Hello!

So a few things have been going on the last few days (apart from finals… why I haven’t been posting daily).  First of all, my back became a problem.  I started to wonder why it seemed to be getting worse and not better, so I decided to ask Katie about it.  She suggested that I do only the back ward bends and spinal twists and skip the forward bending all together.  I decided to go for it, since that is what my doctors told me so many years ago when I first became injured:  no forward bending!  The good news is, it has completely worked after a total of two classes with no forward bending, I am back pain free.  The bad news is, it is really disappointing not to be able to completely participate.  I am trying so hard to get over myself, not let myself be competitive, stay humble about my practice, but it is really hard.  Do you remember before how I wrote about part of the discipline is knowing when to stop or not do something?  This is definitely testing my will in this aspect.  Bikram says part of the practice is learning to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and it was definitely an uncomfortable situation tonight when everyone was bending forward, and I was standing there upright like a tree in a field.  I treated that uncomfortable feeling as part of my practice though, and tried to work through those uncomfortable feelings by focusing only on myself and not fidgeting, trying to just breathe and stay calm.

I have been able to modify some of the postures so I can do them.  For example, in standing head to knee pose, I am locking my standing leg and bringing my other leg up so that my knee is at a 90 degree angle, but just not bending forward to hold onto my foot.  I am just going to try to focus a lot on my abdominal strength,  and keeping those muscles contracted, and also really try to work on y backward bending and  really really work my ass off in the spinal strengthening series, and then after 5 or maybe even more classes, I will try some of the forward bending again.  Knowing that I can fix the pain with just one or two classes of no forward bending increases my confidence about trying again, because I know I can fix it.  Especially if I really take it easy.

I wanted to quickly address the issue of Bikram’s Yoga being a mean practice.  I was talking to my mom on the phone tonight, and she said that my aunt had tried Bikram’s and thought that the instructors were mean.  She said they yelled at her, they were harsh on other students, and they made the class unenjoyable.

When people hear “yoga,” they think relaxation, calmness, soothing, and resting.  Bikram’s yoga is not that kind of yoga.  I can imagine it would be difficult going into a class if you didn’t know what to expect, because it is really unlike anything else I have ever done.  (I guess the closest thing I can think of to it was doing Mrs. Han’s pointe class in high school:  she yelled at us a lot).   In the class, the instructors are loud, the lights are bright, and it is fast paced.  It is not a time to relax, it is a time to work.  The relaxation comes from the fact that you are working so so  so hard that you can’t think about anything – not your problems, not your job, not your name.

The teachers do try to make you work harder, so that you are stronger, so that you get more out of the class.  Some people don’t like them yelling “lock your knees lock your knees last chance to lock the knees!”  but I find it motivational.  Part of the meditation is letting the teacher be your mind, and letting your body just follow what they say.  If the teachers weren’t telling you what to do constantly how would your body know what to do?

Yoga to me is like a 90 minute pep talk.  I like hearing the teacher remind me I can do anything.  I like hearing a reminder of how strong I am, how much this is benefiting me.  I think it’s great.

My mom also said she couldn’t imagine how this yoga could possibly be burning so many calories, it’s just yoga.  She wondered how someone could work that hard if they aren’t running on a treadmill or lifting weights.  She is going to come to a class with me this month… and she’s in for a wake up call!  This is not your stereotypical yoga: get ready for the work out of your life!

exercise

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