Thursday, 29 September 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash

Its Thursday - time for a recipe of the week!   My favorite side dish for fall is Roasted butternut Squash!

This is a naturally low fat fall side dish that would make a great accompaniment to a Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes squash are hard to cut, but you can make this task easier by piercing it with a fork, then popping it in the microwave for 60 seconds before cutting into it.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 small butternut squash (2 lbs)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sturdy knife, cut off the top of the butternut squash near the stem, then cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Halve again, making four wedges.
Place wedges cut side up in a large glass baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Combine orange juice and maple syrup and drizzle over squash wedges. Cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes. Spoon syrup over wedges before serving.
Serves 4
Per Serving: Calories 166, Calories from Fat 5, Total Fat 0.5g (Sat 0.1g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 11mg, Carbohydrate 35.3g, Fiber 3.8g, Protein 3.4g

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

This is why men should do yoga!

In our studio we have quite a many regulars who are guys..and they keep coming back! Tell your spouse about them and show him this article and ask him to give Bikram a try - he will not regret it!

- Tone your hamstrings
- The 5 fitness pros that can help you reach your goals
- Strengthen your glutes and hamstrings

Once upon a time, when you spoke to men about yoga, they almost immediately had images of Lululemon-clad women chanting verses of Sanskrit while bending their bodies into impossible positions. For the hockey-playing, basketball-watching, sports-obsessed male species, the practice of yoga was about as appealing as watching a Julia Roberts romantic comedy -- twice. However, times -- and old-standing stereotypes -- have changed thanks, in part, to the evolution of male-specific sport versus female-specific sport. More women are tackling the football field while more men are doing the downward dog. Yoga has become the new cross-training for men looking to increase their flexibility and improve their muscle conditioning so the next time they hit the field or the rink, their bodies will bend into nearly impossible positions -- willingly.

Paul McQuillan, a yoga instructor at Toronto's Bikram Yoga Centre, has been practising yoga -- specifically, Bikram or hot yoga, a style of yoga that takes place in rooms heated to about 40 C -- for three years. Yoga has improved both his physical and mental strength, he says, while revitalizing his energy levels. Here, he explains the advantages of yoga and how men can benefit from it.

1. Yoga works the entire body
In sports such as hockey, tennis or football, you tend to utilize only 10 to 15 per cent of the body, whereas yoga provides a workout that covers every muscle, joint and organ. The practice oxygenates the blood, creating more energy when you finish the exercise as opposed to depleting the body of it. You work every system: cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine.

2. Yoga has benefits in the bedroom
Guarasana, or Eagle Pose, is a posture that sends fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs, so this is a particularly beneficial exercise for men in revitalizing their bedroom prowess! Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, is a marriage of the heart and the lungs, two organs that don't usually interact. Not only does this posture increase cardiovascular endurance, but it is also the only known yoga posture that utilizes every organ, muscle and joint in the body.

3. Yoga works for every size
It does not matter how you look when you practise yoga. Whether you're a 250-pound linebacker or a 150-pound triathlete, yoga will push your personal boundaries by increasing your own flexibility, endurance and muscle strength.

4. Yoga decreases muscle soreness
Yoga is hugely beneficial in working out stiffness from other sports. When muscles are fatigued, they build with lactic acid, and yoga, which stretches and releases tension, helps flush that away. Runners in particular find yoga the best activity after a long endurance jog.

5. Yoga restores energy levels
Yoga practice doesn't deplete your body of all of your energy after a class -- like, say, a gym workout, where your body is entirely fatigued after your session. Instead, it actually increases your vigour, making you feel more aware and revitalized.

6. Yoga trains your focus
Athletes like Wayne Gretzky, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John McEnroe have heightened their performance levels through practising Bikram yoga. By combining mental, physical and emotional strength, they became better athletes at their chosen sport. Men can't seem to let their egos go, and in yoga, you have to train your mind to shut down -- to stop thinking about work, what you're going to have for dinner or whether the Raptors are going to win the game. Traditionally, men have a more difficult time doing that than women, although, once they do let go, their focus on the positions -- and the difficulty in holding them -- improves vastly.

7. Yoga flushes your system
The practice of yoga is often referred to as "intense," especially in Bikram. When you are working in a room heated higher than your body temperature, you sweat a considerable amount. The pounds dramatically shed off your body and, more importantly, you rid yourself of all the pent-up toxins. Due to the heat in Bikram, it has been noted that you are essentially creating an artificial "fever" in the body, therefore enhancing the immune system.

8. Yoga balances the mind
Yoga has such a great sense of community to it and it really allows for mental clarity and focus. After you practise, you feel more grounded, less self-absorbed and calmer. This type of mental clarity really helps in other sports or activities you may be involved in.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Come to life with the challenge!

Here is a fun video we found. In this video people literally come to life with Yoga Challenge!

Fun video

Here is a fun video of "Yoga for Wine lovers" . But we all know that Wine and Bikram yoga doesn' t wanna always work together. Any tips?

