Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana - Standing Bow Pose

Standing Bow Pose helps you develop patience, determination and concentration. Remember: Proper form is essential and depth is relative, especially as a beginner. The only way is the right way and the right way is the hard way. Standing bow-pulling pose is incredibly effective at flushing the circulatory system. The pose moves blood flow from one side of the body, dumping it into the other and creating a profound circulatory flush. Standing bow is a hugely expressive pose, helping to open the shoulders, hips, spine releasing emotion and stress from the tissues. As in standing head to knee, the position of the chest increases pressure on the heart helping to stimulate and exercise the cardiovascular system.


  • Quadriceps
  • Gulteus Maximus


  • Trapezius
  • Latisimus Dorsi
  • Sartorius
  • Hamstrings
  • Pectorals
  • Diaphragm
  • Ribcage
  • Spine


  • Circulatory System
  • Digestive System
  • Reproductive System
  • Urinary System
  • Endocrine System
  • Heart
  • Kidneys


  • Creates natural irrigation of the circulatory system – transfers blood flow from one side of the body to the other
  • Clears plaque off artery walls
  • Eases back pain through compression of the spine
  • Improves elasticity of the spine
  • Tones hips and buttocks
  • Strengthens the ankles and knees
  • Helps with frozen shoulder
  • Helps alleviate carpal tunnel, arthritis, tennis elbow
  • Helps with cervical spondylosis
  • Good for prenatal recovery
  • Stretches diaphragm and ribcage improving respiration (breathing)
  • Flushes kidneys, bladder and urinary system
  • Alleviates gas, constipation and clears digestion
  • Improves balance
  • Develops determination, patience and self-confidence

10 Teacher-tested Tips for a Better Triangle (Bikram Yoga Vancouver):

1. Stretch your arms both up and down. Do not just hang there! Stretch down to the floor and up toward the ceiling in both directions at the same time.

2. Touch the chin exactly to the shoulder. Do not let the neck relax; it is engaged. If you want to look at your posture in the mirror, quickly use your eyes. Otherwise your eyes should be toward the ceiling.

3. Keep the shoulders down. Try and touch your shoulder blades together during the setup to open the chest. Do not let the shoulders rise once the arms have turned. There is a tendency to bring your shoulder to your chin but the chin should move toward the shoulder.

4. Push both your hips forward toward the mirror. Instead of relaxing the hips down or back, make sure you are using your legs to push your hips forward.

5. Touch your lower fingers between the big and the second toe. If you can’t touch the toes, you need to sit down more.

6. When stretching your arm toward the ceiling, keep your torso flat in a straight line. Do not let rib cage stick out.

7. The body weight should be on the bent leg with back foot flat and pronated.

8. Stay positive. This is one of the hardest postures because it requires every muscle in your body to work while trying to maintain the breath. This means attitude is everything – it’s going to hurt like hell, but it will give you a lot of benefits so don’t give up.

9. Keep your hips down, sit down and do not let your hips come up.

10. Breathe. As the dialogue says, “This is a perfect marriage between the heart and the lungs.” Which means better coordination between your heart and lungs

Standing Bow from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Friday, 16 December 2011

How Bikram Yoga can help with New Year Resolutions!

The tradition of New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

Every year there are top 10 New Year’s resolutions that usually look the same. Why the same? Because they’re just so hard to keep.  But you are 10 times more likely to succeed if you do make those resolutions.  We want to help you to stick with the resolutions with a help of Bikram Yoga. The list of changes can be as little as: TOP 1 – Join a Bikram Yoga class – all other resolutions will be so much easier to accomplish! We promise!

1) Quitting smoking
"I decided once and for all to quit smoking on July 10, 2006 and walked into my first Bikram class the following day. I have not had one cigarette since, and only experienced one craving all year, which passed rather quickly. I had tried to quit so many times, and Bikram Yoga was my answer” .Research says that quitting smoking is about small, successive steps instead of one huge, giant leap. Getting into routine and replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones will help you put out those cigarettes for good. Planning for how to handle obstacles is one of the biggest hurdles. Instead of going out for drinks / smokes with friends, bring them into yoga. Once you build your life around improving your yoga practice, little changes will come naturally and the small, successive decision to quit smoking will become easier.

