Surviving Bikram yoga: Day 24

I can’t believe I’m almost to 30 days!  My goal is to go to class 6 times next week.  I’m taking a few days off to grade papers, do yard work, and fix my car so it can be inspected.  There’s so much to do at the Hall Hacienda.  I’m going to go to the morning classes on those days and see how that goes.  Right now, I’m just doing the morning class on Saturdays because I still go to step class on Sunday.

Class last night was great.  The room was not too humid when I got there so it made it easier to ease into the class.  The room was pretty full and there were a couple of new people.  Aimee was instructing and she spent some time talking about personal happiness and how people who spend time “in the zone” are happier than those who have things, status, or wealth.  I’m pretty happy, so it must be my 36 hours I’ve spent “in the zone” over the past 5 weeks!

I had to figure that out.  24 days times 90 minutes is 36 hours.  Crazy!

As I was waiting for class to start, I was laying on my back, rotating my ankles around.  I looked at my legs and realized that they are looking slimmer.  Stronger.  So I sat up, put my legs out on the floor flat and tightened up my quads.  I couldn’t believe it when my left leg snapped right to attention.  I have to show Cori.  I can actually SEE it. It just reaffirms for me that Bikram yoga is necessary for me and it’s needed frequently.  It’s like my PT, my cardio, my strength training, my therapist.  I love it.  I hate it.  I dread it.  I can’t stop going!

Last night, I really worked on my Awkward pose, or Utkatasana.  This is the third posture in the series and it’s much harder than it looks.

utkatasana

 

This posture is actually three parts.  I’ll go through each one, from  the left to right.

All of the postures are the same in that the arms are out and stretched out to the front.  This is one thing that really surprises people because it can really hurt to keep your arms out like that.  There’s this buff football player looking guy that comes to class and he has a terrible time with this part.  I don’t think that being super strong in the arms is what helps.  It’s a lot of shoulder and back strength.  The arms stay up the entire time, even in between postures.

In the first part of the posture, you squat back like you’re sitting in a chair, then you tilt your upper body back.  And hover there.  They say you’re supposed to feel awkward in this, like you are almost falling back.  Then, you straighten your legs and lift your heels up for the middle posture.  This is so difficult for me.  After you lift your heels up, you bend your legs and pretend like you are sliding down the wall and hover there.  The key is to really lift up on your toes like you are wearing the highest heels and then lift up your knees.  It’s really great for my ankle strength but I’m sure it’s also building up little strong feetsies.    Then, in the last part of the posture on the right, you come back to standing, lift the heels slightly and press the knees in together.  That’s what you can’t see in the photo above.  It’s like you are holding a coin in between your knees.  Then, very slowly, you lower down to the floor on your toes, knees together, back up, and arms out.  And you do the whole thing all over again.  It’s rough!  I’ve found that if I really keep my abs in, it helps my back to be strong.

Here are the benefits of these three postures:

  • Helps to tone and shape your legs.
  • Heals chronically cold feet.  This is probably because they are working so hard!
  • Relieves rheumatism and arthritis in the legs.
  • Helps to cure slipped discs and other problems in the lower spine.
  • Aligns skeletal system.
  • Relieves menstrual cramping.
  • Relieves sciatica.
  • Improves flexibility in toes and ankles.
  • Exercises liver, intestines, and pancreas.

 

 

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