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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: How to Be Less Stinky in Class!

We have some very valuable information for you on how to not be caught as the stinky one in class! Read on to find out how to fight the funk from Keli on her blog Yoga Peach. And remember that we sell a great mat cleaner in the studio too!

A Dirty Girl’s Guide to Keeping it Clean in Class
by Yoga Peach

 Photo taken by Yoga Peach during class
1.  YOUR MAT Clean your mat between practices.  Most people don’t clean their mats as often as they should.  You and the people around you don’t want to smell your stinky mat during practice.  Even if you use a towel over the mat it’s still going to get dirty on the ground.  There are tons of safe, natural antibacterial mat cleaners out there to choose from.  The ones with lemongrass, tea tree, or lavender oils add a refreshing scent to your mat. You can also google several ways to make your own or  simply use vinegar and water.  Keeping your mat clean also includes never using a towel on your mat twice without washing it.  It soaks up your sweat and stinks!  Even worse, leave it sitting in your car inbetween practices means it’s now loaded with germs and bacteria.  Gross!

2.  PROPER ATTIRE There’s a reason you see lots of ladies wearing next to nothing and topless men in hot yoga.   It’s called “hot yoga” and something things get… uh…hot.  While fewer clothes may feel better, you bend and lift your legs in funny places so be careful!   I highly recommend a light breathable material or quick-dry athleticwear.  The clothing made especially for yoga was done so for a reason and I find them most comfortable and breathable.  I made a horrible mistake on Friday and showed up wearing long pants lined with fleece!  What was I thinking?   Add that to my list of why I stunk.

3.  CLEAN CLOTHING Hot yoga clothes are going to stink, period.   Place your clothes in an open air laundry bin until your ready to wash them.  Your clothes are damp and sometimes feel like you just stepped out of a swimming pool.  You need to let them dry out.  Placing them in a laundry bin with a lid is going to create germs and it’s going to be harder to get the aweful smell out.  After a period of time the smell may stick around on your clothes even after you wash them.  Add 4-5 Tablespoons of baking soda or vinegar to your laundry to kill the smell.  Adding a small amount of tea tree oil soap or a quarter cup of ammonia are both supposed to work like magic.

4. FULL BODY WASH Effective body wash products from head to toe are essential!  Find a powerful shampoo and cleanse your scalp thoroughly!  Your head sweats a ton and build up of sweat and oil for some people apparently cause small sores or bumps!   Try a natural tea tree based shampoo(I love it) or a shampoo with salicylic acid or zinc (antifungal/antibacterial.)  If that doesn’t do it visit your pharmacy for suggestions.  I’m always in search of the best body washes and shampoos so let me know if you have recommendations. Exfoliating your body with a loofah is highly recommended to remove dirty dead skin.  Lastly, don’t forget to scrub your feet!  Our feet “fly to the sky” and sometimes close in close contact with someone’s face behind us.   No one wants to smell your musty feet.  Proper hygiene in hot yoga is highly appreciated by fellow yogis!

5.  FARTERS I get it, I guess, although lack of control over my body is not an issue.  Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx myself and blast the worst one ever in my next class.  While I wish there was a way to add “No Farting” right after the “Breathe in and out through your nose” rule in yoga.  I get it that some of you just can’t help it.   You proudly let ‘em rip during the “wind relieving” poses.  Fine, but save the loud long ones or silent but deadly ones for after class please!  Come on people, it’s like someone farting in a sauna!  Impossible to breathe, gross.  The times I’ve noticed I usually have a man near me.   Taking this into consideration and the fact that I’m an unattractive sweaty mess (see photo above) I usually stear clear of practicing next to a man.  Sorry guys, just sayin’.

6.  BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU EAT When you sweat, toxins of all glands and organs are released and impurities are flushed out of the body through the skin.  Some foods make you sweat more and certain aromatic foods come right out in your sweat.  Garlic, for example, I promise you will sweat out of your pours if you eat it prior to class. The Sulfur compounds produce a ton of odor.  Onions, hot peppers, and vegetables related to the cabbage family you may also notice release odor.  Spices like curry and cumin will make the class think there’s an Indian restaurant next door. I recently learned that meat eaters have a more intense odor than the non-meat eaters.  I’m not saying to cut out the things you love to eat, especially the healthy stuff.  Just be mindful of how often you eat them and try to eliminate eating too much on hot yoga  days.

7.  WEAR DEODORANT TO CLASS and refrain from perfumes.  Sweating makes your perfume reek.  No one likes “Sweet Sweat Gardenia” scent which is why it’s not available for purchase in stores.

8.  GET YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT Dust mites, bacteria and germs are all brewing on the shared mats, yoga blocks and straps.  Surprisingly this one’s just caught my attention recently and it’s  important.  Make sure you have your own mat.  Athelete’s foot, warts, skin infections, and fungus live in communal yoga mats.  My mat is specially created with an antimicrobial Zenz-in agent that prevents the growth of mold, mildew, and odors.  Next, think about how and where we use yoga props that dozens (or hundreds) of sweaty people have also used.   Blocks assist us when we squeeze them tightly with our sticky thighs during bridge.  We also place our low back directly on the block during assisted shoulder stand, some of us place our sweaty bottoms on blocks for poses such as heroes pose,  and we even press blocks firmly against the bottoms of our feet for an extra length in seated forward bends.  Yuck, yuck, yuck!  And now you want to reuse that same block that some other person covered in sweat used?   The warm room invites tons of germs and viruses to spread through sharing yoga props.  Some people even show up to class when they’re not feeling 100% and they’ve now passed on their illness to the next person through the use of props.  It’s impossible for blocks to be cleaned and washed between classes and I can’t imagine it is regular practice to clean them often.   I’ll provide you with a little “TMI” (too much information) and tell you what made me realize how dirty those yoga blocks really are.  Not too long ago I developed itchy tiny bumps all over my lower back, the sides of my belly, and inside my arm.  They eventually traveled up around my neck!   I was covered in grossness.  It was during a week where I went to several classes taken advantage of blocks to perfect my poses.  I can’t be sure that it was from shared yoga blocks, but I’m nearly convinced that’s what caused the itchy mess.   If purchasing your own equipment seems unreasonable do yourself a favor and carry antibacterial wipes to clean shared equipment.
My sweaty thighs before placing a block between them.  Would you like to borrow my block next?

9)  STAY HOME WHEN YOU’RE SICK The type A personality students attracted to hot yoga may feel guilty for missing a class but rolling in with mat in one hand and a wad of tissues in the other is a mistake.  Thinking you’re “sweating it out” while coughing, sneezing, and nose blowing throughout a 90 minutes practice is disruptive to others and may pass your illness to them.  I assure you that you’ll receive no “yoga compassion” and more than likely receive angry glares from the other students.  A little runny nose or sniffle is no big deal, but be considerate to others if you’re sick.

10)  GO HOME Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after class and avoid touching your face during yoga practice.  Head home after yoga practice if possible and soap right up.  Do I even need to explain further?  You’ve just finished the sweatiest workout ever and possibly exposed yourself to germs.  I’m sure you don’t want that lingering on your body.   Can you really stand the authentic smell of yourself anyhow after hot yoga?   I assure you it’s not glamorous.  Don’t put others in dangerous either.  If you must eat right after class pack a snack.  Grocery shop straight from class is a no-no.   I promise someone will wheel their cart past you so incredibly quick and you’ll easily be able recognize the clear “ewwww you stink!” look on their face.  (It’s possible I know this from experience.)
Fellow yogis, this is valuable advise worth taking!  Don’t be caught as the dirty one in class!   For those of you who don’t practice I hope I haven’t scared you off from trying.  Hot yoga is an amazing and powerful experience.  Just follow my advise and you’re good to go.  Keep it real and keep it clean.  Happy hot yoga everyone!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tip of the Week: Cobra Pose

What makes cobra pose so challenging and beneficial is that you must both overcome the resistance of the connective tissue and muscles in the front side of the body while backbending against gravity.

Lying on your stomach, bring your hands under your shoulders with the fingers forward and the thumbs on the inside. Make sure all five fingers are together. To check if your hands are in the right position, roll your shoulders down to the floor and they should touch the tops of your fingertips. The entire area of the palm should be completely flat on the floor.

Push your toes, heels, knees together as hard as you can. Push so hard that you start to feel a cramp in your feet. Squeeze your buttocks and push your hips down. Push your entire lower body as hard as you can into the floor. When your knees are locked properly, your knees will come up off the floor.

As you inhale, your eyes should initiate the movement. Bring your entire upper body up off the floor as you look up and as far back as possible. Lift your upper body using 100% back strength. Bikram says you can use the strength of your hands and arms up to 15%. Use a small amount of arm strength to augment the back strength. This is not a push-up, so make sure your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle. Push your elbows in towards the body, and push your elbows down towards your hips to bring your shoulders down more. Use your hands to come up on your belly button. Make sure your lower back hurts by using all the muscles in your lower back.

  • Increases spine strength and flexibility
  • Prevents lower back pain
  • Helps to cure lumbago, rheumatism and arthritis of the spine
  • Relieves menstrual problems (irregularity, cramps, backaches)
  • Cures loss of appetite
  • Helps to correct bad posture
  • Improves functioning of the liver and spleen
  • Strengthens the deltoids, trapezius and triceps

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tip of the Week: Take Your Practice to the Next Level

Being inspired by the advanced skill level we witnessed at the Regional Championship last weekend, we thought we would share this great information on taking your practice to the next level from our friends at Bikram Yoga Vancouver.

Bikram Yogis: Take Your Practice to the Next Level

If you’ve been practicing for years (or, in the case of some super-quick studies, months) and have the 26 postures in the beginner’s Bikram Yoga series down pat, you may be looking for ways to step up your practice. Because going to Teacher Training isn’t possible for every yogi, use these suggestions (at your discretion!) to “stretch” yourself a bit further in the hot room. (Before trying some of these moves, please take a moment to ask yourself and a teacher if you’re really ready!)

Make good postures great:

  • Touch your arms together behind your calves and/or your forehead to your feet in the third part of Half Moon Posture.
  • If your knees are healthy, try doing the “bounce, bounce, bounce” in the third part of Awkward Pose.
  • Let go of the grip and hold your hands in prayer in front of your chest, palms and fingers pressed together, during Eagle Pose. The goal is to keep your wrists nice and straight and your fingers below your nose throughout the posture.
  • Try letting go of your kicked-out foot in Standing Head to Knee Pose. At first, simply release the grip on your foot and straighten out your fingers, so that only the palm of each hand is touching either side of the foot.
  • Try to straighten your kicked-up leg so you’re doing the standing splits in Standing Bow. An excellent way to physically prepare for this is to do the splits on the floor before and after class.
  • Move your feet closer and closer together in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose; the easier it is for you to touch your forehead to the floor between your legs, the smaller your step should be.
  • In Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose, pull your abdominal muscles in and up to get your forehead higher on your knee. When you’re ready, bring your hands together in prayer and aim to touch your fingers directly in-between your first and second toe on the floor.
  • When you’re ready, let go of your foot and bring both hands up into prayer in front of your chest during Tree Pose.
  • Once you’re balancing with both hands in prayer and looking into your eyes in the mirror, lift your hips up into the air so that you’re not resting any weight on your heel during Toe Stand (think levitation)!
  • Once you’re able to bring both legs up perpendicular to the floor in the third part of Locust Pose, try bending your knees and resting both feet on top of your head!
  • Try to see your feet coming up over your head in Bow Pose (hint: the harder you kick with your legs, the closer they’ll come to meeting your eyes).
  • Once you’ve reached the full expression of Fixed Firm Pose, “walk” your shoulders up closer toward your feet in order to maximize the “human bridge” you’ve made with your spine.
  • In Rabbit Pose, focus on the exhalation of your breath and pull your abdominal muscles in. Let the inhale happen passively.
  • In Stretching Pose (follows Head to Knee Pose), walk your hips back behind you and simultaneously walk your elbows and spine toward the front mirror. Then, touch your forehead to your feet. Bikram is rumoured to keep a running tally of yogis around the world that can accomplish this rare feat during training!
  • Stretch up out of your waist as much as you can before you twist back in Spine Twisting Pose. Then, wrap your arm around your waist and grab your inner thigh during the posture. This will help you get a much deeper stretch across your shoulders and back!

Break your bad habits:

  • Do an entire class without breathing through your mouth (except when told to do so, during the first and final breathing exercises, sit-ups, etc.). No sighing, no talking, no drama!
  • If you find yourself favouring certain teachers’ classes, make it a point to do yoga with new instructors. The dialogue will be the same, but you’ll likely learn a thing or two.
  • Better yet, stop checking the schedule entirely to see who’s teaching class. Just go, without expectations and with the intention to do your best and try your hardest no matter what.
  • Vow not to complain about the heat. If the room seems too cold, work harder (and remember that there will be days when you’ll wish the studio wasn’t so hot!).
  • Give up your “regular” spot in the room. It’s amazing the new perspective you’ll gain through such a simple change.
  • If you’re an “evening yogi,” try a morning class; your flexibility increases as you go about your day, and a 6 a.m. class may challenge you in new ways (plus, it’s a great boost of energy first thing in the morning!).
  • Do a “waterless” class – just be sure to hydrate thoroughly before and after. Though the debate rages on about this practice, certain advanced practitioners may benefit from detaching themselves from their routine water-bottle habits.

Challenge yourself:

  • Do seven, 30, 60 or any other number of yoga classes on consecutive days; the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end will be unreal. Just be sure to listen to your body and let yourself take a break if you need to.
  • Keep a yoga diary, recording your thoughts, feelings, challenges and successes after each class.
  • Come to class early so that you have time to stretch, de-stress and prepare – physically and mentally – for practice. Also, give yourself at least two minutes (the longer the better) to lie in Savasana after class.
  • Don’t let anyone steal your peace. No matter what’s going on around you, think of yourself as the “eye of the storm” – calm, cool and collected despite the “heavy breather” next to you or the fact that the person in front of you is blocking your view of the mirror.

Remember: as long as you show up for class and try each posture to the best of your ability (for that day), focusing on form and alignment rather than depth, you’ll reap the maximum benefits of the series – no matter how fast or how far you advance!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

We Kicked Asana at Regionals!

We could not be more proud of our Bikram Yoga SLC students and teachers who participated in the 2013 Utah Regional USA Yoga Asana Championship. Your dedication to your practice, and the amount of determination and control you showed us on stage was beyond admirable. Thank you for giving us all much to aspire to!

The day was a success for each and every one of you, and regardless of whether or not you placed at Regionals, you all won.
Here are the results:
Men: 3rd place Marc Linton; 2nd place Tanner Williams; 1st Mike Schenk
Women: 3rd place Alexa Lewis, 2nd place Audra Williamson; 1st Carolyn Valencia

Mike Schenk

 Stephan Pietrangelo

 Alexa Lewis

 Mike Schenk

 Alexa Lewis

 Audra Williamson

 Nella Holden

Marc Linton

*For more photos "Like" us on Facebook and see the album "2013 Utah Regional USA Yoga Asana Championship"

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tip of the Week: Savasana

Happy New Year everyone! So glad to see so many eager faces today at the studio excited about starting the year off right with the peacefulness and incredible overall feeling of wellness that only Bikram yoga can bring. Today I have a couple of tips for helping you relax in Savasana.

In addition to quieting the physical body in Savasana (laying as if you were perfectly still in a coffin box), and meditating on your breathing, it's also necessary to pacify the sense organs. Soften the root of the tongue, the wings of the nose, the channels of the inner ears, and the skin of the forehead, especially around the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows. Release your brain to the back of the head. As you focus on relaxing each of your sense organs one at a time, your mind will be more likely to be quiet.

Roxanne had a great tip the other day in regards to where to focus your eyes while laying on your back during Savasana. Imagine there is a mirror on the ceiling. Have a softened gaze on where you would imagine the reflection of your toes to be.

It's easy to allow ourselves completely relax during the final savasana when we know that we have made it through all of the 26 postures, but see if you can challenge yourself to be just as relaxed during all of the savasanas during the floor series as well.