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I started Bikram yoga a little less than a year ago. I was hesitant to try it, but finally gave it a try when Bikram Staten Island opened up, right down the block from where I was living. I did my research before signing up because I knew how hot it would get. My cousin was a regular bikram yogi and always urged me to go. I read about the benefits and what to do to prepare and finally signed up for my first class. Needless to say, I was hooked! It was the most intense class I have ever taken in my life. I watched the regular practitioners bend their bodies with grace and only wished I could be that flexible. A little less than a year later and I can finally bend with the rest of them. Practicing yoga has had benefits on both my physical and mental state.
I have seen my body transform in ways I didn’t think were imaginable. I have lost weight/inches and have continued to maintain it. It has helped immensely in making my headaches disappear. I used to get debilitating headaches everyday, which would only make me feel exhausted and sore once they passed. I am happy to say I have only had a handful of headaches since I began yoga.
My body is more flexible, stronger and always well stretched. My sleep is on a regular pattern, my acne cleared up and my overall sense of well-being has changed. I feel more pure. After all, it does detox you. I have learned to pay more attention to my body and what I ingest, especially staying hydrated. I typically go 3-4 times a week and if I don't, my body definitely feels the difference. My body has adjusted to the heat, even though the sweat is always consistent. Nicole & her instructors have been very patient and encouraging throughout this process, as they are with all of their students. They answer any questions students have and always make corrections to show what the posture should look like. They encourage students to do a little bit the right way for a gradual progression, as opposed to go deep into the posture incorrectly. This journey I am on is one I hope to be on for years to come and to continue to better myself and my well being.
I can honestly say that Bikram yoga has changed my life... My first class back in June was challenging, intense and HOT... but I've become used to the heat (I actually crave it), and every class is intense and challenging and that is what I love about it! From the first day, I never felt uncomfortable about what I couldn't do, but always felt encouraged to keep trying and to come back, which I'm so glad I did. I have issues with my knees and cannot get into certain poses, but hearing ``eventually, or in the future`` motivates me to try a little harder each time I practice. The benefits I am getting and continue to get after each time I practice are amazing. Of course the weight loss and the muscle toning is great, but it goes so much further than that. I've suffered from eczema for most of my life and I believe that Bikram has played a huge roll in ``curing`` it. Before I started practicing Bikram, I was constantly going to various doctors and having to take rounds of prednisone, which caused havoc on my body.
The first month of detoxing was somewhat difficult, but I stuck it outand I haven't been to a doctor or have taken any medication since. The benefits I've obtained from practicing Bikram regularly has inspired me to make other healthy choices and the results have been amazing. I am very proud of completing the 30 day challenge. I was inspired by Nicole and her wonderful staff, but also by other students that I have met that have completed it as well. I am so grateful for Bikram Yoga Staten Island, and I look forward to years of continuing to practice, learn and improve with each class. Namaste, Lisa
The Dynamic Duo
Two years ago Alexander Federico IV weighed just over 300 pounds. Today he is both the founder of Verrazano Crossfit (http://vzcrossfit.com/) and a Bikram Method Hot Yoga enthusiast. It was the combination of both Bikram Method Hot Yoga and CrossFit that enabled Alexander to successfully lose 130lbs in just over a year. With minimal dieting and 110% dedication to fitness and mediation his transformation has become the template for success for all his student’s. Alexander understands how difficult it is to not only loose weight, but keep it off by living a healthy lifestyle which is why he advocates for the balance that Hot Yoga offers in all areas of life.
When it comes to Crossfit & Bikram Method Hot Yoga Alexander explains that it not only helped him loose a tremendous amount of weight, but it changed his perspective on fitness. Three years ago he was simultaneously introduced to both the Crossfit and Hot Yoga lifestyle. Pushing oneself past exhaustion coupled with the strong mental practice of staying in a 105-degree room for 90 minutes Alexander knew he found something that could finally work. A style of fitness that encouraged strong mental capacity, healthy eating, dedication to achieving goals and a strong support system from other members.
