Category Archives: Yoga

I Wouldn’t Know It Was Bikram If It Wasn’t 107 Degrees!

I tried out a new yoga joint this morning and was MORE than pleasantly surprised!  I went to Bikram Yoga Downtown Hartford and it was an amazing experience.  Normally I go to a place in Glastonbury, and though I always liked it (with the exception of a few classes that were taught by some uptight yogi who literally yelled at the students, myself included), I thought “hey, why not try something new?”.  So I did.  Bikram Yoga Downtown Hartford is located right off the highway on Main Street across the street from City Steam Brewery.  There isn’t any free parking available like there is in Glastonbury, but luckily I’m an early bird and was able to park on the street (which you can do until 8AM).  There are also two parking garages that are in walking distance and cost only $3 and $4 with validation from Bikram Yoga Downtown.

Of course the practice of Bikram Yoga is going to be the same everywhere you go:  26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.  But this studio had a amenities that are not available at my last studio.

  1. Spacious, Clean and Most Importantly COOL Locker Room:   Instead of having 30 yogis all trying to put their clothing into cubbies the size of a sandal box, there is a full on locker room fully equipped with large cubes, benches, nice showers, and a full counter and mirror to get ready.
  2. Scent Free Yoga Room:  I couldn’t believe it.  You’d think that a 107 degree room where people sweat their ass off for 90 minutes would be impossible to keep scent free, but somehow they did it.  OK, well maybe when I go back I’ll notice it wasn’t completely scent free, but thinking back on the situation, I can’t recall any nasty sweat smell, so it must not have been that back.
  3. Unpretentious Staff:  I’m not saying that all yoga teachers are pretentious, but some of them, ok most of them, give off this vibe that they are so relax and have their lives so under control that it actually sometimes stresses me out!  How annoying is it that every yoga teacher is about 110 lbs and has a six pack just from standing in tree pose and saying  a few oms?  My teacher today was just a regular girl and seemed wicked down to earth…I loved it!
  4. Small Class Size:  Since I’ve only gone once, I’m not sure if this is the case, but this class had only 5 people in it, including myself.  Cool!
  5. CLOCK!  Finally, the best part about this place:  there is a huge clock right in the middle of the room.  I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but let me tell you…I cannot stand not knowing how much longer I have til I’m done.  I’ve even worn my watch into practice a few times just so I can keep an eye, but I swear I got dirty looks for doing that so I reluctantly stopped!

I definitely recommend this place to anyone who is looking to test the waters with Bikram.  The staff is nice, the studio is clean, and in my humble opinion, its a great place for new comers and experienced yogis of all kinds!

click here for deals on yoga clothing!

Finding Peace in Yoga

  I have been doing p90x and since the yoga x is painfully boring I decided to go to my Bikram yoga joint this morning and it was amazing.  I haven’t been in a while, and it was like meeting up with an old friend.  When I walked through the door, there was a new teacher standing at the table who I had never met before.  Her name was Mahara and she had a “gypsie” look about her.  She was older, wearing a sheer skirt over her costume, had orange curly frizzy hair held together by a bedazzled “claw” clip, and dark eye liner and rose pink lipstick.  I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical of her at first, but once she started the class I felt completely at ease.  Unlike many other Bikram instructors, she mixed in some stories with the commands, and focused us on finding peace and serenity in our practice.  I found her methods very relaxing and before I knew it I had a song playing in my head that I haven’t heard or thought about in years:  Let The Be Peace On Earth, which goes a little something like this (and this is from memory, so don’t kill me if it’s a bit off…it’s still the jist).

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth,

The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father,

Brothers all are we,

Let me walk with my brothers,

In perfect harmony.

It kept playing over and over again in my head, and along with the words that Mahara was saying, it got me thinking.  If you don’t believe in god, or are not religious, you can take that one simple word out of this song and still completely adhere the message to your daily life.  Today try to do something, even if its something very small to lessen the burden of someone else.  This could be holding the door for someone coming behind you, listening to someone without checking your phone while they are talking, or letting something merge into your lane even though they waited until the last minute.  Although you may forget you even took the 2 seconds out of your life to do it, little things like these could make a huge difference in person’s life, you have no idea what battle they are fighting.

