Surviving Bikram yoga: Day 6

I almost didn’t make it to yoga last night!  Traffic was crazy.  I made it in with about 5 minutes to spare.  As a result, I really didn’t get in my zone before class started.  I literally was panicking because I knew that if I missed it, I would only get in three days of practice this week and that was unacceptable.

In my rush to get in the studio, I put my hair in a low braid.  Bad idea.  I had hairs all over my face once I got sweaty.  I have to either pull it back and braid the ponytail, pull it in to a bun, or french braid it.  It’s amazing how something distracting like hair sticking on your face can interrupt your concentration.

Class went well last night!  It was hot again and it really felt like my legs were weak last night.  You have good and bad days on the mat- it must have been a bad day for me.  I could tell especially in the triangle pose because my feet were slipping all over, despite my efforts to squeeze my thighs really tight in the posture.  I also had issues in my one leg balancing postures.  I actually laid down in one of the floor poses because I felt so weak.  Who knows?

Last night, I really focused on working on my eagle pose, or Garurasana.  It looks like this:

eagle-pose

 

In this pose, the arms and legs wrap around each other like ropes.  You swing one arm under the other, then cross the elbows and wrists.  Then, you wrap your leg on the same side over the other and pull your foot behind your calf.  The idea is to squat down, but keep your back straight.  In the most ideal situation, your fingertips should be low on your face and your elbows pulled down.  I can get my hands about eye level and I don’t have any problems with my legs.

While this pose seems easy, it’s actually quite challenging because you are sort of leaning back, but you are drawing everything into the front into one line.  So you are pulling your knees to center and your arms to center.

Benefits of this posture:

  • Warms up all the major joints in the body – ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists and shoulders
  • Brings fresh blood to the reproductive organs and kidneys
  • Firms calves, thighs, hips, abdomen and upper arms
  • Strengthens the upper body – the latissimus dorsi, trapezius and deltoid muscles
  • Improves balance

According to Bikram, this is the only posture that opens up the 14 major joint systems in the body.  Because it is a compression posture, your body will welcome the blood flow when you un-pretzel yourself.  It’s supposed to feel a little awkward.

As a side note, this is the fourth posture in the 26 series.  After this posture is called “Party Time” in Bikram yoga because it’s the first time where you are allowed to wipe with a towel and drink water.  After that, you can do either at your leisure, but only in between postures and you have to be discreet about it.

 

 

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