Not only will adding yoga to your routine leave less time in the day for a smoke, it will show you the state of your lungs in the breathing exercises. As you regularly practice Bikram Yoga your lung capacity will improve, helping to flush out the toxins in your body from years of abuse! A yogi from Bikram Yoga White Rock testified, “Bikram Yoga has changed my life, I would recommend it for anyone struggling to quit smoking because once you step into the heated room and realize how sick your lungs really are, you will not touch another cigarette again.”

2) Get into a habit of being Fit
If you have tried all kinds of exercises – running, aerobics, weight lifting – and you can’t seem to get back there. Try Bikram Yoga! Some people think Yoga will tone you a little but nothing major.  Bikram Yoga is a full body workout – it works your body from bones to your skin. There are people in our studio who come here 5 times a week every week for years and they say it’s a addiction for them. Well,  isn’ t that great – You get addicted to a workout that makes you healthier, more fit, helps to lose bad habits. Bikram Yoga is a slow medicine according to Dr. Divi Chadna. He says, “It is slow medicine but it is the best medicine.”

Not only will you experience physical change while practicing Bikram Yoga but you will also experience positive mental and emotional changes as well.  So if you want a fit body and a fit mind then we recommend a higher intensity at first - 5 times a week for 3 months - and then you can continue from that point on at 3 times per week to maintain the improvements you have made in your body.

3) Lose Weight – The Battle of the Bulge
It is so easy to stop paying attention to how you eat, have too many beers, extra lattes every day. You want to lose weight – here are 5 steps from Bikram Yoga studio in Vancouver!

*Find your BMI and your ideal caloric intake per day.
*Go to the doctor and have your vitals checked. Get your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and have some blood work done to check if you have any other low vitamin/mineral levels in your diet like iron or vitamin D.
*Fill out your Bikram Yoga Progress Chart to begin to keep track of the state of your body and mind. Get control of your meals and add any missing vitamins and minerals to your diet.
*After you've taken all the initial steps, start and fully commit to coming to Bikram Yoga class 5 times a week for 3 months no matter what is going on in your life.
*Make sure you maintain proper eating habits and help track what you eat via mobile apps such as Lose it! or websites like the LIVESTRONG calorie counter.
*Visit the doctor every 30 days to check your vitals and update your progress chart.

According to The Biggest Loser, people undergoing vigorous workout while controlling diet portions should lose an average of 2 lbs per week. Start with this as your goal and don't get discouraged if you body takes longer - just be honest with yourself and commit to doing the best you can.

4) Enjoy Life More
“My Bikram Practice opened my eyes to enjoy life more. It works like magic. Sometimes I have some questions I don’ t have the answers yet. I walk into the class with the questions in my head and by the end of the class, without even thinking about them – I have the answers. I see more colors, know what I want to do in life, know who matters in my life. I know not to sweat the small things. Just Enjoy life and people around you will start to wonder what is your secret? And you can tell them, it is Bikram Yoga”

5) Healthier diet
Bikram yoga will help your body to crave for the right things!  . If you are practicing Bikram regularly, the two-hour no food requirement before class will help you regulate meal times. The compressions of the thyroid throughout the series will also help regulate your metabolism.
If you are planning to make positive changes to your diet we can guarantee Bikram Yoga will help you stick to your regimen. You will choose better foods because your body will crave better foods. You will begin to look at the food you eat as a source of energy (you will need all of your energy some days just to drag yourself back to class). Choosing foods that are packed with energy will mean getting more benefit out of eating less food.

6) Remove stress from your life!
Bikram Yoga Vancouver tells us how Bikram Yoga helps with stress: “Suffer for 90 minutes not a lifetime.” Bikram firmly believes that if you push yourself to 100% of your ability in class then you will prevent a life of suffering from major illnesses, depression/anxiety, and common aches and pain – especially in the spine. Many people think that when life becomes stressful they have no way out. Well, you can’t leave your own life but you can make an effort to be present in it for 90 minutes a day. During this 90 minutes you will have nowhere to go, no one to help you, and no changes can be made other than the way you see yourself and the world. The room will always be hot and your body will always experience some amount of discomfort so the only choice you have is to change the way you think about it.

