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Memories of Flatbush

From BYPS teacher Yaniv Nord:

I will miss this studio very much, and especially the room; will always be my home studio.

2004-2006 many early morning classes, day in day out with Robbin and Saya and Dara and Christian and Colleen and Roody and others, who helped me fall in love with the practice in that room.

The geometry and quirky heating always gave the space a great energy – intense and powerful when crowded, spacious and forgiving on quiet days. A nice breeze with open doors, a pizza oven with the heat blasting. Nearly fainted more times than I can count. Killed myself in that room.

I’m sure whatever comes next will be just as special in it’s own way, but Flatbush will always have a place in my heart.

Namaste.

At the end of 2014, we will say goodbye to our first studio at 289 Flatbush as we search for another space in the neighborhood that will have the capacity to grow with our community. While we are excited about this relocation, we recognize that so many memories live in our first studio. Please share your memories with us via Facebook or email.

Side body poses

The yoga postures we love (and love to hate)

Illustration by Nancy CuervoBenefits: Helps relieve lower back pain, constipation, bronchial distress, scoliosis and frozen shoulders. Strengthens skeletal and circulatory systems. Also trims the waistline and creates long, lean arm muscles (oo la la). Muscles worked, stretched or lengthened: deltoids, hamstrings, trapezius, pecoralis, internal and external obliques, transversus, rectus abdominus, QL (quadratus lumborum), and intercostal muscles. The purpose of this posture is to stretch the spine in all four directions, side to side then front to back (for the anatomy nerds, that’s lateral flexion followed by spinal extension and flexion). In every part of the pose, one side of the body is stretched, while the other is compressed. You set the tone for the entire class right here, so give it all you’ve got (some days that means smiling at yourself in the front mirror).     Teacher cue explained: “from the side your body is in a straight line” What does this mean? The front side of your body is perfectly square to the front mirror, no twisting, forward bending or backward bending. Picture this: you want your body to fit in between two panes of glass on the front and back side of you. Why do we love it? Side body poses At a certain point, when the strength and flexibility are balanced, when the arms are fully locked and the abs are fully engaged, it feels like you are being lifted up, weightless. And when you land back in stillness, you feel taller somehow, and you’re rewarded with an energizing rush. Why do we hate it? If you have tight hips or tight shoulders (big stress holders for many people!), this posture is designed for you – which means it will feel harder. But don’t let it get you down. Relax your face and breathe easy. Your focus is always correct alignment and letting go of the struggle, even though your muscles are working hard. And with that you’re still getting 100% of the benefits the posture has to offer (just the same as that Gumby next to you!). Advanced tip:  “push hips forward, weight in the heels” is a cue for keeping the body in that lateral straight line, counteracting the tendency to collapse the chest forward. Be careful of pushing the hips forward too much and creating a backward bend. Remember: if you are working with an injury or tension, never adjust the fundamentals of the posture. Keep the form, just back off the depth a bit. And most importantly, listen/talk to your teachers- they are full of great (and educated!) advice. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, backbend and forward bend… Love half moon or hate it? Tell us why.

BYPS teacher Mochi in Prospect Park. Photo by Monica Felix

How To Stay Hot This Summer

Do you ever find yourself talking to your friends/co-workers/family members about how great Bikram yoga makes you feel, and you are stopped by “…are you nuts? 104 degrees in the summer?!”

BYPS teacher Mochi in Prospect Park. Photo by Monica Felix

BYPS teacher Mochi in Prospect Park. Photo by Monica Felix

We know, during the summer months its hardest to show up to class. Especially after a humid day outside.

But here’s something to keep you going: sweating your butt off for 90 minutes, in the controlled temperature of the Bikram yoga room, actually helps your body acclimate to the summer heat, works your cardiovascular system work more efficiently – which helps you stay cooler all summer long. 

Pretty cool, huh?

There are a whole lot of rewards waiting for you in the hot yoga room, and these summer yoga tips will help you stay motivated even (and especially) in a heat wave:

  • Stay hydrated. And that means water plus electrolytes (bananas and blueberries are a delicious way to get some). Don’t sweat on an empty system!
  • Peep the schedule for Park or South slope in advance: Check the website for class listings and take class with your favorite teachers
  • Add alerts to your smartphone phone calendar
  • Practice with a buddy – having an accountability partner to is the best motivation there is. Plan on practicing together, or set goals together and encourage their completion. Sometimes just meeting someone at class is the perfect nudge you need.
  • Set an example – all July and August at BYPS teenagers practice for FREE, so bring along your teen and inspire each other.
  • Celebrate your successes – just showing up to class is 90% of the work. So when you step into the room, give yourself a wink and a smile. You’re doing great work (and don’t you look cute in that top!?)
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The Wait is Almost Over: final touches on our newest Lefferts studio

You’ve been hearing the rumors, whispered excitedly in the hallways at our Park Slope and South Slope studios.

