How to choose a yoga mat: open cell vs closed cell

When choosing a yoga mat, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important is knowing the difference between open cell versus closed cell. With a hot, sweaty practice like Bikram, open-cell mats provide more traction and absorb sweat better than smoother closed-cell mats. But that absorption characteristic can also trap odors, germs, bacteria, and other unwelcome things. 

Closed-cell mats, on the other hand, are sometimes thought of as more slick making them more suitable for a gentler practice where one does not sweat much. But because they are water resistant and more hygienic than open-cell mats, they may be a better bet for a practice like Bikram. The slicker surface can be easily remedied by using a towel on top. Closed-cell mats also last longer than open-cell mats ultimately making them a better bet all around. 

The studio sells Kulae brand mats made from an eco-friendly material called thermo-plastic elastomer or TPE. It’s a recyclable material free of PVC, latex, rubber, etc. and it is nonporous, closed repelling those unwelcome “things” like odors, bacteria, fungi, etc. They are uber-durable, lightweight, and easy to clean. The brand’s meaning translates to community and their mission is to help bring communities together through yoga and good karma, helping to maintain healthy people on a healthy planet. So along with being more hygienic, they are environmentally friendly another important factor to consider when choosing a mat. 

Healthy Lunch & Snack Ideas for Back-to-School or On-the-Go

 

It’s almost back-to-school time which involves packing lunches and snacks. Recently, Whole Foods Market had an event called Fuel for School and demonstrated some fantastic healthy lunch and snack ideas for the upcoming school year. Even if you don’t have little ones at home, these ideas are great for everyday–at work, traveling, and on the go.

Recipes from Whole Foods Market

Lunches:

CLUB SANDWICH KABOBS

Ingredients:

            •           4 thick slices whole grain bread, toasted and cut into (1-inch) cubes

            •           4 slices deli ham

            •           4 slices deli turkey

            •           16 cherry tomatoes

            •           4 leaves butter or romaine lettuce

            •           1/4 pound cheddar, cut into cubes

            •           1/4 pound provolone or mozzarella, cut into cubes

            •           2 kosher dill or sweet pickles, thickly sliced

Method: 

Alternating ingredients, thread bread, ham, turkey, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and pickles onto skewers and serve.

 

AVOCADO, LETTUCE AND TOMATO PITA POCKETS

Ingredients:

            •           1 large ripe avocado

            •           1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

            •           Pinch fine sea salt

            •           Pinch ground black pepper

            •           2 whole grain pita pockets

            •           4 butter lettuce leaves

            •           1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

            •           2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices

Method: 

In a small bowl, mash avocado with vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth. 

Cut pita pockets in half. Stuff pita pockets with lettuce leaves and basil. Evenly divide avocado mixture between pita pockets, spreading it on the lettuce leaves. Add two tomato slices to each pocket.

 

After School Snacks

PB&J BITES

Ingredients: 

            •           1 1/4 cup rolled oats

            •           1 1/4 cup dried currants

            •           1/2 cup no-salt-added unsweetened peanut butter

            •           2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

            •           1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method: 

Place oats, currants, peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in a food processor and process until smooth and sticking together. Drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water so that the mixture comes into a ball. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the mixture. Roll into a ball, pressing firmly so that it sticks together. Chill bites until ready to serve. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to five days or freeze for up to one week. 

Tip: Experiment with your favorite nut butters, dried fruits and spices.

 

BAKED APPLE CHIPS

Ingredients: 

            •           2 apples (Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp)

            •           1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

 

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 225°F. Slice apples as thinly as possible, about 1/8-inch or thinner (use a mandolin if you have one). Arrange slices in a single layer on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon if using. Bake 1 1/2 hours; flip slices and continue baking 1 1/2 hours longer or until completely dry and crisp (they will not crisp more upon cooling). Timing will vary depending on the moisture content of the apples and the thickness of the slices. Let cool. Store in an airtight container up to one week.

 

Mushrooms

You may have noticed fewer local produce items at the store and fewer vendors at the nearby Sarasota Farmers Market this summer season. During these months, when crops are not as abundant, is a good time to incorporate less common health food items that we may not regularly eat. We recently wrote about the ancient seed amaranth and its many beneficial properties. Another less thought about food is mushrooms and the healthy attributes they offer.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food and provide protein, vitamins, fiber, and calcium. Some research has been done about certain varietals supporting healthy immune systems and they may have anti-cancer properties.

Being a very versatile food item, there are a number of ways to prepare them–sautéed, roasted, stuffed with goat cheese, fresh herbs and baked, add them to kabob skewers, portobellos can be grilled for a vegetarian meat option, and sliced thinly, they make a great salad ingredient.

We are lucky to have a local purveyor, Gulf Coast Mushrooms, supplying a large variety including fresh oyster mushrooms, shiitake, Lion’s Mane, dried reishi, and chaga and they can be found at the Sarasota Farmers Market.

Amaranth

It’s summertime and the temperatures and humidity have definitely risen. Our appetites may have shifted a bit and we may be craving more fruits and vegetables, but will still have to eat a well-balanced diet. One way to incorporate grains and essential amino acids into our diets is through a grain called amaranth.

Amaranth has Aztec roots and is similar to a cereal grain, but it’s not in the same family. It has a light nutty or peppery flavor and this edible starchy seed must be cooked to be digestible. High in iron, fiber, the essential amino acid lysine, manganese, calcium, and is one of the only grains to contain Vitamin C. This is a high-quality source of plant protein making it suitable for vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free diets and its inexpensive too! It can be found in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market near the studio.

You can incorporate amaranth into your everyday meals. Because of its versatility, can be used to make breakfast bowls, as a side dish, main course, or dessert like in Mexico, where it is mixed with honey and used to make a candy called alegría, which means joy.

Try these recipes:

Breakfast Amaranth Porridge

Recipe by Martha Rose Schulman of the The New York Times

Ingredients

    •       ½ cup amaranth

    •       1 ½ cups water

    •       ¼ cup milk, almond milk or rice milk(more to taste)

    •       2 teaspoons maple syrup or brown sugar or, if available, Mexican piloncillo

    •        Pinch of salt

Instructions

    1.     Combine the amaranth and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir every once in a while, as the amaranth may stick to the bottom of the pan.

    2.     Stir in the milk, syrup or brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir vigorously until the porridge is creamy. Remove from the heat and serve.

Tip:  Advance preparation: You can make more than you need and keep the remainder in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Amaranth reheats well. Add a little more milk when            reheating.

Tabbouleh-Style Amaranth Salad

Recipe by Cooking Light

Ingredients

            1 1/2 cups cold water

            1/2 cup uncooked whole-grain amaranth (such as Arrowhead Mills)

            2 cups diced unpeeled English cucumber

            1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

            1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

            1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

            1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

            1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

            2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

            1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

            2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

            1/4 teaspoon salt

            1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

            1/2 cup drained no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

            1 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled

            Lemon wedges (optional)   .      

Instructions

1.          Bring 1 1/2 cups cold water and amaranth to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed (it will have the appearance of mush).

2.          While amaranth cooks, combine cucumber and next 11 ingredients in a large bowl.

3.          Place amaranth in a sieve, and rinse under cold running water until room temperature;

4.          Drain well, pressing with the back of a spoon.

5.          Add to cucumber mixture; toss to blend. Add cheese; toss gently.

6.          Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.                                                                     

Cook's Notes: It’s important that the amaranth is placed in a fine      mesh sieve. The grain is so tiny that it will slip through a traditional strainer. If one is not available, place the cooked amaranth on a large baking sheet, and spread it in a thin layer so it will cool without clumping together.

Benefits of a Daily Practice

There’s no doubt Bikram Yoga can be challenging at times. Although, like anything else done with repetition, it becomes easier because your technique improves, you are focused on your breathing, and most likely without knowing it, you are taking better care of yourself. 

Regular, consecutive practice is encouraged and studios propose the 30-day challenge. Thirty consecutive days (or a double if you cannot make a day) of those 26 postures in a hot, humid room. It may seem daunting to try a challenge, but a daily practice provides an abundance of benefits.

Unlike other exercises, Bikram Yoga doesn’t tear the muscles and so there is no recovery time needed in between. What is essential is proper hydration, rest, and nutrition. One of the many benefits of a frequent practice is being more in tuned to your body giving it what it needs to be in optimal condition. 

While daily yoga may seem strenuous, the opposite may happen. The heat and humidity will feel more tolerable, both inside and outside of the studio, the body becomes more flexible, and the mind becomes calmer.

Often, it is more of a mental challenge then a physical one. Instead of a challenge think of it as a privilege, and when you try it, your mind and body will thank you. 

These are some of the benefits you’ll experience daily with a daily practice:

Improved digestion

A clear mind

Detoxification through daily sweat

Reduced stress

Significant increase in balance

90 straight minutes of uninterrupted you time–no phone calls, text messages, or emails to tend to

And that yoga glow!

With each passing hour, week, month, year we come to the studio, we are truly changing our lives in a good way. 
 

Benefits of Activated Charcoal

It’s been making an appearance everywhere–in lemonade, skincare products, and even pizza crust. Why is everything turning dark, or more specifically charcoal grey, and and how can this  blackish-hued substance deliver on its promise to help cleanse and detox the body, whiten teeth, and treat common skin ailments.  

Activated charcoal has been used for centuries as part of medicinal detoxification and filtration processes. Doctors use it medically to draw poison from the body. It’s common to see it used in products such as water filters, and part of coffeemakers to purify the water before each brew. Toxins and poisons bind to the charcoal through tiny pores. 

Some benefits and uses for activated charcoal include:

As a tooth whitener–it adsorbs plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain teeth. Wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear. Do this 2-3 times per week. Note, activated charcoal can stain some dental work and bathroom surfaces, consult with your dentist first and protect porous materials such as grout.  

To purify water–activated charcoal traps impurities in water including solvents, pesticides, industrial waste, and other chemicals. Typical tap water is toxic and laden with chemicals, toxins, and fluoride. Detoxing from fluoride is important for oral health, proper immune system functioning, and healthy kidneys and liver. Purified water also helps soothe the digestive tract, fight fatigue, keep organs operating, and provide lubrication for joints and tissues.

For skincare/bug bites/rashes, etc.–for external treatments, it’s effective at treating acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites. Mix activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, dab on affected area, and cover with a bandage.

To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel and smooth over face. Let dry and rinse off completely. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne.

For internal body cleanse/detox–to support overall health and wellness. It helps to promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage, and poor immune system function. It benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage

During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish and be sure to drink 8-10 glasses of purified water per day. 

There are a number of other benefits of activated charcoal and before starting any new healthcare regimen, be sure to consult your physician or healthcare provider first. 
 

Practicing During the Summer

Why It’s Essential to Continue Your Practice This Summer

To some, intentionally participating in an activity that involves both high heat (105 degrees) and humidity (40 percent ) in the midst of summer may seem silly, but for those in-the-know, you’re well aware of the multitude of benefits the Bikram Yoga practice lends to both the mind and body. Year-round continual practice is where you’ll reap the most benefits. A three month, or longer, break in any healthy behavior could cause adverse effects to your overall wellbeing and a lapse can lead to setbacks. 

See below a few of the many reasons why its both essential and beneficial to maintain your practice your this summer:

•    You’ll be better acclimated to the heat and humidity of the season. You’ll feel more comfortable and may not feel the need to turn the thermostat down as low, possibly even saving you money on the electric bill.

•    Your practice will improve over the summer because you’ll enter the room already warm allowing you to get into postures more easily and deeper.

•    Your hydration will improve because you’ll be consciously replenishing electrolytes and fluids regularly. You’ll be more in tuned with your body’s signals telling you want it needs. This includes a healthy diet. 

•    You’ll already be in great shape for summer activities and have a leg up on staying fit through the fall and start of the winter holidays. 


 

Detox Through the Breath

 

In class we learned that we release toxins through our breath and researchers discovered, when we lose weight, the fat is expelled through exhalation. When fat is metabolized it converts into mostly carbon dioxide, which is the product of outgoing breathe. While a healthy diet is important, the instructor said it’s not what we put into our body, rather what we take out. 

There are two breathing exercises in the Bikram practice, pranayama to bring oxygen into the body to prepare for class, and cleans Kapalabhati, or blowing in firm, at the end of class to release toxins from the mind and body, cleanse the lungs and respiratory system, improve digestion, and energize. 

Breathing not only detoxifies the body, it also detoxifies the mind. During some yoga poses, you may be asked, “Are you breathing?” Oftentimes, we hold our breathe without even realizing it both inside the studio and outside in everyday stressful situations. When this happens, stop and ask yourself if you’re breathing. Pay attention to the breath and get control of it with mindful inhales and exhales. Instantaneously, whatever stress that was present gently subsides and a sense of clarity and calmness occurs. 

If you can control your breath, you can have control in any situation. Use your breath as a tool for a healthier mind and body
 

A Delicious Way to Hydrate This Summer

With  the temperatures and humidity rising, it more important than ever to make sure to properly hydrate. While water is the optimal way to replenish fluids, sometimes the body craves something a bit more flavorful. Watermelon agua fresca is a delicious, easy way to rehydrate and it has additional health benefits including electrolytes. 

No fancy equipment is necessary to make agua fresca; all you need is a blender and a sieve.


•    Simply cut a ripened watermelon into cubes
•    Toss into a blender
•    Add one cup of cold water
•    Blend on high speed
•    Strain liquid through a sieve to remove any pulp
•    and enjoy! 

You may see some agua frescas made with sugar and recipes calling for some variation of sweetener, but the natural sweetness of watermelons makes it unnecessary to add any more. You can get creative by adding mint leaves, lime, or any other flavors you wish. 

Watermelon juice is an excellent alternative to coconut water or sugar-laden sports drinks like Gatorade. It’s rich in beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B5. The red carotenoid pigment that gives it the red color is lycopene, an antioxidant that is powerful in neutralizing harmful free radicals in our body. It also contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium to replenish lost electrolytes through sweating. 

Watermelon juice is easily digestible allowing its minerals and wealth of nutrients to be absorbed in the body. Enjoy!
 

The power of peppermint

As the temperatures rise and the hot sticky summer months just around the corner, there are proactive ways to beat the heat. Hydration is always key, but did you know you can add peppermint essential oil to the mix to help cool you down? There’s even more this power plant can do. Along with its cooling properties, there are other benefits of peppermint you may not have known about and different ways to use the oils, whether topically, by inhalation, and ingestion. See below for specific uses and benefits of this multipurpose essential oil:

Add a drop or two to water and reap these benefits :
    Freshens breath
    Aids in digestion
    Fights bloating and gas

When used in a diffuser or with a whiff from the bottle:
    Relieves headaches
    Unclogs sinuses
    Promotes mental alertness
    Has a calming effect on the body

When applied topically (mixed into a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, grape seed, etc):
    Soothes aching muscles
    Soothes itches when mixed with lavender essential oil
    Natural bug repellent
    Relieves sunburn
    Reduces fever 

There are dozens more useful benefits to peppermint. Essential oils are a wonderful to incorporate natural medicine into your lifestyle, and as always, with any essential oil use, consult your physician first. 

Spring celery recipe

Did you know celery’s high percentage of water and electrolytes can prevent dehydration, an important factor when performing any workout, sport, or activity that induces sweating. Some other surprising benefits of this tall skinny vegetable are: it lowers inflammation; helps prevent or treat high blood pressure; boosts digestion and reduces bloating; contains microbial properties that fight infections; and the list goes on.