Once you learn how to relax, accept the moment, and release your expectations in the yoga room these new found insights will spill over into your everyday life. You won't get so riled up by the little problems and anxieties of everyday life and you will find the ability to truly relax in a moment. We recommend Bikram Yoga as a buffer to stress if you commit to a regular practice of 3 times per week after the time of day you feel most stressed out - your mind will be bouncing around with a million different thoughts but the moment you step on your mat the world will become quiet.

7) Learn Something new
If Bikram Yoga is new to you – this will be a simple step to take, just walk into the closest studio. And after doing the yoga it will open your eyes to all kinds of activities you have wanted to do. An in order to learn them all, Bikram yoga builds your patience, determination and concentration. You will be a great snowboarder! You can become or do anything you want and succeed in it!

8) Get out of debt
You will have to spend some money to come take a class. But it is not more expensive than a regular gym membership. Plus if you pay attention to deals, there are always good ones out there. In our studio it is only 30$ for 2 weeks  of unlimited yoga for beginners. You can come every single day and really get to know the yoga.  Also you will have less free time in your day to spend on restaurants, alcohol/bars, and shopping. We are completely aware (and can sympathize) those 90 minutes is a huge time commitment - especially considering the commute to/from the studio and showering/post-yoga coma.
But, if you spend $99/month on a yoga membership and come 5 times a week then each yoga class works out to being $4.95 per class and that is covering about 120 minutes of your day, 50 hours of your week, improving your health, and changing your life! Not to mention the amount of money you will save from your new need to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and eating out at restaurants.

9) Spend more time with family
Doing yoga will help you realize how important your family is! You can bring them to yoga with you and talk about all the amazing benefits after the class. You can all pick up a healthy workout!
At least one day a week sit down to dinner with your family. Eating together, talking together, you can share your successes, and create an atmosphere safe enough to share worries too.

10) Help people
By introducing Bikram Yoga to them you might have given them the new best thing in their life!  And while taking yoga on your own you might become more compassionate and willing to help others. There is many volunteer possibilities in every town. From Snow Angels (cleaning drive-ways from snow) to bringing food to older people! By helping them you are helping yourself develop and become happier!

Here is a list of New Year’s resolutions and how Bikram yoga can help to get through them. Your list might be different from us. Share us in the comments how Bikram Yoga has helped you in everyday life and what problems have you solved. Have a amazing 2012 year, filled with laughter and love!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bikram yoga and pregnancy

Can I do Bikram Yoga if I am pregnant?

Absolutely!  Yoga has been reported to help pregnant women thoughout pregnancy, labor and delivery.  There are some important notes to consider before starting or continuing your practice.

Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, fewer complications, greater ease and less duration of delivery and calm, happy babies.  You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer.

If you are currently a practitioner of Bikram Yoga, feel free to continue your practice as long as possible, under the advice of your doctor or midwife.  Many women have practiced right up until delivery.  Once you complete your 13th week, your teacher can instruct you in the modifications for pregnant women. To see photographs and descriptions, ask at the front desk.  You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to hormones and increased blood volume.

If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until you have entered your second trimester before beginning classes.  From the beginning, you will practice the pregnancy modifications.

Many women may feel intimidated by the heat of the room.  Doctors often caution women from saunas and jacuzzis.  Unlike a jacuzzi or a sauna, the body temperature rises minimally during a Bikram Yoga class, on average 0.6 degrees, because of all of the sweating and liberal use of fans.  You have nothing to worry about.  Do the best that you can.  You may even want to bring a thermometer to class to prove to yourself that you and your baby are okay.

Important notes for pregnant women:
  • Practice at about 50% of your capacity and never to exhaustion.
  • Be sure to stay well-hydrated.
  • Feel free to bring a sports drink or snack into class if you find you are light-headed or hungry during class.
  • Practice in a cooler area of the room or by the door.  Feel free to leave class anytime to cool down.
  • From the second trimester on, practice standing postures with your feet six inches apart for stability.
  • Do not push your hips forward in the backward bends.  The cartilage in your hips is preparing for birth by loosening and is less stable than it was before you were pregnant.
  • No forward compressions or belly-down postures after the first trimester.  Ask your teacher for modifications
Enjoy yourself.  You are preparing for the SuperBowl of your life!

