For awhile now I have alluded to an interest in Bikram yoga. Well, my friends, it’s time for a post. Here is my commentary on yesterday’s class, complete with illustrations. Of some random woman I found on Google.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this one when I first started, but I have been loving it lately. It’s the first pose I can really feel in my back. Like jumping into a swimming pool that’s a little too cold. “Here we go…!” And then, “Aaaaa…refreshing.” Bringing the stretch into my upper back is really what has made the difference. I focus on taking full, deep breaths in order to fill and lift my lungs. Mmmm.
It reached 94 degrees yesterday outside my El Cerrito yoga studio, and somehow that translated into a hotter room. I don’t totally understand why since Bikram calls for a climate controlled 105 degree room. But it did. The instructor even commented on it being an especially hot day. Normally I would find the extra heat intimidating. But a good lubricating sweat is key for eagle, and for weeks I hadn’t worked up a good one in time. Yesterday I was sweating before we even started practice and slid right into this one.
Standing Bow Pulling Pose
Bikram yoga reminds me of a sprint workout. It’s a series of short, intense bursts of energy. And standing bow is like your 8th 400m. Rarely am I able to hold both sets on each leg for the entirety of the alotted time without my heart running away from me. The good news is my yoga has been a lot better since I’ve started running again. I’m able to focus more on the postures and less on merely staying alive.
The bad news is I now focus more on the postures. Yesterday I chose to focus on how crooked my right leg was whilst pulling. The left leg is manageable. The right leg, for whatever reason, is not. No matter how hard I try to make corrections, my knee just wants to bow out, and my toe can’t help but turn in. And boy did I try to correct it yesterday. And not without consequence I’m afraid…we’ll get to that later.
I’ve been doing Bikram yoga for about a year and half now, and it’s always the same 26 poses. By design. Yet the instructors will still say things here and there that make me go, “Ohhhh…that’s how that works.” It’s one of the things I love about it. There’s always something else to learn. Something else to perfect. Last week the instructor took a few minutes to explain how to approach this posture. What can I say. Whatever she said hit home. This posture feels completely and pleasantly different now.
I don’t have a lot to to say about toe stand other than I feel like I’ve been rocking it out lately. If only I had this lady’s six-pack to go along with it…
Usually this is one of my stronger poses. But yesterday my legs felt like logs. Just a bit of foreshadowing…
I told you about my highlights so it’s only fair I tell you about my lowlights. Just before beginning this pose I overheard this thought, “Only two more to go in this stupid floor series.” Sadly, that quote is verbatim…
…and not even the worst part. But in order to tell that story I have to start at the beginning. In April 2007 I pulled a muscle. Bad. For the first couple weeks I could barely move. I remember breaking down into tears one morning because I couldn’t get my pants on. After a few weeks of this kind of waddling around and no signs of improvement I made an appointment with the doctor (which was a fairly amusing phone call).
Me: “Hi, my name is Laura and I’d like to see a doctor about some muscle pain.”
Lady on the phone: “Is the pain you’re experiencing the result of any known trauma?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I injured it excercising.”
Lady on the phone: “And where is the pain?”
Me: “Um…(clears throat)…it’s uh…my butt muscle.”
Flash forward to my doctor’s appointment.
Me: “It’s…um…pretty much right down the center of my left…uhh (croack)…butt cheek.” Imagine pulling and proding.
Doctor: “Looks like you pulled a muscle in your hip.” Aaaaaahhhhh!!!! The hip!!! Why didn’t I think of that??!!?
But I digress. It took about a year before I could exercise without it flairing up. Even now, EITHER of my hips will flair up sporadically. I think I must favor my “good” hip without realizing it and, in doing so, strain it unnecessarily.
So there you have it. By the end of yoga I was having trouble sitting up and had to limp out of the studio. I’m quite upset about it.