Alexander uses his experience to train students by pushing them to their limits while encouraging every one to cheer on the person next to them. He explains that Crossfit & Hot Yoga are for “any body” but might not be for everybody, however he still advocates everyone should at least give them a try. His students maintain a dedication to helping themselves and their fellow members achieve their fitness goals through hard work and a strong community environment. Alexander sums it perfectly with this quote, “HOT YOGA is the marital art of the soul, and the opponent, is the strongest you’ve ever faced: YOUR EGO.”
I started practicing Bikram at BYSI in December 2014. Not long before I had ruptured my distal bicep tendon at work, had surgery to repair the damage, followed by weeks in a cast, a few more weeks in a splint and couple of more weeks of physical therapy. None of these returned the rotation back to my arm as much as I wanted and needed it to be. I saw the Bikram studio on New Dorp Lane and remembered a friend who had practiced it years ago. I thought, why not? I talked to Nicole about my injury and surgery then decided to give it a try.
She advised me how to work with my limited range of motion, how doing the pose the right way, even if it was only a little bit, would allow me to eventually go further into the posture as the injury and scar tissue healed. I still remember how I felt after that first class...like I was on top of the world! I was surprised how energized I felt, I really thought I would be wiped out, but I wasn't at all!
After practicing 2-3 times a week for about 4-5 weeks, I came into the lobby after class to see Nicole at the desk with a big smile. She gave me a big high five, and said, ``you did it!`` Did what`` I asked. ``You got your right hand flat on the floor!`` I think she was more excited for me than I was. It was a big improvement in my range of motion after the injury.
On a more day to day basis, my job involves me getting into some awkward and strenuous positions, I have noticed more stamina and tolerance and a lot of my exertion seems, well, less exerting. I find myself being able to breathe in a more controlled way and staying more focused when faced with a difficult or frustrating task. I am looking forward to continuing and improving in my practice. Bikram is a never-ending challenge that I really enjoy!
I never thought of myself as someone who could practice, let alone enjoy yoga. When it comes to workouts, I prefer fast pace with quick results exercises. I love the feeling when my heart is ready to jump out of my skin after completing a challenging HIIT class. With the 2015 winter being so cold and long, I decided to warm myself up with a 105 degrees class this February.
My first Bikram yoga class felt sizzling hot. However, with the help of the instructor and the positive energy in the room, I was able to complete it without leaving the studio. I remember not being able to concentrate on what the instructor was saying because of the heat. Miraculously, I survived! The very next day I felt “alive” from the moment I opened my eyes. My skin looked radiant, my back didn’t hurt, and my “bad” knee didn’t show any signs of weakness when I was walking up and down the stairs. I had energy I haven’t felt in years. I felt like myself again.
It’s been over six months since my first “hot yoga” class. Practicing Bikram yoga feels different each time. Perhaps, because I am the ever-changing variable and Bikram yoga is the constant with 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. I’m still reaping all the benefits I’ve experienced after my first class, plus many more. I believe that thanks to Bikram yoga I have gained a better understanding of myself. I have gained clarity and strength that changed the way I look and live my life.
I am so happy to feature Saysha as our Yogi of the Month. She is such a joy to have at the studio as she is always smiling as she enters and leaves the studio. As you will read below, shortly after becoming a consistent member, Saysha found out she was pregnant. I was so excited for her and that she decided to continue her practice, which she did with grace and determination. She learned all the modification for the pregnancy series and asked a lot of questions to ensure both her and her baby remained safe and healthy. It has been a pleasure to watch her throughout her pregnancy and I can't wait to meet her newborn soon!
``I have always been a curvy but muscular and active girl and never enjoyed traditional yoga because I didn't feel as though I got a good enough workout. After trying Bikram a few times with friends I was pleasantly surprised at the thorough and intense workout I received. When Bikram Staten Island opened up a few blocks away from me I decided it would be my go to workout of choice and became more consistent with my practice.
About 4 months after attending classes fairly regularly (as regular as my work schedule and commute allows) I found out I was pregnant for the first time and faced with the decision of continuing this practice. I immediately started doing research and quickly found out there are MANY differing opinions regarding the practice of ``hot`` or bikram yoga while pregnant. So after discussing it with my doctor, I decided I wanted to try it. I promised myself I would take it easy at first, and listen to my body. Many blogs and opinions I found recommended waiting until after the first trimester, but I was afraid if I waited that long, it would be very hard to get back into it with a growing baby/body!! I started practicing at the back of the class, fairly close to the door, and if I felt myself getting too hot, would rest. As digestion was very difficult for me the first trimester, I noticed huge improvements in how I felt after attending class (even though before going I often felt like it was the last thing I wanted to do!)
I attend 2-4 times/week and even though there are days that are extremely challenging Nicole, Lissette, Lynne, and Michela are extremely encouraging. They, along with fellow yogi Whitney, have taught me the pregnancy postures to make room for my belly and avoid compression. I find myself craving some time in the room to see what my body is capable of. Bikram has given me a new way to appreciate my body, when feeling frustrated with weight gain. As with most females, weight gain has always been a challenge and to be avoided at all cost, Bikram has helped me embrace the weight gain and appreciate what my body is capable of doing.
Bikram has helped me maintain some core strength, which I think has GREATLY improved my posture and alleviate back pain. I walk out of practice standing up taller and with tremendous back relief. There are days the struggle is real, and days my back is killing me, but regardless how I feel before or during practice, after I always feel 100% better. Many of my patients and people I encounter on a daily basis compliment me on how ``small`` I still look at 37 weeks pregnant, and though I don't know if they are just being nice, I attribute it 100% to the practice. I can only hope this extra core strength will help with an easy delivery & post baby body!
Monica and Diana
Monica: I started practicing Bikram in July of last year. I always wanted to try yoga because I read that it helps with stress and back pain and I had a lot of both! I passed by the studio frequently and wondered if what I read was true and how it would be to practice, so I stopped in to speak with Nicole. When she told me the room was 105 degrees I panicked about being in a room for 90 minutes at that temperature. I always needed an air condition once it reached high temperatures outside and was afraid I wouldn't be able to breath or would panic during class. The back pain I suffered with was so bad at night, my husband had to help me move because I couldn't on my own. I needed relief from both that pain and stress so much that it outweighed my fear and I walked into the studio to give it a try. As soon as I walked into the actual studio I thought I was right, I wouldn't be able to do all 90 minutes of class...but I DID! It wasn't easy, but I did it. I told myself I could do this, it was a challenge for me, but I kept trying and after a few classes I felt the difference in my body.
Now, I have no back pain, I sleep way better than before, I'm more flexible and can move on my own and I faced my anxiety of the hotness! Now I go to class about 4 times a week. I am doing positions I thought I would never be able to do and don't mind the hot room at all. Even though I haven't lost a lot of weight, I lost a few inches and my legs feel so much stronger. Each time I leave class, I fee like a new person, I feel great!
Diana, my 7 year old daughter recently started yoga with me January. When she told me she wanted to go, I thought it would be a one time thing, but I was wrong she loves it! She is only able to participate in the floor series, but even that I thought would be to much for her, but she had no problem staying in the room and I see how much more flexible she is and how much her energy increased. When I am to tired to go, she motivates me to go and we end up going and are so glad we did because at the end of the class I always feel so good regardless of how I felt when I walked in. I want to thank Nicole and her instructors so much for teaching me and being very nice. I love Bikram Yoga!
Diana: I love to go to yoga! I love the way Nicole teaches me and I like the way she does the postures. My favorite posture is Full Locust pose because I feel like I could fly! I'm flexible and I know how to do all the poses now. I also like doing yoga with my m! I love to do yoga with my mom.
Monica and Diana completed our recent 30 day challenge! Diana's favorite part was the check
I started practicing Bikram at BYSI in April 2014. I usually practice 3-4 days per week. I’ve always been an active person, I enjoy a challenging workout that gets my heart racing and muscles burning. My first class was extremely challenging, intense, long, and HOT, but the feeling I have after is why I continue to go back…I crave it!
Being somewhat of a perfectionist made it difficult in the beginning when I realized I was not going to be able to master every posture right away, but with the help and support of Nicole and the other instructors, I learned that a little bit the right way is WAY more important than how deep you can go into each posture…and now I can get my body to bend and pull in ways I never new possible! The physical endurance that I have gained makes me feel like I can do anything and constantly push myself. My body is more tone, flexible and even my skin looks great!
Most of all, I love how this practice challenges me mentally. It encourages discipline, self-confidence and determination. I often undergo anxiety and this practice helps reduce that as well.
I am grateful for Bikram Yoga Staten Island and for the Yogi’s who have inspired me as well. I look forward to years of continuing my practice and improving myself with each class.
Let’s just say it - Bikram Yoga Staten Island is the best thing that happened to my body and spirit. I started practicing in April 2015. My first experience was very intense, but it’s not in my nature to give up. It is a challenge every time you walk into the hot room, but I haven’t felt this good in years. Bikram yoga goes way beyond the studio walls. I learned to breathe, to challenge my body, to control my thoughts. And that is just the beginning; I am practicing and learning every class. Thank you Nicole, Michela and Lissette for being such inspiring trainers. You are amazing!
And I’d like to thank my fellow yogis! Especially my husband : ): ): )
I am beyond thrilled to feature Whitney as this month's yogi of the month!! I met Whitney a few years ago at the Bay Ridge studio and was instantly impressed by her amazing practice, dedication & focus and so happy to meet someone as crazy about this practice as I am Since then, I have gotten to know her pretty well and am happy to consider her a great friend, a pillar in our community and an AMAZING mom and wife. Thank you Whitney for all your help around here, speaking with all our moms to be and being so amazing with brand new students!
Where would I be without this yoga practice? The thought of it scares me. In a sentence: Bikram yoga helped me calm my demons and become my best self.
My field hockey coach urged me to try Bikram for the first time in 2001 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I was attending Franklin & Marshall College. I had played field hockey for 10 years, and being a tall, fast runner had come with its consequences. I had a huge curvature in my back and tendonitis in both knees. On top of that I was vying with girls on my team to be the skinniest. I was in the throws of an eating disorder, taking weight loss pills and suffering from severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies as a result. This all changed the moment I stepped foot into my very first Bikram yoga class. Bikram afforded me 90 minutes of quiet for my brain that I had never before experienced. I had to face myself in the mirror … all parts of me: the inner & outer, the good & bad. Bikram challenged me in ways field hockey and running never had. I could barely do any of the postures when I first started because of my knees and my back. I could not backward bend, I could not lock my knee and, most of all, I could not lay in savasana without going absolutely mad!
When I first started I was not consistent. I went a few times a week and then I would take months off because “I didn’t have the time.” I would notice, however, when I didn’t go I would slip back into self-destructive habits. It’s a love-hate relationship with Bikram. It’s not fun, per-se, because its hard work and the mirror you can’t avoid! But, the benefits surely outweigh the challenges. I finally started going on a daily basis in 2005 when I became a special education teacher in NYC. With this job came a whole new set of stressors. There were two roads to take to deal with the stress- one: the destructive path of self-hate and negative behaviors. Or, two: BIKRAM YOGA. I decided on the latter and haven’t turned back since. I have practiced Bikram yoga almost every single day since September 2005. So, I’ve probably completed the sequence close to 4,000 times. Any sane person might think this is crazy, but once you’ve fallen in love with the practice you know how healing and how beneficial it is to all parts of the mind, body and soul.
I credit this yoga for leading me on a path to true happiness. I feel the practice instilled discipline and faith that I never had. It led me to love myself in order to find love and have a family. Bikram yoga helped me through one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life- Pregnancy! I practiced almost everyday, including the night before I gave birth to my daughter.
