Because of the various closures currently and the incubation period of the virus, we hope that by closing now for at least 2 weeks, we can help “flatten the curve,” and protect our community.
Orlo and I have prided ourselves over the years that we “never close on purpose.” We have been open in blizzards, ice storms and heat waves. We have held classes with no electricity.
We know that Bikram Yoga is saving peoples' lives every day. It saved mine. Maybe it saved yours too.
That's why we wanted to remain open as long as possible during this crisis. We (and by we I mean our awesome staff and karma homies!) have been hardcore cleaning the heck out of everything and taking many extra precautions around the studio, such as switching to verbal check-in and putting wipes all over the place.
We've done our best, but it ain't enough.
When I face a difficult decision for the business, I look to Home’s core values of Inclusivity, Courage, Hospitality and Integrity.
To remain open at this time would not be Inclusive of our community members who are more vulnerable to the serious effects of COVID-19, or who care for others who are vulnerable.
To close requires a ton of Courage for us because, as a small business closing, even temporarily, will put great strain on our family as well as our staff who rely on us for income. It is scary to close, and being courageous means we will do it anyway.
We will soon run out of the supplies we need for disinfecting. If we remained open, our Hospitality would soon be compromised by the inability to provide a safe environment for you. We want Home to be here for you, in all its sparkling clean and welcoming glory when this all blows over.
Finally, closing our doors (for now) is an act of Integrity. We have always strived to be the kind of leaders who do the right thing, even when it’s hard. (And this is hard!)
It is the hardest decision since that one time we found out we were pregnant and then decided to build a hot yoga studio from scratch with $0 to our name.
Like that one, this one is right.
Just because the studio will be closed does not mean you need to stop doing yoga and feeling good. Bikram Yoga can be practiced safely at home (the one you sleep at) even without the heat.
It ain't the same- but it is sure better than nothing! In fact, this study found improved vascular health from performing the Bikram Yoga sequence of postures regardless of room temperature.
We know you want to keep being a strong, pain-free and level-headed person with a robust immune system, especially now.
That's why we've been busily collecting audio recordings of your favorite teachers and plugging them onto our YouTube channel where you (if you are a current or former student of Home) will be able to access them on demand.
You may be wondering about your current yoga pass. Check out our Closure FAQ here or email us if the FAQ doesn't have the answer. Thank you for your patience as it may take us longer to reply.
Many of you have reached out to express your support, and we are so grateful. Many of you have thanked us for remaining open until now, and we are grateful to you too! We are humbled that you put your trust in us, and we plan to continue deserving it.
For now we’ll be doing our darndest to help you keep accessing the yoga, support and connection you need to continue loving your life during this unusual time.
With love and gratitude,
At Home we believe that preventative medicine is the way to go: if you can reduce your risk of disease, then you won't have to deal with treating yourself for a bunch of disease! And Bikram Yoga is some serious preventative medicine. (Of course this amazing system we teach is also highly effective for healing injuries or chronic pain, but that’s another blog post.)
Today I want to talk about Bikram Yoga and the immune system. Because honestly, our most valuable personal asset in fighting the Coronavirus (or any virus) is: the human immune system.
Here are 5 ways your Bikram Yoga practice supports your immune system function:
1. Improved stress response
When a person is stressed out, it inhibits their body’s ability to fight stuff off. (That’s why your stressball neighbor is always getting sick.) And it’s not the stressors that are the problem- it’s the body’s stress response that makes an impact!
For one thing, cortisol is one of the main hormones released as part of the stress response. Evolution-wise, cortisol’s job is to give you a burst of energy in order to fight off an immediate threat. If there is actually an immediate threat (like a tiger, rawrr) that’s very helpful.
But if the stressor is something constant, like pressure from your job or the collection agency that keeps on calling, your cortisol levels remain elevated, which increases inflammation.
Being continually stressed out also decreases the body’s lymphocytes. Those are the white blood cells whose job is to fight off infection. The fewer lymphocytes you’re working with, the more at risk you are for viruses.
Good news is - while it’s unlikely you’ll ever remove all stressors from your life (plus that would be kind of boring) - you have a ton of control when it comes to how you perceive those stressors and therefore how your body responds to them.
Bikram Yoga helps improve your stress response by making sure you regularly practice tools for coping with stress (such as calm breathing through the nose) in a stressful environment (standing on one leg in your underwear in a heated room, looking at yourself in your mirror.) And the more you practice, the better you get.
2. Gets you moving
Regular moderate intensity exercise (ahem, like Bikram Yoga, 2-5 times a week!) is associated with a reduced risk of common infections like upper respiratory tract infections (the common cold.)
3. Keeps ya hydrated
There really are few experiences that will make you appreciate water more than a nice hot Bikram Yoga class. Which is awesome, because your body needs water for all its systems to do their thing! Did you know that water makes up about 80% of your blood? Without sufficient water, your kidneys can not adequately flush toxins, waste, and bacteria from the body. Water also makes up 95% of lymphatic fluid (full of those helpful lymphocytes who fight off “invaders” like viruses!
4. Makes you crave the good food
Maybe it’s just me, but after a juicy class I want salad and a smoothie way more than I want deep fried fish sticks. Proper nutrition (including a variety of fruits and vegetables) is key for good immune function. Both overnourished (obese) and undernourished people tend to get sick more often than those who eat a balanced diet.
When you sweat, your skin produces natural antibiotics such as dermcidin. These antibiotics are more effective in the long term than lab-made ones, because germs are not capable of quickly developing resistance to them. Dermcidin is capable of fighting off both bacteria and fungi, and has been shown to triumph over dangerous bugs like tuberculosis and staphylococcus- which are difficult to treat because they are resistant to conventional antibiotics.
So maybe we should be slathering ourselves in sweat, instead of Purell?
The Coronavirus situation is changing daily, and it's a good idea to stay updated. (Be careful where you get your news though!)
Here is a comparison between the current Coronavirus and the flu, to help you put things into perspective.
In the meantime, something we definitely know about this virus, as well as the flu and the common cold is that having a strong and healthy immune system can only help you!
So for protection: wash your hands a lot, and practice using your "Germ Pocket."
To maintain a robust immune system, keep doing your Bikram Yoga practice. Click the link below to book your next class.
(And if you haven't started yet, grab your intro pass here!)
The sit-up. It's not officially a yoga pose, but more of a transition move to get you from savasana to your next posture.
Official yoga pose or not, correct sit-up technique can make a big difference, especially if you have back pain (or if you want to have amazingly strong abs!)
Try it in class today.
Booking online is a convenient way to plan in your you-time. It also helps us know to save a spot for you! Check out these quick tutorials we made on how to do it.
How to book from your computer:
How to book/ cancel using the Mindbody app:
When you book online we'll hold your spot until the class start time, so even if you book online plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early. If you have not signed in at the desk by the class start time, we will release your spot to a standby student.
If you can't make it to a class you have booked, please use the Mindbody app or your online account to cancel yourself out of the class asap. This link goes directly to your personal schedule.
Thank you so much for helping us keep things running smoothly during sign-in desk for all students!
See you at Home.
So, you took your first Bikram Yoga class. You were proud of the achievement, but... later that day, you felt awful!
Here's what you thought right away: maybe you should never do Bikram Yoga again. Maybe you just can't take the heat.
Not so fast.
The thing is: after one class, you can not really know whether the heat- or anything about what you did in yoga- was the cause of how you felt later. Think of it this way: no scientist would ever perform an experiment one time and say they have conclusive evidence to support a claim!
It could be that you had a virus, or you ate something that didn't sit well. It could be that you were not as well-hydrated as you thought. (Most of us don't drink enough water throughout the day.) Or maybe how you deal with stress in your life has been affecting your body in some way you were not aware of- until you put your body in the heat.
We can feel ill for so many reasons!
So, if Bikram Yoga doesn't make you sick, why am I even writing this blog post?
Unless you have a very specific medical condition like being allergic to your own sweat, Bikram Yoga is most likely not going to make you sick. (And it may just help you solve a whole slurry of medical problems.)
But the heat will make you uncomfortable. Which makes it an easy scapegoat for all kinds of sensations.