Friday, 23 September 2011

Half Moon pose - Arda-Chandrasana

Ardha-Chandrasana or Half Moon pose is the first of the 26 postures in the Bikram series. Teachers will often say that this posture determines the fate of your entire 90 minute practice. This posture warms up your spine and activates the central nervous system, which certainly affects your performance in the other 25 postures that follow.
The scientific origins of Half Moon go back to the beginning of Hatha Yoga time. The word Hatha (meaning any series of postures), comes from combining the two Sanskrit terms. “Ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon. When the two components of the word are placed together, “hatha” means “forceful”, implying that powerful work must be done to purify the body. Yoga means to yoke, or to join two things together, hence hatha yoga is meant to join together sun (masculine, active) energy with the moon (feminine, receptive) energy, thus producing balance and greater power in an individual. The sun is represented in the right side of the body and the moon in the left. This is also why almost all yoga postures are done from right to left (sun to moon or masculine to feminine). Have we lost you yet with all this yoga jargon?
So, back to Half Moon Pose. This idea of sun and moon is very evident in the Half Moon posture. First you bend to the right, moving circulation from right to left (ha to tha). Then you bend to the left, reversing the circulation. In the beginning you are struggling just for good form. Over time, as the body improves, you will be able to deepen the posture and therefore move even more blood circulation to each side of the body. Eventually, in the future, the side you are bending will only have about 4 inches distance from your shoulder blade/scapula to the hipbone.
This lateral bending is all in preparation for the amazing Half Moon backbend that takes place next. To do a good backbend, start by dropping your head back as far as it goes. Truly, look at the floor behind you and use your eyes to guide you deeper into the posture. When you are all the way back, contract your hip muscles and push them forward towards to mirror and you will find yourself even more rooted and further deepening your backbend. Keep your arms and elbows straight and keep reaching back….and breathe! Don’t be afraid if your back hurts or you feel weird. This is normal to experience.

  • Trims fat all over the body: thighs, hips, waist, buttocks, arms and abdomen.
  • Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body, especially the back and abdomen.
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Helps pigeon chest
  • Helps release tension in the respiratory system
  • Corrects bad posture
  • Promotes proper kidney function
  • Helps cure enlargement of the liver and the spleen
  • Helps cure dyspepsia and constipation
  • Helps to alleviate lower back pain, bronchial distress, scoliotic deformities, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder
  • Realigns spine
  • Stretches the lymph glands and is good for lymphoma
  • Good for children to build will power and self-esteem

Energetic Benefits

Proper alignment of half-moon exercises and opens many of the chackras.
§  Aligning your hips opens the 1 (root), 2 (sexual) and 3rd (solar plexus) chackras. This breaks through issues of power, intimacy, sexuality, creativity and self-image.
§  Opening of the shoulders activates the 3 (solar plexus), 4th (heart) and 5th (throat) chackras. releasing of the shoulder area helps to balance the difference you feel between your inner and outer self : how you see yourself, and how you feel the world sees you
§  allows you to break free from taking yourself too seriously

Class Notes from the Pros

From Rajishree
§  You MUST use the hips. If you feel pain in the ribs or scapula, you are using your upper spine too much and not enough of your hips.
From Craig

According to Craig, the two biggest mistakes in Half-Moon are holding the body up to avoid the pain of stretching and flopping down using only flexibility. Here are his tips to avoid these mistakes and improve your pose:
§  Stretch up first as much as possible to open up the intervertebral disks [soft tissue between your vertebra]
§  Your hips should initiate the movement because they are both your centre of gravity and prana [energetic center]
§  Exhale as you stretch, gravity will help you. This applies to all poses that use gravity.
§  Think ‘stretch’ instead of ‘come down’ so that the static arc of the posture will hold you up
§  If you feel pain in your lower back, you have failed to stretch
§  Instead of focusing on bringing the palms together, focus on stretchingand lengthening which will automatically force the elbows to straighten and the palms to touch

Tips for Teachers
§  Hold the first set at least 30 seconds, 1 minute is better. If the room is not hot enough, hold it approximately 1 minute – Craig
§  Pay close attention to the order of the dialogue. “The dialogue is a set of variables executed in a sequence, each one must exist in order to allow the next to happen.” – Craig
§  Say the dialogue once, make the students see themselves and repeat, repeat, repeat until they understand the pose - Bikram
§  The first dialogue of half-moon is important because it establishes yourauthority in the class, and sets the stage for the students to surrenderto  the instructions. If you can make a beginner understand half-moon by second set, you can make them surrender. – Bikram
§  Half-Moon is a very diagnostic posture, use your knowledge of the form to diagnose and anatomical inconsistencies affecting your students – Craig

Half Moon from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

This is a lovely sweet, yet not too sweet, soup with a hint of mild spice. Butternut squash and pears make a wonderful combination, and both flavors are evident in this warming fall and winter soup.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
·         2 tsp olive oil
·         1 cup finely chopped onion
·         1 tbsp curry powder
·         1 pound butternut squash (about half a medium squash), cut into 1-inch pieces
·         2 ripe medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
·         3 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Heat oil on medium heat in Dutch oven or soup pot. Gently sauté onions until softened—about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and stir, sautéing for 1 minute. Add butternut squash and pear pieces. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until squash and pear are tender. Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth, working in two batches if necessary.
Serves 6
Per Serving: Calories 119, Calories from Fat 17,total Fat 1.9g (sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 38mg, Carbohydrate 23g, Fiber 3.2g, Protein 2.5g
Also try with apples!