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Bikram Yoga Workshop

11th and 12th April marked my VERY FIRST Bikram Yoga Workshop / Posture Clinic. Actually, I’ll just call it PC for short.

I’ve always wondered why they call it a  Posture Clinic instead of a Posture Workshop. Clinic conjures up images of people in white with thermometers in the mouth waiting for a doctor to see to them. So I let my fingers do the typing and dictionary.com ‘d Clinic and got :

clin⋅ic

[klin-ik] Show IPA

–noun

1. a place, as in connection with a medical school or a hospital, for the treatment of nonresident patients, sometimes at low cost or without charge.
2. a group of physicians, dentists, or the like, working in cooperation and sharing the same facilities.
3. a class or group convening for instruction or remedial work or for the diagnosis and treatment of specific problems: a reading clinic; a speech clinic; a summer baseball clinic for promising young players.
4. the instruction of medical students by examining or treating patients in their presence or by their examining or treating patients under supervision.
5. a class of students assembled for such instruction.
6. Sports Slang. a performance so thoroughly superior by a team or player as to be a virtual model or demonstration of excellence; rout or mismatch.
–adjective

7. of a clinic; clinical.
Origin:
1620–30; 1885–90 for def. 1; < L clīnicus < Gk klīnikós pertaining to a (sick) bed, equiv. to kln(ē) bed + -ikos -ic
Interesting. The many new things about the English language I learn every day.
So since the morning would be conducted by Rich [Bikram Yoga regional instructor for Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand & India], I made sure I slept early the night before [11pm], got my electrolytes ready, epilated my legs and armpits and packed my bag. What? I don’t want him thinking that females from Malaysia are as uncouth and barbaric as to not shave their armpits when they come for class [there was this one woman who did it, but eww, let’s not go there].
Rich’s class wasn’t hard, it was surprisingly easy! No murder on the mat, until the following class, but you can read the post here.
So what goes on in a PC exactly?
PC lasts 2 hours and a bit each day over 2 days. The first day, we covered the Standing Series before moving on to the Floor Series.
Unfortunately. there was a no camera policy enforced so I didn’t bring my trusty ol’ camera in. However, True Fitness managed to score some pictures, which I have [heavily] edited because the picture was really dark with enough noise to wake the living dead. Sorry, pun.
Here are a coupla things I learnt from the Standing Series. Floor Series will come as Part 2.
Arda-Chandrasana (Half Moon Posture)
– STRETCHHHH up to touch the ceiling before bending left / right. Super important as it creates space between the vertebrae so that you’ll stretch your spine. I’ve noticed not many people do it in class in order to achieve a more curved aka beautiful posture. This is wrong! If you don’t warm up, you could potentially injure yourself.
– Always keep a straight spine when bending left and right to avoid compressing your cervical spine too much.
– Backbends : MUST LOCK THE KNEE! Rich corrected me in this posture and told me to lock the knee. Another thing Rich mentioned was that people who have really deep backbends are usually confident in life as they’ve learnt how to trust themselves to be able to look back and drop aaaaaalll the way backwards.
Pada Hastasana
– It certainly IS possible to get one’s head on top of the feet, as demonstrated by Mei the instructor.
– Warm up : Always move the hips first. Don’t squat first. Forgot to ask Rich why, but as someone who did squats first, this was a habit I changed immediately.
Uktasana (Awkward)
– Always lock thy arms in all 3 parts. It’ll make you feel lighter plus helps rid of Batwings [flabby skin  on the underside of arms].
– SUCK THE STOMACH IN. And lift it off the stomach. Not only do you look more dignified [imagine belly flab having a little siesta on your thigh. There, don’t you look like a twit?] , it’ll help activate the core muscles and support your lower spine. If you have no belly flab, let it be known that you are one of the world’s luckiest people.
Garurasana (Eagle)