I'm writing this blog post because: I get it. Those first few classes can leave you feeling a whole mess of feelings, and not all of those feelings are always pleasant. But nothing you do which is transformative will be pleasant all the time.
The body is wired to seek comfort, and the mind is wired to seek bliss.
The hot environment of Bikram Yoga is meant to be stressful on your body. By putting your body under stress, you create change in your body. (Note: stressful does not mean dangerous. 105 degrees is not a dangerous temperature for a person to be in for 90 minutes.)
Doing yoga in a hot room is like looking in a mirror through a magnifying glass: your experience in the hot room shows you (in BIG size) what you have been doing- or not doing- to care for yourself throughout the previous hours, days, weeks or even years.
For example: if you are a smoker, you may have trouble with breathing in class. Guess what? That does not mean Bikram Yoga is bad for breathing. Bikram Yoga is just showing you the effects of you being a smoker. (For this reason, many of our regulars credit Bikram Yoga with helping them quit smoking.)
After your first class, I'll bet you'd never done anything like it before! (You might have even exclaimed exactly that to your teacher or a friend: "I've never done anything like that before!")
Like anything new, you have to give your body time to adjust.
It is perfectly normal to have a headache or feel tired after your first or even first few classes, especially if you had been dehydrated when you came in! Did you know that if you felt thirsty during class, it probably means you were already dehydrated?
Feeling depleted can be due to irregular breathing or holding your breath, which can definitely be a thing among first-time Bikram yogis. (When we concentrate on learning a new routine, a common tendency is to hold our breath while we focus hard on what we're doing.) Involuntary breath-holding puts strain on the muscles and nervous system.
The good news is, by practicing awareness of breath and conscious breathing exercises (as we do in Bikram Yoga) you can regain control of your breathing and normalize your breathing patterns. And because we do the same sequence of poses every time, you will quickly learn how to pace yourself during the class. While the yoga never gets "easy," you will get better at handling it.
Tension headaches or migraines can be triggered or made worse by dehydration. If you experienced one of these following your first class, it is likely that poor hydration is to blame. You're not used to sweating this much! Not yet, anyway.
To handle headaches or migraines, up your water intake throughout the day by several cups, even on days you are not practicing.
To handle feeling tired, rest and breathe. These are good rules for life, and great rules for your next class too.
By the way, did you rest during your class?
Maybe you didn't know it was ok to take breaks. (It is.) Now you know! I'll bet that if you take more breaks during your second class, you will feel a million times better afterward.
But it's SO hot...
Our yoga room is heated to 105 degrees, a temperature which many humans in the world live in for weeks or months at a time. There is nothing "unnatural" or "extreme" about this temperature for the human body.
The difference, people who live in hot climates are acclimated, and we in Portland are not.
But your body has not evolved so incredibly much since your ancestors who used to tough it out through all kinds of weather with no air conditioning! While it may take a bit of practice, you can definitely handle 90 minutes in heat equivalent to a summer's day.
And if you think you can't, you should definitely try. How else will you find out how truly badass you are?
When you first begin doing Bikram Yoga, it does take time to acclimate to the heat. This is why we recommend practicing often as possible when you first start. At least 3 times your first week is the best, but do more if you can. The more often you come at the beginning, the quicker you will acclimate.
Another factor in feeling awful after yoga could be the clothes you wore to class. Check out this video we made about which clothes are just plain wrong for Bikram Yoga.
If you felt so, SO hot in your sweatpants, try wearing shorts next time. Trapping your body heat in layers of baggy clothes is just a totally bad idea in 105 degrees. You wouldn't wear a bikini out snowshoeing, would you?
Students often tell me when I say this, "oh, I know I will feel cooler- but I don't like to see my [thighs/ cankles/ gut) in the mirror.") I get it. I was that girl in a sports bra, tank top, tee shirt AND a long-sleeved shirt in class.
I thought I was fat and ugly, and I thought I could hide.
Over time I learned I was wrong about all those things. It turns out I was not fat, I was not ugly- and I could not hide under the bright lights of Bikram Yoga class. Little by little, I shed my layers. I began to feel cooler and better. More importantly, I began to love and appreciate the body I saw in the mirror.
Self-loathing is not a good excuse for making your body suffer.
