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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!

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The Chicken Soup Remedy

Mom was right! Chicken soup really is good for you, and just in case you thought this idea is merely an old wives’ tale or the placebo effect, science is now proving it.

Just as yoga has been practiced for thousands of years but has only recently begun to be scientifically studied to discover the how, what, and why of its benefits, so it goes with chicken soup. Isn’t it great that lots of things that we know from generations of experience are good for us are finally being taken seriously by the medical community as having real, measurable benefits?

According to recent research, a compound called camosine aids the body’s immune system fight the early stages of the flu. Blood samples also demonstrate that there is something about chicken soup that affects the movement of the common white blood cell type, the neutrophil, which defends against infection–aiding the reduction of upper respiratory cold symptoms. What exact ingredients or combination of them makes this happen? Well, they haven’t quite gotten that far yet, but these are scientifically-verifiable results, and we can be sure they’re delving ever-more deeply into the issue. Just so you know, the tested soup contained chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, and salt and pepper.

And now for a deep dive into the science:

What is better understood is that organosulfides  (garlic, onions) in concert with Vitamin D stimulates macrophage immune cells. Vitamin C affects the afore-mentioned neutrophils plus your naturally-occurring interferon. Vitamin A and carotenoids boost antibodies. Your lymphocytes (yet another type of white blood cell) are helped by the Vitamin E and zinc. All these nutrients are in chicken soup and they’re absorbed very easily in a soup setting, which may be more appealing to a person who is under the weather.

Home made food is always better, of course, but commercial soups do have similar effects. If you do make your own soup, don’t skim off all the fat; leave some so that your fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K) can be absorbed. And by all means, leave the bones in, as they are rich sources of those fat-soluble nutrients as well as minerals. The longer you cook the bones, the more you get out of them; just be sure to use care when eating, in case there are small pieces.

We all know that ample hydration is crucial for recovery from illness, and any form of liquid is helpful; hot fluids in particular do a good job of clearing airways and easing congestion, and chicken soup certainly does this, plus–and this really interesting–it has the benefit of improving the function of the protective hairlike projections in the nose, helping to prevent contagions from entering the nose. Again, it’s not yet known why chicken soup has an edge over other hot liquids in doing this job, but it does.

Every day we’re learning how much more complex our immune system is than we ever thought possible and how it interacts with the other systems of the body. One thing remains the same, though: generation after generation, century after century, chicken soup is still good for you, and makes you feel better. Don’t you want to make some right now?


My Basic, Unsophisticated Recipe

  • 10 – 12 pieces of chicken, or the equivalent. (I like legs and thighs, as they have large bones that are easy to handle and keep track of, but you use whatever you prefer)
  • About half a bunch of celery, chopped medium
  • One onion (I use yellow), chopped medium
  • Half a carrot or so, shredded
  • A small handful of parley (any variety) chopped small
  • One large blob of chicken bullion paste
  • A teaspoon or so of vegetable bullion paste
  • A clove or two (or more) of fresh garlic (optional)

Fill your favorite stock pot with about 4 quarts of water and heat it on the stove. As the water heats up, gently rinse the chicken pieces and put them in the pot. Chop the vegetables and add them.  Add the bullion at any time. Once the pot is boiling, turn it down a bit. Once the vegetables are in, use a pair of tongs to fish out the chicken pieces a few at a time an place them in a separate dish. Once they are cooled just enough to work with, place one piece on a cutting board and take the meat off the bones using a sharp knife and fork and cut the meat into the size you like, returning all of the parts to the soup as you go. (By the time you get to this step, the chicken will probably have been boiling for a bit, making it easier to work with.) For safety, I remove and throw away those sharp, long bones that are on chicken drumsticks. You may wish to discard some of the skin as well.  After the chicken has cooked thoroughly enough to safely eat, (about 20 minutes of boiling/simmering), remove some of the broth and taste it so that you can adjust the bullion to your preference. Partially cover and allow to simmer as long as you can, adding water if necessary.

DO adjust the ingredients to your taste, and add things that appeal to you. This is just a framework for you to start with, in case you don’t have a favorite family recipe. Like all home-cooked basic foods, every batch is slightly different. Enjoy!


Sources:

Non-hydrolyzed in digestive tract and blood natural L-carnosine peptide (“bioactivated Jewish penicillin”) as a panacea of tomorrow for various flu ailments: signaling activity attenuating nitric oxide (NO) production, cytostasis, and NO-dependent inhibition of influenza virus replication in macrophages in the human body infected with the virulent swine influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Management of the virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammatory cytokine-induced nitric oxide production.

Advances in the Diagnosis and Management of Influenza

Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.

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Post-Event Report: Nutrition & Cooking Workshop With Nancy Campbell

Our nutrition workshop with Nancy Campbell of RadiantHealth last Tuesday (Sep 22nd) was a great deal of fun and it was wonderful to see so many of you there! Upon entering the studio, students and staff alike were greeted by the wonderful aromas of expertly-cooked vegetable dishes, cooked by Nancy herself. Those who stuck around for the demonstration were rewarded with delicious servings of not one, but two hearty autumn-style vegetable dishes.

Didn’t make it? Never fear! Here are the two recipes for you to make right now …

Steam-­‐Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Mustard and Caraway

Adapted from Myra Kornfield’s The Healthy Hedonist              Serves 4 to 6

About This Recipe:

This steam sauté method is the easiest (after steaming) method to get fresh vegetables on the table dressed, seasoned and ready to eat fast. I’ve been in love with this technique since learning it from Chef Myra Kornfield and will never treat my broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, green beans, and even kale to brutal amounts of oil and frying again. To steam/sauté your veggies they need three things: moisture, fat and seasoning (esp salt). You will need a saute pan with a lid, some tongs, and a timer (or just a fork handy to test when the veggies are done). You need to be willing to taste before you serve – the mark of a good chef – to ensure that you’ve gotten the seasoning right. Sometimes it requires a little more butter and other times you just need salt. Either way, you can’t go wrong with experimenting and testing new combinations with this method. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved 2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway or fennel seeds 2 garlic cloves sliced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring the brussel sprouts, butter, water, salt, garlic and caraway seeds to a boil in a large skillet. Cover and steam over medium-­‐high heat until the brussel sprouts are just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the mustard and maple syrup. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.


 Steam-­‐Sautéed Green Beans / Broccoli / Broccoli Rabe with Garlic

By Myra Kornfield

About:

You can use this method with any firm vegetable, such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, and green beans.

You may add garlic, spices, and dried herbs along with the water, fat source (i.e. olive, coconut, or toasted sesame oil, butter or ghee/clarified butter), and salt. Add fresh herbs when you uncover to saute.́

Ingredients:

1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or 1 1⁄2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound green beans, ends trimmed or 1-­‐2 heads broccoli (enough to cover bottom of 10” skillet)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring the water, oil, salt, optional red pepper flakes, green beans, and garlic to a boil in a skillet with sides.
  2. Cover and steam over medium-­‐high heat until the vegetable is brightly colored and just tender (soft enough to feel some resistance with fork), 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the vegetable size.
  3. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes longer. (If you want to add fresh herbs, this is the point to add them.) Sauté to intensify flavors, 1 to 2 minutes long. Adjust salt if needed, add a sprinkling black pepper to taste, and serve.

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About Nancy Campbell, M.S., Culinary Nutritionist: Nancy combines her training in nutrition and integrative health with a masters of urban planning, and over a decade of professional culinary experience in her nutrition practice, Radiant Health NYC.  She supports her clients to redefine how they eat, build culinary skills, and fine-tune their pantries so they can feel amazing in their skin AND in the kitchen. She can be found at:   http://www.radianthealthnyc.com

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NEW! Monthly Nutrition Salon: Late Summer Eating

Bikram Yoga Park Slope is pleased to present a new series of articles focused on encouraging more healthful living through food …. something we all need and love! Nancy Campbell gives us her seasonal tips for our first installment:

The seasons have a profound cyclical effect on human growth and well-being. We are highly influenced by our annual climatic changes; Consider fall’s shorter days and longer nights, the brittle winter cold, and the glory of the first spring sun. For many of us who continue living life at the same speed and eating the same diet year-round, these shifts in season can easily make us sick, trigger allergies, and amplify seasonal affective disorder. By living in harmony with the seasons through our diet and activities we can weather the shifts in temperature without getting sick or feeling run down.

Consider where we are now . . . August and September represent a fifth season agrarian societies and the Chinese call Late Summer. In these traditional agrarian cultures and in the principles of the Chinese Five Elements, Late Summer has been considered the peak of the crop season and a time of minimal toil. Activity is meant to be effortless so our days can flourish with ease and tranquility. Since late summer is the transition from the bright intensity of spring and summer to the darker and quieter fall and winter, it gives us a moment to catch our breath before the preparations for winter get us moving again.

This seasonal transition asks us to be sensitive to our needs – our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs – for the colder months ahead. It may seem crazy to prepare in August for the seasonal allergies October brings or to worry now about winter’s depression. Yet, as our ancestors have reminded us, it isn’t crazy at all. This preparation one of the healthiest things we can do to take care of ourselves.

As we merge into fall, our days will soon get shorter, crops will get heartier, and our appetites for richer, more complex foods will ripen. The days will be warm for a while, but our evenings will soon get colder. If we resist these seasonal changes by plowing through the fall at the same speed and on the same light, raw diet we have enjoyed this summer, we stretch ourselves thin, we challenge our digestive system, and the strength of our vitality and immunity cannot be sustained. Welcome flu season!

Right now getting fresh, seasonal, and local food is as easy as joining the studio’s Farmigo CSA service. Our plates should be filled with simple ingredients that honor the season’s bounty: fresh vegetables lightly sautéed, steamed, grilled or broiled to reveal their natural sweetness. Ancient grains such as millet, quinoa and amaranth should be coupled with sweet yellow and orange squash, carrots, peaches, apricots, corn, and yams.

As we approach fall, our diet should gradually be filled with ingredients that are more fully-cooked or baked, letting go of the raw and cooler foods that nourished us all summer. Root vegetables and winter squash will soon share space with hearty greens like kale and brussels sprouts. Fruit will get heartier too, and may even be cooked as we plunge into the apple and pear season.

Again, living in sync with seasons these next few months means that we allow our bodies to begin to slow down and to stay warm as the days get shorter and cooler. Simultaneously, if we encourage easeful digestion with hearty, cooked foods this fall, our immune systems will be more robust and primed for the cold winter months ahead. As resistance to changing your diet shows up and you’re screaming, “This is crazy. I’m way too busy!”  I will pose the question . . . How do you lead a fulfilling life if it’s spent sick, sluggish, and allergy prone?

To learn more and get practical “how to’s” for eating in sync with the seasons, join me for a free workshop and cooking demo at:

BYPS Lefferts Avenue Studio

Tuesday, September 22nd at 7 pm.


About Nancy Campbell, M.S., Culinary Nutritionist: Nancy combines her training in nutrition and integrative health with a masters of urban planning, and over a decade of professional culinary experience in her nutrition practice, Radiant Health NYC.  She supports her clients to redefine how they eat, build culinary skills, and fine-tune their pantries so they can feel amazing in their skin AND in the kitchen. She can be found at:   http://www.radianthealthnyc.com

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Liberation Prison Yoga

Join our next benefit class on Friday, December 5th at 7 p.m.

Mats and towels will be free. Suggested donation is $20. All proceeds will go directly to Liberation Prison Yoga. This is a silent class to music so get ready to party!

Refreshments are provided afterwards in our beautiful new space and instructor Saya Ishii Velazquez will be selling and signing her new book, Yoga Baby.

507 Flatbush Avenue, 2nd Floor. B, Q, S train to Prospect Park or B41 to Lincoln Rd.

What does Liberation Prison Yoga do?

  • Serves jails and prisons in New York City and State bringing trauma sensitive yoga and empowerment programs to incarcerated women, men and youth (16+),  and trains yoga instructors to work inside the prison system.
  • Has 19 weekly programs in three NYC jails and two NY state prisons.
  • Works with 22 volunteer yoga instructors,  many with backgrounds in social work and psychology, who use the trauma-sensitive approach while sharing their yoga style. Each class is comprised of hatha yoga and meditation. Some programs also include discussion, free-flow writing or other healing modalities.

For more information, please visit their website www.liberationprisonyoga.com and check out their Facebook page too www.facebook.com/LiberationPrisonYoga.