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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tip of the Week: Healthy Spine, Healthy Life

The postures in Bikram's Spine Strengthening Series (Cobra Pose, Locust Pose, Full Locust Pose, and Bow Pose) are some of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy spine. Obviously, strengthening the spine is important for preventing and healing all types of back pain. In the article below from, you'll read that an unhealthy spine can also cause many other health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion, and impaired control of the bowel and bladder. 

In this article you'll find some tips for taking better care of your spine and back. It's interesting to note that most of the tips such as having good posture, doing deep breathing exercises, and meditating are all things you're already doing in your Bikram practice, and a healthy diet and getting proper sleep are great bi-products of Bikram yoga.

(CNN) -- Slouching may be fashionable for some red carpet regulars, but it's one of several reasons why about 80% of us will have spinal problems in our lifetime. And yet, most of us can cure or even avoid back pain and surgery by taking a few daily preventive steps. Spinal problems can start as early as age 29, so it's never too early or too late to start.

People tend to forget the spine is part of the central nervous system, along with the brain, and relies on the peripheral nervous system: the millions of nerves that send messages to the brain that control the body's functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.
Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back:

Good posture is essential
Remember your mother saying "Stop slouching"? You would think it goes without saying, but too many of us simply don't maintain good posture, which is critical for a healthy spine.

Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the "angel wings," or the shoulder blades, retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position to achieve the best posture possible.
Good posture also has other health and wellness benefits. Researchers at San Francisco State University have found a link between poor posture and depression, and many experts believe stooping and slouching could be associated with weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety and respiratory conditions.

Proper posture leads to a taller appearance, deeper breathing, improved well-being and increased energy with enhanced human performance.

Deep belly breathing can improve your posture
Place your hands on your abdominal area and feel your belly move as you inhale and exhale. Do this as many times a day as possible to improve your posture and overall spinal health. Deep belly breathing enables the spinal nerves to move within the spinal channels, diminishing pain and providing a sense of well-being.

Targeted simple exercises can strengthen your core and joints
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise is therapeutic. Just 10 minutes per day is all you need to perform some simple spine-strengthening exercises.
Neck stretches, including bending and extension range-of-motion exercises, are just a series of simple side-to-side, up-and-down and ear-to-shoulder stretches that can dramatically improve the health of the cervical spine.
Using light weights to improve posture and performing some yoga poses like downward dog, which opens up the chest and stretches the spine, can also improve spinal health. Push-ups can strengthen the spinal and postural muscles as well.

What you eat can directly impact your spine
You may not think that your diet affects your spine, but it actually plays a key role. A healthy diet consisting mostly of lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal for building a lean body and muscles that support the spine.
To improve the condition of your spine, supplement your diet with a multivitamin along with a B-complex and Omega-3s, as they have been shown to help decrease pain in the nerves of the spine.

Spend a little time in the sun every day
Believe it or not, the sun can have a magical effect on your body, including your spine. Sunlight energizes the whole body, literally waking it up and encouraging the body to stand up straighter.

Further, sunlight contains vitamin D, which is required for strong bones, including the spinal column, and is manufactured in the body through sun exposure. Try to spend 10 to 20 minutes in sunlight daily.

Pay attention to how -- and how long -- you sleep
Studies suggest that insufficient sleep is associated with increased neck and back problems. It is important to get a sufficient amount (between six and eight hours) and of course, to sleep in a position that enables the spine to relax. The ideal position is on your side, as that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine.
You should also create a proper sanctuary for sleep, choosing a suitable mattress and pillow for comfort, eliminating all outdoor light and providing fresh cool air. Avoid interacting with any electronic devices at bedtime.

Don't hesitate to meditate
Meditation can restore alertness, improve your mood, increase productivity and prolong life, not to mention the positive effects it can have on your spine and posture. People who meditate tend to focus on their core, automatically straightening their spines in the process.
To remind yourself to carve out 10 minutes or so per day to perform these exercises and rituals (especially in the middle of a busy workday), you can set an alarm on your smartphone.
You can also utilize apps -- Healthy Back Workouts provides three apps devoted to the neck and upper back, strong spine and core and posture and lower back. They're designed to accommodate the beginner, intermediate or advanced individual with step-by-step photos and detailed instructions.
Through awareness of posture, breath, meditation, nutrition, exposure to sunlight and exercise, people can strengthen and condition their spines and create overall well-being in the process.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tip of the Week: Keep the Stink out of your Mat!

If you really want a yoga mat that isn't smelly after class, you're going to have to clean your mat after EVERY use (yes, EVERY USE) and let it air dry on a clothes rack or shower rod with plenty of air flow. In fact, it's even a good idea to have two mats and alternate so each can really dry out. 

If you leave your sweaty rolled up mat in the back of your car after class, you will be driving to FUNKYTOWN the next time you get in your car. Moisture + heat = bacteria. You need to clean your mat regularly with something that will kill bacteria in order to eliminate the smell and prolong the life of your mat.

To clean your mat, we've made it easy for you by making a cleaning solution available at our Bikram Yoga SLC studio for $7. It comes in a convenient spray bottle you can carry with you and spray right after each class. If you'd rather make your own cleaning solution, below are some ideas.

Essential Oils: Any essential oils will do, but it’s important to include those with antibacterial properties, such as tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Witch Hazel or Vinegar: This is the main cleaning agent in the mixture. 

Water: Water should be about 3/4 the entire mixture. It dilutes the mixture, keeping it from being too overpowering.

Experiment with your oils – this is the fun part! Try starting with one drop of each oil, and then adding more in different amounts until you reach your ideal scent. Keep in mind that essential oils have a very strong aroma, so be careful not to use too much of them. If your solution does end up being too powerful, pour some out, and add more water. Once you’ve perfected your scent, mix the solution thoroughly, cap your bottle, and you’re ready to clean!

Spray solution generously, covering one side of your mat. Wipe down your mat with a damp cloth. Repeat on the other side and then hang to dry. Never put a damp yoga mat back on the floor where you use it––make sure the mat is fully dry before you spread it out to practice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tip of the Week: Stretching Pose

This week we have the BEST TIP EVER! Come to our Open House to see our new location on Thursday July 18 from 7-9pm! Then come to a FREE community class on Friday July 19 at either 6am w/Greg or 2:30pm w/Becky!

And now on to a posture tip...Stretching Pose. Stretching Pose is performed immediately after Head to Knee Pose. You can read last week's post on Head to Knee Pose by clicking "Here".

Alignment for Stretching Pose is key. Grip your big toes tightly with your middle and index fingers. Make sure you are sitting on your "sits bones" by shifting your hips back several times. Sit up tall with your chest up and stomach in. Try to lock both knees. Suck your stomach in, stick your chest out, and pull hard on your toes until your heels come up off the floor. If your knees stay locked, then lower your chest to your knees, keeping your back flat. Use your grip to pull your torso forward from the lower spine. Do not bend your elbows until your heels are off the floor.

*Tip: Keep your spine straight and look forward, not down. Keep your chin up. Think about touching your chest to your toes and keep a flat back.

*Tip: The more you contract your thighs, the more your hamstrings will be protected and will be able to stretch.

*Tip: As a beginner, you may not be able to lock your knees. No problem. Pull on the toes and try to straighten your legs on the floor, chest up, back flat. If you feel a pull in the backs of your knees and legs, that's good. That means you are stretching the sciatic nerves, thigh biceps, and calf muscles.

Monday, July 15, 2013

We're Moving!!

We're so excited to announce that we finally will moving to our new location on 1924 S. 1100 E.! We would love for to come see your new home at our Open House this Thursday, July 18th from 7 to 9pm. Classes will start at new studio beginning this Friday, July 19th. We have 2 FREE Community Classes from studio owners Greg and Becky on Friday to celebrate our Grand Opening! Greg will be teaching the FREE class at 6am and Becky will be teaching the FREE 2:30 class on Friday. It's a great way to experience our new studio. Bring a friend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tip of the Week: Head to Knee Pose

Benefits of Head to Knee Pose with Stretching Pose:
  • Improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerve and joints of the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists.
  • Increases flexibility of the last five vertebrae of the spine. 
  • Excellent for the immune and lymphatic systems.
  • Increases circulation to the liver, spleen, pancreas, thyroid, thymus and intestines. 
  • Good for allergies and arthritis.
Today we will be focusing on Head to Knee Pose. Stay tuned next week for Stretching Pose. 

Sitting upright, bring your right leg out corner wise. Bring your left leg in so your heel touches your costume, and your left foot is resting on your right bicep muscle. Bring your hands over your head, interlock your fingers, and reach down to the right side grabbing the right foot with fingers interlocked, just a couple of inches below the toes. Pull on your toes as hard as possible, and flex your foot as hard as you can until your heel comes up off the floor.

*Tip: Before you try to bring your head to your knee, first bring your elbows down to the sides of your knees. (Think of the sequence in Standing Head to Knee: first elbows to sides of knee, then head to knee).

Next bring your chin to your chest, look at your stomach, and touch your forehead to the knee.

*Tip: If your head can't reach your knee with your leg straight, bend your leg up until your head touches your knee. Your head MUST touch your knee to get the full benefits.

Now try to even out your shoulders by bringing your left shoulder and left elbow down more. Left knee should stay flat on the floor.

After repeating on the other side, this pose is immediately followed with Stretching Pose which we will be going over next week, so check back! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July Newsletter

Bikram Yoga Sugarhouse

Bikram Yoga Sugarhouse
Another sunrise, another new beginning. 

