Last night I attended a posture clinic at Bikram Yoga New York‘s UES location. I had never visited that location before – I started my Bikram practice at their Flatiron location. This studio was smaller but the staff was just as nice. Without thinking, I just assumed that the clinic would be at the Flatiron location – you can imagine my surprise/concern when I walked in at 5:40 for a 6PM class only to be told I was off by approximately 60 blocks. Thank GOD for the NYC public transportation system because even in the rain I managed to make it there by 6:10p.
The clinic was taught by one of their senior teachers with what seemed like six teaching assistants walking through the room and helping us with our alignment. We discussed each pose, then watched one or two of the teachers demonstrate. It was great to see people who clearly know what they are doing but have different body types get in to the asanas – it was nice to know that I’m not the only one who can easily get in to Eagle Pose but has some questions about Standing Separate Leg Hand to Knee Pose. My major take-aways were as follows:
Hands to Feet Pose: The most important thing is that your stomach is on your thighs. The rest can be worked on but it’s that connection that you want to make sure is maintained. One woman complained that she could never get her head below her knees. But she just had a short neck! She was trying her hardest and getting the benefits. But pushing herself to do something that was never going to happen would only lead to injury.
Eagle Pose: This is a pose that I can get pretty deep in to. Too deep as it turns out. Many teachers will always tell you to try to be the shortest person in the room. However, I was going so low that I was risking injury to my knee. The teaching assistant showed me that I should keep my supporting leg at a 90 degree angle, not below. They also explained that when told to move your knees to one side or the other, the movement should actually be generated by your hips, not by over extending your knees.
Separate Leg Stretching: This is one of those poses that I have never really understood. I always felt like I was just hanging out waiting for the next pose. Turns out that, because I am so flexible, my stance was too wide to gain any benefits. The instructor had me shorten my stance and then get in to position. Let me tell you, I felt it!
Triangle Pose: I have never really understood the whole moving your arms but not your body thing once you are in position. The teacher had us take our step and bend our knee with our hands on our hips so we could feel the proper alignment. THEN we moved our arms in to position. I have never had such a strong Triangle Pose before.
Standing Separate Leg Hand to Knee Pose: This one has always been a mess for me. I am flexible and get in to what looks like an OK position from far away but up close it’s a big old mess. My feet were misaligned, my stance wasn’t wide enough, I was going down with a flat back instead of a curved spine and once down had my hands in the wrong place. THANK YOU posture clinic!
If you have the opportunity, no matter where you are in your practice, I highly recommend a posture clinic. I can’t wait for the next one and am very much looking forward to putting my new knowledge to work tomorrow and Sunday at Bikram Yoga East Harlem.