August 7, 2008
Well, first of all, I am not sore. I went to bed SO incredibly sore I was near weeping when I pulled my aching frame under the sheets. But something happened between 11 pm and 7 am and I woke up with zero soreness anywhere. Really. I was so done with it yesterday evening that I told myself that if I woke up feeling stiff again, I was taking a day off. Nothing, not even a tight hamstring today. This yoga works, believe it.
Arnie taught 9:30 today. I haven’t been in that class in a while, but I love it. There’s so much energy in the room. There are a lot of “regulars” there every day. I took my new favorite spot and had a good class. It was HUMID to the max and my body moved well. I am thinking maybe taking it easy on myself yesterday paid off today. I was able to work a bit deeper than I have in a few days. Anyhow, boy was it a long one. Arnie taught a one hour, 49 minute class. I was feeling it by the end. I had a hard time in the first set of Ustrasana and ended flat on my back for fear of blacking out. I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t especially overheated or nauseas. But I couldn’t get myself even into the setup without the room seeming to spin. Second set was awesome and I felt that really killer stretch all the way up and down my body. So good.
So, since I’m always looking to educate myself further about my practice, this yoga, and all things Bikram, I have a special thanks to give today. Social networks are amazing things. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace – they all bring us closer together. I think the Bikram world especially is tight in the virtual world. And since I never pass up an opportunity to live my life on the web, I really love it. I had the amazing opportunity recently to “converse” with Mary Jarvis on Facebook. Mary is the founder and owner of Global Yoga San Francisco. She is also a deeply respected name in the Bikram world. Mary offered me some fresh insights into my backbends. Since the Challenge began I have had a love/hate relationship with all things backward bending. But recently I’ve been having some discouragement and frustration with my backbends. Since Mary is all about the backbends I asked her for her insights. She gave them to me. My life and my spine will never be the same. Mary encouraged me to try some new things, do a few things differently and GO FOR IT!!!! I’ve been working on it. Today I finally felt it in the third part of Half Moon. I finally felt the zen of the backbend. I’ve heard about it. I’ve read about it. I’ve wished for it. Today I got it. And yes, Mary, I did squeeze the shit out of my hands! So, Mary, thank you. Thanks for encouraging and instructing, even from far away. You are a legend, and I long to meet you one day. Eventually, in the future. 😉
I’m considering a double today. I’ll keep you posted.
June 20, 2008
Today is Love Your Camel! day. Because I say so. Also, because I really really do love my Camel today. But before I wax poetic about Ustrasana, go ahead and click on the image above to be taken to the amazing Love Your Camel webshop. Daren, one of my very cool Challenge buddies, has designed these incredibly snazzy T-shirts. You can get your very own piece of BYTW paraphernalia and show your Camel love now! Also, you can get one of the very stylish BYTW Collegiate shirts. So, go ahead, click away my friends. You know you want to!
Alright, alright. I’m not kidding folks. I LOVE my Camel. For those of you not steeped in Bikram Yoga, Ustrasana (Camel pose) is one of two master postures in the Floor Series. It’s the deepest backbend of the entire Bikram Beginning Series. And it’s one of the most healing postures for the spine.
You can see an example of what Ustrasana looks like here.
Produces maximum compression of the spine. Improves the flexibility of the neck and spine and relieves backache. The peak of the floor series. This posture stretches the abdominal organs to the maximum and cures constipation. It stretches the throat, thyroid gland, and parathyroids. Like the Bow Pose, it opens a narrow rib cage to give more space to the lungs. It also firms and slims the abdomen and the waistline.
In addition, this posture allows release of emotional tension held in the body as stress, anxiety, anger and depression.
Yes, I know, it looks intimidating. This was actually one of the first Bikram postures that I fell in love with when I started doing the yoga. Lately, I look forward to this posture, because I know without a doubt that my back will feel shiny and new when it’s over. Coupled with the “sister” posture – Rabbit – Camel makes everything better. (we’ll discuss Rabbit another day) Some days I groan and moan about Ustrasana like most everyone else. Initially, it IS hard and it DOES hurt. Hurts like hell as Bikram would say. But, one day, you’re there and it just stops hurting. And no, this is not because your spine has snapped in half. Somewhere along the way, the body begins to thank you for this posture. In fact, your body begins to demand this posture. Trust me, it does.
So today, I took my very tender spine back to the mat. I had a great class and really enjoyed feeling my body open up systematically posture by posture. It’s interesting to see it happen, to feel the release system by system. It’s classes like this that remind me why Camel is so important. You work 70-75 minutes just to do Ustrasana. You stretch, you sweat, you work and then AHHHH, Ustrasana. It’s the greatest feeling. And before long, as Cisco would say, you’re “chasing that nauseas high” further and further and further away. Because afterall, that is what it’s about. That feeling when it’s over.
See you all tomorrow!