What I want to leave you with is this: give this life-saving yoga system an honest try. Try to do 10 classes in 1 month. (The studiowide yoga challenge starts on Monday!!)
Or if that even seems like too far in advance to plan, just make up your mind to do 3 classes this week. If after that you totally hate it and don't see any reason to continue? Don't continue. At least you really gave it a shot.
Use the tips from this post: hydrate, dress in small close-fiting clothing, and make sure you are breathing calmly through your nose throughout the class. I bet you will feel so much better, and I bet you will start loving your life more too. Let us know if you do!
"New year, new you" implies that there is something so wrong with you that you should, in the new year, become a whole different person.
At Home, we think that's bullshit! (Uhh, I guess unless you are really an awful person... but if you are reading our blog you are probably pretty chill.)
The preferred slogan around HHY is: New Year, *More* You." Because you are great, as you are. And your potential is even greater.
Most of us are not living up to our fullest potential. We are bogged down by all the little things we think we have to do. We are distracted from what matters by an endless stream of emails, texts, social media, advertising, gadgets, products, energy-vacuums, time-wasters, excuses and negative self-talk.
For the new year, please do not attempt to change into a different person.
Just cut out some bullshit, so you can be more of the amazing human who you already are!
If you need a place to practice that? Join the "New Year, More You" Challenge! It starts on January 20.
To make a reservation, simply click below and "book" the class(es) you wish to attend!
See you in yoga soon!
I realize if you've made it to this page you probably already know what our new name is! Check out this video to find out how and why we came up with this name:
Big change is coming.
At BYSJ, our mission is to get the most people feeling the best by providing a joyful, inclusive environment for the practice of yoga.
We named our yoga school "Bikram Yoga St. Johns" because we believed it was helping us achieve our mission. Bikram Yoga is the style of yoga we teach. It is a highly impactful, even lifesaving, yoga system.
We chose (and kept) our name for the last 4 years, because we wanted anybody seeking Bikram Yoga to be able to find us easily.
Bikram Choudhury is the man who popularized this yoga system in the West and worldwide. He has also been accused of some abhorrent behavior.
We do not condone or support any of this behavior.
We are sad beyond words at what has happened, and we hope that everyone involved finds peace and a healing path forward.
We want you to know that BYSJ is and always has been independently owned and operated, by us.
Like most, if not all, yoga schools who teach Bikram Yoga, we have never and do not pay any affiliation or franchise fees to Bikram Choudhury or any other person or entity.
This is a fact which has been misrepresented in the media for years. There is no worldwide Bikram Yoga franchise as many poorly fact-checked articles have reported.
Perpetuating the myth that Bikram yoga studios pay fees to Bikram Choudhury does not right any wrongs and does not bring justice to any wrong-doers. In fact, it only harms two groups of people: (1) small business owners, many of them women and mothers, and (2) the yoga students they serve.
To us, Bikram the yoga and Bikram the man have always been separate and distinct.
We now realize that, seeing multiple studios worldwide with the name "Bikram Yoga" on their doors, it can be easy to assume that we are part of a chain. (We're not, but that doesn't matter unless it can be communicated.)
We understand if people don't want their money to go to Bikram Choudhury, and we can see how, because of this, the name "Bikram Yoga St. Johns" may prevent them from coming to our yoga classes. (And most people really need this yoga!)
It has become clear to us that our name is now getting in the way of our mission.
So, like anything that gets in the way of us helping people, we are letting it go.
Our hope is that our new name will communicate to the public that we are a locally owned, independent business, and also convey a sense of what we stand for as a business and a community.
We are changing our business name. We are not changing our values, our mission- or our personalities.
You can help us spread the truth about who we are by sharing this video, but even better, you can help by sharing your own positive experiences with the yoga and with us.
We are not changing the yoga.
Bikram Yoga is still the most powerful, most inclusive, and most joyful system of yoga that we've ever encountered, and we intend to continue practicing and teaching it as long as we possibly can.
We are looking forward to offering this impactful wellness technology to everyone, under a new banner that communicates what we believe in:
We think we've found the perfect name, and we look forward to sharing it with you!
Stay tuned for the big name-reveal coming soon...
Boss lady, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.