Surviving Bikram yoga: Day 9

I had an AMAZING class last night.  I’ve read that it takes about 10 classes to really get an appreciation for the postures in Bikram, plus the ability to get your body running like it’s supposed to internally.  That’s why they recommend newbies try to get 10 classes in during the first month of practice.  I’ll have mine in by today, so that’s a little over two weeks.  Not bad.

So what was so great about last night’s class?  I don’t know.  I just felt energized the entire time and was not ready for it to end.  Don’t get me wrong, I worked my butt off, but when it was time for the final pose I was a little sad.

There is a new visiting instructor at the studio and she taught for the first time last night.  Aimee, who is from Oregon, is energetic, a little hippyish, and a beautiful creature.  If the goddess Aphrodite was a brunette Bikram instructor, she would be Aimee.  Full of curves and softness, Aimee is powerful and feminine. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the strength of Pong and Becka’s slim bodies and they inspire me to be more athletic, but Aimee’s “got back”.    I couldn’t help but crush on her immediately.

Her dialogue was exactly what I’m used to, since it’s standard, but her cadence was a little different.  Sometimes that can make a difference in the energy in the room and I found that her pacing helped me to push a little further.

I really focused on my half moon pose, or Ardha-Chandrasana.  This is the second pose in the series after the initial breathing exercise.  I am terrible at this pose, but this is such an important posture.  It’s actually three postures, but the first and second really give me fits because my back is so inflexible.


Well, it’s more like four postures in one because you have to your torso in literally, every direction it can go. Side to side, then back and front. The challenge with this pose is that when you go side to side, you have to push your hip out and really try to get a stretch, all the while keeping your shoulders straight and your arms up and tight.  When you go back, you have to push your hips forward, then drop your arms and head back.  Um, I can’t do that yet.  Then, when you go forward, you get your hands under your heels (attempting to get the elbows behind the legs) and then pull the head down.

Benefits of the side to side and back bends:

  • Firms and trims the waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body, especially the abdomen.
  • Increases flexibility of the spine, corrects bad posture, promotes proper kidney function, and helps to cure enlargement of the liver and spleen, dyspepsia, and constipation.
  • Increases flexibility and strength of the rectus abdominis, latisimus dorsi, oblique, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.

Benefits of the forward folding pose:

  • Firms and trims the waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Increases the flexibility of the spine as well as the glutes, hamstrings, calves.
  • Greatly improves blood circulation to the legs and brain, and strengthens the rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus, oblique, deltoid and trapezius muscles.

These are all pretty intense poses and a great way to get your spine limbered up for class.  It’s amazing how each person in the room has a different ability level with this posture.  I have a long way to go with it myself.  Part of the challenge I experience is that I’m trying so hard to push my body to stretch that I sometimes forget to keep breathing.

In other news, I found some of my yoga headbands online for a great price.  Time to place an order!

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