So for all of you who look at me now thinking, wow, she’s so good at the postures or she’s so still, calm what have you; It was a long time in the making and journey that will continue the rest of my days.
The more I practiced Bikram the more my body healed “from the inside out,” as it is said. Today my back is straight and my knees are healthy. I kicked the pills and self-abusive behaviors. The 90 minutes gives me so much more than a workout- it forces me to face myself, accept myself and come to peace with all that I am.
Its true what he says “Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” I onsider each Bikram yoga class a chance for me to start over and be at peace with myself no matter what life throws my way.``
I am so happy to feature Crystal as Yogi of the Month!! I heard a lot about Crystal from other teachers and owners as she lived on Staten Island, but like me and many others were forced to practice elsewhere due to the lack of a studio here. Upon meeting her and having her in my class, I was instantly impressed by her incredible practice, dedication & to know she was activity earning her law degree while still keeping up a daily practice. As you will read, most of us walk into the room with very similar personalities, so I was equally happy to meet someone as crazy about this practice as I am and who has enjoyed the many benefits of the practice. Since then, I have gotten to know her pretty well and am happy to consider her a great friend, a pillar in our community and an beyond perfect daughter, friend and student:)
Bikram yoga changed my life.
People often ask me, “Why do you do this hot yoga?”, “How do you find the time as a law student?”, and “Do you really practice EVERY DAY?”
I started practicing this yoga six years ago when I was a student at Stony Brook University because I was overwhelmed with responsibilities. I was always trying to be the perfect daughter, sister, friend, student, and athlete. For those of you that don’t know me, I have an extremist personality and if I commit to something I will usually try to give it my one hundred percent. I needed something. I just never knew what that was. I constantly prayed for that something.
To deal with all the stress that I felt on a daily basis, I used to run every day along with going to the gym. I craved the “after gym feeling” and I needed an outlet from all of my daily obligations. One day I got a flier for a local Bikram studio and decided to try a class. I was hesitant because I was one of those people who could never touch my toes. Six years ago, I entered a hot yoga studio and from that day forward, I never stopped going. Yes, the heat was fatiguing and grueling and it physically and emotionally hurt just being in the room. Bikram yoga was probably the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. However, I left the yoga studio and felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I will never really be able to explain what I felt in my first class, but I knew that it was a practice I needed. It was a feeling I NEVER felt from going to the gym.
The yoga never gets easier, you just get better. I did not realize how much I loved the yoga until I realized it is the one thing that I could not live without. Bikram Yoga has changed my life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is my connection to my spirituality that has me stepping foot into a yoga studio every day and why I say I cannot live without the yoga. Bikram yoga is more than just a workout to me, because although it has made me more physically strong and flexible, it emotionally has made me lighter and more compassionate. Every day that I walk into a yoga studio, I always walk out feeling happier.
Yoga to me means that there is a connection between my mind and my body and through that awareness EVERYTHING becomes possible. It has become my relationship with everything outside of me and with this awareness, I can truly understand how much love exists in the world. From the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone could practice yoga or have something that connects him or her to a Higher Source, as I really believe the world would be a better place. For me, I am able to let go of the things that do not serve me in a better way and innately know letting go makes room for better things to come.
So why do I practice this challenging, demanding, unbelievably hot yoga that has me at my knees some days? Yoga has made me a kinder and more loving person. Every day that I step onto my mat, I believe in it’s ability to heal because it continually heals me. It’s not that I was a different person six years ago, it’s that Bikram Yoga brought out all the goodness that already existed within me.
I read this quote by Neville Goddard and he said, “Disregard appearances, conditions, in fact all evidence of your senses that deny the fulfillment of your desire. Rest in the assumption that you are already what you want to be, for in that determined assumption you and your Infinite Being are merged in creative unity. With your Infinite Being all things are possible.”