There is a great article with proven literature at Bikram Yoga Vancouver site Pregnancy and Bikram Yoga
Here is another one from Bikram Yoga Portsmouth Pregnancy Blog
And a very useful article with pose modification photos from Lower East Side Bikram Yoga Pose Modifications

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Baked apples

Do you still have a ton of apples at home and need a easy recipe? here it is - oven baked apples. SO easy to make!

·         4 large good baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold 1/4 cup brown sugar
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         1/4 cup chopped pecans
·         1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
·         1 Tbsp butter
·         3/4 cup boiling water

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corerDescription:, but if not, you can use a paring knife to cut out first the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to an inch wide.
2 In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top with a dot of butter (1/4 of the Tbps).
3 Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.
Serve warm with vanilla icecream on the side.

Makes 4 servings

Bikram yoga and skiing

We have talked about all kinds of others sports and how they benefit from Bikram yoga. It is almost winter sport time!. How nice would it be to have a day outside skiing and finish it in a hot room doing yoga. You should sleep like a baby after that!

It is incredible what yoga does for skiing. People can ski all day long and much better.

Conditioning before hitting the slopes can increase the safety and enjoyment of the sport. Most ski injuries occur early in the day when muscles are tight and enthusiasm is high, and late in the day when muscles are weakened and technique is poor.

A simple yoga exercise called the awkward pose, can increase your strength, balance and concentration which will make the ski season more rewarding. It consists of three variations which are done sequentially.

To begin, stand with the feet apart, about shoulder width, an even distance (approximately six inches) between your heels and toes. Extend the arms out in front of you parallel to the floor with the shoulders pressed down and away from the head. Keep the upper body strong and firm in this position.
Bend your knees and shift the weight back into the heels, pushing the buttocks out behind you. When the top of the thighs are parallel to the floor and arms, hold your pose. The feet should be held parallel and the knees should only be shoulder width apart.

One good way to think of getting into this pose is to imagine that you are sitting in an invisible chair leaning back to bring the spine and shoulders against the back of the chair. The arm muscles are contracted, the abdomen is held tight and your breathing should be normal. Hold the pose for 20 seconds. Stand up.

The second part of this series is similar to the first. Keep the upper body the same as before and stand straight up onto the balls of the feet, standing as high as possible with the arches pressed forward. To keep the ankles strong and straight, press down with each big toe. Now, bend the knees again keeping the spine straight and stop when the quadriceps are parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for 20 seconds. Stand up. You will find this second pose a bit more difficult.

Third, assume the same basic pose with upper body firm and strong. Again, slowly bend the knees and this time sit all the way down lightly onto the heels. Now press the knees together and hold the body still. The quadriceps are again level with the floor and the spine is straight. Hold again for 20 seconds. Stand up out of the pose slowly, bring the heels down and relax. Don’t forget to do a second set of all three poses.

Written by: Iyoganow

Friday, 11 November 2011

New Clothes are in!

This time Shakti surprised us with great patterns! Come in, check them out! Going on a week trip to a warm country?  They are great beach clothes also! Shakti active-wear is designed using the highest quality Lycra and Air-fit Microfiber fabrics that cling to the body and absorb excess moisture. Their tops and bottoms are perfect for yoga, Pilates, biking, surfing, running and other fitness activities. Shakti Active-wear is clothing for the modern yogi and yogini. Value yourself, do yoga, live healthy and enjoy life!

