Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Helpful Advice

328 classes in 321 days.

A few months ago I was talking with one of my teachers (Sheri) and told her I was getting tired or wiped out on the floor series. I work pretty hard during the standing series, but then I was losing energy fast as the floor series went along.

She gave me a few pieces of advice on the floor series which I've followed ever since and which generally helps out. I'm not perfect of course, but it's a lot better. Here are the two pieces of advice she gave me:

1) Do the sit ups well. Yes, you have to exert energy to do them, but they end up giving you more energy to go into the next postures. I didn't really believe her at first, but after trying it, it does make a big difference. My sit ups don't look good at all, but I try hard and it pays off when going to the next posture.

2) TAKE YOUR FULL SAVASANAS. I put this in caps for a reason. It gets hammered home by our teachers, but the savasanas really are where the benefits happen and they re-charge you for the next postures. It's very common to see people grab some water after the posture just before savasana, or take a few extra seconds getting in to it. I used to do the same thing, and it just makes things worse. You need every second you can get. And here's the other thing - you're supposed to get 20 seconds for each savasana, but it doesn't always happen. Try counting the seconds sometime - you'll see what I mean.

Since I started following this advice, things have gone much smoother, and I'm often stronger at the end of class than the beginning, which is how it's supposed to be:)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Family Obligations

322 classes in 315 days.

If you notice from the numbers above, I missed a few days. My grandpa died last week so I flew to Cleveland for a few days. No Bikram studios there (or anywhere in Ohio!), so I missed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Yesterday I returned back to Vegas, and class. My plane landed at 3 PM and I took the 5 PM at Green Valley. You can tell I was in a hurry to get back! The conditions leading up to yesterday's class were the worst ever for me. I missed three days, I got four hours of sleep the night before, I had alcohol and bad food for three days, practically no electrolytes, not enough water, I was sitting on airplanes for most of the day, switched three time zones, etc.

So the class was as rough as you might think under these conditions. Happily, I didn't lose much flexibility over those days I missed, and the postures were actually fine. What did hit me was detoxing the junk and just being tired. I was exhausted after class and went home and slept for 9 hours last night!

My overall goal is still easily on track, as I've still done 7 more classes than days since I started. But I did 174 consecutive days of Bikram classes. I'm very proud of that particular streak, and it will be hard for me to top that.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Posture Discussion Part V - Standing Head to Knee

317 classes in 307 days.

Standing Head to Knee:
Without question one of my favorite postures and one that I look forward to every class. Even if the class has started rough or whatever, I always look forward to this posture.

Let's be real - this posture is hard. However, it's super beneficial and very satisfying as you make progress. When I started the yoga, I couldn't come close to doing this posture. I was able to bend down and grab my foot, but that was it. Just standing on one leg holding my foot for 30 or 60 seconds was quite difficult!

Over time, I was slowly able to go further in the posture, but it literally took months before I could kick out straight with both legs. More recently, I've been slowly getting better at getting the elbows down and the head down. I can consistently get my head down on the left leg, but not the right leg yet.

I've had more discussions and corrections on this posture than any other. Some of the important points covered are distributing the weight equally on the standing leg (and foot), kicking the heel forward (on the kicked out leg), various points on the grip, etc.

My favorite benefit from this posture is the determination and persistence I've gained more than any physical benefit. It takes A LOT of concentration to do this one and it carries over into the rest of the postures and life!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspiration - and Being Lazy

310 classes in 300 days.

Sunday I took Lynn Whitlow's class over at West Side. I've taken one of Lynn's classes before and I blogged about that a few months ago. She's fantastic, a senior teacher, one of the judges for the international competition, etc. I talked to her after class and she told me I had a great Toe Stand (she was quite excited about this), and she gave some good advice on my Standing Head to Knee.

What I took out of the class the most was the effect a great teacher AND a great class of students has on my practice. The class I took was a Sunday at 1 PM. For one thing, this was an odd time, as I usually take 11 AM on the weekends, plus it's a weekend class, which generally is a bit rougher than week day classes. However... this class was fantastic, with great energy all throughout the room. Lots of teachers and experienced students taking the class and all of that energy absolutely rubs off on me.

This made me think about my "usual" weekend classes, which are often less than inspired. Maybe I'm just being too complacent and lazy on the weekends normally. Or perhaps I just need to go to some classes with more energy in the room!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Healing Injuries in Minutes

304 classes in 294 days.

Last night I went over to West Side because Michelle was teaching. She was one of my favorites over at Green Valley when she used to be there. I hadn't taken a class from her in months, so it was nice to have her again.

The room was a little cold at the start and I tweaked a muscle in my back during the first part of awkward. I went down really fast and could feel it immediately. I was worried, as this happens sometimes when the room is too cold for me.

However, a funny thing happened as the rest of the class went on. The room gradually warmed up and was quite fine by the end and I concentrated and healing my back as we went along. I attacked the postures and specifically attacked the spine strengthening series. Yeah, it hurt, but I knew I was doing the right thing. Sure enough, my back started to feel better quickly. After class it was still a little sore, and this morning it's a bit sore, but that all - just sore. Compared to how it felt when I first pulled the muscle, it's great. And I know it's better because of how I handled it during class. Maybe the lesson here (besides making sure the room is hot enough) is to get injured early in class so you still have time to fix it! Well, maybe not, but it's fun how fast you can fix something like this.