Finding Balance (Yogi Surprise August Review)

Balance is an ongoing challenge for me.

Finding the right mix of doing and non-doing, of excitement and relaxation, of seriousness and levity, of saying 'yes' and saying 'no'...

I believe this will be a continual process, and I'm grateful for the moments when I feel in balance.

I'm also grateful that yoga helps me find balance.

In this month's Yogi Surprise box, I discovered a wonderful mix of items designed to restore and re-harmonize my body's natural energies. I love the sense of calm that I found when using any of these products, and I'm glad that the monthly arrival of the little purple Yogi Suprise box on my doorstep is a reminder to find time to slow down and rejuvenate.

Here are my favorites from the Yogi Surprise August box:

I've been craving a body scrub for months and was so pleasantly surprised to find this one in the box! The smell reminds me a lot of a lotion we used to have at one of my favorite yoga studios, and that extremely relaxing feeling of being in Shavasana when the teacher comes around at the end of class and gives you a shoulder press (amazing!). This scrub is my absolute favorite item from the box. Its invigorating aroma with the lemon really perks me up, and I love the feeling of soft skin after the sugar scrub. I'll definitely be heading to the Root + Willow site to buy some more when I run out. :)

These are genius! I've loved Tiger Balm ever since I started yoga and I used to use it quite a bit during my Bikram days. Usually I'd end up making a mess whenever I'd apply it, and then would have to be careful to wash my hands afterward and not to rub it off on my clothing or yoga mat. These patches are a clever way to keep your hands free of the pain-relieving ointment, and they stay sticky for hours! I highly recommend these for after a strenuous workout or yoga class, or if you're like me and you get home from work at the office and your neck is sore. Highly recommend them for all yoga teacher trainees, too!

This bar was delicious. A perfect afternoon snack or pick-me-up before yoga class. And it's certified organic, plant-based and made with superfood ingredients. Yum!

I haven't taken this supplement for long enough to know that it's making a big difference for me in terms of energy and immunity support, but so far I like the results! You can tell that the brand takes great care in making a high-quality supplement, and I absolutely love the little glass container that the capsules are in (I'll be reusing it for sure). Thanks, Stamba, for being a part of this month's box!

What practices help you stay in balance? Do you have any go-to products you use to help bring things back into balance?

Sending big hugs to the team at Yogi Suprise, and as always, to you, dear readers. Much love and cheers to finding balance throughout this month!

All photos of me in this post by Ken Johnson of CKC Image is a Humboldt County photography business; check out their Facebook page for more awesome photos. Other photos via Root + Willow (3), Tiger Balm (4), Navitas Naturals (5) and Stamba (6). Leggings by Ginger Orange Activewear.

Yoga for Weight Loss

Photos via Pinterestand A Cup of Jo.

Do you have a goal to lose weight this year?

I encourage you to include yoga in your wellness routine!

Here are some ideas for how to utilize yoga and healthy habits if you’re looking to shed a few pounds.

Practice three to five times a week, with the goal of taking classes at a studio at least three times per week. The other two classes can be using a DVD at home. I know personally I’m pushed to work harder when I’m surrounded by other yogis, and under the direction of an empowering teacher!  

Choose heated classes, and practice a vigorous style of yoga. I suggest trying vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga, or anything with ‘power’ or ‘power flow’ in the description. If you do go to hot classes, be sure to hydrate before and after class! Also try to incorporate at least one restorative (calming) practice like a yin class into your weekly routine, as a way to balance out the heat. Keep in mind that the harder classes will yield the most results in terms of burning calories in order to lose weight, and the restorative class will help you release toxins, calm your mind, and become aware of your body.

Photo via A Cup of Jo.

Improve your diet with a few simple, easy changes. I recommend these: Eat more greens. Drink water or tea in place of sugary drinks. Trade unhealthy snack foods for fresh fruit, nuts, or an avocado with salt and pepper sprinkled on top. (Note: here are more healthy snack ideas from Joanna at A Cup of Jo.) If changing your diet feels overwhelming, think in terms of what you can add that’s healthy, rather than what you have to eliminate. Start by adding a few glasses of water throughout the day, and more veggies at each meal. As you gain some momentum in making healthy choices, you’ll feel empowered and be able to tackle more challenging changes.
Start a 10-minute meditation habit. Mindfulness will help you notice what’s causing you stress, and discover how to release tension. For more information about the benefits of mindfulness, read hereIf sitting still sounds overwhelming or uncomfortable, start by doing legs up the wall pose for a few minutes, either when you first wake up or before bedtime. Let your whole body relax, and close your eyes. Notice your breath. There’s nothing you need to do or change, so if thoughts come up, simply acknowledge them and then let them go. Continue to place your attention on your breath. 

Sleep seven to eight hours a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try yoga nidra, a meditation for full-body relaxation.

Track your success, and focus on the positive! Try a mantra like, "Practice makes perfect." Thank yourself for being dedicated to your health.

What habits are you incorporating into your weight-loss plan? I’d love to hear!

PS As always, if you have any questions or would like support, please feel free to email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste, lovely yogis! 

This post was inspired by an article on Yoga Journal about yoga for weight loss.

Bikram's Spine Strengthening Series

Photos via Bikram Yoga Seattle.

Lately I've been doing Bikram's Spine Strengthening Series on my own, at home. I find it's a wonderful set of postures if you're looking to increase your back and core strength, which can positively affect everything you do in yoga.

The movements themselves are beautiful, too. I love the way each pose flows into the next. 

The sequence goes like this:
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

With each posture in the series, you increase the backbend, coming into a fuller and fuller expression, working all the muscle groups along the spine throughout the process. 

If you're doing the Spine Strengthening Series, remember too: where the eyes go, the body follows. Cast your gaze upward and your body will go there too.

PS A great post from a Bikram blogger on why she has a love/hate relationship with these poses. And a post from a medical doctor on how these back-strengthening postures can relieve pain

Rowve Yoga Bags: Perfect for the Hot Yogi

If you're like me, you know having the right bag for your yoga gear makes a world of difference -- especially if you're practicing in the heat. Once you leave the studio, you've got sweaty clothes to bring home and that can quickly turn into a stinky mess.

Hot yogis, I've found the perfect solution: Rowve bags! Rowve has a collection of designer bags in a variety of sizes that are perfect for carrying your sweaty stuff around. The best part? You won't end up with a smelly bag, because they're made with cotton-backed laminate which is easy to clean.

I also love that Rowve's bag collection includes stylish designs that you can utilize as purses or travel bags, too! Each piece is eco-friendly, attractive, useful, and affordable.

The Rowve website includes a variety of small, medium, and large yoga bags. I encourage all you Bikram yogis and hot vinyasa flow yogis to check out the brand!
Photos via Rowve.

Yoga Champs

Photo via YogaDork.

Over the weekend, some seriously stellar yogis competed in the annual USA Yoga Asana Championship in New York City.

I'm always amazed and inspired seeing what the human body can do. I always wonder: how many hours did these yogis spend preparing for the competition? How many backbends a day did it take to get to that point?

Photo via USA Yoga Federation.

Every year there's a debate about whether yoga should be competitive. Some say that goes against the nature of yoga, but I have to say I agree with USA Yoga Federation founder Rajashree Choudhury. I think it's inspiring and encouraging to see yogis like this in the spotlight. As Rajashree wrote in a recent Huffington Post article about yoga competitions:

It is human nature to feel challenged; to be self empowered. The competition aspect of Yoga Asana comes from within; from striving to achieve one's personal best at any given moment. Carefully defined judging criteria are based on rules and structure that follows the Hatha Yoga tradition; championship judges are educated by counterparts in India on how to award marks based on a points system. Ultimately though, it comes down to the competitor's ability to master their sensory control; to execute postures to their fullest potential while holding them in stillness.

Photos via USA Yoga Federation.

You can watch a video stream of the championship here. Or check out more about USA Yoga on their Facebook page.

 Photo via USA Yoga Federation.

Huge props to all you amazing yogis who participated!

