he works…I almost started crying the other day in class when I saw him grab both feet in Bow. People like Mark, who work and gain so much in a Bikram practice, are the reason I became a studio owner and a Bikram yoga teacher. People like Mark make it all worth it.”

He finds that the most challenging posture is “Toe Stand” because he’s broken his leg three times in the past. Because this leg is taking its time working out the junk, it’s Mark’s goal to gain a better mastery of this position. And as for his favorite? Well, he likes the challenge that each posture presents, so there is no stand-out favorite.

Mark is new to Cincinnati having just lived here for about a year, so when you see him in class, be sure to say hello and, as always, thank you Mark for sharing your practice with us! Namaste -

 

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Bikram Postures: The Sit-Up – Pada-Hasthasana

3And here we are. The sit-up. We do this exactly 14,000 times in class with good reason! A well done sit-up harnesses all kinds of positive energy and momentum for your next posture, so don’t cheat!

From Savasana, flex your toes up to the ceiling, feet together. Put your arms straight over your head and cross just your thumbs, palms facing the ceiling. WAIT FOR THE INSTRUCTOR TO SAY IT, but then inhale, “sit-up!” and exhale quickly in short bursts as you grab for your toes with a straight back.

Why do we have to wait for the instructor say it? Because those big bursts of exhale are energizing to the room. If we do it together, we’re working as a team. If someone is out there exhaling all willy-nilly…well. The team is straggling now.

What you love about this sit-up, whether you know it or not, is that it’s working ALL of your abdominal muscles, and works the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the legs. It’s a great stretch for your back as well. So wait for it. Wait for it. Sit-up! And go for the toes!

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training

Have you ever noticed the hash tag #BYTT? Or thought about going to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training?

It’s easy to read about training online and get the highlights…it’s 9 weeks immersed in Bikram Yoga classes, learning to teach the 90 minute class, over 1000 hours of training to become a yoga teacher. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone’s experience at teacher training is different because we all seek out the yoga for different reasons, just the same as we seek out the idea of teacher training….

One day while sitting at my corporate desk, I planted a small seed: an idea of one day going to Bikram yoga teacher training. I was lucky enough to sprout the seed and see it come to life. When I moved to Cincinnati there was a void, a Bikram Yoga void. If you are reading this, and have a consistent Bikram practice, most likely you will never move to another city without a Bikram studio; at least I know I won’t! When I got to Cincinnati, I decided, “Why not? Why not bring the yoga to Cincinnati?”

I took a leave of absence from my job for 9 weeks and I went to training. Bikram’s final words to us when we got our teaching certificates was that we were leaving with a “Licence to Kill,” but I left with much more. Teacher training was a blessing in disguise; I came away with an untapped knowledge about my body and my mind that I never thought possible. I also left with much more patience and self-worth.

I made so many friends from around the world who are now part of a big, amazing family. Even if I was never going to teach another day in my life I would still tell someone to go to training to find themselves. Training teaches you to filter out things that do not resonate with your truth and shows you how to let in the beauty and the good in the world.

Yes, your body will ache and you will be pushed beyond what you think you can do, but you’ll live another day…because you learn that the saying ‘you are so much stronger than you think you are’ is a fact. Training sends you back into the world so much more mentally and physically strong. If you want to get away from your own busy world for 9 weeks, this is a great opportunity.

If the idea of training has ever crossed your mind, don’t hesitate to ask one of the teachers about their own experience. I’m sure they remember it like it was yesterday.

Namaste-

Chelsea

Student of the Month: Olivia

olivia somThe student of the month for March is Olivia. Since moving to Cincinnati about 6 months ago, Olivia has been a regular practitioner of Bikram, having discovered it through a Groupon in Dallas.

A lifelong dancer, Olivia wanted some way to stay physically active once she entered the working world. She did “everything from gym classes to boot camps to running a half marathon; never consistent with any of the activities because I was always searching for something that I was drawn to and that I loved doing instead of it being about exercise.” Although she instantly loved Bikram she found that she “couldn’t commit to it at the time.”  However now that she’s in Cincinnati, Olivia has been “happy to discover our Bikram yoga studio and has been so happy to have a flexible job which allows me to attend classes regularly.”

Her favorite posture is Eagle, as pictured, because she’s “able to consistently wrap my toes around my calf, so now I’m working on aligning everything. This feels really good on my bones and it makes me feel like I will eventually correct my scoliosis by getting properly aligned.”

My first few classes, I thought I might die of heat exhaustion or from the inability to breathe. I had to mentally prepare myself prior to going to class (as well as properly hydrating and eating far enough in advance). My only goal was to stay in the room, so if I achieved that, I considered it a success. No matter how much I struggled (and still do!) during class, I always feel better when I walk out of the hot room. So I want to keep coming back for more!