You’ve been patiently waiting with us since spring when we made our first announcement.

 Now let us walk you through your newest Bikram Yoga Park Slope studio as we put the finishing touches on our most innovative studio yet…

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Your best yoga room: floor to ceiling mirrors; a wall of windows letting in sunlight; eco-friendly cork flooring.

Over these first June days we’re devoting our energy to finishing touches that you’re gonna love.

Enter through the hallway accented with surprises: wall designs, floor paintings, chandelier, exposed brick and handmade decor.

Handmade wooden sign-in desk; painted designs on the floor; unique chandeliers!

Handmade wooden sign-in desk; painted designs on the floor; unique chandeliers!

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Round the corner into the spacious lounge area that connects the ample changing rooms. The windows look out onto Washington and Lefferts Aves, letting in sunlight and street views (you can even see greenery!) This will be your space for events and relaxing after class.

Lounge area for art showcases, parties and post-class hang outs.

Lounge area for art showcases, parties and post-class hang outs.

The love is in the details!

Handmade lighting fixtures illuminating the lounge

More images of the tiled floors, shelving, and artistic flair of the dressing rooms

Coming Soon!

We can’t thank you enough for sticking by us as we put the finishing touches on Bikram Yoga Park Slope Lefferts, our most exciting studio yet. We could never have done it without your dedication and support, and we can’t wait to give it all back and more with hot class specials, a brand new schedule and events to keep you hot and healthy all summer long (and many more years to come)

Handmade lighting fixtures illuminating the lounge

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7 Best Tips For Your First Hot Yoga Class

Ready for your first hot yoga class? Of course you are! Hot yoga was designed for beginners - you get detailed instructions, mirrors to watch your form, and a great community to support you.

Now you can be even more prepared, check out this list from veteran hot yogis for secrets to make your first class even better.

1. HYDRATE well before you arrive, and make sure you haven’t eaten a big meal within 2-3 hours. This is basic hot yoga self-care, but don’t underestimate the power of a cleansed digestive system.

2. Let time be on your side: Arrive 20 minutes early to register, change your clothes, chat with the teacher, drink water and acclimate your body to the heated room.

3. Commit for 90 minutes: leave behind your hang-ups and to do list ; focus instead on your breathing for the full class time. Silent the cell phones and the distractions. And if some of the instructions or language or practices sound unfamiliar to you, suspend your disbelief for 90 minutes. You paid your money for this experience, now allow yourself to fully have it.

4. Pack your bags so you can leave your baggage at the door: Bring a yoga mat, 2 full sized towels (one for the post-yoga shower) and a bottle of water (don’t worry if you’ve forgotten, most yoga studios rent all the gear you need).

5. Wear the right stuff - Don’t get overwhelmed by the booming yoga clothing market, you don’t need to buy designer yoga-wear to be comfortable. A good rule of thumb: stick with clothing that is fitted and breathable.Women tend to wear tight shorts and sports bras, gym shorts for men – but wear what you feel good in, especially cause you’ll be staring at your body for 90 minutes in the mirror!

6. Give it another chance: Your first hot yoga class can be overwhelming. The heat, the 26 postures, learning to breathe deeply in a new climate, the rapid fire instruction. There are many layers to a Bikram practice, and the first one is often just dealing with physical discomfort in the room. But as any devout yogi will tell you, these minor discomforts pave the way to incredible benefits that last long after the class is over.

7. You are part of a community: Ever notice when everyone in a class is synchronized and focused? It feels like you are being physically supported by others in the room. Everything you do inside the yoga room and in the changing rooms affects your fellow students, your teacher and the whole studio. Be quiet and respectful during Savasana. Smile at strangers. Keep your practice focused and calm in between postures. Don’t just react to challenges – respond with the awareness that everything you experience in yoga is a reflection of yourself. Then you’ll find a much deeper level to your practice.

…and here’s one extra secret:

8. Take more breaks: Feeling out or breath or overwhelmed? We’ve all been there. Give yourself permission to sit down on your mat and watch. It’s not giving up, in fact its often harder to give yourself permission to step back and relax. As long as you’re breathing and present, you’re still practicing yoga.

Hey Yogis – What do you wish YOU had been told before your first class? What advice would you give if you brought your best friend to class?