Monday, February 13, 2006

Damned Bikram

I woke up with sore legs and stiff shoulders today. This was most likely as a result of a self-imposed challenge to dwell with equanimity within the "play of opposites" ... which is to say that after two hours of playing in the snow with Adam and Lewis, I took my frozen butt and trudged my way, three layers of ski performance-wear and all, over to a Bikram class.

Now, for those who have not ventured into the non-vinyasa hot box, Bikram involves 50 minutes of about 10 standing poses, each held for 30 seconds to a minute, twice. As I was telling Tiff recently, usually, I don't feel any soreness after a Bikram class. But last night, the room wasn't as insanely hot as usual - just really, really freakin' hot. As a result, I was able to hold my poses more energetically, rather than flopping into them, which inevitably means some leg soreness. On a bright note, at the end of class, there are some "advanced" poses thrown in for Bikram veterans, me being one of them (going on four years of Bikram practice now): Hanumanasana, which I refrained from, simply because I don't see what it adds for me right now, and Kurmasana, which was fabuloso. Santiago, the teacher, was like, point your toes! lift your legs! And I did. And I did!

I also woke up unusually hungry, most likely a result of not eating after dinner, a habit I hope to develop (re-develop) because it is the only thing standing between me at 108 pounds and me at 103, which is what I weighed on my wedding day. Not that there is any magic to what I weighed on my wedding day. But I do know that it is better to grow thinner as we age than to grow, shall we say, larger. Granted, I was a runner then, and running breaks down the muscles, rather than builds them, as opposed to yoga, which builds muscle, at least on my mesomorphic body. So, I may have less fat on me and more muscle, even if I weigh a few pounds more. But still. In any event, as I walked back from dropping of the kids at school, I found my empty belly drawing me, like a magnet, to Agata and Valentina, where I had a scone and a coffee and decided that maybe I could get away with not practicing Ashtanga today after all...


And then miraculously, I came to my senses. No matter that I had just polluted my body with a five ounce scone and a 16 ounce full-caf coffee (at least I drink it black). I still had to practice. So off I went to pick up my car from my garage, right on schedule, amazingly enough, despite the face-stuffing detour.

To my annoyance, I discovered upon arrival that my car was buried behind about 15 other cars, despite that I had called for it an hour earlier. I had no choice but to just let it go though. Ten minutes later I was on my way. And to my great surprise, the FDR Drive was pretty much traffic-free, so I made up the garage-time on my drive. I arrived at the shala just before 9:30, and got right to it. No showers, no gomukhasana (cow-face) arms. Okay, a couple of arm swings on each side, I will admit it...

Scone or no scone, crampy legs or no crampy legs, like I trudged through the snow yesterday, I trudged through my practice today, resolving NOT to share with Sir ANY of my excuses for why my practice was going to surely suck today.

Well, it didn't exactly suck. At least my uttanasanas were nice and loose. At least my jumps were fairly stealth (at least in the standing portion of my practice). And I managed to get done with my practice in time to get my big-deal adjustment in Mari D from Sir (p.s...why do I get NO adjustments other than that anymore? No Prasarita Pado C? No Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana?!) .

Before I reached for the bind, I asked Sir - where does the lotus foot go?

"Along the hip-crease," he said.

"Oh," I said, looking down and seeing that that is where my foot already was.

"That's not your problem," he noted.

"Well then, what IS my problem?" I asked.

"Shoulders," he said, and then corrected himself, "No, that's not it. It's your mind."

"Right," I smiled. "Of course it's my mind."

And then I bound pretty tightly and deeply on the first side.

"That was good," Sir said.

The other side, not nearly as good.

Pointing to my right side, Sir noted that there is still some restriction in my spinal twisting.


Seven full wheels. I decided that it's okay if the last one really goes to the edge.

And the loveliest development...I was able to jump back with my legs in full lotus - and by jump back, I mean with my knees balanced in the air, a la padma mayurasana, but with fingers facing forward (wouldn't that be padma hamsasana or something like that?) It was awesome. My legs must really be getting accustomed to the "play of opposites".

Three more days of Ashtanga in the shala, and then off to Utah I go. I will probably do self-practice on Friday - but I will probably improvise it so that I focus on shoulder flexibility (for the pole planting-asanas) and core strength (for the facing straight down the mountain even as your legs turn quickly first in one direction then the other-asanas) and squatting (for the mogul-asanas).

I have a call into my chiropracter to see if it is worth it for me to come in for a re-adjustment before going out West. I seem to need to visit my chiro about once every six months to work out a structural thing going on at C-7 (in the link, the arrow points to C-7). Sadly, it sticks out more than it should - a genetic thing. After a few sessions of chiropractic, it sticks out less, making me look taller, more long-necked and allowing me to hold Pindasana without rolling from side to side. Also wondering if she can do anything to help release my lumbar spine to make backbending and twisting less "drama-filled".

Meanwhile, off I am to put away my Fresh Direct (yes, I caved and went back to them, only now I VERY carefully count the boxes before the delivery guy leaves). Small delivery today, as we are OUTTA HERE on Thursday...and all the snow should be melted around here by then...


1 comment:

Tiffersll said...

I love bikram's because the difference between a tight day and not so tight day isn't really that huge b/c of the heat. I love how it opens up my hamstrings (they're so tight)...only problem is I will stretch them further than I normally can, which often results in soreness. Five years huh, that's a long time for Bikram's Lauren, you must have perfected the series. ;-)

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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