Yoga as a Family

Photo by Jeff Minton for the New York Times.

I'm inspired by families who practice yoga together. Have you guys read this New York Times piece about the Killick family? 

It's pretty awesome: mom, dad, and all four kids go to Bikram together.

Photo above via Elephant JournalPhoto below via Orange Sky Yoga.

Rockstar yogis Briohny Smyth and Dice Iida-Klein practice with their daughter, Taylor. I think it's beautiful that they set a great example for her, and are open about encouraging her to experience asana at such a young age.

Photo via Pinterest.

It's my goal to someday share class with my parents, brother and twin sister. (Or maybe after I'm certified, I can teach them all together!)Since yoga is such a big part of my life, I'm happy to share it with those I love.

Photo via Flickr.

Do you share yoga with your family?

PS More reading on this topic...

Hell-Bent on Backbending

This time of year, I love curling up with a good book. I'll light a candle, find a cozy spot, and let myself dive head-first into the story.

This week I started Benjamin Lorr's Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga. I couldn't put it down. I sped through half the book in a single night, transfixed by his humorous, inspiring storytelling and the way the book immerses you in the weird and wild world of competitive Bikram yoga.

Lorr holds nothing back.

As he says in the opening:

"Those who frequent the mystical section of bookstores are familiar with a concept called karma yoga. It is the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, the yoga of action. To practice your karma yoga is to practice what you were put on this planet to do. 

There is no doubt in my mind that Bikram Choudhury's karma yoga is teaching yoga. He has such joy when spreading it. My karma yoga is the practice of writing; just like Bikram, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up hurting people when I practice."

Photo via Benjamin Lorr.

In the memoir, Lorr writes about the heat, the pain, the way his body began to change once he walked in to a studio. He shares his experience training for the national yoga championship with a secretive, elite Backbending club (not altogether unlike Fight Club).

"Backbending is the antithesis of those glossy lavender-scented Yoga Journal retreats," Lorr writes. "We eat; we do yoga. There are no catered meals, no spacious rooms, no hammock time, no sandy beaches. No refined sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods. No coherent schedule, no personal space, no sarcasm, and no coffee..."

I wasn't sure whether to be inspired or jealous reading about the way these yogis undertook such rigorous training. The way they'd hallucinate from doing so many backbends and wall walks. The way Esak Garcia, world yoga champion and leader of the group, would yell at them, push them. 

"Never come out of a backbend like that again," he tells Lorr at one point, correcting his form. "Make a commitment to yourself. Never do it again. From this moment forward."

I know this: reading the book has given me new insights into the wild world of yoga and the way it changes people. Yoga makes us stronger, and Ben's story is certainly a testament to that truth.

I highly recommend you check out this book, whether you're a Bikram yogi, or simply interested in learning more about the science of yoga and the controversies, greed and narcissism behind the man and brand called Bikram.

If there's one yoga book you read this year, it should be this one.

Stay tuned for a giveaway post where you can win a copy!


Feeling the Burn in Hot Yoga

Before recently, it had been months since my last hot yoga class. I'll admit: I got burned out of the Bikram world a while ago, where the same dialogue leads every class (and you do the same 26 postures each time).

Then I discovered DownDog Hot Yoga in Evanston, a new studio with a budding community of hot vinyasa flow yogis. 

Photo via DownDog Hot Yoga.

It feels great to be back in the heat. I love the comforting feeling of walking into the room and knowing my muscles are warm and ready to stretch. The cozy atmosphere is a welcome break from the cold outside.

Plus, I leave class glowing -- every muscle group worked, my systems detoxed, my mind clear and calm.

That's Neil, the owner at DownDog Hot Yoga in Evanston.

Local Evanston yogis, I hope you'll check out DownDog Hot YogaHere's what I love about the studio:
  • The staffers are friendly, upbeat, and encouraging.
  • The teachers know how to challenge you in class (believe me, you'll leave dripping, with a puddle at your feet!)
  • The facilities are gorgeous, and the studio is on the second floor, overlooking Sherman Street in Evanston. It's a beautiful view of one of my favorite spots around town.
  • The prices are reasonable and DownDog offers a free first week to new students.
You can read The Daily Northwestern's review of the studio here.

