Thursday, March 31, 2011
Last week a friend of mine suggested I write a blog about bad habits in postures and how bad habits should be knocked out as early as possible in your practice. This was a good idea and I decided to expand on this a bit. I’ll cover a little bit about postures, but frankly, I could devote an entire blog to things you can do wrong on postures!
So below I’ve listed out five bad habits to avoid that will help anyone’s practice:
1) Breathing incorrectly – I’ve been asked many times for advice by people just starting out in Bikram and I always tell them to improve their breathing and do what the dialogue says for the breathing. It’s not just breathing in and out through your nose, but controlling your breath, breathing slower, doing things like “inhale breathing come up one more time!” when the dialogue calls for it, etc. The teachers at my studio do a good job hammering these points home. Breathing correctly actually makes it possible to do the class and helps with the other four points below.
2) Unnecessary movements – This covers all kinds of things, from fidgeting between postures to wiping sweat off to pouring water on your head. Recently we’ve had some teachers crack down on students getting up to grab a Kleenex in the middle of class, and this was a welcome improvement. This also includes leaving the room during class, something my studio tries to enforce as much as possible.
3) Screw loose brain – This is a tricky one and often the hardest one for me. If you’re all dispersed all over the place mentally, thinking about work, kids, shopping, whatever it makes your class much harder. This can also include blocking out distractions in the room, too hot, too cold, annoying people near you, drama, bad teachers, whatever.
4) Sitting out postures – This is a bit controversial because there are plenty of people with a good practice who regularly sit out postures. Look, I understand needing to sit out postures sometimes. I’ve sat out postures plenty of times, but it’s pretty rare now. I get it if there are physical situations or injuries or you’re just exhausted. The problem is when it becomes a habit. For example I know some people that have been practicing a while who always sit out the first set of Triangle. That’s a bad habit.
5) Incorrect posture form– My advice on this is to listen to the dialogue. Most of your questions about postures can be answered with the dialogue. I’d also suggest getting with teachers before and after class to go over postures, ask questions, etc. I’ve spent a lot of time with teachers looking at my postures one on one. There’s a lot going on in class and the teachers won’t always be able to make corrections, but even if you don’t ask teachers individually, if you pay close attention to the dialogue you’ll be able to fix a number of things. The sooner in your practice you can get the set-up and form right the better. I’m still trying to fix a few (minor) bad habits that I picked up from the beginning.