Afternoon Delight

Getting Wild With Bikram Yoga

Good Morning!  I’m excited this morning because I have been working on this blog post every night for the past week.  Seriously, it has taken me a while, so I really hope everyone enjoys it!  I’m also excited because I have Bikram Yoga tonight! You’ve probably noticed that I’ve done a few posts about Bikram over the past couple months.  Me and my friend Liz go once a week together and although we are not allowed to talk during class, it certainly gives us a lot to talk about outside of class.

Below I’ve listed each of the yoga poses along with visuals… but wait there’s more!  I LOVE animals, and animal-lover or not, who doesn’t love cute and funny animal pictures?  I thought it would be fun to see how graceful our animal counter parts are at this hot and grueling practice.

1.) Pranayama Series(Standing Deep Breathing Pose)

Take in as much air as you can....hold it...your ribcage should be visible in the front mirror. Nice job there elephant...I can tell by your trunk that you are taking in as much air as you possibly can!!

2.) Ardha-Chandrasana and Pada-Hastasana (Half Moon Pose and hands to Feet)

Interlock fingers above your head. Your arms and ears should be glued together. Kanga, you need to get your arms together over your head, but not a bad bend for a newbie! I'm impressed!

3.) Utkatasana (Awkward Pose)

Up on the toes, arms out straight ahead of you. Bend your legs; sit up straight. You will want to try and get your arms out a little more, horse, but your spine is straight as an arrow. Great job!

4.) Garurasana (Eagle Pose)

Left leg over the right...arms/trunk twisted. If you're losing your balance you're not leaning back enough.

5.) Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)

Leg straight out...both legs locked light a lamp post. If your standing leg isn't locked, the posture hasn't started yet. Lock your knee...lock your knee...lock your knee. Nice job gorilla...just try to lower you should be parallel to the ground.

6.) Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose)

Put your hand out in front of you with your palm up....say "mama give me money"...ok now grab your foot and pull it up behind you. You should have an equal balance of reaching forward and pulling your ankle. loseing your balance? You're not pulling hard're not pulling hard enough.

7.) Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)

This is only a 10 second pose so you need to decide before if you can do it. Ok seagull, your form is great, except that you don't have arms...if you had the arms to go out in front of you, you'd have it down pat!

8.) Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)

Put your legs shoulder width apart. Now put all 5 fingers together underneath your heels. Your head should touch the ground. If your head is not touching the ground open your legs. Pull on your heels and stretch from your lower spine until your forhead touches the ground.

9.) Trikanasana (Triangle Pose)

Step with one leg ahead, stretch one hand down so your fingers touch between your big and second largest toe. Reach your other hand up to the sky. Look at your hand in the air. Your face should be a siloette in the front mirror.
Nice job squirrel, just look UP, not down, silly!

10.) Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose )

Keeping both legs straight, bend your upper body down towards the floor. Touch your head to your knee, while both legs are straight.
Nice try kittah! Looks like you are a little top heavy there! Get that back leg on the floor!

11.) Tadasana (Tree Pose)

Take your hand and pull your foot as high as you can on your costume. Now take one hand and bring it to heart's center. Then take your other hand and bring it to heart's center.
Come on bird! With skinny legs like that, you should be able to get your leg up much higher!!

12.) Padangustasana (Toe Stand Pose)

Bring your foot up to you costume and bring both hands to hearts center. Bend only your upper body and put your hands on the ground. Now bend your standing leg.
Nice work!

13.) Savasana (Dead Body Pose)


14.) Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)

Take your legs and and hold them to your chest, grab your arms each other and pull your legs past your chest.
Nice try grizzly bear! Now just grab your arms around your legs.

15.) Sit-up

Take both your hands above your head and quickly sit up grabbing your toes.
Look at those bends!!

16.) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Take your palms and place them parallel with your shoulders. Pull up from your back, allowing your arms to form right angles. Your upper body should be completley off the ground from your belly button up.
I think the puppy Cobra Pose may be even better than the yogi!!

17.) Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Place your arms underneath you with your palms gripping the floor. Now get one leg up to at least a 45 degree angel. Higher...Higher!
Hmm...this pose is much easier with only one "leg" huh baby seal!

18.) Poorna-Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)

Keep your hands and arms under the body. Both legs should stay together like glue. Grip the floor and get both legs together off the floor.
Wow, look at that stretch!

