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The importance of community

I don’t think we are the first ones to mention it, but community is now more important than ever. Now is not the time to fight with or compete against others, but rather, to really do your best to support BOTH yourself and those around you, helping out where you can, and hoping for the best for everyone.

What can you do to help the community?

  • Give random acts of kindness to your family members, friends, colleagues, strangers
  • Try new creative activities with your family / friends / room-mates living with you
  • Buy from and promote local businesses
  • Join online meet ups – we’ve seen everything the last few weeks – more people on zoom/instagram/facebook/facetime/youtube for exercise classes, philosophy chats, cooking demonstrations, social catch ups, and more! Right now there’s literally zillions of online groups for every topic you can think of! Just get googling!
  • Volunteer and donate (once you’re sure your health is in the clear and can remain so). And even if you can’t go out in public yesterday, there are plenty of ways to volunteer or donate online!
  • Reconnect with those you haven’t spoken to or seen in a long time. Write a letter, send an email or text, make a phone call, or, pray
  • Send a thank you letter to the hospital staff who are working around the clock to help save the lives of those in our community. You could also give a letter to the pharmacists, grocery-store employees, garbage truck drivers, school teachers, and all those who have continued working to support the essential needs right now

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well, and please reach out if you need to talk or need any support during this time

Love, Sherry and the team at BYNB

Online Zoom Classes

Our trial online Bikram 90 minute class today went really well! We are going to be back on tomorrow at 4:30pm (Thursday 26th March). We will continue to have classes each day, at different times – please check our facebook page , instagram , app , or call the studio (3256 6565) to get information on class times.

The first time you connect you will need to download an app on your computer, or your phone. Then you just click this link to get started:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3385399929

That link should take you straight there but if it asks for a meeting ID it’s: 338 539 9929

You will have the option to use video so the teacher can see your practice and offer corrections or you can do so without if you just want to hear the dialogue.

Please note classes may not be offered everyday, but we will aim for at least a few times a week.

Class will start at 4:30pm, once teaching commences the online room will be locked so late entries do not disturb the classroom. You can join early from 4:20pm to ask any questions to our teacher. The class will then run exactly as if in the studio but from the comfort of your home.

Have your mat, water and smiling happy faces ready.

Corona Virus Update

Dear Bikram Yoga North Brisbane students.


We’re seeing hard evidence over the last few days that health is worth more than wealth.


Health has always been the priority of Bikram Yoga North Brisbane. Health is exactly why we do, what we do. As such, there a few things we wanted to let you know about:

1. The studio is open. Unless Australia goes into total lock-down, classes are on. However, we have implemented a limited timetable, so please refer to our app Bikram Yoga North Brisbane for the most up-to-date class schedule.


2. We have limited our class size to 20 people. Please book via the app, or call Sherry on 0422 684 789. Please make sure you cancel if you can’t make class in case someone else needs that spot.


3. Rental towels and mats are available. These are laundered immediately after each use. We would however prefer you bring your own mat. We do have mats for sale at the studio.


4. Weights and props will not be used in our Pilates and Yin classes for the time being. Bolsters are for sale at the counter for Yin.


5. There are no towels in the bathrooms. At the moment paper towel is like hen’s teeth so please use your own towels to dry your hands.


5. We have disinfectant spray available if you would like to use that on your mat after class.


6. We are regularly disinfecting all the surfaces at the studio and the yoga room flooring itself.


Of course, it is entirely your prerogative to come to class, or not. As we have always said – two reasons not to attend – if you are running a fever and/or you are, or think you might be, contagious.


Finally – We believe in self care. Wash your hands, exercise, eat well, look after your immune system and be in company of good people. We are a small, family run studio with a fantastic community and we strongly believe the yoga and movement is beneficial for both body and mind, particularly during times like we are experiencing now. 


We will continue to follow the guidelines provided by Queensland health with regards to the management of Corona Virus and other flus.

See you in the room.

Love and light,

Sherry and the team at Bikram Yoga North Brisbane.

What is a yoga asana / posture?

Many of us practice yoga asana / postures on a regular basis, without ever really connecting to ‘what a postures is’, and why we practice them in the first place.

​A yoga asana is a set of muscular contractions and relaxations. ​Figuring out how to use our muscles accordingly in each posture, is the goal of a physical practice. Once we find the correct musculature in the posture, we breath, focus our gaze, and enter stillness. This is where and when the therapy occurs!

Each posture is different, hence the body will have a different shape in each one. Where we get into trouble is beginning to think, consciously or not, that simply getting our body into the shape of a posture is the goal. This becomes a problem when we look like we are doing a posture, but we don’t have correct control over the musculature of the pose. Specific muscles need to contract, and others to relax, in order to create the necessary compression, stretch, or twist that brings the therapeutic benefit.

This often happens in a forehead to knee pose, for example. We become focused on touching our forehead to our knee rather than being aware of the necessary muscle control that rounds our spine and makes this happen in the first place. (Contracting the front of the abs, relaxing the lower back muscles, and keeping the shoulders down and away from our ears!). Correctly getting the forehead to the knee strengthens the abdominal and thigh muscles, squeezes and flushes out the gall bladder, pancreas and spleen, as well as the uterus and ovaries, and increases flexibility of the sciatic nerve.

Building your practice upon the principle of muscle control is going to bring you tremendous benefit. The shape of the posture isn’t worth making if your body is not working properly. Yoga Guru Bishnu Ghosh explains, “Controlling of any muscle is nothing but to contract and relax the muscles without any movement of the limbs or contraction of any other muscle.”

Introducing Hot Mat Pilates to our schedule

Alongside the success of our Inferno HIIT Pilates class, we are introducing Hot Mat Pilates to our weekly schedule, starting Thursday 27th February, 9:30am.

Hot Mat Pilates is the classical mat series, with over 500 exercises, as developed by Joseph Pilates, with a contemporary attitude. Mat work came before any of the Pilates Apparatus (equipment) were developed or introduced. These mat exercises test and build your core control, spinal articulation, ability to stabilise, mobilise and lengthen your muscles. The class is open to everyone from beginners to advanced students, as the exercises cannot only build in difficulty, but every exercise can be modified to decrease or increase the level of challenge. As you progress in your practice, you will notice improvements in breathing, focus, stress management, and body awareness.

How does Hot Mat Pilates differ to Inferno HIIT Pilates? IHP is based on pilates principles, but is a high intensity interval training class. In IHP, alongside some mat pilates exercises, rounds of cardio will also be included.

The classes we have on offer at the studio complement each other, focusing on functional movement and fitness, and we encourage you to try them all.

We look forward to seeing you soon in one of our classes, and thank you for being a part of our community – our community is really at the heart of our studio.

Namaste!

Do what is right, not what is easy

Do you want to start a blog? Write and share your own creations, thoughts, content; don’t mimic the work of another.

Do you want to create more financial freedom? Dedicate time today towards cleaning up your spending and researching how best to invest your money, rather than thinking its too difficult, boring, or can wait for another day.

Do you want to change your work environment? Face your fears and do so, even if it means leaving the familiarity of the current.

Do you want to change your physique? Get up and move your body every morning, even if you want to stay in bed or watch TV

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of a meditation practice? Sit your butt down everyday and meditate, even if you’re tired, un-interested or only have 5 minutes.

Do you want to achieve deeper levels of intimacy with your partner? Openly and clearly communicate with them, rather than accepting and desensitising yourself.

Do you want do what is right? Do you want to move towards greater levels of freedom, transcendence and joy, and not be limited by control, security or familiarity? Then just do it. Let go of the easier option. Let go of excuses. Go after your dreams – accepting it might be challenging along the way, but relaxing into the intrinsic knowledge that this is what you’re meant to do and it will ultimately deliver to you what you greatly desire.