In season now, Worden Farm, has an abundance of local, organic celery at the Saturday downtown Sarasota Farmers Market. You can also use those lush, aromatic leaves to liven up soup stock and add another layer of life to salad greens. Below is a recipe using celery leaves in an interesting way, to create an almond-based pate.

CELERY LEAF ALMOND PATE

•        1 cup almonds

•        2 cups celery leaves, lightly packed into cup

•        ½ - 1 medium tomato coarsely chopped

•        1 scallion, coarsely chopped

•        1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

•        1 tablespoon tamari, or to taste

•        1-2 cloves, garlic, coarsely chopped

 

1. Soak the almonds overnight, or at least for 4 hours.

2. Place the almonds in a food processor with the remaining

ingredients, using about ½ of the tomato, and blend until pâté is a

spreadable consistency, adding a more tomato if it is too dry, and more

almonds if it is too wet.

3. To serve, spread over bread or crackers.

 

For a nice hors d’oeuvre, spread over crackers, or thinly sliced white

turnips and top with some minced parsley and a sliver of cherry

tomato, or roll up in a lettuce leaf and secure with a toothpick.

 

Recipe provided by Vicki Chelf

Yoga is a Practice

 

Often after class, you may hear a new student put themselves down saying they are not “good” at yoga, that they’re not flexible. They compare themselves to others, saying, “you’re so good at this.” There is no “good” or “bad” in yoga, it is a practice. Someone may demonstrate the postures in a more refined way, but rest assured they did not walk into the studio the first time doing so. They are students, implementing instruction, and putting them into use on a regular basis.

Just like meditation, it’s not a performance, it is something you work at to improve yourself. You wouldn’t say someone is really good at oral hygiene, rather they have a good behavior of flossing daily and brushing after meals.  In the Bikram Yoga practice, there is no pretense, no judgement, and no comparing oneself to others. There is a reason you are taught to focus on yourself, and yourself only, in the mirror. There is no ego, just you, the instructor’s dialogue and a deep concentrative, meditative practice.

These are beginner postures designed for everyone–no matter what age, shape, size, or physical ability. You get into the posture as best you can, with a focused, relaxed mind and body. Every day and every body is different. There may be one day where you can get deep into a posture, relaxing and breathing into it, and another day where you may have to take a moment or two sitting out a set to regain composure and regulate heart rate. Remember these words and carry them with you into the room with you each time and more importantly, outside of the studio, in your daily life where you can execute these teachings into a daily exercise.

Savasana

How can laying still virtually doing nothing be the hardest pose in yoga, and perhaps the most important? Savasana is also known as corpse pose, or dead body pose, and although it sounds morbid, it is actually a posture that provides so many benefits, both inside and outside of class. In the pose, you lay flat on your back chin slightly down to flatten the neck a bit, heels touching feet falling open to keep hips in alignment, and palms up. Stay there for a couple of minutes without moving, with your eyes open fully aware of your breath and practicing letting go of any distractions. For some, and many new yogis, this is the most difficult thing to do, not moving, not scratching, wiping sweat away, readjusting, whatever it is that keeps our mind running and causing a reaction.

This pose calms the body, allowing it to soak in all the hard work that was completed in the first part of class. It slows the heart rate down and gets you prepared for the second part of class. It also works to calm the mind even after class has ended and in a prolonged way if practiced often. During this posture, you are not just laying there doing nothing, you are training your mind to stay in the moment, focus, draw the mind way from distractions, and back to the breath. By practicing this pose in the studio, you may notice you become less reactive outside of the studio. There’s a change in how you handle stress and unfavorable moments because you have been practicing letting go of the distractions, disturbing nuances, or whatever it may be that comes our way in life daily. Make a point to improve your Savasana, your mind and body will thank you.

Did you know…Bikram Yoga is Beneficial to Athletes of All Kinds

You may already be familiar with the benefits of Bikram Yoga–how it works every part of the body, the internal organs, the veins, the ligaments, and all of the muscles creating a strong core and flexible spine. Not to mention the mental benefits of creating a sense of calm and clarity that is extended far beyond the yoga studio–it’s a benefit we learn to utilize in everyday life and how we handle situations. Life is still going to come at you, so to speak, but it’s the way we respond and handle these situations that is learned within the Bikram practice. What is learned is patience, kindness, tolerance, and intellect.

Did you also know that Bikram is beneficial to an array of athletes? Not only does it strengthen the spine, muscles, and increase balance and flexibility, these 26 postures are formulated to regenerate tissue, cure chronic ailments, and heal and prevent injuries. It’s no wonder the Bikram Yoga practice has become increasingly popular with professional athletes including San Francisco 49ers Tony Parrish; NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabaar; Kobe Bryant; Wimbledon winner Andy Murray; and many more–for its injury-healing and preventative properties and also to prepare the body to perform better at sports. Share these benefits with an athlete you may know and we look forward to seeing you both in the studio.

Coffee alternative - yerba mate

As we begin the second month of the new year and continue on a journey to a lifestyle of health and wellness, we may ask, is it time to turn in some of out vices for healthier alternatives? One being a daily coffee habit. While there have been proven studies about the benefits of coffee–everything from providing powerful antioxidants to helping prevent Parkinson’s disease, depression, and even boosting physical performance. It can also lead to dehydration, cause insomnia and restless sleep, and sometimes it's not the coffee itself, but the high-sugar and fat-laden additives. Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and are there better alternatives out there? 

Say hello to yerba mate! It’s a tea from South American dried leaves of an evergreen holly plant providing the same mental alertness, clarity, and focus of coffee without interfering with sleep, while providing similar physical performance boosts. There’s no caffeine crash and it’s nonaddictive–ever go a day without that morning cup(s) of coffee to experience a throbbing headache like no other? Back to those nutrient-dense attributes, it has a high concentration of the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5; vitamin E; calcium; iron; potassium; selenium; zinc; among others.

What’s not to love about yerba mate? Well, maybe the taste, some say it’s an acquired taste, earthy and herbaceous. Brew it just like tea, in teabags, or loose, and if loose you can brew it in a French press. It's optional to add a little sweetener and cream to it, but be mindful to keep it healthy to enjoy the natural benefits of this powerhouse of a beverage.

MAPLE NUT GRANOLA

We all know (or should know) by now that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a great way to nourish and replenish the body after yoga practice. This recipe is by Sigrid Olsen–you may recognize her as a well-known fashion designer with stores throughout Canada and the U.S. bearing her name.

Some granola, even those found at health food stores like Whole Foods Market, are laden with sugar. This recipe keeps things healthy–no sugar, no wheat, and lots of great toasted nuts. She likes lots of nuts and no fruit in her version, but if you keep the basic proportions, feel free to adapt the recipe to your liking.

 

 

MAPLE NUT GRANOLA

Recipe by Sigrid Olsen

 

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole almonds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1/2 cup hemp seeds

Also can add: pecans, cashews, coconut flakes (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the maple syrup and oil in saucepan, blend thoroughly, and add vanilla extract. Combine oats, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl and pour the maple syrup mixture over the oat/nut mixture. Toss and blend well. Spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. It needs to be one layer, about 1-2 inches thick to toast evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes or until it turns golden brown and smells sweet. You can turn off the oven and leave it in until oven cools if you want to be sure it cooks thoroughly. I like it when it sticks together in large clumps and crumbles easily into smaller bits. Cool thoroughly on the sheet and then transfer to an airtight storage container where it will keep for weeks.

