Five Keys to Improve Your Practice

By Stephen Rumpp


 - To start!  And if necessary, to start again!  To keep coming to class especially on those days you don't want to!  To make up your mind to stay your course!  To let nothing get in your way.  To make room for your daily yoga practice!  To stay close!


- To discover new edges in your practice!  To experience your improved ability to breathe while working hard!  To cultivate a tuned mind-body connection and improved alignment in your body!  To allow yourself to go places you did not think possible in your practice (and in your life)!


 - To stick to a plan!  To give your body time to transform!  To have bad days!  To have breakthrough days!  To work through injury and experience the healing!  To have your friends and family join you when they are ready!  To build a stronger foundation each time you practice!  To keep going no matter what!

Self Control

 - To manage your expectations and your thoughts!  To love yourself!  To surrender to life's power! To manage your response to things out of your control!  To avoid drama!  To make appropriate life choices!  To pause, breathe and then respond to upsets!  To surround yourself with people who lift you up!


- To try the right way!  To start again when things don't go your way!  To breathe evenly!  To stay in the moment while practicing!  To connect with your compassion!  To make adjustments!  To know good pain from bad pain!  To Self Realize!

Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!!!!

5 Tips to Practicing Yoga....Not Just Doing Yoga

By Andrea Griego

The only way we learn anything in life is TO practice. So how can you make your yoga experience a good and healthy one?

1.  Arrive early to class so you won't feel anxious or rushed physically and mentally.

2.  Begin to see your yoga practice as relationship building time with YOU!

3. Practice AWARENESS moving into, holding and moving out of postures. Simply begin to notice how you move or think.  This is the first step to create change and learn.

4. Slower is better.....notice your breathing and how it works with you to compliment your practice mind and body.

5. Be impeccable with your form. It's not about pushing your body so much that you sacrifice form and alignment.

Be open to simply practice without any judgment!  Be kind and loving to yourself ...... You have the choice to make your yoga practice an amazing experience that can change your life!

Easy as ABC

By Niki Hayes "Just try the right way."

"Give it a try."

"All you have to do is try."

If you have ever taken a Bikram Yoga class you have heard these statements. The teachers repeatedly encouraging their students to try the posture the right way, leaving little to no room for options or choices. But in a world of options, (tall, grande, venti, non-fat, skinny, soy, vanilla, caramel, light foam, extra hot, etc) it can be difficult to comprehend the idea of just one option. Understanding the reasoning behind Bikram’s strict policy of “the right way is the hard way” can help you to understand the importance of trying the next time you step on your mat.

There will always be things in this life that are a challenge, especially in the beginning stages. But instead of taking a different route or option or doing an "alternate pose", Bikram encourages everyone to just try the posture. The modification comes with the depth, not the form. As you learn the postures correctly from the very beginning stages of the posture, your depth will slowly come over time. To change and modify the form of the posture in the beginning is just doing injustice for your body and your mind in the long run. Who wants to re-learn the posture after 6 months of thinking they are doing it right?!?! No one.

Think of when a child is learning their ABC's. They will most likely write the "C" backwards a few times. But with gentle encouragement from their teacher and parents and their own focus and determination they will slowly start to write the "C" the right way. But imagine if no one told the child they were writing the "C" wrong and then they get to 4th grade and start learning cursive. The backwards "C" will become an "O" and now they have a problem. They will return to their teacher and parents, and say, "Why didn't you tell me I was writing the "C" backwards?!?!"

It's the same with your yoga! Learning the right way from the beginning can be difficult and frustrating, but over time it will benefit your body and your mind much more than taking short cuts. So if you can’t “lock your knee” or “focus one spot in the front mirror” or “keep a nice, tight grip” yet, don’t worry. Just keep trying!

Bikram says, “Let me encourage you the way I encourage all my students. Can't do a particular yoga posture today? If you persist in trying the right way, a day will come when you can. Don't cheat or change the posture to conform to your individual weaknesses. If you do, the real benefit goes out the window. Would you rather suffer for 90 minutes or 90 years? The right way is the hard way, and it's up to you to make it work. Remember: It's never too late, it's never too bad, and you're never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again."

Conjuring Up Your English Bulldog Determination

By P.J. Stuart Dandayamana Dhanurasana. It’s “everyone’s favorite pose to photograph,” and why wouldn’t it be? Whether you’re showing off Standing Bow in front of the Eiffel Tower or out in the back yard, there’s no better way to demonstrate your physical grace than by snapping a shot of this one. It’s iconic.

But it’s also ironic. Because as effortless as this beautiful posture may appear, many of us know – as we see drops of our own sweat flying onto the mat – Standing Bow demands a huge amount of determination to stay balanced (at least for longer than the 5 seconds it takes for a picture). Bikram says – and BYPV teachers remind us time and again – it takes “English Bulldog determination.” Most admirers would never guess the secret to all your grace and beauty is a … bulldog!

I mean no disrespect to this fierce, wrinkly-faced creature. On the contrary, in an effort to empower myself and improve my practice, I began researching this ferocious animal. As one of Bikram’s designated animal guides (I’ll save the Bengal Tiger for a separate post), I thought it might help to have a more concrete, deeper understanding of this beast.

What makes the English Bulldog so determined?

 FACT #1: Bred for Fighting

Ever wonder why there’s a bull in “bulldog?” This dog’s broad, sturdy jaw isn’t merely a coincidence. A cross between a mastiff and a terrier, the English Bulldog was bred for fighting … specifically, for a sport known as “bull baiting.” In the 1600s, English spectators placed wagers as several dogs were set onto a tethered bull. The dog that successfully grabbed the bull by its nose and pinned it down was proclaimed winner.

Without extreme determination, many of the dogs would die in violent competition.

 TIP: Picture THAT next time you’re holding yourself up in Standing Bow! (And don’t worry, the sport was declared illegal in 1835 under the Cruelty to Animals Act – EnglishBulldogs have had a much cushier, gentler lifestyle ever since).

FACT #2: Stupid Determination

Turns out, there might be psychological reasons English Bulldogs are so gosh-darn determined, too. They rank 78 out of 80 in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks dog breeds according to their brainpower. English Bulldogs hold the lowest degree of working/obedience intelligence of all dogs, which makes them less likely to listen to human commands – and more likely to listen to their own animal instincts.

 TIP: When an animal knows it wants or needs something, it will do whatever it takes to get it! Take a tip from our English canine pal, push all your obtrusive human thoughts aside – and channel some of that stupid determination.

FACT #3: Mascot Power

The English Bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps. During World War I, many German reports called the attacking Marines “teufel-hunden” (meaning Devil Dogs) – vicious, wild and ferocious. Soon after, U.S. Marine recruiting posters showed the image of a snarling English Bulldog wearing a Marine Corps helmet.

In 1922, at the Marine base at Quanitco, Virginia, the Marines enlisted their first bulldog, Pvt. Jiggs. Today, many USMC bases have their own mascot on base. (Thirty-nine American universities also use a Bulldog as their mascot!)

 TIP: When trying to conjure up your English Bulldog determination, remember – they symbolize the warrior culture of combat marines! Don’t accept anything less. You’re a marine now – yogi style!

BYPV says: Look what you can accomplish with a little of that "English Bulldog determination"!