Bikram Yoga New York Posture Clinic (Standing Series)

Yesterday I went to my second ever posture clinic at Bikram Yoga NYC.  You can read about the first one here, should you be so inclined.  The first one was at their Upper East Side studio – which was more conducive do the presenting of a clinic.  The room was more square while the one I attended last night was in a long narrow room at their Upper West Side location.  The clinic itself was run by one of the co-founders and there were easily eight teachers in the room helping students.  And yet the room continually erupted into so much conversation that it took us forever to get from one posture to the next.  Both clinics were meant to cover the entire 26 postures and two breathing exercises.  Neither made it through the standing series.

The clinic overlapped so much with the first one, I don’t want to be redundant.  With that in mind, I am writing now about postures not covered in my last recap.  If there is a posture in the standing series that you have questions about, please reference that first post.  Anyway, here we go…

Awkward Pose: For the first part of this posture, I have always thought that I was supposed to stick my butt out and reach my arms as far forward as possible.  But apparently this is just what most of us need to do when we are first starting out.  The full expression of the pose should have you looking as though you are sitting in a chair.  Thighs parallel to the floor and back perpendicular.  With the guidance of one of the instructors, I almost did it!  Will see if I can recreate it in class tomorrow.

Standing Head to Knee Pose: In between the postures, we were sitting on the floor – listening to the teacher.  With this one, she actually had us stay on the floor and attempt the Head-to-Knee portion of the pose from there.  We flexed our thigh muscles with the purpose of getting our heels off the floor. We then reached forward to grab our feet with both hands, using all ten fingers crossed down to the webbing.  From there we all tried to get our elbows to the floor and our heads to our knees.  The idea being that this is the more secure place to practice this part of the posture.  The rest should be practiced standing.  But if you can’t get your head to touch your knee when you’re on the floor – don’t be surprised if you can’t do it balancing on one leg.

Standing Bow Pulling Pose:  This has always been one of my favorite postures but last night I got further into it than I have before.  We started by kicking as hard as we could without bending the body forward AT ALL.  Once we had reached our limit, then we started to bend forward.  When our bodies were parallel to the ground, again we kicked out.  Emphasis was placed on making sure one shoulder was behind the other, that the knee wasn’t sticking out to the side and that our feet were coming up over our heads.  I never wanted to stop!

Balancing Stick Pose:  We practiced the pose first by holding our hands on our hips instead of stretched up over our heads.  With our hands there, it was that much easier to see if our hips were in proper alignment and then make the adjustment.  With that remembered positioning, my balancing stick pose was much easier to hold.  It’s still hard as hell, though!

We only made it as far as Triangle Pose and then quickly blew through some floor poses.  We looked at Cobra Pose – with the main takeaway being that you can use your hands a little bit to make sure you get off the floor a little and then, as you get stronger, focus on just using your back muscles.

I was hoping that we would get more when the question of Bow Pose came up, but basically we were just reminded to try and keep our knees in line with our hips.  To not let them splay out too much but to also not try to keep them together the entire time as you will never get anywhere.

We looked at Half-Tortoise Pose and the duality of what it asks of the body.  It’s always the same question – I can do one or the other, but I can’t both get my head on the floor and keep my bum on my heels.  You have to try doing both.  The suggestion was to focus on one for the first round and the other for the second and hopefully, one day, it all comes together.

And we had a quick suggestion with Rabbit Pose which seemed to help lots of people but not me.  But I guess my arms are properly proportioned to my body.  Here, the suggestion was that you shift where you hold on to your feet in order to get the proper leverage and allow your body to form a 90° with your legs and straighten out your arms.  My problem with my pose is that I suffocate myself with my boobies.  But I’ll keep that problem, thanks.

I would love to take another posture clinic, but I think I will go to another studio next time.  Understandably, the teachers at BYNYC give the same suggestions each time.  But I need a new way to look at things.  No matter, it’s always fun to spend 2.5 hours on yoga.

Namaste.

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