(Oneika’a 30 day hot yoga challenge continues)
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Keeping your knees six inches apart or less is the big challenge in this pose. You’re not supposed to see your knees in the mirror. You’re also not supposed to be looking at the mirror so… My upper back is tight so I’m looking forward to growing into this pose.
There are plenty of benefits to Bow Pose:
- Increases circulation to the spine
- Strengthens the spine
- Strengthens ab muscles
- Strengthens triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings and hips
- Aids digestion
- Massages the large and small intestines, liver, kidneys and spleen
- Improves the flexibility of back muscles
- Increases oxygen intake by opening the rib cage
We interrupt your regularly scheduled program
Me and my big mouth. At 12:30 thousands of people and I took a class led by Rajashree Choudhury (wife of Bikram Choudhury) in Times Square. It was the world’s largest Bikram class at 14,000 students strong. With temperatures close to 100 it also wasn’t far away from the real temp of a hot yoga room. Loving energy was the best part of the day.
New York city can be a cold place. People have laughs with each other even as strangers but sometimes there isn’t warmth. It’s almost a connection based off the fact that you are so disconnected. Anyway, it was just the opposite today. People greeted each other and shared experiences about yoga. Yoga mats (with people attached) flocked to 42nd St. It was a lovely few hours in the heart of the city. In a backbend as the noon sun beat down on my face I thought, ‘Have I lost my god damned mind? I still have to go to my regular class.‘
Let me tell you, at first it was all gravy.
I was KING OF THE WORLD.
Looking back, I blame the yoga high.
When I hit class at 6:30… uh-oh. Exhaustion had made a home in every muscle. I powered through class. The teacher even asked if anyone had been in Times Square earlier. There were a few other foolish souls who raised their hands.
I fell asleep on the train home. I’m also pretty sure I walked halfway home with my eyes closed. Even though it was 9pm and dark the temperature was still around 90. Frankly, this is cooler than the hot yoga room so it felt soothing, but still it was hot and I was tired. I’ll survey the damage in the morning.
Supta-Vajrasana Fixed Firm
You want to be warmed up for this one if you have bad knees or were any kind of athlete. I’m still not able to get all the way back on most days. It’s a process and can’t be rushed. You risk major damage to the knees if you’re not careful and as one teacher says, ‘You only get one pair’.
Ardha-Kurmasana Half Tortoise Pose
This looks like a back stretch but it’s really great for the core. It’s also a wonderful energizer if you’ve hit a slump.
Huh. Not nearly as sore I thought I’d be. Some slight tightness behind my thighs but I am tired. Still can’t decipher if it’s mental or physical.
This pose can be overwhelming. It’s worth the effort. I went into camel once after a break up and promptly had tears streaming down my face. Go figure. I hadn’t even thought I was upset anymore. But Camel Pose releases stress and energy. If you are feeling particularly closed off, this will really help. This video gives a great demonstration because a photo alone can’t capture how the pose should feel.
If you’re wondering what my face is mushed against? Allow me to introduce you to the wall. It’s been coming. Class today was unbearably long. I wanted to be done with the challenge today. Wanted to be done writing about it, doing it, thinking about it. Yuck.
Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
Rabbit is the forward bend to Camel’s deep backbend. This posture is also best observed in video rather than a photo.
Saturday was an empty class my knees hurt and it was hot as hell. Thirst is the word of the day. Another crappy class. My crankiness is getting the best of me. I’m trying to stay connected but I feel like I’m climbing a wall that is at a 90 degree angle to the floor using nothing but my fingertips. I know that there is something magnificent on the other side of this frustration, but I don’t see it it. I’m even having dreams where I’m lost in the subway on trains that don’t actually exist. And while I know there isn’t an turquoise ‘i’ subway line, I feel that the color would be a welcome addition to the the MTA. I’m hoping for better dreams tonight.