CAMEL POSE

I saw a shirt an instructor wore that read, I’ve got 99 problems and camel isn’t one of them. Yogis may have a love/hate relationship with the Camel posture–somedays you ease into this kneeling-style backbend and gently come out of it feeling fantastic, other days you are in it and emerge feeling dizzy, nauseous, and with all sorts of “funky” feelings going on, stirring up emotions some happy, some sad. It opens up your chest and heart inviting energy flow, at the same time vulnerability. We tend to hunch over, whether in a car or at a desk, “protecting” the heart’s center. Camel pose invites openness and by relaxing into it and breathing during, you can turn those feelings into happy ones. While practicing, think about how the posture is improving so many internal and external body/mind functions. Below explains a little bit more about the posture and why you may want to turn it into a posture that you love:

Ustrasana – Camel Pose

*Camel Pose creates maximum compression of the spine, which stimulates the nervous system. It also improves flexibility of the neck and spine, relieves backache, and helps degenerative spinal problems such as kyphoscoliotic deformities and cervical spondylosis. By stretching the abdominal organs, Camel helps constipation, and it also stretches the throat and thyroid and parathyroid glands.

*Source BikramYoga.com

Some other benefits include:

  • Relieves back problems while strengthening back and shoulder muscles

  • Opens rib cage, lungs, and digestive system

  • Stimulates the nervous system

  • Great for the lungs and helps relieve many bronchial problems

  • Improves flexion of the neck

  • Stretches the throat

  • Flushes blood through the kidneys

Keep Your Energy Levels Up with Maca

What is maca? It’s a turnip-like Peruvian root eaten in South America and found in the U.S. in the form of a powder and used as a supplement. It’s numerous health benefits make it worthwhile to look into adding to your regular diet*. It can be found in capsules or in power form which can be be added to smoothies, sprinkled on chai-lattes, or yogurt and hot cereals. It has a slightly malt-like mild flavor.

It’s a adaptogen, a natural supplement to help the body adapt to stress. Adaptogens naturally work to control stress and fatigue by regulating hormones. Balanced hormones, in turn, also boost energy levels, fertility, and libido. It also contains essential vitamins, minerals, and good-for-you fatty acids. Maca can be found at health food stores and Whole Foods Market near the downtown studio carries it as well. One brand there in the form of a powder is Gaia Herbs and is vegan, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

It’s important to know that more does not equal more with maca, a teaspoon is sufficient.

*Please note as with any supplement, consult your physician before using.This information is solely for casual reading and has not been medically evaluated or proven.

Don’t Take Our Word For It, Take Theirs

 

 

We could tell you about the benefits of Bikram Yoga and about our studios all day long, instead we thought we’d share what the people who practice have to say:

“Learning from people who understand the body so well has helped me to heal from scoliosis and I have far less pain than in the past. They pay very careful attention to students’ progress and I always feel they are going to help me learn in the healthiest possible way. Now that I've experienced good instruction, I'm not going anywhere else.“ 

“I started Bikram Yoga with Timi and Farky. The studio is tastefully renovated, clean, and everything is brand new (floor, showers etc). What is even superior to the facility are the instructors. All of them are professional and you can feel they have a devoted lifestyle to Bikram Yoga, hence they know a lot about it. I highly recommend this place to new and old Bikram Yoga fans.”

“My best experience at Bikram at this renewed studio. I have practiced Bikram for six years. Then stopped when my son was born. Back again! I have just realized how much I missed. BUT not just that. Bikram on 2nd Street has new owners. The place is totally changed. Bright, clean (carpet is OUT), and with some construction magic, it is now comfortable to change clothing, shower, etc. The new instructors are great. Really devoted, and paying close attention to each student. You will see me every week.”

“Excellent! Love it! Challenging and brings it to the next level. Awesome instructors, beautiful couple/owners. Thank you for the experience. Great prices, super clean and lovely studio...sweat my brains out! Totally awesome! Can't wait to come back for more.”

“In the past week I have attended classes at the remodeled downtown Sarasota studio with Timi and at the Blue Roof location with Farky. Both yoga studios are very tastefully decorated and have a calming charm. The rubber-like like flooring they have at each studio is excellent. Most importantly, Timi and Farky provided a focused yet relaxing Bikram 90 minutes of moving meditation. Although Bikram Sarasota is not my primary Florida studio, I look forward to taking many, many more classes at their locations.”