Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bikram Yoga Master Class

After the morning's beatdown I was not sure what to expect in our 2 hour Master class at our Bikram studio;especially after the dissapointing experience we had at the last one. But I went in with an open mind and a body that wasn't too beat up, yet.
I've been feeling much stronger lately and it feels right to push myself a bit.And I knew this would be a push, I just didn't know how much or how far.
I had never been to a posture clinic/class and didn't know how much actual regular practice we would be doing versus corrective technical stuff. All I knew was that I only had to survive two hours. Just a half hour more than a normal class. That's nothing. Had to be.
I could tell right away after meeting Master Instructor Michael Harris from Yoga College of India, Bend Oregon, that he had something special. There was a calmness and confidence that was immediate aparrent to me. He opened with the ideas of intuition and starting each practice fresh, raking the ground clean and planting new seeds.I like both those ideas and I was ready to see what the training was going to be like.
When we started class and he had us do about ten million pranayama's and then hold half moon for what seemed forever I knew his calm exterior belied a serious ,serious yoga guy. Pain and suffering were part of the process, and testing limits was right there to. He would just torture us in the most loving kind way,lol.
Calm assertive as the Dog Whisperer would say.
And when I asked a posture question about which position to focus on improving first in my arms overhead position for half moon; should I concentrate more on locking my elbows and getting my arms fully overhead before trying to increase sideways depth he shut me up by making me get my arms overhead as he instructed( straight out to the sides) then lock my elbows and pull my head into position instead of my trying to get my arms back I knew he knew. He knew of what he spoke,as Tracy would say.
Like any good Zen Master he focused not on the words but the action. I shut up.
BUT, he also confirmed my belief ,via another's question, that the locked leg in standing forward head to knee is NOT about the strongest way to stand on one leg but FOR the back strengthening series!
When the knee locks the glute is taken out of the equation and the load is more on the hammies and back. This is not the safest position for the back, as they say, but is done for a much different reason.I just wish they all would know that. Hey, at least I got my answer and can feel good about going about getting my knee locked in a different way.
Using my intuition, as Michael said. I like that.
The class went very slow, then very fast and things were good except standing series went for almost 1.5 hours and I was gassing. But I never sat out a pose,although I took a knee more than a few times as he was doing corrections on others or answering questions.
He had a perfect sense of rythym and timing and never let us wait too long to get back to the practice, lest we cool off, even in the 105 degree heat. Really solid work, I learned a lot.
The guy is the real deal, I could tell. It's so cool to be in the presence of people like that,especially since their are so many poseurs out there. You know this guy has a serious serious personal practice.
That's why he can know of what he speaks, because he has found out the hard way. The right way. The only way.


guy said...

Glad your making Bikram progress Sir.
This post reminds me of when I attended a seminar with Master Bong Soo Han (I was 16,I'm 42 now) Just listening to the man speak, and even standing 12 ft away I could feel that he had big Hara.
May I ask, what Physical benefits/insights have you gotten from Biram practice to date? Great post Boss! Thanks.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks guy,

as far as the physical benefits from Bikrams goes I would have to say just the structured opportuity to really spend 90 minutes stretching every single thing out.without the structure of the class I know I wouldnt spend so much time really digging so deeply into each of the stretches.also, strangely enough there is a ton of cardiovascular conditioning that comes with doing so much muscular tension in such a hot room. The heartrate training is significant.
as well as the conditioning that comes from training in so much heat. but the mental/concetration benefits seems to be the best for me.really forcing myself to settle in, stare into my own eyes and 'meditate' for 90 minutes is no joke. moving mediations appeal to me more than seated and this is one of the key components of Bikrams.

dbt1959 said...

Great yoga post as usual Mark. Being a 50 year old guy I can so relate to the physical digging that goes on in an extended class, and the tangible and intangible benefits of the focus of a moving meditation. If I had to pick the best thing I have done for myself in the last two years, it is a regular yoga practice, not that I don't love kettlebells. When I get half moon nailed, which is not often as I like, i feel like I am flying. Thanks for writing about it, namaste.

Boris said...

Sounds like a great experience - wish I could join you.

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what Physical benefits/insights have you gotten from Biram practice to date?

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This is really Great yoga post as usual Mark. Being a 50 year old guy I can so relate to the physical digging that goes on in an extended class, and the tangible and intangible benefits of the focus of a moving meditation.

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