Namaste

Kundalini Yoga

You may have seen (or attended!) some of our Kundalini Yoga Workshops over these last few months with Kylie. They have been a big success – many attendees saying they have felt more creative, enlivened, all-embracing, and clear-thinking after their Kundalini class. So we are listening to you and keeping them on our regular schedule! You can keep up to date with our latest classes on our app.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the practice, we’d like to take the time to explain it to you here –

Kundalini Yoga is an uplifting blend of movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting of mantras. The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness. It does this through strengthening the nervous system, increasing willpower, clearing brain fog, improving breath, enhancing visualisation, imagination, and creativity, opening the heart, upgrading communication skills, boosting compassion and gratitude, awakening intuition, and developing wisdom. Now that’s a list of benefits!!!

Like all yoga, Kundalini yoga is not to be taken lightly. It is like an express train that shakes and wakes you up. Some classes will leave you feeling high and totally blissed out. Other will really provoke and confront you. What’s important is to stay present and accept pleasure and pain as part of the same journey to health and balance. Our ego naturally leans toward pleasure and comfort. It takes concerted effort and discipline to begin to release the ego’s grip on our consciousness. This effort is the work required to begin to access the truth of who we are, to create a strong connection to our soul and to start to take great strides towards being more at peace and in harmony with ourselves.

We sincerely encourage you to experience Kundalini yoga for yourself. It will add depth to your existing practice and to your life. This Saturday, 7th September we are offering a special Kundalini Meditation and Gong Bath Class. The class will be 90 minutes, from 10:15am to 11:45am. It’s suitable for all levels – beginners and expecting women are welcome! The cost is free for members and $28 for non-members. You can book and pay direct to the studio, or contact Kat o 0439 068 058, or Sherry on 0422 684 789. We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing, preferably white or light colours, bring water, mat, bolster / cushion and small blanket. Come a few minutes early to get settled in, we start on time.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Namaste

Yoga can help to close (yes close) your heart after grief.

Grief is the heart-breaking feeling people experience after they’ve suffered a loss. This loss may be from an illness or death, somebody leaving home or moving away, someone changing, physically, emotionally or mentally, and is no longer what or how we expect they should be. It could perhaps also be due to a change of residency, getting married, or becoming pregnant. Regardless, we grieve the significant changes that take place, as we come to realise life as we knew it, will never be the same again. Even if we have a tremendous gain as a result of the change, such as moving to a beautiful new home, we can still grieve the loss of the comforts of the old – the friendly neighbour, the favourite cafe nearby, the customs we had in the home. We somewhat expect grief to arise around death, but it also shows up ‘unexpectedly’ in other areas of life.

While everyone experiences grief and loss differently, yoga can help with the process of moving on and healing for all. The combination of both the heart opening backbends and the nurturing forward bends work together to heal and mend your broken heart. The backward bends help to stretch and ‘crack open’ your chest – allowing suppressed emotions to flood out, flow freely and pass naturally. This can be confronting and challenging – even emotionally painful – but the breath-work that comes with your asana practice helps support you through this process, and return you to a place of calm. It’s very important to allow these feelings to flow freely, rather than trapping them inside. The longer you hold onto them, the deeper they will ingrain. The more you let them free, the quicker the healing process will be, and the lighter you’ll feel.

Taking a longer savasana after a backward bend will be extra nurturing for you, as will the forward bend that usually follows. Forward bends give your heart the added comfort, love, and support it needs as it rebuilds and restrengthens itself – as it starts to put the pieces back together. Forward bends are like giving yourself a giant hug. It’s not surprising in Bikram yoga, the deepest backward bend of the series (Camel / Ustrasana) is followed by the deepest forward bend (Rabbit / Sasangasana).

The asanas, breath-work, and stillness that comes with your yoga practice all work synergistically to support you through your grieving process. It’s a safe, wholesome space for you to feel your emotions, set them free, and gently put the pieces back together.

If you don’t feel up to a dynamic practice, we also offer a slower style, Yin Yoga. Yin also offers forward and backward bends, and gives extra time within the asanas for you to release stored or trapped energy.

We hope to be of service and support to you always- but especially through difficult periods of life, such as when you’re grieving a loss or experiencing significant change in your life. If this is you right now, please prioritise your yoga and self care. It’s tremendously important.

Namaste

Create the time for meditation

While we may have heard a daily meditation practice brings with it many benefits to our overall happiness and wellbeing, there’s often resistance to committing to it. Common resistances include thinking ‘I don’t have time’, ‘It’s boring to just sit still’, or ‘I am not good at it, my mind just runs the whole time’. These last two examples are similar to expecting an untrained puppy to sit still the first time it is asked. Whereas the first, simply requires you to have an honest conversation with yourself about what your priorities are, and perhaps shift the expectation of exactly how much time you need to dedicate towards mediating.

Just like your asana, meditation is a practice, not a performance. So a good place to begin is removing any outcome you perceive you need to achieve, which may be ‘successfully meditating’. I know this is one I’ve had in the past. Benefits and blessings will come to you over time, but for now, all you need to do is sit down, try to be still, and practice the meditation technique shown to you. If you don’t have one already, don’t worry, there is one included at the end of this blog.

Initially, sitting still for a period of time can be challenging, especially because we’re so use to ‘moving’ and ‘doing’ constantly. In our modern world, it seems even sleeping is becoming something we ‘do’, rather than being really enjoyed. So to begin, simply designate a specific time window, duration, and place to practice on a regular basis. Begin with five minutes, and set a timer so looking at the clock won’t distract you. Commit to practicing meditation before you have your breakfast in the morning, in a quiet corner or room in your home. Another option is to close the door at your office, and practice your meditation at your desk. Otherwise, you may choose to commit five minutes at the end of your yoga class, when you’re in savasana. Regardless of where and when, we can all create 5 minutes of space in our day. Over time, you can gradually lengthen your practice.

For most people the normal state of the mind is a constant chatter. Don’t be put off by this; Rather, use the stillness, use the quiet, to bring awareness and observation to how much your mind chatters. With repetition of practice, you can use this awareness to soften the chatter, and delve deeper into your consciousness. The associated benefits to this such as a calm mind, eased stress, anxiousness, and depression, healthier sleeping patterns, increased creativity, improved relationships, and self-appreciation and respect, make the practice even more enticing, and even easier to commit to.

Again, just like your asana practice, meditation will bring with it a new experience each day; some will seem ‘easier’ than others. If you a miss a day, feel distracted throughout, or finish early, just start again. Have faith your mind will come to settle down and feel at ease with regular practice and eventually longer periods of sitting. Be as gentle with yourself as you would a puppy you love, and allow your mind to learn to release in the same way it has learned to hold on.

Meditation Technique:

Sit or lie comfortably, with your spine straight. Set a timer on your phone or meditation application (we recommend 1 Giant Mind, or, Insight Timer) so as not to be distracted by looking at the clock. Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths in and out of your nose to calm your body down and prepare for meditation.

Next, place extra attention on your breath. Stilling breathing by your nose, bring your inhale and exhale to the same steady length, and then continue to observe your breath. Feel your chest rise on the inhale, and then the chest fall on the exhale. Feel the coolness of the air on the inhale, and warmth of the air on the exhale. Maintain your focus and observation on your breath. If at any point, you notice your mind wandering, gently come back to the awareness of the breath. For some extra support, you may choose to silently say in your mind ‘inhale’ as you breathe in, and ‘exhale’ as you breathe out.

At the end of your practice, give a statement of gratitude. For example, ‘I am thankful for making the time to do this meditation’, ‘I am thankful for my breath’, ‘I am thankful for how relaxed I feel’, or, anything that naturally arises in to give thanks for.

Some general recommendations to support your meditation practice include, not eating or consuming caffeine/ any other stimulants just prior to meditating, finding a private and quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, and keeping a journal to track your insights and progress.

Let us know how you’re going with your meditation practice. Leave us a comment on this post, share in our facebook group, or talk to any one of us at the studio! We look forward to hearing of how meditation is supporting and enriching you in your life.

Namaste

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

While many think yoga starts and finishes on the mat, the truth is yoga extends far beyond the classroom – it expands into your entire day, throughout your lifestyle choices, and deep into your mentality, morals and spirit. The physical expression of yoga, also known as Asana in sanskrit, is what you do for 90minutes when you visit the studio to do class. You’ll also do some breathing techniques, which is another integral component of yoga, called Pranayama. However, there are indeed 6 other limbs or components which together unite to be the system or science of living and being that we call Yoga. The eight limbs are –

  • YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows
  • NIYAMA – Positive duties or observances
  • ASANA – Posture
  • PRANAYAMA – Breathing techniques
  • PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
  • DHARANA – Focused concentration
  • DHYANA – Meditative absorption 
  • SAMADHI – Bliss or enlightenment

1 Yama: The first limb yama refers to our interaction with the external world, and specifically the disciplines or practices we use to ensure peace within ourselves and with the environment around us. There are five yamas – Ahisma (non-violence), Satya (truthfullness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (right use of energy), and Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding). These yamas are unconditioned by time or place – which is to say, regardless of who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practiced, we can still all aim to instil the yamas within us.

2 Niyama: The second limb, Niyama, are primarily our personal disciplines towards ourselves, but they still have meaning for our interactions with the outside world as well. There are five niyamas – Saucha (cleanliness), Santocha (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study and study of spiritual texts), and Isvarapranidaha (surrender to a higher power). These disciplines are intended for us to explore ourselves beyond the layers, to discover our essence, and to (re)build our character,

3 Asana: The third limb explores the physical aspect of yoga – perhaps the one we are most familiar with. Yet, something we may not realise is that asana doesn’t refer to someone’s ability to do a handstand or an aesthetically impressive backbend; rather it means ‘seat’ in english, or more specifically, the seat you would take for the practice of meditation. You move through the sequence of postures to heal and harmonise your body from injury and illness, so as to sit steadily, comfortably and in stillness during meditation, without complaint.

4 Pranayama: The fourth limb can be broken down in two parts – Prana means breath, energy, or life force – it is the very essence the keeps us alive, as well as being the energy in the universe around us. The Chinese call it ‘Chi’ or ‘Qi’, and the Japanese, ‘Ki’. Yama refers to control and thus by breathing in a very specific way, or controlling our breath, we can improve our state of being.

5 Pratyahara: Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means to ‘withdraw’ or ‘draw back’, and ahara refers to the information we receive from our senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It’s useful to practice withdrawal from our senses when we sit down to meditate, want to achieve deep concentration, without distraction, or really be in the present moment. This can be achieved through focus on the breath (or pranayama).

6 Dharana: The sixth limb, Dharana, refers to ‘focused concentration’. Dha means ‘holding or maintaining’, and Ana means ‘other’ or ‘something else’. It’s closely linked to the previous limbs; In order to focus on something, the senses must withdraw so that all attention is put on that point of concentration, and in order to draw our senses in, we must focus and concentrate intently. Tratak or candle gazing, visualisation, and pranayama (focusing on the breath) are all practices of Dharana.

7 Dhyana: The seventh limb is ‘meditative absorption’ – when we become completely absorbed in the focus of our meditation and free of engagement with the activity of the mind.

8 Samadhi: The eighth limb Samadhi (Sama, same or equal, and Dhi, to see) refers to ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment’. This doesn’t mean to float away on cloud nine in a state of happiness; Rather, to have the ability to see equally, and realise the truth or reality that lies in front of us without any disturbance from the mind or pain in the body fluctuating and governing it. There is observation rather than attachment, and this is freedom.

While our attachments, aversions, desires and habits may creep back in and pull us out of Samadhi, continually practicing the 8 limbs of yoga will help to purify our mind and body until we can maintain Samadhi in a permanent state. This is when we attain Moksha, also known as Mukti, meaning a permanent state of being liberated, released and free. 

Do you practice the eight limbs of yoga already? What benefits and changes have you noticed in your own life since following these yogic principles? Please leave us a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear!

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