Dandayamana-Janushirasana - Standing Head to Knee

Standing head-to-knee builds great concentration and determination. As the knee locks, the contraction of the thigh creates a “suspension” of the knee joint, pulling bone away from bone. By maintaining the pose, the soft tissues surrounding the knee are strengthened helping to protect the cartilage of the knee. As you bend over, the proximity of the heart to the floor, puts pressure on the muscle, exercising the heart through elevating the heart rate. The completion of all four stages of the pose profoundly strengthens the body and mind, improving confidence, focus, patience and determination. When you fall out of this posture at any point – you must start all over again, at the very first part.
  • Quadriceps muscles
  • Trapezius
  • Biceps
  • Latissmus Dorsi
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Hamstrings
  • Pancreas
  • Thyroid, Para-Thyroid (in 4th stage)
  • Thymus (in 4th stage)
  • Digestive organs
  • Reproductive organs
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Builds strength through the body
  • Improves flexibility of sciatic nerve
  • Strengthens tendons
  • Prevents wear and tear of knee cartilage though strengthening of soft tissues around the knee
  • Helps clear and prevent problems with digestion, including flatulence
  • Helps to develop balance
  • Helps maintain sugar levels through compression of the pancreas
  • Improves blood circulation throughout the body
  • Tones abdominal muscles and thighs
  • Improves your sex life through the massage of your reproductive organs
  • Helps to decrease varicose veins by exercising the long vein (great saphenous vein) running from the leg to the heart
  • Helps to build patience, determination and concentration
  • Helps to improve confidence and self-worth
  • Helps to calm and clear the mind

Standing Head-to-Knee from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Garurasana - Eagle Pose

Eagle pose opens the major joints through stretching during the pose. As the arms and legs twist, pressure is created that irrigates the circulatory system. Blood is reserved in the muscles of the thighs, calves, arms and fore-arms. When the arms and legs release this blood flow flushes the joints helping to relieve joint problems and maintaining synovial fluid. The deep compression of this posture also massages organs and glands. Eagle pose particularity stimulates the reproductive system making this a great pose for sexual vitality and fertility.
  • Muscles of the legs
  • Rectum and Pineal Muscles
  • 12 major joints of the body: shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.
  • Kidneys
  • Reproductive Organs
  • Lymphatic system
  • Improves and maintains joint lubrication
  • Improves the mobility of the hip joint
  • Improves immune system through stimulation of the lymphatic system
  • Helps to regulate menstruation
  • Helps improve fertility
  • Good for cellulite
  • Good for varicose veins
  • Balances sexual energy
  • Good for urinary tract infections in women
  • Good for prostate health in men
  • Helps with spondylisis

Eagle from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkin & goat's cheese risotto

Total Time: 55 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g pumpkin, peeled, diced into 1cm pieces
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme leaves
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 900ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250g arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (60g) frozen peas
  • 100g soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds and Parmesan 

  1. Melt butter in a deep frypan over low heat. Cook leek for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic, pumpkin, half the zest and half the thyme, then stir to coat. Add wine, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is almost cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a pan. Reduce heat to very low and simmer.
  3. Add the rice to pumpkin mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes to coat the grains. Add stock 1 ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 12 minutes, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed and rice is cooked but firm to the bite. Season to taste. Stir in peas and half the cheese.
  4. Serve topped with the remaining zest, thyme, cheese and pumpkin seeds. Plus a little bit parmesan cheese.
  • We used roasted pumpkin for this recipe, and gorgonzola in place of the goat's cheese. While you make the risotto, toss the pumpkin and 4 unpeeled garlic cloves in a little olive oil and roast for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C. Add the roasted pumpkin and peeled garlic cloves to the risotto with the peas and cheese.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Halloween and yoga

You don' t have a idea for Halloween costume yet?  Do you want to try something different this year? Why not yoga poses :)

Try on a yoga Halloween costume and see how it makes you look and feel. You don't need cosmetics, a mask, or a wig. A simple relaxed attitude and a few minutes of your time is all that it takes. 

This Halloween put on a costume that will leave you feeling fitter and more flexible than you have in years. There are hundreds of yoga costumes to choose from so disguise yourself as a Bengal tiger, C
obra, Eagle, Tree, Rabbit, Camel, Tortoise,  

You may even find that if you give these yoga costumes a try that you just might want to stay in disguise. Treat yourself to a new lifestyle and try on a yoga Halloween costume this year.