I'm hosting a little yoga and farmer's market extravaganza on Saturday, October 20. I hope you can make it!

9-10:30am Hot Yoga flow at DownDog Hot Yoga in Evanston 
(1508 Sherman Ave - 2nd floor - Evanston, IL 60201). Please arrive 15 minutes early to get your spot and get set up.

11am-12pm Evanston Farmer's Market at the corners of University Place and Oak Av.

See you soon! XO

Yoga Pants You Can Dance In

Photos of me by Cara Brostrom. Other photos and yoga bottoms I'm wearing by American Flora.

When you practice yoga, being comfortable is key...and that is determined in part by what you're wearing. I recently fell in love with one of my absolute favorite pairs of yoga pants, which also serve as perfect bottoms for hip hop class: American Flora Iris cropped pants.

Yogis, dancers, beautiful people -- I can't say this loud enough: American Flora rocks!

I love that the pants are not full-length. That means they're perfect for a hot vinyasa flow or Bikram class when I don't feel like wearing short shorts. Plus they don't ride up during postures, and they're fashionable enough to wear under a skirt, too.

They're one of the most versatile bottoms I have because I use them for hula hooping and biking, too. Now that's the kind of yoga wear that I can get behind: fully functional, fun-to-wear, and comfy before, during, and after class. (And the company is green!)

If you're in the mood for some new athletic wear, I highly recommend checking out American Flora. They market to dancers, mostly, but their stuff is beautiful and works well for keeping cool during any workout.

Thanks, American Flora, for introducing me to your line of yoga and dance wear. Keep sharing your light. Namaste.

Returning to the Heat: My Recent Bikram Adventure

 Photos via Pinterest.

Last weekend I took a Bikram class, my first in quite a few months. I arrived a little later than I wanted to, and rushed in to find a spot.

Sweaty yogis lined the room, familiar faces I have missed. I set up on the hot side, feeling brave, wiggling into my hips a few times before class started.

The teacher pushed us hard. Pranayama lit me up inside; I could feel the glow of fresh oxygen in my lungs. I felt strong through Half Moon, Hands to Feet, Awkward and Eagle. I took my tiny sip of water during "Party Time" and smiled, thinking about all the systems in my body working together to create the sweaty magic that Bikram brings.

The balancing poses of the standing series kicked my butt. I hadn't done Balancing Stick in months! My knees wobbled, the arches of my feet felt weak and achy.

But I listened. I kept going. I let go instead of resisting.

I felt stronger in Triangle than I ever used to, even way back when I was at the Bikram studio up to 5 times a week. I realized it's because I've branched out -- because I've done Vinyasa and Hatha and yin classes -- that other parts of my body have grown stronger than they could only taking Bikram yoga.

I finished class smiling, dripping sweat, wanting more. I'll be back to the Torture Chamber soon :)

I believe in balance. I'm so glad yoga found me, and that I've been blessed to get involved with a number of local Evanston studios. I hope to continue switching up the style of yoga I practice, and I know I'll always come back to Bikram and the healing those 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises have to offer.

What kinds of classes have you been taking lately, yogis?

Yoga & Anxiety: My Guest Post on The Greatist

Photos by me.

Hey all, happy Tuesday! I hope you're having a beautiful day. I wanted to share some exciting news: I have a guest post up on The Greatist! (I am so honored to share my thoughts on their site; if you haven't checked them out before, you definitely should. They post on a variety of health, wellness and fitness topics.)

For a long time now, I've been thinking about the relationship between yoga and anxiety. Not too long ago, I discovered that yoga was actually causing me some anxiety instead of helping me feel more calm and at peace.

Has this ever happened to you? Will you please visit my guest post and share your comments? I would love to hear from you. XO

Iluka Activewear

Are you guys in need of some awesome yoga wear

With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to stock up on clothing for your yoga retreat trips, summer conferences, festivals, and favorite hot classes. I recommend you check out Iluka Activewear -- they sell bandeau tops, short shorts, tanks, capris, onesies and pants in tons of fun and colorful prints.


All photos via Iluka Activewear.

Have fun shopping!

Yoga at Home: My Favorite DVDs

Are you new to yoga and unsure where to start in the expansive, wild world of yoga DVDs? 

I'll admit: between Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all of the teacher blogs and websites out there, it's hard to know who's at-home practice routine is worth trying.

This post is for all of you yogis who want to keep your practice going at home, but don't know which DVDs are worthy of your time. This list includes all of the ones I'm a fan of, plus a few I've never tried but which look amazing. Hope it brings you many great hours at home on your mat!

Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress with Maya Fiennes

Rodney Yee: Yoga Burn

Seane Corn: Detox Flow Yoga or Vinyasa Flow

Morning Kundalini with Tommy Rosen via Gaiam TV

Fit Body Yoga with Gwen Lawrence via Gaiam TV

AM/PM Yoga for Beginners with Barbara Benagh

Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Total Body Transformation (which I recently reviewed in detail)

As far as online resources/ subscription services go, I highly recommend I want to try Yogis Anonymous  out sometime soon too. Any of you ever used it?

Here are three other DVDs on my must-try list:

Power Flow Yoga with Shiva Rea

Budokon  with Jason Olive

Yin Yoga  with Paul Grilley

Which yoga DVDs are your favorite? Please share your recommendations in the comments below. Happy living room yoga-ing! :)

Your Own Sweat Box: How to Set Up a Bikram Yoga Hot Room at Home

Photo via Bikram Yoga Redmond.

Have you ever considered setting up an at-home space to practice Bikram yoga in the heat?

If you've been practicing Bikram's beginning series for a while, this could be a great step to deepen your practice. Setting up your at home "Torture Chamber" does take a little planning, but it's well worth it.

Photos via Berries and Bikinis and  Christina Earl.

So, where do you start? Here's a list of what you'll need to get your hot room ready.

  • Adequate space (large enough for your mat plus a little extra space around the edges; make sure you can extend your arms at full reach in all directions).
  • A heat source (space heaters seem to be the trend), plus a thermometer to measure the temperature and keep it regulated.
  • A humidity source (optional - some people go without this at home; also keep in mind that certain heaters offer better humidity than others).
  • Yoga mat and towel, plus some yoga wear you're willing to sweat in. I recommend K. Deer bumbum bottoms, Onzie, and Iluka Activewear
Photos via Iluka ActivewearK. Deer, and Onzie.
  • A mirror (preferably full-length) so you can monitor your alignment in each posture.
  • Studio experience with the postures for a basic understanding of Bikram yoga. Warning: if you don't know the series, don't practice it at home! At least until you've had some practice in a studio under the guidance of a certified teacher.
  • The Bikram class on CD (sold on Amazon).
  • I also highly recommend you check out the book Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class to increase your knowledge of each posture.

Photo illustration by me.

Here are some space heater options, listed from cheapest to most expensive:

*Note: I haven't tried any of these and I don't have my own Bikram space set up at home, but in my online research these seem to be popular choices among the Bikram yogi crowd!

Additional tips for a safe and rewarding at-home Bikram practice:
  • If you have a large bathroom, you might consider setting up in there. I've read that many people turn on their shower or fill a bathtub to increase humidity. This sounds like it might work well, but keep in mind it's not the most eco-friendly approach!
  • Insulate: consider adding carpeting to hardwood or tile floors to add heat. You might also want to look into plastic treatment over windows so that warm air is held in and cold drafts can't enter the room. A door snake can also help keep the room contained; learn how to make one here.
  • Fans can help circulate air inside the room, so heat isn't concentrated in one spot.
  • Hydrate! As when you practice in a studio, be sure to drink lots of water before your Bikram class. Drink 16-32 ounces at least 2 hours prior to practicing, and double that after you shower.
  • Remember to be safe. Keep water in the room in case you feel overheated. Especially if you're fairly new to Bikram, include emergency props in your home space as well: a cushion or chair to elevate your legs after laying down, and a washcloth so you can wipe down your mat and keep it from being a slipping hazard. Sit down if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint -- you are your own teacher at home, so don't risk injury.
   Photos via Bikram Yoga Dallas and Sierra Sun.

