If you have not yet attended our Thursday evening warm class, you have yet to be part of a special treat.
Since 2016, we have regularly invited youth ages 6 and up to participate in the second half of the traditional Bikram Yoga series, and many have “graduated” to practicing the whole class now.
This month we have a few very special things to celebrate.
First: our youngest student, Summer, has been practicing regularly since mid-March, 2017. She started her practice when she was 5 years old! It is now her one-year anniversary, and she has completed 27 classes.
Second: Forrest, age 11, has just completed his 100th class at Bikram Yoga Capital Area!! (He also did over 100 classes while still in the womb, but we aren’t counting those.)
A Family Affair
Finally: Nadia (8) and Amelia Pauly (12) have been attending weekly with their father, Matt Pauly. Amelia has started practicing the full class, including the standing series, and Nadia is the youngest person I have worked with who is starting progressions towards full camel posture. Both young ladies have great focus and a wonderful attitude in their practice!
It is SO COOL to see this family embrace yoga for their own reasons, and so inspiring to think of what is to come.
Our annual Spring Yoga Buddy Challenge is a true highlight of the year and takes place from April 1 – May 31 each year.
It expands and deepens our practice and understanding of yoga, and it is so much fun!!
All teams who completed the challenge by May 31 received a unique 2017 Yoga Buddy shirt for each team member. (These are also available for sale if you would like one.)
You can view more photos on the Facebook album here.
Check out the amazing things the Yoga Buddies did this past Spring!
Shaking things up
Each team member practiced in at least 10 different designated spots in the room. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is amazing how easy it is to get stuck in a pattern. This is a simple way to see what attachments we might have created to geography, mirrors, sides of the room, “hot spots”, etc….and to get a new perspective on how we are affected by the external circumstances.
With the increased emotional control that comes from yoga, we can tolerate a wider range of circumstances, places, and people in the world. Not by “acting” or pretending to be more tolerant, but by truly, deeply, having less of an automatic reaction to things we do not initially “like”.
Standing in a place we do not gravitate to is a great way to start testing this process – to test our attachments to preferences and comfort zones.
Depth of thought
Part of the challenge is to read one of our recommended books on yoga. My top recommendation for those who have not read it is How Yoga Works. On every read through, it takes on more and deeper meaning. These are available for sale at BYCA, but you can probably find a yoga buddy team member to borrow it from as well.
Here are some of our favorite team names from this year:
Shake Your Asana
The Pranayama Mamas Strike Back
Super Sweaty & Spicy Senoritas
Los Tres Yogamigos
This year, all of the teams as a whole group get the award for the most diverse and creative expressions I have every seen. They did their yoga via writing, photography, practice, and even computer programming!! My jaw dropped more than once as I saw the submissions come in over the 2 months of the challenge!
Over the course of the coming months, you will see our many (very impressive) guest blog posts and creative projects.
In the meantime, a couple of noteworthy highlights:
Instead of a traditional blog post, Jess completed the May Ghosh Yoga Challenge with Scott and Ida Jo Lamps (thanks to the world wide web), practicing and photographing a specific posture DAILY and sharing something she had learned from it. Here are a selection of her most excellent expressions:
Finally, my eyes popped at the creativity of the team member who wrote a custom computer program to guide him through the Bikram Yoga postures for a home practice!! If that doesn’t tell you this yoga works, I do not know what does. 🙂
This student describes himself as now being on the “offensive” rather than the “defensive” in terms of his overall health, particularly the curvature of his spine. Having suffered many years of chronic back pain and having tried many types of yoga and other therapies, these past several months of Bikram Yoga have made a massive difference. His computer program is open source and free to use.
It is amazing how a simple routine of therapeutic postures can do so much.
Deepest and unending appreciation for all of the superheroes of BYCA! For your inspiring teamwork, dedication to practice, creativity, inclusivity and support of those just beginning, and your smiling, truly happy faces. The world needs you.
The author is a scientist, musician, and occasional computer programmer based in Lansing, MI.
He is a founding member of “Los Tres Yogamigos”, BYCA’s premiere yoga buddy challenge team.
I suffered from chronic back pain for fifteen years. Episodic attempts at cultivating a yoga (or Pilates, or Alexander technique, or self-medication) practice would temporarily ease this pain, but it was not until I moved to Lansing and had the opportunity to practice the 26+2 sequence daily at Bikram Yoga Capital Area (BYCA) that I was able to make the (hopefully somewhat permanent) changes to the structure of my spine that were necessary for me to sit comfortably and live without chronic pain.
Life is taking me away from mid-Michigan however, and I am currently preparing myself for a future of solitary practice punctuated by occasional trips to the nearest Ghosh-lineage yoga studio (which will be many miles away from my future home). Ultimately, I would like to build up the discipline to practice a 26+2 or equivalent routine alone and in total silence. But in the meantime, I have been supplementing my daily 26+2 practice at BYCA by practicing selected asanas at home using customizable audio instructions.
These instructions are generated from a Python script that I wrote, and have recently released with an open source license. The script is admittedly primitive and uses a text-to-speech tool that is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, but it is, after all, only a temporary solution. If you are a Linux user, and you think that you might find this tool to be useful for your home asana practice, then read on!”
Introducing psetcounter: a primitive open source python script for creating customized audio instructions for home yoga practice
First of all, the script has been tested with Python 2.7.13 and Ubuntu 17.04, although it should run on any Linux system with Python and sdf-say libraries installed. The script can be downloaded here:
In addition to the script file, psetcounter.py, the github repository also contains a sound file, bell.wav, which may be downloaded as well. If the psetcounter.py script is run from a directory that also contains bell.wav, the script will play a bell sound instead of instructing the user to relax in savasana with a computerized voice. Once the script is downloaded, it would probably be best to take a look at the customizable parameters which are listed in the help message. This can be done by opening a Terminal window, changing the directory to the location of the downloaded script file, and executing the following command:
python psetcounter.py -h
The script can then be used to generate audio instructions for a set of asanas with each of several parameters customized by including the appropriate arguments. For example, to hear audio instructions for a set of 4 asanas, each held for 20 seconds and followed by 10 seconds of savasana, the following command can be executed:
python psetcounter.py -n 4 -l 20 -b 10
Audio instructions for multiple sets with varying parameters can also be executed sequentially at the command line by stringing them together with a semi-colon. In doing this, it is important to suppress the valediction in non-terminal sets of asanas using the “-v” flag. For example, for a set of two asanas, each held for 10 seconds, followed by a second set of two asanas, each held for 20 seconds, the following command can be used: