New Name New Year

Sanskrit Yoga Tree Logo-01

Dear Yogis,

Season’s Greetings & Happy New Year!

This has been an exciting year for us at Bikram Yoga Hampden, and we are looking forward to an amazing year ahead. In 2016 Bikram Yoga Hampden will be operating under the new name: Yoga Tree. 

We will always know and deeply value our roots in Bikram’s Beginner’s series. We will continue to offer it multiple times a day.  And we have a vision of where this collective of healers, yogis, and amazing people can continue to grow. Upwards and outwards!

With great joy we invite you along. We see our name as a way to forge our own identity; a way to grow and share our inner growth with you all. Where this path can take us in another decade is so exciting I am grinning as I write this.

If you have any questions please feel free to pick up the phone or email us. Henri or I will always find time to listen to you or to share more details of our own thoughts and decisions.

I know that the whole team here at Yoga Tree join me in wishing you an exciting and adventurous 2016!


Sarah, Henri and the Yoga Tree Team!

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

                                                                            ~ Ben Franklin

toddler and me yoga

Toddler and me Yoga classes: Staying present and finding balance with a toddler

Having a toddler and combining the balance of: home and business work, of moving my body in ways that keep me strong and flexible, all while offering attention and stimulation to my child and staying connected to a community is a balancing act unlike any I’ve ever encountered. 
The main challenge is staying present. And adapting. 
In preparing for teaching this class I set myself one clear goal: “How can I stay present to my own body and my breath in a yoga pose while my son is (safely -I hope!) circling around the perimeter of where I am practicing?” (I have to share with you -because it is too funny: auto-correct changed circling to “crying“, and as many a parent or care giver knows, that may also be what happens.) So that is what we have been doing for quite some time. And so I took notes and drew up diagrams of the poses I did and what Simon did around me if he chose to be involved.

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Student Stories: Practicing once a week with Denise

How did you get started doing yoga and how long have you been practicing?

I started competitive sports at a young age, and it carried through college. After college, I picked up running and rounded it out with some strength training and other gym-centric aerobic activities. My husband encouraged me to try Bikram yoga when I was in my early 30s. BYH had just recently opened. I didn’t think it would be “challenging” enough for me, but I went. Boy was I wrong! It was not only plenty challenging, but it felt like such a good thing to do for the body. I felt pretty terrible during the first few classes—but don’t worry, it was a good terrible! I wasn’t accustomed to the heat, and it really is an intense full body workout. I stuck with it, going once a week, and got into a nice rhythm with my practicing. I then had two kids and stopped going for a number of years. I started back up again about two years ago (when the kids were 8 and 5) and was amazed by how much I/my body remembered. It wasn’t starting from zero again.

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giving yoga tree

The Giving Yoga Tree Program

The teachers and I have all noticed how quickly our students support one another; we love seeing this camaraderie flow through our community. This yoga is hard work. It’s hot, it’s hard; we know. It is meant to be challenging but does not need to be competitive. For a student to be warmly welcomed and supported by one’s peers is a huge gift. We see it all the time. ‘Cause you guys are all amazing! When you cheer one another on, we glow with pride because the intention we set in this healing space keeps growing and growing.  You heal, and become a healer.

Even with all the love & support and all the grit & sacrifice, sometimes the financial hurdles cannot removed. So what do we do? How do we find a new way? We have wanted to address this because yoga is not about money, it is a giving practice. It gives to your health and wellness and can be a foundation for expanding in other dimensions of your life, that will lead to prosperity, and in turn to generosity which allows more and more people to grow and grow…

That’s how we came up with Giving Yoga. The idea is simple: anyone can donate money toward the Giving Yoga Program and this money will then be used by any student in financial need who would like to take a class from the Giving Yoga Tree. 

Much like Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree“, the Giving Yoga Tree Program will nurture anyone in need by opening up the possibility to practice at our studio. And it provides a way to put back into a community when you are ready to give. I read once that giving is not a money issue. It is a trust issue. We learn to trust that being generous generates abundance.

See anyone of your teachers or staff at the front desk to add or take from the Giving Yoga Tree, and we promise you will always be met with a smile.


