Give the Best Holiday Gift This Year

Bikram Yoga Downtown Sarasota

Holiday gifting season is upon us and shopping for someone can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. This year, give someone you love or care about the best possible gift there is, a gift to improve their mind, body, and spirit. Bikram Yoga Sarasota offers gift certificates in any amount. 

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If your gift recipient is a Florida resident and has not been to the studio before there is special introductory price of $50 for one month of unlimited yoga. Or choose one of the packages in ranges from three classes to an unlimited full year. This also includes access to Inferno Hot Pilates classes.

And don’t forget about mat and towel service. This added bonus gives the gift of convenience by providing your own high-quality yoga mat to practice on and two fresh towels. Your yoga mat is cleaned and stored for you and there’s no soggy towels to carry home and wash. 

Bikram Yoga Sarasota is the only authentic studio in Sarasota offering a full 90-minute class of two sets of poses and two breathing exercises. There are a lot of “hot yoga” classes offering “Bikram-style” classes in an abbreviated 60-75-minute time frame. It is these last extra  minutes of class that are most beneficial. For some they may be the most difficult, but when you learn to calm the mind, you change your life. 

And there’s more, there is now a full line of retail in addition to the already wonderful Kulae mats, which are made from an eco-friendly material called thermo-plastic elastomer, so you can feel good about gifting them. Choose from a selection of logoed hats and shirts, high-quality and affordable Manduka yoga shorts for him and her, and Spalding tops for her. Holiday shopping made easy and you are giving the best of all.

Improve Your Practice with a Posture Clinic

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Attend a Bikram Yoga Sarasota posture clinic to fine-tune your practice and expand your knowledge and understanding of Bikram yoga. These posture clinics are two and a half hours long allowing for time to answer individual questions. They are held in a regular class-like setting with other students, but you’ll get tips, one-on-one attention, corrections, and guidance. 

There was a posture clinic held a few weeks ago at the studio and afterwards in class, students applied the principles and practices they learned and have achieved transformational results. There is another opportunity to attend a posture clinic this Sunday, December 3, 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm. This class will focus on proper posters of the floor series, where the “true yoga begins.” 

Learn proper alignment and have time to practice that alignment in each floor series pose. This is the one time where you can talk during class and get the answers to your questions. This is an excellent way to improve your practice because you’ll learn and feel the proper way to do the postures and you can apply those principles in your own practice to get deeper into the poses. All levels are welcomed. 

Learn everything from the fundamentals to the final expression of each posture. Work through any obstacles and challenges you may be experiencing. Because it is in a class-like setting you’ll be able to listen and learn from fellow students who may ask questions you didn’t think to ask. 

Bring your mat, towel, and water to the clinic and wear your regular yoga attire.You can choose to attend class before the clinic if you wish to get your regular practice in, just be sure to hydrate, shower, change into a fresh set of yoga clothes, and have something very light to eat. Or you can choose to attend the 3:00 pm class afterward to practice what you just learned. We’re looking forward to seeing your transformations on the mat!

Foam Rolling for Your Yoga Practice

Bikram Yoga Sarasota

You may have seen those thick cylinder-foam objects everyone seems to be rolling their sore or tight muscles over. While they are not a new invention–trainers and sports players have been using them for years–they are gaining popularity and they can be beneficial to your yoga practice if used correctly. 

Bikram Yoga has many benefits which include increased strength and flexibility and it is sometimes practiced in conjunction with other exercises like walking or running and also by athletes. These other activities can cause sore and tight muscles making your practice more difficult. Foam rolling can help get the body back into balance. Recently, The New York Times published an article on inexpensive ways to help you recover from a tough workout and foam rolling was included. They recommend one by AmazonBasics that seems to get the job done well. 

When foam rolling, you’ll want to start slowly and be mindful of your form. It is comparable to a deep tissue massage putting all of your body weight into those sore muscles. When you feel a tight spot stop on it for just a short time while breathing through the pain until the muscle releases, but don’t overdue it.

There are several videos and techniques available to do these exercises correctly to avoid injury. Just like when having a massage, drink plenty of water after to flush out toxins that have been released.

Two of the most important things to remember to not injure the lower back are not to roll the actual lower back itself and just like in the Bikram practice, you’ll want to tighten your stomach muscles. To get lower back relief work the muscles surrounding it, such as the hips, both front and sides, and also from the very top of the glutes down to the start of the thigh.

The next day or two after using one for the first time, you may feel a bit sore. This is normal, allow a few days to go by to recover before you use it again. As with any exercise, do so carefully, don’t over due it, and learn the proper techniques to avoid injury and to get the best results. 

What's in Season: Kohlrabi High in Vitamin C and Potassium

Fall Seasonal Vegetable Kohlrabi

By now, we probably know the importance of eating what’s local and in season. Lucky for us, we have two excellent sources for local, seasonal, and some organic produce literally a stone's throw from the studioWhole Foods Market and the Sarasota Farmers Market, which is in full bloom. 

Ryan Duncan of Jubilee Organics, an all-organic farm located in Northwest Bradenton, reminds us about the importance of eating locally and informs that a large percentage of nutrients are lost just after hours of fruits and vegetables being harvested. 

Imagine what happens to those strawberries or that bag of spinach on the grocery store self that originates from California. It travels a long way on a truck to a nearby store and that’s before it’s been processed and packaged at a distributing facility. 

This time of year there is an abundance of squash available. Another not so common vegetable is Kohlrabi. This is a root vegetable in the cabbage family that may be prepared in numerous ways. Kohlrabi is similar in texture to a radish without the spiciness, but rather a slightly sweet flavor. Because it’s in the cabbage family you will get a taste of that familiar flavor, almost broccoli-like. 

It’s high in vitamin C and potassium. Double bonus! Vitamin C this time of year is essential with the winter cold/flu season just around the corner. Another reason vitamin C is especially important is the flux of seasonal visitors this area attracts coming in from northern parts of the country and possibly transporting cold and flu germs with them that have been circulating in cooler climates.

The fall issue of Edible Sarasota just hit the shelves—you can pick up a free copy at Whole Foods and other places around town. In it you can find a wealth of information on locally-sourced food in our area and they featured Kohlrabi. You can find delicious and easy recipes on their website that you can try at home using seasonal ingredients. 

One that stood out was the Sweet Potato Gratin recipe, which may be a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table this year. 

The Next New Superfood: Moringa

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Look for the superfood green, moringa, also known as ben tree, horseradish tree, or drumstick tree. It’s been getting some buzz lately even though it's been around for centuries. Eastern cultures have been using it for decades for its multitude of health benefits and for its nutrient dense properties–rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, iron, and protein.The leaves may be eaten like a salad green, added to rice and pasta dishes, juiced or blended into smoothies, and may also be made into a powder for tea used to ward off colds. 

Moringa grows well here in Florida and is found at Jubilee Organics, a farm in Northwest Bradenton which will have a stand this season at the Bradenton Farmers Market. Farm owner Ryan Duncan, uses this superfood in his juices and smoothies each morning and also tosses the leaves into salad mixes.

Compared to its counterpart, popular matcha, which has been showing up everywhere from coffee and tea drinks to ice cream and yogurt, moringa has more fiber, calcium, sodium (great for replenishing after Bikram yoga), and vitaminsC and A. It also is an excellent source of protein and iron, two things matcha does not supply. 

A very versatile green, there are an abundant amount of recipes using moringa as an ingredient including those for cupcakes and muffins, chicken dishes, and even pesto. 

Here’s one perfect for fall found in Shape magazine: 

Pumpkin Seed Moringa Cupcakes

Recipe by Fresh Planet Flavor

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp moringa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing muffin molds
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Frosting
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Melted chocolate and pumpkin seeds, for topping

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a silicone muffin pan with coconut oil, or line a muffin tin with parchment liners.

2. Pulse the coconut flour, tapioca flour, pumpkin seeds, moringa powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor until the pumpkin seeds are ground into a fine meal.

3. Add the eggs, oil, and honey and puree until smooth.

4. Spoon into the cups of the silicone mold or muffin tin, then place in the preheated oven. Reduce the heat to 350° F, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean, then set aside to cool.

5. To make the frosting, whip the shortening, honey and vanilla until smooth. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and tip, then load the frosting into the pastry bag.  Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the frosting on top in the design of your choice.

6. Top with melted chocolate and more pumpkin seeds. if desired.

 

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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. 


 

Authentic Bikram Yoga in Sarasota

Photo courtesy of Florida State Homes

Photo courtesy of Florida State Homes

By Jake Levin

How does a 90-minute workout featuring 26 poses in 105 degree temperatures sound to you?

For Farky and Timi Fuszfas, it's business as usual at Bikram Yoga Sarasota. The owners are both longtime practitioners and teachers of Bikram Yoga, a method popularized in the 1970s.

The duo said that they've always been active between playing sports and practicing other types of yoga, but agreed that no type of exercise has given them the strength, stamina and mental clarity the way Bikram Yoga has.

"Bikram Yoga is the original hot yoga," Timi said. "It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function."

Timi further explained that each component of Bikram Yoga takes care of something different in the body, but at the same time, the different pieces all work in unison.

"They all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one and extending its benefits," Timi said.

Timi can't imagine not sharing her experience as a yoga instructor with others. She said that the best part was seeing the growth in participants of Bikram Yoga over the course of their learning.

"The greatest reward is witnessing the startling transformations in beginning students and helping them motivate themselves to develop long-term yoga practices to reap and maintain the health benefits of this unique system of hatha yoga," Timi said.

Inferno Hot Pilates is a training system which combines Pilates principals with High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT.

This full body workout is also featured at Bikram Yoga, with quick, visible results, according to Timi. And since it's performed on a yoga mat, it's a zero-impact exercise, thus avoiding wear and tear on your joints and muscles caused by running or jumping.

"It creates long, lean muscle mass, burns fat and increases fitness level," she said. "It creates a strong core, improves circulation and increases flexibility."

Bikram Yoga offers numerous benefits for any and all participants. Timi listed reduced stress, fatigue or anxiety from a mental standpoint, as well as a reduction in high blood pressure or cholesterol in terms of physical benefits.

Quicker recovery from surgeries, or even an avoidance in going under the knife in the first place, is another perk of Bikram Yoga, not mention a regulation of hormones and blood sugar levels.

More information about the Fuszfas' studio is available at their website, www.bikramyogasarasota.com.

Article appeared in Florida State Homes  Http://www.floridastatehomes.com/articles/bikram-yoga-sarasota-brings-the-heat

Detox Through the Breath

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Bikram Yoga for Athletes

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.