I practice yoga because of this union. I find the time to practice because everyone makes time for the things they love. And yes, I really do practice every day!
Bikram yoga changed my life and through this practice, I know all things are possible with love. Namaste! ॐ
Liz, Rosemarie and Ryan
Rosemarie: I have been an athlete my whole life, so I have always valued a challenging workout. I attended my first hot yoga class with my mom in the summer of 2014. I did not expect it to be the most difficult and intense 90 minutes of my life. Ever since that first class I have benefited both physically and mentally from hot yoga than any other form of exercise. Physically, my body is stronger and more flexible than it has ever been. I have gained more endurance and control of my breathing which have helped my performance in running, swimming, and of course, inferno Pilates. Mentally, hot yoga has improved my self confidence and anxiety. It has given me the opportunity to really focus on myself and truly understand who I am and what I am capable of. I am so glad that I have found this practice and am grateful for all of the support and guidance from Nicole, Lissette, and Michela.
Liz: I look forward to going to hot yoga because it is the only time of the day I get to focus on just me. Each class I attend I am faced with new challenges and experiences both physically and mentally. I am constantly discovering new things about myself and my body. For years I have suffered with lower back and other joint pains, so hot yoga has been the perfect workout for me. After class I feel more energized, stronger and more flexible than before. Not to mention my joints and my back feel refurbished and rejuvenated. I have tried many different kinds of workouts and hot yoga is by far the most beneficial. Not only is this a personal journey for me, it is also a bonding experience for me and my daughter. This is the first exercise we have done together where we are on the same level! I am so thankful for my decision to commit to hot yoga and for the inspiration and support from everyone at Some Like it Hot Yoga & Wellness.
Ryan: I've always had interest in Yoga, ever since I first read about it. I had a feeling that it might be for me but I never went out of my way to try it. In Sept 2015 my girlfriend Rosie dragged me to my first hot yoga class and we were so close to being late that I almost got out of it! I went in there and it was so hard I wanted to run out the room. But afterwards I felt so great and I slept so good that night that I decided to go back. I started out attending class 2 nights a week, then 3 nights, and now I'm on 4 nights a week and it's been the best thing for me. Hot yoga has become an escape for me mentally and a kick ass workout physically. It's something that I really look forward to after a stressful day at work. It's changed how I eat during the day and how I approach my health overall. Hot yoga is the most important step I've taken toward a better and healthier me. It's changed my life forever thanks to all of the instructors and fellow yogis.
Yoga has given me the opportunity to connect with myself on a deeper level. I have always been involved with physical activity whether it's running marathons, triathlons or warrior training but nothing prepared me for my first hot yoga class. Within 10 minutes I wanted to leave. I was so overwhelmed by the heat, sweat was dripping down my legs, I felt like I couldn't focus. I didn't realize it at the time but I was detoxing my body and letting go of old emotions. Looking back on it now, I am grateful that I pushed through and stayed for the remainder of the class because it was the beginning of a spiritual journey.
The past two years, through practicing hot yoga I have learned so much about myself and have been able to grow and develop into a better person. Every class I walk away feeling stronger and learning something new. Yoga has taught me that we can heal ourselves as long as you follow your breath and let go. It has opened my life to so many possibilities and I am eternally grateful that I have discovered the magic that is hot yoga.
I walked into my first Bikram yoga class in 2010. I immediately fell in love with the practice. You work hard to warm up the body, cool down the mind and heal the spine and internal organs of the body. Every day we walk in that room, we accept the challenge one more time because deep inside, we love ourselves in this same way.
As we all look into ourselves in the mirror, the asanas (postures) awaken pure love and healing power within our bodies. When we tap into this energy hiding within our own breath, we do not only become happier and healthier, but we make others happier and healthier. I guarantee that your yoga glow makes a change within your family, friends, workmates, and fellow yogis. Bikram Yoga offers you a way to change the world, one heart at a time. Thank you to my teachers Nicole, Lissette, Michela, and Lynn! You are all amazing!