A few final things to keep in mind... as an intermediate to advanced Bikram practitioner, starting your home practice can lead you to improve your yoga. You'll learn the valuable skill of self-correction by monitoring your own practice closely in private. This also means each posture will be better for you because it's more precise.

You'll also experience deeper focus than in a crowded class. At home on your own, there are no distractions to keep you from your yoga, so your monkey mind will quiet down.

That's perhaps the greatest benefit of experiencing Bikram yoga in a quiet, peaceful place: the meditation that follows.

Yoga Retreats

Photos by Christine Hewitt of

Have you guys ever been on a yoga retreat? I've always dreamed of going on one.

I've done a few day-long silent retreats, but nothing longer or faraway. Wouldn't it be amazing to escape to northern California for a week of relaxation, yoga, meditation and spa treatments?

Or spend a few days at Kripalu in western Massachusetts for a healthy living immersion program? They do weight-loss, nutrition, Ayurveda and stress-relief workshops that look amazing. They even offer programs for people who need to heal from cancerheart disease or diabetes! Talk about taking the time to take your life back.

A Bikram retreat would also be amazing. Rajashree Choudhury and Emmy Cleaves hold an annual Bikram Women's Retreat that I've heard great things about. It sure would be inspiring to be in the hot room with a few hundred women pushing through class together!

If you've done a yoga retreat or have any recommendations, I'd love to hear about it! 

Speaking Bikram in All Languages (A Guest Post from a Bikram Yogini)

Photo courtesy of Noa.

Bikram Yoga knows no borders. It's a style that can be found across the globe, whether the dialogue is being spoken in English or another language, or not at all.

Have you ever taken a Bikram class in another country? Or tried a silent class?

Today I bring you the story of one culturally-savvy yogini and her reflections on the Bikram dialogue, language barriers, and the beauty of silence. I especially love her videos at the end, too. Enjoy!

by Noa Glow

I’m one lucky yogi. The roster at my home studio – Bikram Yoga Vancouver – includes instructors from far beyond Canada’s borders: Spain, Germany, South Africa, the U.S. … the list goes on and on.

Last night, Jerome “from Pareee” led the class. When it came time for salabhasana (locust pose), he counted us down in English on the right side and “en Français” on the left.

“Very good,” he said as we lowered our left legs down. “Much better in French.” I started thinking about the Bikram Yoga language barrier – or lack thereof.

I never did take a Bikram Yoga class when I traveled throughout Spain several summers ago; my guess is it would have been taught in Spanish. I’m almost certain this would not have been a problem. 

Once you know the series by heart you don’t necessarily need an instructor’s words to guide you. But wouldn’t something be lost across the language barrier? Isn’t the reason I keep attending class each day because I learn something new every time I go – no matter how many times I hear the dialogue?

I recently had the privilege of attending a near-silent class. Instead of constant direction, the teacher gave only a few instructions (particularly the all-important "change!" to signal the end of each posture).

For the better part of the session the room was eerily quiet; the only sound was the gurgling of the humidifier. It was brilliant. I love hearing the dialogue, but being able to work it out myself (for the most part) was refreshing – more time observe my own thoughts and associations during the Bikram series.

Class literally flew by that day, and the silence made me realize the true meditative value of yoga. Forcing my focus on my practice and my breath helped me push beyond my limits and experience something new. I'd recommend a silent class to anyone who has the opportunity to try. It never hurts to get out of your comfort zone once in a while; you can only grow from it.

Check out this video on how to say “Lock the knee” in many different languages. It sends shivers up and down my spine for the sheer fact that it demonstrates the true universality of Bikram Yoga, which really does make for common ground between us all. If you are human, you lock your knee!

Thanks, Noa, for your awesome post. Also, Bikram fanatics: be sure to check out Noa's incredible practice in this video. She's a rockstar for sure!

Sultry Yoga

This lady's got a stunning Ashtanga practice, and there's something so sultry about the video and song. Would you ever practice in your underwear at home? (I suppose during a Bikram class, you're not wearing much more...)

And what do you think -- is this video too much? Too sexy to be a true representation of what yoga's about? Even though I think it's a bit over the top, there is something mesmerizing about her.

This Just In: Yoga Poses Can't be Copyrighted

Last week I posted about the lawsuit by Bikram against Yoga to the People and was pleasantly surprised to hear your comments on the controversy. I heard a resounding shout from readers to protect the integrity of the Bikram yoga 26 & 2 series... but it looks like that shout has not been held up in court.

Photo via Pinterest.

Regulators have announced that "yoga poses such as head-to-knee stretches and the sequences of the moves are 'exercises' rather than 'choreography' and can’t be copyrighted in the United States."

The new U.S. Copyright Office decision does not acknowledge exercises (including yoga movements) as able to be protected choreography.

Photo via Pinterest.

I guess this means NYC yogis will be able to take their $8 hot yoga class after all.

For further reading, check out:

What do you guys think?

Stories from a Bikram Yoga Teacher

Photos courtesy of Shavon Hutchinson.

One of my favorite Bikram bloggers recently returned from Bikram Teacher Training. Congrats, Shavon! You are rockin' the hot room already :)

I couldn't resist sharing Shavon's story about how Bikram yoga has changed her life for the better. Even in the few weeks since Shavon returned from the Yoga Bubble, she says she's noticed a difference in the way she feels and how people perceive her. Plus, she's started to make the world a better place, one person at a time. How amazing is that?!

People Talk to Me

By Shavon Hutchinson

It is interesting. People, even strangers, talk to me now. I've noticed this since being back from training. 

 As I was reminded by a fellow trainee Facebook friend, Boss told us our friends, families and relatives will see us differently after training. I think this is true, especially since I feel so different after training. 

 I still can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something different about me now and I like it. I feel softer, calmer, more at peace with me, flaws and all.

So I am back to a day job now. A coworker of mine came to talk to me about stuff and it got me thinking. She was saying how she wants to be a better woman so those characteristics would reflect in her children. 

I immediately thought of yoga of course and then also about my negative world views. See, I think there is a lot of change that our society can benefit from. 

If we were a closer knit community of people rather than a bunch of individuals then I think we would treat others and the earth differently. When people have a regular yoga practice they often take the principles they learn in class off the mat and into the real world. 

That's what so cool about yoga is that it makes you better so you can go out into the world and treat others better.

Qualities like patience, acceptance, tolerance and focus can't help but foster and spill over into our everyday lives. We could all benefit from a little dose of those qualities from time to time. It is nice to see I am possibly projecting those qualities outward. Making the world a better place one person at a time.

Namaste to you, beautiful lady. Keep it up!

Do you have a story about Bikram yoga teacher training you'd like to share? Email me at aliveinthefire at
gmail dot com today!

Curious Yoga Beginners (What Questions Are You Asking on the Mat?)

Photos via Urban Yoga Girl on Tumblr. 

As a beginner, yoga leaves you asking a lot of questions.

They can range from questions about your physical practice to deeper emotional or mental insights.

Photo via Urban Yoga Girl on Tumblr.

Am I doing this right?
How's my alignment in this posture?
Why does it hurt? Does this hurt too much?
Am I capable of trying this posture? How can I do yoga if I am not flexible?
Will I lose weight if I keep up with yoga?
Are there other people staring at me?

Photo via Miss Fit Bliss.

Why am I here?
What is my intention for practicing yoga today?
What can I let go of?

Introspection is at the heart of yoga. The key is learning how to question without judgment, and remembering to enjoy the journey, the process of yoga, instead of focusing on any difficulty within a present moment. 

You begin to learn that as you are patient with yourself and your body, and as you are open to what is true for you in the present, the answers will come.

Photo via Hearts Expanding

Which questions have you found yourself asking on the mat?

Do you have questions about a specific style of yoga? Here are a few links to some FAQ and general info pages to help you find answers: