Saturday, May 28, 2011

Good Morning Bikram

In previous posts on my blog, I've mentioned how I hate morning classes and preferred night classes. Well, as fate would have it, my new job has a very different schedule guessed it, I have to take class in the morning almost every day now! I end up usually taking the 9 AM or sometimes the 11 AM. Once in a while I end up taking a night class, but I'm pretty much a morning yoga now. The amazing thing is, my body has started to adjust nicely to the change. I thought I'd list out some of the main differences for me that I've noticed between the morning classes and night class, in no particular order.

1. I love doing yoga before work, because I feel great all day. I used to go to yoga directly after work before, which was fine, but it really helps get me through the day after doing class in the morning.

2. It's colder. Ok, this is a good thing for some people, but not me. However, with certain teachers, it's still fairly hot. Of course, this is related to...

3. My muscles are tighter in the morning, especially my hamstrings. I generally feel sluggish and tight for the first few postures, but this generally is ok by the time we get to Standing Head to Knee. At night, I'm already loose from moving around all day, so the beginning postures go smoothly. My body is getting used to this change and I'm already feeling looser in the morning classes.

4. There are less people in the room. This is nice for getting a good spot in the room and it's rarely cramped for space. Of course, the energy at night tends to be better just because there are more people.

5. Less drama. We generally get a more experienced group of people in the morning classes. I guess it's less likely for new people to come to a random Tuesday 9 AM class. They tend to show up for the night classes. I love new people coming to class, but it is nice to have a veteran group with good energy.

6. I do much better on the floor series in the morning for reasons I don't totally understand, but it's nice. At night, I tend to have a strong standing series but not a great floor series. In the morning it's evenly balanced. However, the one exception so far seems to be...

7. Rabbit pose. I have no idea why this is so hard in the morning, maybe because my spine just isn't as loose in the morning. I can do this posture pretty well when I'm warmed up, it's just been a struggle in the morning so far.

All in all, I love doing class in the mornings now, and I hope my schedule allows me to continue doing it for the foreseeable future.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Posture Discussion Part XII - Savasana

Everyone loves Savasana, for obvious reasons. The first time you do it in class you've just finished the standing series and are ready for some relaxation, and of course you do it between each posture in the floor series. The teachers make it very clear what the benefits of this posture are, a rest stop, a chance to refuel after each posture, etc. There is one other major benefit that you may not have considered, which I'll discuss in a moment.

Before I get to that, I'll share one of the best pieces of advice a teacher has ever given me. At one point after practicing for a few months, I was still having a very hard time with the floor series. I was really tired and could barely do anything in the floor series. So this teacher told me to get into savasana as fast as possible after each posture. Don't drink water before savasana and don't delay getting right into it. If you need water, go ahead and drink some after savasana and before the next posture. I started following this advice and it made a tremendous difference in my practice. I had more energy and the floor series was much easier to get through. Still not easy and it's harder for me than the standing series, but at least I can DO the postures now.

As for the other benefit of this posture that you may not realize, savasana teaches you to hold a position in space without having to worry about balancing or stretching. The key here is that the power of an individual steps from their ability to hold a position in space. Let that sink in for a second. How does one generate power? By being there comfortably and holding their position in space. The implications are far reaching, from your job to relationships. If you can hold your ground and be there in any situation, you generate power. No one can strike you down, and you can accomplish almost anything - including the floor series:)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Recently, I’ve had quite a few things going on in my life, both personally and professionally. Some good, some bad, and many ups and downs in just the past couple weeks. It’s been a tumultuous time for me. Many people have said that the hot room is a good place to go to “escape” from reality, take a break from the world, etc. I don’t do yoga nearly every day of my life as some sort of respite from the world. I don’t go there to forget about my troubles.

I go there because it’s home.

It is a place of hope, a place of love, where anything is possible. There’s a great familiarity hearing the same dialogue every day, doing the same postures, seeing many of the same people. We are often told to stay in the moment in class, and that’s certainly true, but there’s also an element of the future, of what can be. The past doesn’t matter in the room. Heck, your present state of affairs doesn’t even really matter. The words and postures and meditation matter. Most all of to me, the future matters.

In the room every day, in that time and place, the future is endlessly beautiful, and it’s why it will always be home to me.