19.) Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Grab both feet behind your head. Now pull up balancing only on your belly button.
Grizzley!! wrong way! Grab your legs behind, not in front, silly!

20.) Supta-Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose)

Sit with your knees together and your feet spread apart. Now sit between your your fit and lay back. Grab your arms over your head and arch your back making a perfect human bridge.
Ok hedgehog...I'll give it to you, but only because your cute little arms and legs aren't long enough for the other stuff.

21.) Ardha-Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)

Sit on top of your feet and legs and bend your upper body over until your forhead touches the ground.
Close giaffe! Your neck is long enough for you to complete this!

22.) Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Come to the top of your mat (or couch) and lean back. Arch your back. Push your body forward and arch your back.
Kitty, this is a slightly modified pose, but great form.

23.) Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

Strech your arms ahead of you and walk your knees up until your head is between your legs.
Squirrel, I think you went just a little too far on this one...don't let your feet come off the floor!

24.) Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana (Head to Knee Pose)

Put one leg out in front of you and clasp your hands, all ten fingers, around your feet. Bring your head to your knee. Your head MUST touch your knee. If your head is touching your knee, bring your elbows to the ground.
Paws around your foot kitty!

25.) Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose)

Take one leg and bring it over the other knee. Use the opposite elbow to push on your knee. Then take your other arm and twist around your body. Twist...twist...twist..
Hey....Kermit is an animal!

26.) Khapalbhati (Blowing in Firm Pose)

Sit with your hands on your knees, and blow out from your stomach. Ready go.

And thats enough.

The 10 Things No One Will Ever Tell You About Bikram Yoga:

Bikram yoga’s not for everyone, but here’s a bunch of lesser-known facts that you should know before you submit yourself to a hotbox for 90 minutes.  And don’t think you can just leave if you get to hot or feel uncomfortable because that’s not allowed…

  1. The Smell:  As soon as you walk into the yoga studio, not the room you are doing yoga in, just the lobby of the studio, the smell is overwhelming.  It smells like a hockey locker room…and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in one of those, you know exactly what I mean.  Luckily, your sense of smell is your weakest sense, so as long as you just take a couple of deep breaths you’ll be fine.  Oh, and don’t try to do the whole “I’m just going to breathe through my mouth” thing, because your teacher will repetitively say throughout class “For the rest of class we are going to practice normal breathing.  In through your nose…and out…through your nose”.  Not really sure who that is “normal” for, but ok I’ll do it.
  2. The Drama Queens:  There are some yogis out there that really make sure everyone else in class knows how hard they are working.  You can tell by their grunts, groans, and overly-dramatic “release sighs”.  Personally, I prefer to stay quiet in yoga.  For one, it’s the only 90 minute period of my entire week, when I’m not sleeping, that I’m quiet.  Secondly, I tend to unintentionally judge these people…tighten up your game here…you’re only holding up your own body weight – it’s not like your pulling a plane.
  3. The Yoga Mats:  The yoga mats can get pretty nasty.  For instance, when you get to class and hold the end of your mat to try and quickly roll it out and spread it on the floor and it just doesn’t move because it’s glued together with last week’s sweat.  Or even worse, when you do that same move and it makes a huge ripping sound as the mat separates from itself.  Yea, that’s gross.  But there’s not much you can do about it.  Also, I don’t care what anyone else says; always bring at least one towel with you.  Those mats will get slippery with all the flowing sweat!!
  4. The Hydration:  I’m all for hydration, as you probably saw in yesterday’s post, but here’s the thing:  You have to hydrate BEFORE class.  Bringing 2 – 3 water bottles, or even a lunch box (I swear I really saw this), to drink during class is not going to help you.  In fact, it’s probably just going to make you feel nauseas. Drinking water all day before class is key!  The water you bring into class with you is just to sip on!  But, do whatever you want…I’d love to see how you feel doing Bow Pose after gulping down 24oz of water!
  5. The Exfoliation:  You probably think that dumping all the sweat through your pores gross until you take a shower and drink some water after class.  Your skin feels amazzzing.  It’s like getting a free exfoliation treatment (well not “free” parse since Bikram can get pricey, but it’s a two-fer for sure!):  Any dead skin you have basically rubs right off.  Ok, I guess it is gross, but that’s why no one tells you these things!
  6. The Time Commitment:  Bikram studios are few and far between compared to regular gyms or yoga studios.  Since each class is 90 minutes, you generally have to get there about 20 minutes early to get a spot, and there probably isn’t one in your town, you’re looking at a 2 – 3 hour commitment each time you want to go.  Maybe one day when I’m retired, I’ll have more than enough time to go every day.
  7. The Regulars:  The regulars can be almost as scary as the teacher.  I suggest you avoid them, and whatever you do, don’t piss them off.  You will definitely be able to spot the regulars right off the bat.  They will likely have the smallest articles of clothing on and will always lie facing the back of the room, until class starts.  They make it point NOT to make eye contact or talk to anyone at all, as obviously they are in some fantastic state of meditation.
  8. The Teachers:  Like with anything, some of the teachers are nicer than other, but all of the teachers are brutal!  These teachers have no problem calling you on anything.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your first class or a lifetime member.   For example, this really happened in my class a couple weeks ago: “Boy in the black shorts.  Boy in the black shorts near the door,” he was clearly not paying attention “Boy in the black shorts near the door…looking down…taking out his gum…” the poor boy finally looks up, “I notice you’re sitting already…this is just the warm up”.  Wow, way to call him out!
  9. The Weight Loss:  I guess it would be easy to assume that Bikram yoga is a good method of weight loss seeing as how you’re basically exercising in a sauna.  Wrong.  You can tell the people who are there for weight loss – the ones in the back of the room with sweats and a baggy t-shirt.  These people don’t understand that without being able to do any of the poses, you’re not actually getting any of the exercise.  You’re just standing in a hot room for 90 minutes sweating.  Newsflash:  once you go back out into the lobby and chuck your Nalgene, you’ve successfully replenished your sweat weight.  Congratulations.
  10. The Fruit:  The fruit, or as I like to call it “Power Packs”, is one of the most delicious things I can think of.  After class, normally the teacher will cut up an apple or some other type of fruit and put it out for everyone to take a slice.   I found this so delicious, that I decided to make myself a little baggie of fruit for after class.  Whatever I have around, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, and pineapple.  After expelling so much energy and losing so much liquid, the taste of sweet fresh fruit is euphoric.

