Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Posture Discussion Part XII - Wind Removing Pose and Sit Up

Wind Removing Pose:

One of my favorite postures to do. It's well placed right after the first savasana and right before the spine strengthening series. For a few months I thought that "Greg, pull harder!" was part of the dialogue for this posture. I eventually did start pulling harder and now I enjoy the posture. The dialogue is pretty clear what to do but there are a few points worth noting: 1) It's one of the only postures where you don't look in the mirror at all, so you really have to pay attention to what you're doing. It helps to have a teacher look at this one before or after class as you can only partially see what's going on. 2) The grips make a big difference, with the individual legs and with both. A strong grip greatly improves the benefits.

Sit Up:

This is a very underrated part of the class. Considering you do this twelve times in class, it's worth paying attention to it. Again the dialogue is very clear what to do. If you give a good effort then you end up having some more energy for the next posture, not to mention the other benefits the stretch gives you. One thing that I've had a few teachers point out is holding it for a second or two once you've grabbed your feet. It gives a little better stretch. And the breathing is what helps give you that extra energy. The first sit up helps quite a bit to get you ready for the spine strengthening series, and you definitely need all the energy you can get for those four postures.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Decision

Bear with me in this posting if you're not a sports fan. I'll bring this back to yoga as I always do, but the events in the world of sports this week made me think of my own journey and yet another example of how Bikram yoga has helped me in life.

This past week, Lebron James and the Miami Heat lost the basketball championship to Dallas. To give you a bit of background, Lebron is perhaps the most famous (or infamous) and talented basketball player in the world. For the first seven years of his career, he played for Cleveland, then last summer he left Cleveland to go play in Miami with another fantastic player, Dwayne Wade and another very good player, Chris Bosh. He made his announcement on a prime time special on ESPN, which was so poorly thought out and executed that it turned Lebron from a beloved athlete into the biggest villain in perhaps all of sports.

What's lost in the endless analysis of Lebron's decision and performance since then is that he did something almost unheard of in sports. He decided he didn't want to be THE MAN anymore. Most professional athletes have egos the size of football fields, which is both a blessing and a curse. So when Lebron decided that he didn't want to have the weight of an entire team and city on his shoulders it was unprecedented. He needed help and did what he felt was right, negative PR be damned.

About three years ago, I left Los Angeles and moved to Vegas. For the past few years I was in L.A. I had a job were I was most definitely THE MAN. I had authority over nearly 1,000 people and my word was law. It was great for my ego, but I was miserable. When I left, it came as a huge surprise to the people I worked with, and needless to say many of them weren't very happy about it. Just like Lebron, I made some enemies along the way, but ultimately I had to do what was right for me. I was falling apart physically, mentally and spiritually. It was time for a new game.

To bring this full circle, Bikram yoga has been an essential part of my new life. I started doing it about a year after I moved to Vegas and besides the astounding physical benefits it has given me, it helped me find peace. Peace with who I am, peace with my new goals and peace with life. Life is full of decisions and the most important ones are seldom easy. I'm fortunate to have Bikram yoga in my life to easy the decision I made a few years ago and any future ones.