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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tip of the Week: Sharpen Business Focus with Yoga

Do you ever feel that your work life interferes with your Bikram practice? Not enough time with your work schedule, too stressed after work, etc? This article from CNN Money is a great reminder to make time for your practice because it can actually help you in your work life as well.

Sharpening business focus with yoga

I've built Bikram into my work schedule, even when I travel. It helps me deal with clients - and with stress.


(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Two years ago on labor day I stumbled onto Bikram yoga in a studio on West 72nd Street in New York City and was hooked within a week. Now it's an integral part of how I run my business.
Bikram, also known as hot yoga, involves doing a series of 26 tough poses in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are in the studio doing Bikram, you have to be absolutely present. Your mind can't race to the plane that you're going to miss or the client whose call you didn't return, or you'll be flat on the mat before you know it. 

I have a wine consulting business, and I am a one-man show. I'm based in New York City, but most of my revenue comes from corporate clients around the country who want me to plan their events. Problem is, when a brand is based on one person, if business is up 20%, that person is working and traveling 20% more. For instance, over the past ten days I have been in six cities, and sometimes when I wake up, I can't even remember where I am. It gets exhausting as you get older (I'm 44), and it takes its toll on sleep, on hydration, on your stress level.

I used to have a shotgun approach to dealing with stress - I'd retreat to a health spa for ten days - but I really needed a day-to-day routine.
Now I spend around ten hours a week on yoga - five Bikram classes of 90 minutes each, plus dressing and shower time. I buy the classes in bulk, so they cost me around $15 each. Add on water, towels, and tips, and the total cost comes to about $125 a week - worth every penny. 

I always do yoga before seeing a client. For an out-of-town meeting I'll take the earliest plane, land, and head directly to the studio with a T-shirt and shorts in my bag along with my presentation. I know the studios for cities I work in regularly - Boston, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas - and Bikram is easy to find in other major cities. To be sure, Bikram-on-the-road is a time commitment - I find I need two to three hours to get there, work out, shower, and head to the meeting. Keeping to my routine during my busy season is hard. 

It's worth it, though. Since I've learned to focus, the details of business have become less overwhelming. I have begun to delegate. I hired three full-time people to back me up (two work on marketing, one does administration), raised my prices 25%, and outsourced public relations. The result: My company's 2007 revenue was up 39% over the previous year, and I expect sales to be $1.2 million in 2008.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tip of the Week: Best Exercises to Compliment Bikram Yoga

The movements in Bikram yoga offer more cardiovascular benefits than the various other types of yoga. It is performed in a room where temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels are elevated, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as hot yoga. The reason behind the high temperature is to help rid the body of toxins through sweat while performing the series of 26 poses.

Bikram and Strength Training

Yoga asks you to support your body weight in a variety of positions. This does assist with strength development and will tone your body. However, if you’re looking to build up sizable bulk, yoga isn’t going to help that. Additional weightlifting two or three times a week on alternating days will create mass. Using your own bodyweight can strengthen muscles used during Bikram. Lunges help you get into the triangle pose, which works your quadriceps, hamstrings, hips and adductors, or inner thigh muscles. Accomplishing the awkward pose and the toe stand can be made possible with the addition of deep squats. Planks and chaturanga work your core and arms to get you ready to achieve the locust pose.

Pair Bikram With Cardio

While Bikram has been known to enhance the practitioner's sense of well-being and to supply an effective cardiovascular workout, it doesn't allow you access to the full spectrum of heart and overall health benefits that traditional cardiovascular activities offer. You may want to consider engaging in alternative methods of cardio on days you're not doing Bikram.
Running not only boosts your fitness level, it will improve blood flow as your heart gets pumping; it loosens up your muscles and can calm you mentally. All of which enhance your future performances during Bikram. You could also try biking, swimming and rowing -- these activities elevate your heart rate and ward off diseases like diabetes and osteoporosis. And they help build strength, lower blood pressure and promote weight loss, which can enhance your efforts in Bikram Yoga.

The Yin to Your Yang

Yin Yoga is a form of yoga complementary to all types of Hatha (or yang) practices such as Bikram. Yang practices work the muscles and build heat in the body whereas yin yoga is working the connective tissue around the muscles. Much longer, gentler stretches are held for around three minutes and sometimes even longer during a Yin Yoga session. The stretching and relaxation of areas like the knees, hips and spine promotes flexibility and better circulation, which will translate into better performances during your Bikram practices as well.

Cautionary Considerations

To prevent heat cramps and heat exhaustion, stay hydrated and dress light. Lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting are all signs that heat exhaustion is setting in and you need to stop immediately. Even if you don’t experience any negative side effects, making it a daily routine may not be realistic for most people. Bikram yoga is performed in 100-degree Fahrenheit heat and most classes run from 75 to 90 minutes, so spacing sessions out and participating in other forms of physical activity through the week is a healthy and realistic approach to complement Bikram Yoga.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tip of the Week: Bikram Yoga Diet

Bikram yoga is an excellent type of yoga for weight loss. A single session of Bikram yoga can burn up to a whopping 600 to 1500 calories. Needless to say this amount will depend upon how much effort you put into each class and how strong your poses are. 

In order to maximize the benefits of Bikram yoga, a diet change is recommended (though not imperative). If you want to see results faster, it would be better to change your diet for hot yoga. While there is no specific Bikram yoga diet plan, there are general guidelines about what to eat before and after a Bikram yoga class as well as what food is beneficial when practicing this form of yoga. These include:
  • Eat several small light meals throughout the day instead of three heavy ones.
  • Make sure that your meals consist of some form of protein and whole grains to keep energy levels up.
  • Keep your consumption of fatty foods, caffeine, refined sugar and dairy products to a minimum.
  • Many people insist that their digestion changes after practicing Bikram yoga for a while. Spicy foods and junk foods now sit heavily in the stomach and are no longer as enjoyable as before making weight loss and calorie control a whole lot easier.
  • What you can eat before a Bikram yoga class differs from person to person. Some people feel more energetic in class if they have eaten a small nutritious snack or some fruit an hour or so before class. Others insist that they can only practice on an empty stomach or if they keep a gap of four hours or more between their last meal and their yoga class. After a few sessions of your own, you will know what works best for your body.
  • Bikram yoga tends to make you ravenous. After a class it would be better to keep on hand some healthy energy boosters such as nuts or a banana or some fresh fruit or vegetable juice.
  • As you continue your practice of Bikram yoga you will become more attuned with your body and begin to differentiate between actual hunger pangs and eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons.
  • A lot of people believe that Bikram yoga demands a vegetarian diet. This is not true though you may benefit from switching to leaner meats such as chicken or turkey over beef or pork. The main goal of a Bikram yoga diet is to provide the proper nutrition and help the body maximize its capability.
  • An ideal Bikram yoga food plan would involve meals that are unprocessed and devoid of harmful additives and other chemicals. Try to buy mainly organic produce and include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • The most important addition to any Bikram yoga diet is water. It is absolutely necessary to drink at least two to three liters of water a day to stay hydrated and balance out electrolyte levels in the body. Some Bikram yoga teachers encourage students to drink at least a liter of water before a session.

Bikram Yoga Diet Tips

  • For the best results, try and make at least three classes a week or ten classes a month. Bikram yoga teachers insist that this is the minimum amount of sessions needed to reap the benefits of this dynamic yoga. If you can do more classes, aim for five days a week and watch how your body gets transformed. These classes have to be complimented with a proper diet recommended by your yoga practitioner.
  • Keep in mind that weight loss with Bikram yoga is a gradual process and therefore you will have to keep to the diet for a longer time.
  • Always consult your doctor before beginning Bikram yoga classes or any diet plan. The rigors of Bikram yoga may not suit everyone and it is better to get the all clear from yoru doctor before committing to any number of classes.

Bikram Yoga Diet Benefits

  • Burning between 600 to 1500 calories per session
  • Improving the lymphatic system and helping flush the body of toxins
  • Improving metabolism and making weight loss easier
  • Lessening unhealthy food cravings
  • Treating any digestive problems
  • Building muscle tone 
Information provided by

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tip of the Week: Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee pose trims the abdomen, waistline, hips, buttocks and thighs. It massages and compresses the thyroid gland, which helps to regulate the metabolism and the immune system.


*Make sure you touch your forehead to your knee (not your nose or chin). To do this, tuck your chin in and keep it there as you move toward the knee. Look at your stomach; this will keep your chin tucked.

*If the hamstrings or spine are tight, bend the right leg until the forehead touches the knee. The left leg and arms stay straight and the hands can separate on the floor to balance.

 *If the heel of the back foot lifts off the floor, shorten your step slightly.

*Use your abdominal muscles and keep the belly lifting to round the spine and work on straightening the right leg. 

*Ground the front foot into the floor, inside edge.

*Ground the back foot into the floor, outside edge.

*Soften the hips. Pick up the lower hip to square both hips to the floor. You can internally rotate the thigh of the back leg INWARDS to help yourself square out the hips.

*When doing the left side with your left leg forward, sneak a quick peek at the mirror behind you. Are your hips perfectly square? Lift your left hip up to make your hips square to the floor.

*Once you are able to get both legs straight, bring your palms together only a few inches in front of your extended foot so as you straighten your arms you’re able to round your spine completely. The elbows straighten out and the arms go behind your ears.