As I have mentioned before, I do some yoga work with a friend on Tuesdays. I have been going through the Bikram yoga sequence as well as some sun salutations. This coming Saturday, she is going to try her first ever Bikram class – I could not be more excited. In preparation for this, we went through the sequence with me doing the postures and her asking questions. Many of them came down to the idea of a pose being more about compression (and therefor detoxification) than stretching. I admit, it’s a hard concept as it’s not usually where your brain goes when you think of yoga. The same is true for the poses in this challenge. I have to keep reminding myself that the goal is not always balance or flexibility. But rather that this challenge is about cleansing.
With that in mind, the past seven days had me twisting my body in the below ways:
Day 17: Tiger Pose or Vyaghrasana is a pose I have done before, just not in this exact way. As such, I kind of made a mess of getting in to the posture. All the more reason for me to research a new pose – rather than just trying to recreate what I see in a single photo. Tiger pose stretches the abdominal muscles, promotes digestion and stimulates blood circulation.
Day 18: Forward Fold is a prime example of a posture that people want to think of as a stretch when, in this case it is the compression that you are after. It is important to keep a flat back rather than a rounded spine and to look forward at your feet rather than down at your knees. A nice forward fold nourishes the kidneys and increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion. It also helps to balance blood sugar levels and improves circulation to the bowels. Lovely.
Day 19: Lord of the Dance Pose is a favorite. I need to work on that reverse grip but I could chill in this pose trying to make that grip work for the rest of my life. All that said, I can not, for the life of me, figure out how this is a detoxifying pose. Unless it’s detoxing your heart – which is totally possible.
Day 20: Lifting Lotus or Upward Rooster is one that eludes me but I will keep trying. And Kino MacGregor acknowledges that it’s hard. So that HAS to mean something. And it strengthens and tones various muscles and organs in the abdominal region.
Day 21: Uddiyana Bandha has many benefits but is one of the harder breathing exercises I have come across. Until I am ready, I will stick to the ones that I know – Pranayama and Kapalbhati. For me, I need a teacher in the room to walk me through breathing exercises. They are too hard to pick up via the interwebs (it’s a series of tubes).
Day 22: Forearm Stand is a favorite inversion. All inversions have detoxing benefits – they stimulate the lymphatic system which helps clear toxins and boost the immune system. But I love forearm stand, and all inversions, because they are just fun. They flush the adrenal glands, stimulating the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins uplifting you while turning you upside down.
Day 23: Side Crow is easier than Crow Pose for me because it is more about balance while Crow is all about core. However, like with Dancer’s Pose, I don’t see how this is detoxing. It strengthens your arms, shoulders and wrists. It improves balance and focus – you do not want to face plant! It engages core muscles but I don’t see how it does it to the point of detoxification. Maybe it is the twist that creates a compression with the intestines? Let’s go with that.
One week to go in this challenge.