Olivia loves to travel when she’s not working her way through the postures (and working on locking her knee!) and most recently went to Chile, where ”they have great wine, food, and people.” Additionally, she’s enjoyed exploring the different areas of the city and other places in Ohio & Kentucky, and she’s “excited to get involved in the community so I volunteer with Habitat and am involved with Give Back Cincinnati.”

Thank you so much for being a part of our Bikram Community, Olivia! Namaste.

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Response to Channel 9 Segment on Bikram Yoga

We feel obligated to respond to the segment in tonight’s Channel 9 news that featured Bikram Yoga.  First, a couple points of clarification on the segment itself:

1. The yogi featured in the segment never took a class at our studio – we have no record of her and the initial shots of a Bikram studio were not filmed in Cincinnati.

2. Channel 9 never made the intentions of their segment clear.  Had we known the true intentions of the segment and the statements made by the doctor and yogi, we would have more vigorously defended the safety of the heat.  It would have probably been edited out, but still – Channel 9′s motto is “On Your Side” and it feels more like we got blindsided on this one.

Now to further clarify about the point this report was trying to make:

1. Bikram Yoga has been practiced safely in the US and around the world for over 40 years in over 600 studios.  Bikram Yoga has a long track record of improving its students’ physical and mental health, in part due to the studio temperature in class.  We have been in business for 2 years in Cincinnati and we have many testimonials to prove the benefits we provide to the community.

2.  Heat is essential to providing a strong cardio workout and providing the many other benefits of Bikram Yoga.  Simply put, if we did not heat the studio, you would not be able to improve your body and mind to the same level.  We think we give our students the best bang for their buck by challenging them and making them work – if this yoga was easy, you’d be doing something else.

3.  As with any workout that involves sweating, you should hydrate before and after Bikram Yoga.  Bikram Yoga is a sweaty workout – that’s one of the best parts about it – and if you don’t hydrate properly or underestimate the yoga, then you will struggle.  You don’t need a doctor to tell you that.

4.  Bikram Yoga is much different than other styles of yoga practices.  We don’t do fluffy stuff in our classes.  The Bikram Yoga posture series was designed to provide its students the maximum possible amount of physical and mental benefits in 90 minutes.  This is why students keep coming back – everyone feels a great sense of accomplishment for finishing a challenging workout and know that they really achieved something each day they practice.  If you come here expecting a normal flow yoga class, you will be in for a surprise.

While we don’t agree with the angle the report was going for, we appreciate the chance to clarify why we teach, practice, and love Bikram Yoga.  We are always grateful for our wonderful students and community who share the passion for this life-changing yoga practice, and we thank you for being by our side.

Namaste,

Chelsea

 

Student of the Month: Meghan

 

meg feb somHappy February, yogis! We’re making it through a long winter here in Cincinnati, and what better way to escape the polar vortex than in a hot room? Well, if you’re February’s student of the month, Meghan, you’re in the hot room quite a lot!

Meghan started her practice in May, 2012. She says, “I had done hot yoga at several spots over the city and really enjoyed it and the way it made me feel after. I’m not one who is able to easily “chill” or relax but the hot yoga did offer a glimpse of that.  So when I saw that an old CrossFit friend of mine had tried Bikram, and really enjoyed, I became more intrigued.”

Her first class was everything she hoped it would be and, though she couldn’t come back the very next day, she was back in the day after, and it’s been true love ever since! Meghan says that she feels like she can “just let go and experience the real me in my real skin. One day that skin might feel good, other days it may be rough, and other times I’m completely transformed in those 90 minutes.  I FEEL BETTER every time I leave the hot room: my mind feels clearer, my heart feels softer, my soul feels stronger and my eyes feel open to a positive and uplifting world.”

Her favorite postures are Standing Bow Pose and Fixed Firm. She says that she loves the way Standing Bow opens the hips and the way Fixed Firm works out the junk in her knees and hips. As for the other postures? They’re all unique challenges!

In her spare time, Meghan is a foodie who loves exploring Cincinnati’s unique restaurants, and sharing her love of food and paleo cooking with friends. She’s also a singer and CrossFit coach.

Thank you so much for being a part of the Bikram Community, Meghan, and inspiring us each day with your dedicated practice. Namaste!

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Warm Up! Two Soul Satisfying Soups

The hot room is fantastic for melting away cares and worries. But we can’t stay in a Bikram Torture Chamber all day! If you’re looking for a way to warm up and nourish a freshly stretched and revitalized body, here are two really fantastic soups from Team J +A, who will be offering a cleanse in March! Stay tuned for details on that, or click here for details now.

