Sunday, June 15, 2008

Corrective Bikrams

Decided to really focus on doing what MY body needed to open up today in yoga and it worked so well. AS usual I ignored the instructor but this time with a vengence.I did not push any of the poses, as instructed , nor follow their lead as to what the intent or the focus of the asana was, but to do what my body told me was right, and tight, and what needed to open.

Some firsts today too: I got both hands back on my ankles on the camel pose, and could hold it; as well as being able to grab my left ankle in the floor bow!This is great progress for me and am very happy about it.Especially after kicking my own ass yesterday with snatches.WOke up PRETTY tight, lol.Everywhere.

Took it much easier on the tree pose and the standing bow, really using the mirror to get as close to neutral alignment before trying to advance anything. I also ignored her admonishments on standing head to knee pose and skipped the "hold the knee up" part( which over works my hip flexors which dont need it) and worked my way into the full pose, which I can do if allowed to get into it my own way, and which REALLY works my tight left hammy.

Also changed some minor things on all the six trillion overhead poses and focused on locking the elbows and only going back overhead as far as I could with locked elbows. MUCH better on the shoulder and levator.
I just wish these instructors hand an INKLING of an idea about what the hell they are talking about. BUt hey it doesnt matter cause I'm not listening anyway.Best class yet and its good to see progress.


Brett Jones said...

Gotta do what works for you and your "uniqueness" :-)
in a typical Bikrams class you are getting "fast food yoga" - meaning they are replicated franchises.

Sounds like great progress on opening up the knee and your cues to only go as far back with your shoulder as your elbows being straight will allow is a great tip.

fawn said...

I love it! Yoga asana is EXERCISE... the yogis of old had to do some sort of exercise so they could sit there and meditate for hours on end. No one becomes enlightened from asana (yoga poses). The asana is all about opening the body and moving blood.

Twelve years ago when I first started attending yoga classes there were hardly any places to buy yoga mats, now, you can't swing a dead cat with out hitting something for sale regarding yoga. LOL!

Oh, yah... best of all, someone has practiced yoga for 10 minutes and decides to become a yoga teacher. AAAhhh yah....

Mark Reifkind said...

bikrams = McYoga, which is fine with me. The best part is being able to spend such great quality time with tracy and learn from her.She totally kicks ass in class and has attained a high level in her practice. It always is inspiring for me to watch her practice. I can see changes even in these last three classes.
She is letting me give her some cues to make her hard moves easier too which makes me happy :))
and yes, my ahem "uniqueness" I love how hte teachers make all thse corrections on me without even ASKING if I have any "uniqueness" good thing I dont pay attention to them,lol.

Mark Reifkind said...


so true. rotflmao @ "swing a dead cat". you crack me up. must be hanging out with some funny guy a lot.

Howard said...


I like your point. I wonder if yoga would be more successful if it were marketed as a sophisticated recovery tool instead of a path to enlightenment or whatever. Probably not. That's a shame since the very people who need it, serious athletes will stay away just from all the hippy-crap.


I like that Bikram is predictable and that heat is nice, for me. I know people are supposed to be able to generate that just from practice (Ashtanga people talk of this), but I have no such skill. Also, the relatively simple postures of Bikram are nice (again, as compared to Ashtanga for example).

Nice posts.


fawn said...

Yoga asana can definitely be a recovery tool, certain asana is very soothing to the CNS... however, asana isn't just "stretching". There is a lot of strength and balancing in yoga as well, which I certainly wouldn't consider recovery at all.

Mark Reifkind said...


the problem for me is that many of the poses have "pieces" that are super tight with pieces that are very mobile.Ihave to emphasize the areas that don't move first, regardless of what is the"recommended" emphasis.the heat is great and I do think a systemitized stretching/pose based program focused on recovery would be great, but as fawn said there is much about strengthint hese asanas.thats my point.It has to be indivualized; for me to strengthen already too tight( strong) areas doesnt advance my needs.

Howard said...

Ah, ok...I plead ignorance and inexperience. The only yoga I have done with any consistency is Bikram and occasionally following Steve Ross's program on tv (easy with tivo). These don't seem to stress my strength/balance too much but perhaps they are doing more than I think. They do tend to make me feel nice and loose afterwards. So I guess thus far I have viewed them as recovery tools for me.

Similarly, Rif, I never been a high-level anything nor have I had very debilitating at this point, the whole sequence in Bikram seems to help me. I just don't know enough yet to say what part needs individualizing for me.

It is amazing that you know your body this well and seem to have awareness of virtually any muscle. I envy this. I only recently learned to flex my lats on purpose (while resting, obviously not while doing an exercise)...pitiful, I know.


fawn said...

One thing I love about Iyengar Yoga is the amount of time we spend inverted. I usually spend at least 10 minutes in a head stand; 5 minutes in neutral, and 5 more in variation. Headstands and shoulder stands are extremely soothing to the CNS... however it takes a lot of back body strength and stamina to stay that long.

This is an example of recovery asana that requires both strength and balance.

This is also a big reason I don't really like Bikram Yoga... Also, I feel like closed chain backbends are necessary in a daily practice.

I practice yoga for almost 10 years before I picked up a dumbbell and it was another year before I picked up a kettlebell. The interesting thing is weight training came easy to me because I was already pretty strong and balanced from my asana practice.

Sorry to hog up your blog, Rif... I just want people to know yoga asana is more than stretching and blissing out! Unless, of course, that is what you are after. LOL!

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