See that’s not so bad!  Hopefully you all learned something today!  If you also practice and have tips to add, please feel free!

Trying to be a Yogi (and we’re not talking about the bear)

Bikram Yoga Poses

I’ve dabbled in Yoga here and there over the past few years.  I started with Bikram Yoga, which is insanely hot, but after you get over the heat its actually wonderful – and a pretty intense workout of 26 poses over a 90 minute period of time.  Eventually I stopped attending because the price is outrageous.  More recently I’ve started going to The Yoga Shop in South Windsor, CT.  They still do heated yoga, but I think the temperature is more around 85-90, instead of Bikram’s 105.  Trust me, there is  HUGE difference.  Anyways, The Yoga Shop offers free yoga on Saturday evenings, which is amazing, but I’ve gotta be honest, I go for more than one reason.  Since I run and lift weights normally, I think that the yoga really helps to relax and stretch my muscles as well as give me greater flexibility, but that’s the smaller of the two reasons I love yoga.  The bigger reason is the entertainment value of going.  Some of the people in class really are something.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going there to fool around and giggle, but a gal can only “OMmmmmmm” for so long before it takes a toll on her! This last class especially was quite comical.  It seemed like after each pose there was a huge sigh of relief from all the people in the class, and I don’t really get why.  It’s just yoga, it’s not like you’re holding a 110lb bar bell above your head…you’re just holding your own body weight for crying out loud!

Another interesting factoid that I did not know.  I recently heard from a friend of mine that technically the catholic faith is 100% against yoga because you are actually worshiping another God and therefore, opening yourself up to the devil.   Don’t believe me?  Check out what Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist has to say HERE.  Althought I wouldn’t take what he says too seriously because he’s also totally against Harry Potter.  Personally, I don’t really believe or agree with this.  To me, it’s just a workout.  I mean, maybe if I was in a Hindu temple, oh and actually knew what I was doing, things would be different, but I’m just standing there in Reverse Warrior, trying not to fall over.


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