Sunday, November 01, 2009

Doubling up.

Not only made it through my Bikrams practice yesterday after a pretty tough snatch Vo2 workout but had a stellar practice to boot. Attitude made all the difference( as well as my back cooperating!) and finally getting some momentum back in my training cycle. It's amazing to me how much difference it can make missing or making a few workouts in a row!

I didnt know how well my arms would work in the first part of the series after all those snatches, swipes and handstands but they held up pretty well.

The key improvement for me of late in Bikrams is in my weakest and least favorite movement the standing forward head to knee(standing on my left leg).

Since my left knee doesnt full extend or bend it's been a real struggle trying to figure out what to do and how to progress( or regress) the posture since the cueing states that " the posture doesnt start until the standing leg is LOCKED".

or as Bikram says "Lock the damn knee, lock the damn knee, lock the damn knee".

Okay, well what if it doesnt lock?

I've tried it allkinds of different ways and I finally decided to eat some humble pie and go all the way back to the most basic of basic positions, locking myknee as best as I can with full weight over the whole foot with my right leg taking as much weight as necessary to lock out the left leg.

Now this sums up just how weak the left knee and the muscles are with the leg locked but that's where it is, and ,suprisingly, I have made progress with this technique.When I first started I needed the entire right foot on the floor to lock out the left knee. Yesterday I was down to just the big and second toe and the left leg was locking out pretty well. Soon I will be able to hold the knee locked with my right leg off the floor a bit.

Now, considering I can do the entire pose pretty well on my right leg this is not that much fun to do but the right thing to do.It just sucks being the only one in class in this most beginning of beginning positions.But I am finally making progress in the pose, don't dread it like I have, and it doesnt hurt my back or lock up my left hamstring. Good stuff overall.

Getting through a class now doesn't feel like such an exercise in survival but another workout, where I can moderate the intensity of what I am doing by how I feel going in and it doesnt require three days of recovery and tons of specialized stretching to recover from it.

Hell, I feel like I could practice again today if I wanted.I'm not going to but I could, and that's the key.Progress is going in the right direction ,and as anyone who knows me knows, trendline is what is important to me.

One is either getting stronger or weaker, there is no standing still.All that matters is direction even though I also realize that sometimes going backwards IS going forwards. A Zen koan for sure, but in general the above statement is true.

It also always helps to be practicing every time with such an amazing Yogini as my wife is. I get better just being next to her as she goes effortlessly and strongly at the same time through her practice. She has such a high standard for her practice that she is way tough on herself if she doesn't hit everything perfectly everytime but as I said, I get stronger and better just seeing how things are supposed to be done right next to me and feeling her energy.

I never thought I would love yoga, much less Bikrams , as much as I do but I have come to really enjoy it in ways I never imagined, EVEN the group class element.Maybe it's just me getting older but the group energy and the admonitions of the teachers really help pull so much out of me than I can myself these days. Any port in a storm, eh?


Boris T. said...

Sounds like your making progress. All of us have to eat humble pie from time to time. The key difference is do we accept that we need to and progress from there or do we get stubborn and get held back by our own egos.

Mark Reifkind said...


sometimes it seems like humble pie is all I get to dine on in my dotage. I guess I got enough filet in my youth, :))