Bikram Yoga NYC opened its doors in August 1999 and became Manhattan’s first Bikram Yoga Studio. Owners Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo had both been avid practitioners of Bikram Yoga in other cities and knew that no city needed Bikram Yoga more than New York.
In choosing the first location, Donna Rubin, a former Broadway performer, felt that there was a need for a place for pre-show warm-up in the theater district as the theaters themselves offered no space for stretching. In its first year, many performers, musicians and stage workers filled the classes at the 8th avenue location as a new way to stretch, de-stress and stay in shape.
Word quickly spread about the amazing benefits of Bikram Yoga and in in 2001 Bikram Yoga NYC opened two more studios on the Upper West Side and downtown. In 2002, the Flatiron location was opened and in 2006, Bikram Yoga NYC opened its largest studio on the Upper East Side.
In the past 16 years, Bikram Yoga NYC’s mission has been to spread the Bikram method to as many people as possible by offering almost 300 classes per week.
Donna Rubin is a co-founder and instructor at Bikram Yoga NYC. She has been teaching the Bikram method for 17 years and is certified in both Bikram Yoga and Ishta Yoga. As a former professional dancer, Donna performed with the National Ballet of Canada, in the role of Meg Giry in the original Canadian company of Phantom of the Opera and later made her Broadway debut in Carousel at Lincoln Center.
Donna was fortunate to discover the amazing benefits of Bikram Yoga while on a trip visiting with her family in Florida. The mind and body benefits that it gave her as a dancer were only a sampling of the benefits she would receive after committing to a regular practice. After practicing yoga regularly, Donna’s intuition told her that becoming a yoga teacher and studio operator was next on her path and was quickly guided towards opening her own Bikram Yoga studio to share the benefits with her fellow dancers, actors, and singers. Today, with 4 Manhattan locations, Donna’s studio chain, which offers the Bikram method exclusively, has grown far beyond the performance community and caters to all walks of life.
Donna was integral in creating both the regional and national Yoga Asana Championship series and served as one of it’s first judges. Donna has also taught workshops in Costa Rica, led conferences in New York and has headlined the Summer Solstice “Mind of Madness” in Times Square for the last 8 years. Donna also serves as the Interim Executive Director of Dance Films Association, is acting on the board of Heidi Latsky Dance and is in final editing of her documentary on Growing Up In Dance. She has been featured on the Today Show, The New York Times, Elle Magazine, SLT and more. She lives in Manhattan with her family.
Jennifer, a native New Yorker, is the co-owner of Bikram Yoga NYC. Prior to her last decade with Bikram Yoga NYC, Jennifer served as the Communications Director for IMG, the largest sports marketing company in the world. With a background in marathon running, soccer, tennis, skiing and golf, Jennifer discovered Bikram Yoga as a great cross-training tool, which after a few short months became her favorite form of exercise. With her marathon days behind her now, Jennifer finds that Bikram Yoga really fills her need for a hard workout and a great feeling afterwards.
Jennifer has been featured in such publications as the New York Times, NY Magazine, Yoga Journal and the Japanese press. She has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, NY1, as well as cable programs such as New York Naturally and MetroChannel.
Jennifer is married to her husband, George Plamondon, and they have three sons, Tate, Luke and George. Jennifer practiced Bikram Yoga regularly throughout all three of her pregnancies and felt great. The whole family practices yoga now!