Sarah & Team

Student Stories: Adding Bikram Yoga to a Marathon Training with Gayle

I started doing Bikram yoga in 2011. I had run a marathon and I promised myself that when I got through the marathon that I was going to take a break and find something else that I enjoy. I knew a couple of people who did Bikram and liked it so I decided to try it. Of course like most people, I found a Groupon and started going. I just loved it from the start. I felt like it was a really good complement to my running, that it definitely strengthened my running. I decided to run a marathon the following year using Bikram to help me train. I took over a half an hour off of my marathon time and ended up qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

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Testimonials: Lindsey’s journey to heal her hip with Bikram Yoga

Hi there, my name is Lindsey and I would like to tell you a little bit about my journey at Bikram Yoga Hampden to help heal my hip.  First let me tell you how I ended up in Baltimore.  Originally from Chicago, I graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy.  I moved to Baltimore after I was accepted into the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  As a former college soccer player and avid runner, I have always valued and enjoyed exercise—especially running.  I have completed 6 marathons in the past 5 years with my best time being one minute short of qualifying for the most prestigious marathon, the Boston Marathon.  I was convinced that all I needed to do was keeping running—increase my mileage so that I was running at least three 20+ mile runs during my training cycles.  However, my right hip sure had other plans.  My hip pain started back in 2012 and since then has been a nagging and deep ache on the anterior aspect.  Some days were good days and I could run without pain, however, other days were really bad days and I could hardly walk without pain.  Fast-forward and the bad days quickly began to outnumber the good days.  As an orthopedic physical therapist, I was aware and scared of what could be generating my hip pain.  After weeks of no running and mostly swimming and proximal hip muscle strengthening, my hip pain was not decreasing.  I had an MRI and the findings left me feeling puzzled and worried—“full thickness articular cartilage fissure with tiny separation at the chondrolabral junction”.  My mind was racing with thoughts!  Do I have a labral tear?  Do I have femoroacetabular impingement?
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Student Stories: Niamh takes on Teacher Training with Sterling Hot Yoga

When I first waddled into BYH almost 2 years ago, 81/2 months pregnant, I was met with a warm smile (Henri!) and, once I announced that I was a regular practitioner, zero lectures about pregnancy postures, proper form or excessive pee breaks. I was allowed to practice in bloated, swollen, oversized peace. I knew I had found my studio! Sarah and Henri have created a space that is free of judgement where students of all abilities can practice comfortably and with confidence. I love that! I love being challenged on my good days and left to lie on my mat on my bad (hungover?) days.

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Reflections on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction from Sarah

This summer I gleefully signed up for Gina Sager’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction 8 week Class (aka MSBR). As I did I was thinking, “How wonderful! I will have homework, and a chance to develop a meditation practice, and an exposure to new tools on how to balance my life. I can’t wait.” I hope you too are grinning as you plan to take Gina’s 8-week MSBR workshop. I can promise you one thing: you may not get exactly what you want. I love taking classes and if like me, this change of weather and the promise of Autumn makes you crave filling a back pack and sharpening your pencils, and if you like taking classes that help you grow you will love this experience. But I don’t recommend you think of it as a learning experience, more as a growing experience.  

Let me explain: In most classes what changes from the beginning to the end is what I have learned –it is in my brain or in a notebook I usually won’t re-read. For me what shifted was how I am. Or rather, how I “be” to use poor grammar and a wonderful way of wording this shift. How do I “be” in my heart, in my body, in this conversation, just with this breath. By being present.

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Practice is Better Than Perfect by Tanya

In this piece Tanya Taylor asks us to think of awareness of the present moment as a state of abundance. To value the practice of mindfulness over a concept of perfection is to live out this awareness.

Tanya’s Mindful Yoga class features an opening and closing meditation along with a series of poses accessible to all levels of student. Come to class prepared to develop heightened awareness of the breath, proper alignment in postures, and a balance of strength and flexibility in your body and mind.

Tanya’s leads Mindful Yoga every Monday at 6:30 a.m. in the Loft. 


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The Five Pillars of Yoga

To build and maintain a regular yoga practice can be a challenge for many of us. While some may have difficulties getting themselves in the room, others are unable to grasp onto not only the physical but also the psychological benefits of practicing Bikram Yoga. In both cases what hinders the ability to feel the full benefits of the yoga is our mind: we must let go of old patterns to understand new body-mind connections that we are nurturing in our practice. As students practicing the beginner’s series our success is measured in our ability to quiet our minds for a better awareness of our bodies.

We love the list of The Five Pillars of Bikram Yoga posted on Bikram Yoga Christchurch in New Zealand. If you didn’t know them before, now you do! As Kate Burford writes, these five pillars can be your roadmaps to improving your practice in body and mind: 

1.     Faith – Do you believe in yourself? Do you have hope?

2.     Self Control – Discipline, morality, practice.

3.     Willpower – Determination. Willingness to do. 

4.     Concentration – Focus, balance, presence. 

5.     Patience – Do we have what it takes to keep trying.


Sarah, Henri & the BYH Team