And if you don' t want a costume - be a savasana or half moon or any other great pose ;)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns
Makes about 16 large buns

450 g all-purpose flour (about 750 ml or 3 cups)
85 g caster sugar (100 ml)
1.5 tsp ground cardamom pods
0.5 tsp salt
1 packet of fast-action dried yeast (about 11 g)
250 ml lukewarm milk (1 cup)
1 egg (divided)
75 g butter, softened

50 g butter, softened
4 Tbsp caster sugar

pearl sugar (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, mix most of the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and yeast. Stir in the milk and about half of the egg (leave some for brushing the buns before baking). Knead in the softened butter and the rest of the flour, if necessary. Knead until you've got a soft and pliable dough that releases from the sides of the bowl. Cover with clingfilm or a clean towel and leave to prove for about 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size. (The place for proving should be warm and draught-free). 
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured table, knead gently couple of times. Roll into a reclangle sized 30x60 cm. Spread soft butter over the dough, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up tightly, starting from the long side, leaving the "seam" under the roll.

Now use a sharp knife to cut into buns, following the scheme here. The buns should be about 2 cm wide on the narrow end and 5 cm on the wide end. 

Transfer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, placing them upright. Using your thumbs or a large pencil, press a dent into the middle of each bun, just like this:

Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to raise for another 30 minutes in a warm place. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225 C/450 F. 

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the buns and golden brown.

Take the baking sheet out of the oven, and cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them cool (a little) - this way they remain nice and soft. 

Awkward Pose - Utkatasana

This strength posture depends on the precise alignment of the feet to deliver the benefits. While in posture, the legs and feet are realigned helping to decrease back-pain. Essentially, the pose works almost like an orthotic. The muscles of the upper body are also profoundly strengthened by the back-bending and positioning of the arms helping with toning.

Awkward pose – waking up those legs!

Part I

There are three parts to Awkward pose. The first part works the thighs by holding a deep squat and strengthens the lower back by arching the upper spine backwards.

Try to arch the upper spine and shoulders back like you’re trying to straighten it against a wall, but keep the knees bent, thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure the toes, heels, knees and hands stay six inches apart and keep the shoulders down and away from the ears.

Part II

The second part is about balance, so breath and focus is important. We stand high on the tippiest of tippy toes, and sit down half way, trying to get the thighs parallel to the floor. When you think you’re about to fall, lift your lower belly in and up, press into the big and second toes to lift the heels higher… then engage your abs again to lift up and out of the hips.

Try not to lean forward and stick the bottom back, we want a straight spine with knees, feet and hands six inches apart.

Part III

The third part is about balance and strength. We rise up on the toes just a little, then squeeze the knees and inner thighs together.
The knees bend to lower down to a slooooow count of ten, coming down so low that the hips prop just above the heels. The spine stays straight by engaging the abs, keeping a strong focus, and keeping the arms active.

Abdominal Muscles
Tones muscles of the legs



Helps to realign the legs to prevent lower-back pain
Tones the arms, getting rid fat deposits from under the arms
Helps to align the meniscus in the knee
Reduces flat feet, bunions and bowed legs
Helps with lumbago
Relieves menstrual cramps
Relieves sciatica
Reduces fat under buttocks
Good for arthritic conditions in knees and hips
Relieves joint pain
Helps to release anger and frustration
Helps with chronically cold feet

Awkward from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Why Professional Athletes, Show Business Stars and Politicians Choose Bikram Yoga?

Many acclaimed sportsmen, actors, musicians and other strong-minded and successful people, politicians among them, have included Bikram yoga in their training program. The major advantage of this yoga is that everyone can practice it regardless of age, gender and fitness level.

Bikram yoga is an integral part of the trainings of many NHL hockey players, USA NFL soccer players, professional tennis players and athletes. Regular Bikram yoga exercises improve their professional performance, help to heal sports injuries faster and grant numerous psychological health benefits. „Bikram yoga helps students cultivate faith in one self, develops self-control and determination, improves concentration & patience and it shows in their professional performance,” explains the developer of Bikram yoga – Bikram Choudhury.

One of the first professional sportsmen among those who started practicing Bikram yoga and acknowledged its positive impact is the legendary NBA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Even though he is more than 50 years old now and retired from his professional career, he still continues to practice yoga every day. His almost 80 year old father has witnessed impressive health improvements from practicing Bikram yoga as well.

