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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tip of the Week: How often should you practice Bikram?

Q: How often should I be coming to Bikram yoga class?

A: As often as you can!

The more often you are able to come to class, the better you will feel. Each class gets you ready for the next one. If you are only able to attend class a couple of times per week, you will experience benefits and see results, but not as fast. A minimum of three times per week is encouraged for good results, with four to six times per week being the best for life changing results. The more often you are able to attend class, you will begin to notice changes in your health, improvements in posture and to your body overall.

Yoga can be practiced daily unlike other forms of exercise where you should rest in between workouts. Sometimes daily life gets in the way of consistent practice. Bikram recommends that you practice yoga a minimum of 10 times per month. However, if you have set certain goals to lose weight, reduce stress, or heal an injury, then more classes yield a quicker result. Bikram often tells new students, “Come everyday for the next 2 months and I will give you a new body, a new life.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tip of the Week: Half Tortoise Pose

Making it to class this week is practically a MUST if you want to combat all the stress and calories associated with Thanksgiving. But if for some reason you aren't able to sneak away from peeling more potatoes for Aunt Edna while you watch Grandpa Joe's dentures fall into the cranberry sauce, Half Tortoise Pose is the one posture you can do at home outside the studio.

Half Tortoise Pose provides maximum and ultimate relaxation. It’s amazing to just let the body sink into this pose and really feel all the bliss as your head goes below your heart. It is great for tense necks and shoulders. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which enhances memory and mental clarity. This posture also stretches the lower part of the lungs, which is therapeutic for asthma. It counters indigestion, flatulence, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (which, let's face it, after all that Thanksgiving food you'll probably need relief from the most. Just sayin...).

 Steps :
  1. Sit down on a yoga mat with your buttocks resting on your heels.
  2. Inhale and lift both your arms to the sky. Bring the palms of your hands together and intertwine your two thumbs together. Your arms should be straight with your biceps touching your ears. Straighten your back and feel the stretch.
  3. Exhale and slowly pivot down from your waist until your little fingers and forehead touch the yoga mat.
  4. Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds while you continue to breathe normally.
  5. Inhale and come back to the starting position with your hands straight up in the sky above your head.
  6. Exhale, release your arms, and come back to sitting on your heels.
To increase the stretch, straighten the arms so that the wrists, elbows and triceps form a straight line. You will feel the stretch in your shoulder blades. Ensuring that your buttocks remain rested on your heels will also increase the stretch; this can be achieved by keeping your mid-section taut. Do not draw your chin into the chest when performing the stretch. Try to keep it as far away from your chest as possible while keeping your forehead rested on the mat.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tip of the Week: Camel Time!

Camel Pose forces you to let go of things that don't serve you anymore. These might include drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, food additives or -- on an esoteric level -- toxic emotions and relationships. If you keep dietary toxins to a minimum you may find your practice becoming stronger and more enjoyable, even in difficult postures.

 Photo of student Tegan Spangrude
Camel at Lake Josephine, Glacier National Park

Camel pose opens your heart, solar plexus and throat chakras. We generally keep them protected. If you feel nausea, fear, anxiety as a beginner GOOD FOR YOU! You are doing it right. Have the courage to stay with it and feel a wonderful release happening in you body. The dizziness you experience as a beginner is completely normal so try not to get anxious. If you just keep pushing your hips forward and breathe, the dizziness will pass. When you feel dizzy it is because of a change in blood pressure in your body from the backward bend. It is a new sensation which can be scary because we are always forward bending. Remember to breathe! When entering into camel make sure your hands are are on your hips or "back jeans pockets" with fingers facing down. Take a deep breath and drop your head back, go back half way and stop. If you lean back half way you will realize how close your hands are to your feet. Once you realize how close your hands are to your feet it becomes less scary to just reach back. If your heels are more that an arms length away, keep your hands on you hips but PUSH your chest up and your hips forward. If you can reach your heels, grip your heels with your palms, and bring your body weight forward onto the knees instead of leaning back on the heels. When coming out of the posture, bring one hand back to your hip then the other and slowly come back up being mindful to keep your spine in alignment, coming up one vertebrae at a time. Finding your eyes in the mirror and giving yourself a few breaths while concentrating on your eyes will help with any dizziness and will calm you. Try to push your Camel to your edge without experiencing any anticipation or anxiety. As you learn to embrace Camel without fear, you will learn to love it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's eVette's Secret?

Bikram Yoga SLC student eVette Raen was recently featured in an article by GE. We are so proud of you eVette! You are a great inspiration to us all. 

What's Their Secret?

31 Oct 2012
Source: Communications
Story Highlights:
  • eVette Raen, quality assurance analytics manager at GE Healthcare, challenged herself to attend 200 hot yoga sessions in 200 days.
  • eVette finds the benefits of yoga extend far beyond losing weight and being psysically fit. She finds yoga reduces stress and makes her feel much mentally stronger.
  • A piece of advice from eVette on a fitness plan: Make it challenging. And when you've got a good challenge, double down.
What counts as a challenge? It's different for everyone, but it always means setting a goal above and beyond your ordinary. For some of us, a fitness challenge might be taking a dance class for the first time. For some of us, going to the gym twice a week. When eVette Raen decided to challenge herself she was already attending an very demanding yoga class, so she chose to go for 200 sessions in 200 days.
Among the manufacturing, service and engineering personnel at her site in Salt Lake City, eVette is quality assurance analytics manager on the C-Arms for the OEC 9800, a fluoroscopic machine that allows surgeons to see an internal x-ray video image of their patient, which allows them to make incisions that aren't as deep, so their patients can recover faster.
Over the span of her three years at the site, eVette credits HealthAhead with bringing her to a new level of health and fitness. She was an athlete in high school and kept up with her active lifestyle, going to the gym a couple of times a week, but she just wasn't into it. What turned things around for her was joining exercise classes and groups at her site. As she says, "If I just work out on my own, I'm prone to quit after fifteen minutes. If I even go."  Now she regularly attends yoga and a variety of other aerobic workouts. "It's a social group of people. Once I get there I know that I'm committed for the length of the class." 

Thus, after two years with the positive influence of esprit de corps and healthy new food and nutrition habits she learned at weight management program at her site (paid for by GE), eVette found she was working out more, enjoying it more, and had lost forty pounds in the process.
In the course of her new class-oriented fitness routine, eVette had started attending an especially challenging "hot" type of yoga, which is done in a humid studio at 105 degrees.
So to keep things interesting, she gave herself a 30-day challenge. She met that challenge, then made a new one: A hundred sessions in a hundred days.
Now eVette had also been reading yoga philosophy, and a section on testing one's determination struck a chord with her. The idea is to take a goal that's challenging yet attainable and then double it. So eVette found herself embarking on the challenge of 200 hot yoga sessions in 200 days. "I was a little fearful at first doing that and I thought about it for several days," she said. "But right now I am on Day 67 and this afternoon when I practice I will be on practice 74, so I'm already ahead." 

Our yogini hero is already ahead because she occasionally does multiple sessions in a day. In fact, one day this summer eVette logged four sessions, spending an unheard-of six hours in hot yoga over the course of the day. "People think I'm a little crazy, but I've really worked up to that," she says. "I like to think of it just as people train for marathons, I've done the yoga for so long and I'm so used to the environment."
But for eVette it's not just about losing weight, keeping busy, or even being fit. "Besides just the physical practice of it, the yoga reduces stress and makes me feel much mentally stronger," she says. In the pursuit of more of the intangible benefits, she has recently added Yoga Nidra to her routine. "Basically I go and lay down on a yoga mat in a class and the teacher leads a visualization that's all about body awareness and what you want in your life." What better complement to 200 days of heat and effort. Om shanti, eVette.
eVette's tips for a well-balanced fitness plan:
  • Learn good eating habits, preferably through a weight management program.
  • Make it social. It's much easier to stick to a workout schedule if you're not in it alone.
  • Make it challenging. And when you've got a good challenge, double down.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tip of the Week: Toe Stand

When you're in Toe Stand you are only 5 toes away from levitating! Or at least it may give you the feeling you're at the top of a beautiful snow capped mountain like our student Erin Comstock in the photo above! 

The most important thing to remember about Toe Stand is that it is not an advanced posture, so just TRY IT! 

Keep your standing leg locked, your eyes locked on the floor, stomach sucked in. 

When you go down try to let the hips hover slightly above the heel, it will bring the focus to the core to find the balance. Remember it is a “toe” stand, not a toe and fingers stand so try not to focus on creating a tripod base. Sit centered over your heel, shoulders should stack above the hips. Stretch upward from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Don’t look at yourself in the mirror until you are perfectly balanced on your toes with your palms together in front of your heart.

Even if you can’t do the full toe stand just yet, easing yourself into the pose is a great opener for your hips, so do as much as you can!