 

CARROT + GINGER SOUP

http://cavecibum.blogspot.com/2008/11/carrot-parsnip-ginger-soup.html

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 large green apple
1.5 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped {~5 cups}
4 C. veggie broth
Nutmeg, sea salt, black pepper to taste

 

In a large pot, add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil over low-medium heat.
Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
Add minced garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes on low.
Add chopped apple and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.
Add the veggie broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
Use your immersion blender (or pour small batches into a blender) and blend until smooth.
Add the nutmeg, sea salt, and black pepper to your preference.

 

ROASTED GARLIC + BEET SOUP

001BeetSoup2

Ingredients:
3 medium red beets
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 head of garlic
1 large leek, thinly sliced (white part)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle beets with melted oil, wrap in aluminum foil and roast until tender (1 hour).
Chop the top of the garlic head off, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil in a pot, add leek and stir for 5 minutes.
Add the beets (after roughly chopping them), roasted garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaf, and 3 cups of water.
Bring to a boil and then discard the bay leaf.
Let cool and puree. Stir in lemon to taste.

 

Be sure and let us know how you like these soups, or if you’ve found any fun substitutions or personalizations. And stay warm, yogis!

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Bikram Postures: Wind-Removing Pose – Pavanamuktasana

15Here we are. “Wind-Removing Pose.” Ironically named, since it’s not the wind we’re looking to remove, is it? Just this morning, Chelsea told a lovely story she heard on the Today show that some people only go to the bathroom (you know…THE bathroom) twice a week. And she can’t imagine that! Well, I hate to tell her but some people go less than that. Unless they do Bikram Yoga.

“Wind-Removing Pose” actually helps speed along a sluggish digestive system. For many people, this alone should be enough reason to have a regular practice of yoga. Regularity promotes regularity, after all. By compressing the transverse, ascending and descending colon, the entire digestive tract is massaged and activated.  Get some good reading material in your bathroom, folks. This posture is money!

There are other benefits too: hip flexibility, arm strength, and firm abdomen and thighs. When you lift your leg, grabbing it just below the knee, you have to use your arm strength to pull it out and around your rib cage. Then compress it as tightly as you can and hold it there. The pinch you feel is good.

When you release, all the blood rushes back in and wakes up a bowel system that may have been overloaded after the holidays, or just gotten tired from all the sitting we do all day. As you’re lying there, compressing your system, your spine is stretching along the floor, and one day, you may find that every vertebra is touching the floor.

Just like every other posture in the series, this one is a dynamo. And let’s face it…most Americans can use a little wind-removal. Right?

 

Posted by Liz Alfano

Detox in the New Year

With the changing of the calendar many people seek a change in their lifestyle. It’s really a perfect opportunity to leave the sweets and overindulgence of the holidays behind and look forward to a New Year and a Better You. So many of us make resolutions only to forget or “fail” by February. Gym memberships go to waste, the pantry fills back up with pre-made food and the self-talk turns back to the old, harsh ways.

Cincinnati Bikram Yoga and Team J+A have teamed up to give you a healthy kick-start for 2014. And as a health-minded member of the Cincinnati Bikram Yoga community, you have a unique opportunity to take part in a sugar detox for less money than the community at large. Here are the sweet details.

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Re-set your body. Re-claim your life. Food changes everything.

Do you feel like you sweat it out 6 days a week, yet there is still a missing link? Do you feel weighed down, bloated, and sluggish? Are you looking for a way to re-set your body after the holidays and start your New Year off strong?

The studio and Team J+A are thrilled to offer you with an exclusive discount to join the 14-Day Whole Food Detox program.

What is it?

The 14-Day Whole Food Detox is a life-changing program. You will walk away from this program with increased focus, improved sleep, reduced cravings, greater energy, stable moods, and more.

This is a 3-phase program that will teach you how to eat, real, whole food.

No fasting, no pills, not powders or potions.

Why would you want to do it?

If you want to beat the bloat, kick cravings, and feel better in your own skin. Food changes everything.
Start date: January 5, 2014

Register here: www.TeamJandA.com

Enter coupon code: BYC to access an exclusive $100 discount.

This program is a 100% virtual, online program, you have access to your materials for life.

You will receive materials (workbook, guidebook, recipes, shopping lists, and more), step-by-step emails, and live group calls with Jody & Ashley – two certified holistic health coaches who will support you every step of the way.
Do you have additional questions?

Email Hello@TeamJandA.com for additional support.

 

Posted by Liz Alfano