Bikram yoga is practiced by tennis players Andy Murray, Serena Williams and John Patrick McEnroe, one of the best defenders in the NBA, former San Antonio „Spurs” star Bruce Bowen and many others.

Bikram has taught yoga to the USA presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. „President Nixon was my first student in the USA,” reveals Bikram Choudhury. The next were the undisputed king of Rock 'n' Roll, - Elvis Presley, the lead guitarist of "The Beatles" George Harrison, pop music legend Michael Jackson, basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and American football star Dan Marino.

Bikram yoga raises hope in people. „When everything goes wrong in life, people give up. You don’t have to give up,” says Bikram Choudhury. Through the years, he has conducted yoga classes for hundreds of show business representatives. Actors George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moor can be named among the devoted yoga practitioners. The pop divas Madonna, Beyonce and Jessica Simpson are in great shape thanks to Bikram yoga. „Most Hollywood celebrities who take up yoga do so because they’ve already tried fitness classes and therapies which haven’t worked as expected,” Choudhury explains the popularity of Bikram yoga.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Best Yoga Mat for Bikram Yoga

Thick and Padded for Cushioning
A yoga mat that is thick and padded enough to withstand the rigors of a Bikram yoga class is best. A thin mat will wear out too quickly and will not provide the cushioning you will want for poses such as rabbit pose, when you place your head onto your mat. For most people, that will mean a mat that is at least one-half inch in thickness.

Durability: Rubber, Bamboo
Eco-friendly yoga mats made from natural rubber or bamboo or other plant-based materials are excellent choices for Bikram yoga. A rubber mat will wear well from the standing poses found in Bikram yoga. Those made from bamboo are surprisingly durable and lighter in weight than rubber.

Traction to Prevent Sliding
It might be possible to practice some types of yoga on bare wood floor, but Bikram yoga is not one of them. The heated room and no-nonsense succession of poses will quickly produce a sweaty practice that requires a yoga mat that will not slip or slide. For that reason, selecting a yoga mat made with a patterned surface to provide traction on carpet or hard flooring is a good idea. It is not uncommon to see people practice Bikram yoga in bathing suits as the session produces that much heat.

Reversible for Versatility
Fully reversible mats are also very practical for a Bikram yoga class. While many people will bring thick beach towels and lay them flat on top of their yoga mats, these can slide during practice. There are yoga mats that have a "sticky" side and on the other side is a terry towel side to soak up the perspiration from practice. You might try one to see whether it suits you. As all yogis know, you should choose the best yoga mat for your Bikram yoga class based on your direct experiences.

In our studio we sell Zenzation mats that are perfect for Bikram yoga. It has sealed edges that prevents fraying and tearing. Rounded corners which keeps the mat flat during your yoga practice.
  • 1/4"(6.5mm) x 24" x 68"
  • Sticky Mat
  • Easy to clean and long lasting
  • Extra thick for comfort
  • Made with PVC and cotton
(article from live strong)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

'Sin' foods that are healthy for you

If you're feeling sluggish or perhaps can't quite do up the top button of your pants, you can regain energy without depriving yourself of tasty, healthy foods, says a nutrition and weight loss guru.

Dr. Joey Shulman, author of "Healthy Sin Foods" (Penguin, 2011), says people can lose weight by learning how to swap out less nutritious choices for healthy ingredients.

Your body could still be remembering being fed high-sugar and high-fat foods over the holidays and may even have developed an addiction. Breaking the cycle of craving takes some getting used to.

A craving may indicate that blood sugar is off balance, not that a person is weak, says Shulman, a registered nutritionist who runs four weight-loss and nutrition counselling centres in the Toronto area. She previously worked as a chiropractor.
"So before we even attack that, we have to get clean. You can have naturally sweet foods. But you have to take all foods with added sugar out of the diet immediately. The first day or two, you might get a little bit of a headache or your cravings may intensify, but once you're past Day 3 you're done, it's over."

Protein will help you get rid of your cravings too, she added.
Shulman says that with most people it's sugars and carbohydrates that they're craving, not fat. "But the fats they've eaten over the holidays tend to be inflammatory so joints start to ache a little bit more. You just start to feel a little sluggish, digestion might slow down. It just makes you feel overall heavier even if you didn't gain weight, so all you have to do is switch to those good fats which your body needs for weight loss, for mood."

