Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rif gets Bikramized.

AS most who read my wifes blog know she is a serious devotee of Bikram's yoga and it has done wonders for her on many many levels. She did the 60 day Bikram Challenge right from the start and has gone regularly to class at least three days a week for 2.5 years.It has opened up and developed her shoulders in a way that even suprised her and when she did not get the chance to practice as much as she needed to she really felt the difference;not only in her recovery and shoulder flexibility, but also in her kettlebell practice.It seemed the perfect compliment to her kettlebell work.
Now, up until the last month or so there would have been NO way I could have even considered
stepping into a class. I was afraid that the generalness of the poses would have put my fairly fragile recovery in serious jeopardy. I knew I need ONLY specific stretches for certain muscles/parts and DID NOT need to work the other direction. For instance, for the last three plus years I have stayed away from any type of spinal flexion moves; my fragile lumbar spine would go out at the drop of a hat and there was no wayI was going risk that. I needed spinal extension, not flexion and all my flexiblity practice was based on that.
Halfway through the last year though I made a concious decision to try to regain my "gymnastics body". The idea was to move towards the flexibilities,ranges of motions,bodyweight and abilities I had BEFORE I became injured. I wanted to see if going back to where I was before I destroyed things and started "compensating" like crazy would have a postive effect on me.
Well, to say it did would be a serious understatement.
Just putting my legs close together and working my rifga poses from that posture made the biggest difference in my knee alignment since I started powerlifting. I could feel myself getting back to 'square, plumb and neutral' much faster than I though possible.
Z drills were the next big change agent and being able to know stand on my left leg without my knee subluxating was a gift from God.Now I could start to develop some real static strength on that side which meant I would be able to walk right again.
AS that happened everything else started falling into place as well.
"No pain, no tension", the Z mantra was a revelation for me and not only helped with everyday postures but with my training and flexibility work as well.
So, when Tracy asked if I would join her for her Sunday morning Bikram class I decided to put my pride aside, put on my beginnners mind hat and dive in. Nothing like a little humilation first thing in the morning,lol :))
My recovery has been coming along so well in general that of late I have been realizing that I did need to add some kind of movement or training into my sunday regimine. It used to take me all day saturday and ALL day sunday just to come close to getting all the tweaks out of my twisted frame in hopes of being able to walk, work and train on mondays.
I can remeber quite well when I switched from my normal and usual six day a week gymnastics and running training to the quite pedestrian four days a week of the bodybuilder.Going down to three was a lesson in necessity, even with kettlebells. I just couldnt recover.
But now I see training as so much bigger than just any weight workout. My rifga is training. My Z drills are training. My walking from the car to the gym is training.My life is training.Its so much bigger than how much I squat or how many reps I can snatch in ten minutes. That too, but more as well.I've been thinking I'm ready to add another day back in.
I have been antsy on sundays lately, not able to sit still,looking for something to do; not too hard but something. I had been doing full body z drills but this sounded interesting now. Plus ,I would get to spend the morning watching my beautiful wife do her workout in her very cute yoga clothes.
I didnt really care how badly I did the poses, I just didnt want to hurt myself.

The bottom line: it wasnt that bad. I have pretty good heat tolerance in general and being the skinny thing I am of late it is even better. Plus my conditioning from all the Max vo2 work also helped me out here and although I sweated like a big pig I never got dizzy or worried that I couldnt make it through.
Granted there were many poses that I just couldnt even begin to do with one knee that only bends 90 degrees but I scaled them down and worked right through them. My old gymnast mind starting coming right through and that helped.There were also a few poses that I did really well. I did quite a bit of yoga back in the late seventies when it was just hitting the US and that didnt hurt as well.
At the end of the 90 minutes I had dropped 3.5 pounds of water and felt fine; no injuries no tweaks and a new appreciation for just how talented and athlete my wife is.She CRUSHED the class. Her practice keeps getting better.
Of course the instructors instructions re: anatomy, physiology and such is just pure claptrap and malarky but I kept my beginners hat on, my mouth shut and did my best. I plan on going back each sunday and plan on getting better each time. Who knows where this will lead? I LOVE to sweat and I love to stretch and I love to spend time with my beautiful wife so how can this be bad?


Joe Sarti said...

Awesome Rif. Bikram is a cool form of Yoga and you know one thing, next week the same 26 poses for the same length of time and same temperature, plus some quality time with your lady. Great stuff

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks Joe, I'm making my way into yoga and it should be a great addition to my training.And yes, now that I know exactly what the routine is it will be much easier the next time.

Aaron Friday said...

Sounds like it's just your thing, sweat-man. Have fun!

Mark Reifkind said...


its monday morning now and I'm just a 'bit' sore,lol. nothing serious but I can feel I did something yesterday.

Gabi said...

Wow, yoga, this is what I've been thinking about since Aaron's comment about the "soft art"!

Sounds like you found a perfect complement and also had a good time. I think I should listen to your wife regarding this, too :)

Mark Reifkind said...


I am very suprised just how good I feel today after even just one session.very interesting at the least.I have been into my old style gymnastics stretching again for awhile and doing all that stretching in that extreme heat just makes it that much easier to get loose.

Tori said...

I might just have to look for a Bikram yoga class when I move to Denver in a couple of months...

Mike T Nelson said...

I would be interested in your experience with Bikram in regards to recovery ability.

In the past I've found it was great for recovery, as long as I watched my breathing, kept tension low, and had to modify a few positions so that my movement was still good afterwards.

Rock on
Mike N

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