We're Moving!  

Take It Off!
15% discount on all Annual Passes purchased in the month of July. Now's the best time to buy - please inquire at the front desk. 

Have You Packed?
It's just about time to pack up and move into our brand new studio on 1924 South 1100 East. Please stay tuned for the exact date we'll be relocating - classes will be held in our current location until moving day! 
We are very excited to start this next chapter with all of our students in this new and special location. We've put much time and thought into how this space can better serve our students, their practice, and the environment. Your new studio features green construction and energy-efficient fixtures.  

Front Of New Studio

You Did It!
Congratulations to Our 30-Day Challengers 
Cody Williams and Matt Martinez,on a very successful completion! FYI if you do not see your name here, it is because it is boxed up, ready for the move to the BRAND NEW STUDIO! If we happened to miss you, please look out for your name in the next newsletter. Thank you for understanding!

They Made It! 
Our FIVE Bikram Sugarhouse students completed the nine weeks of teacher training this month. Thank you for your dedication, perseverance, and commitments. We can't wait to practice with you! 

Keep Up the Good Work 
One of our students, Caroline Allam had a spine injury early 2011 and has since been steadily practicing Bikram Yoga to help with her rehabilitation. Caroline received excellent news from her doctors upon reviewing the most recent MRI of her injury which shows no further deterioration of the disk. 
"Keep doing Bikram Yoga," Caroline's doctor informed her. Caroline not only feels Bikram helps with her pain level, but her practice has had positive results in aiding her recovery. She is a welcome face at Bikram SLC and tries to visit us as much as possible. 

Struggling With a Particular Posture?
Want to go a little deeper on a posture? Hold it for longer? Feel like something just isn't right? 
Check out our Wednesday Tip of the Week for great insights on how to improve your posture our blog:
Follow our photo-feed on Instagram: bikramyogaslc !

Get Inspired
Bikram Yoga SLC is now sharing valuable yoga tips, inspiring clips, as well as coverage of our recent happenings on Yelp, Pinterest, Foursquare, and City Search

So Fresh
Stay fresh and healthy by regularly cleaning your yoga mat.  Cleaning solution is available for $7 in the  Bikram Sugarhouse lobby - solution comes in a convenient spray bottle you can carry with you and spray right after each class. Hang your mat to dry and you're ready to practice with a fresh mat the next day. 

Forget Something?
We have a very impressive collection of clothing, mats, and water bottles we would love to reunite with their rightful owners! Please check our lost and found to reclaim your stuff, you have about 2 months before we donate them to local thrift stores.
Settle Up, Please!
Thanks to those of you who have paid your balances, but we still have a lot due. If you have an outstanding balance with Bikram Sugarhouse, we ask that you please settle up, so we can continue providing the best Bikram Yoga experience to you. Simply come see us at the front desk.
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Bikram Yoga Salt Lake City
1140 Wilmington Ave.
SLC Utah 84106
(801) 488-4681

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Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Kudos? Let us know here!
Bikram Yoga Salt Lake City
1140 E Willmington Ave
SLC,  Utah   84106

Tip of the Week: Bikram in the Summer Heat

With the weather being as hot as it's been this past week, we felt it was only appropriate to re-post a blog from last summer. We know it's hot, but stay strong and get to class! You're already sweaty anyway...what are you waiting for?

 Bikram Yoga SLC student Debi Muir sweating it out in class

If you're like most people, the thought of sweating it out in a 105 degree room is the last thing you feel like doing in the middle of a sweltering hot summer.

But practicing Bikram Yoga during the summer months can help acclimate you to the season's heat and actually make the summer more bearable. Also, without the large difference between the temps outside and inside the studio, you'll be able to warm up faster once you get to class.

Here are the Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Do Bikram in the Summer:

1. When you first walk into the yoga room, it actually feels cooler than outside! Piece of cake!

2. When you leave the yoga room, the outside feels cooler than inside! So you are getting best of both worlds! Bikram Yoga makes the summer more manageable!

3. The relentless heat from the summer can leave you feeling sluggish. Every time you take class, you fill your "gas tank" by hyper-oxygenating the nerves and blood vessels in your body.

4. Your body is more warmed up before class. Muscles are more relaxed in the heat. In the afternoon classes especially, you may find that you are more flexible and go deeper in the postures since your body had all day to warm up.

5. You will save money on your air conditioning bills by acclimatizing your body to a warmer temperature in your house so you won't have to run the A/C as much!

6. You will release toxins faster. Your body is warmer, you start sweating sooner, and you lose more of the stuff. 'Nuff said. (Just don't forget to be super-hydrated before and after class, and add some replacement minerals to your during-class water).

7. You will look and feel more confident in your skin, and of course your swimsuit!