The book's title might sound like a contradiction -- how can you have decadent foods that still taste delicious and are good for you?

"I practise weight loss mostly and I see few hundred patients every year for weight loss. People were saying to me, 'Look, I don't want to eat bland broccoli and tasteless tofu to lose weight.' ... In fact, I would argue that the food you can eat to lose weight is even more delicious.

"So I was coming up with these recipes -- really yummy muffin recipes or faux pasta recipes -- and tricking my friends, tricking my neighbours and they were going, 'This is fabulous' and I was going 'Yes, this is like a healthy sin food. You wouldn't even know it. ...

"It was me just saying, 'Anything that we can do unhealthy, we can do healthy and make it just as yummy."
In the paperback version of the book that originally came out in 2009, there are 101 recipes, including "anything from a really hearty bruschetta that you can put on whole-grain bread, which is delicious, to creamy soups or cheesy vegetable dishes that are lower in fat. It's tricky because all the recipes that we made we opted for lower sugar, lower fat and you have to be aware of the substitutes or else the food is not going to taste good," she explains.

"I feel in weight loss if I keep you deprived, then 100 per cent I'm going to lose you. So I can't do that."
Here is Shulman's top five list of healthy sin foods:

1. Berries. These can include any kind -- raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries -- and can be fresh or frozen. Shulman suggests putting them in a morning smoothie. "They're naturally sweet foods that are going to satisfy and curb that sweet tooth."

2. Almonds, walnuts or pistachios. "I call them the peckish foods because when you're feeling really hungry, instead of grabbing the wrong thing that you'll overconsume, they'll fill you up and keep you satiated. They have a nice crunch to them too so they're satisfying," Shulman explains. A serving is 10 to 15 walnuts or almonds or 20 to 25 pistachios.
Nuts and an apple or nuts and berries are perfect "for that 3 p.m. blood sugar dip."

3. Plain yogurt. "I'm not actually so concerned with the fat content as long as it's plain yogurt," she says. "It's not what's making people heavier. The fruit-bottomed yogurts, the sugary yogurts, for sure no, but the plain yogurt, if it's a two per cent you enjoy, go for it." Add some fruit or ground flax seeds for additional benefits and flavour.

4. Any green food, such as broccoli, kale, spinach and rappini. "If it's steamed or thrown into a chili, for example, because you don't feel like having a cold green this time of year, that's completely fine, but we need to get those antioxidants into the system," Shulman notes.

5. Cold-water fish, such as fresh salmon and black cod. Tilapia is also a good choice. Fish is a wonderful lean source of protein, Shulman says. "One, it's going to curb the cravings. Two, it's filled with omega-3 fatty acids which we need, especially this time of year for brain support, to be anti-inflammatory. Three, it fills you up."

In the book, Shulman includes descriptions of top 50 superfoods -- foods that pack a powerful nutritional punch and that haven't been refined, processed or preserved, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oil, protein and whole grains.

Shulman cautions against following fad diets such as the paleo (short for paleolithic), or caveman, plan, which is based on what our ancestors presumably ate prior to the development of agriculture. One of its main tenets is avoiding grain, but Shulman maintains that whole grains are fantastic for health.

"I can tell you clinically and from seeing hundreds of weight loss clients over the years, most people can't do grain-free long term. And so my rule for weight loss is whenever you're joining any program you have to ask yourself, 'Can I see myself following a version of this in five years?' And if the answer is no, don't do it."

The key with healthy eating and weight loss is to make your food plan sustainable.

"I worry about an all-or-nothing sort of approach. I think that just by incorporating those five foods in your diet, exercising more, making sure you're sharp with your supplements like fish oils and a multi-vitamin, making sure you're well hydrated -- and that can be with herbal teas or green teas at this time of year -- you'll start feeling a whole lot better and the healthier you feel, the more you want."

Shulman encourages people worried about failing in yet another weight loss plan to take baby steps. "Baby steps work."

Article from the Canadian press