– The Malay word for eagle is Garuda. So you see, Malay has its roots in Sanskrit and Portuguese.
– Guys and girls of all ages : Sweat is your friend in this posture. It helps you slide your foot down lower to the ankle. Hence, shorts = the way to go. Shave your legs if you have to!
– Always cut your toenails. Rich mentioned he scraped his calf and bled onto his towel all thanks to a long toenail. I can vouch for that, as I’ve got weird scratches behind my calf muscles, and I know the cause of it now.
Dandayama Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee)
– LOCK THY KNEE before even attempting to kick out.Ain’t no shame, I’ve been staying in Part 1 for 6 months now, all because I realised one day that I was cheating myself.
– You may flex your toes upwards towards your face in the first part to get used to flexing your Achilles tendon in Part 2.
– Suck the stomach in to support the lower spine. Trust me on this – it helps. Plus you look a little less like the Michellin man with your flab hanging out on your thigh.
Dandayama Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling)
– LOCK THY KNEE. And I just had a revelation about the posture whilst having a shower, shall try it out tomorrow and report back.
– Body parallel to the floor to get the maximum medical benefit of a heart stretch.
Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)
– Contract all muscles before you get your body down and legs up. It’ll help with the balancing!
Dandayama Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana (Standing Separate Stretching)
– Arms always touch the shins before you get your forehead down to the floor.
– Touch the forehead lightly, not plonk your head like an ox onto the towel.
* Once, for some reason, I scared myself in this posture and ended up falling out.
* My very first class, I fell on my ass in this posture. I know, how can someone fall on their ass when they’re standing on TWO legs?
Trikanasana (Triangle)
– During set-up, don’t bounce up and down ie from knee locked -> straight knee position. Instead, when your leg is at nearly the required 90º angle, bounce from the hip to get it lower, if it’s not low enough.
Dandayama Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Forehead to Knee)
– Get. The. FOREHEAD. Not. The. Nose. Or. The. Head. To.The. Knee.
Tadasana (Tree Pose)
-Push your hips forward and push your knees back. Feel the streeeeeeeeeetch?
– Don’t stick your arse out like a duck. In the beginning I had a nasty habit of sticky it out, caught myself in the mirror one day and realised how I look like a glorified piece of duck meat in bikini shorts.
Padangustasana (Toe Stand)
– Point your toes [of the leg that you’re not balancing on, obviously] to tighten those glutes and thighs.
– Doesn’t matter if you can’t go down all the way, stay where you are! You can mess with the Gods, but you can’t mess with the knees.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)
– Don’t wipe the sweat. Don’t blink. Don’t do anything. You’re a DEAD BODY. Well, except that you’re breathing.
– Resist the urge to walk out.
And while you’re enjoying your first Savasana, excuse me while I prepare for Part 2.
M*

Short Sweat Shorts : Shakti Activewear

I have recently invested my liver for 2 pairs of shorts and 2 super hot tops from Shakti Activewear. Although tops aren’t a concern for me [I can always buy Reebok tops, which are cheaper and good in their own way], I am nevertheless more concerned about shorts. Practicing Bikram Yoga in 40ºC heat wearing 3/4 pants and a crop top is akin to jumping into a river and doing 20 backstrokes all before running around in the Sahara. Also, by the end of class, your clothes get super heavy and weighs you down when you’re trying to fly away in full locust [Poorna Salabhasana]. Urgh. 

 

So glad that Rina brought in a few pieces of Shakti Activewear! Oh Rina, when you go, who’ll be our source of sexy shorts, sexy tops and eye candy? But I digress.

 

Behold, me modelling my Shakti Activewear shorts and tops.

 

Tree Pose

Tree Pose

 

 

 

Bearing in mind that I wear a size S, and the shorts DO get shorter halfway through class thanks to all the intense stretching. But fret not, no ass cheek came out [says she with no ass], neither did I flash anyone else in class my genitalia. These Shakti shorts STAY PUT where they’re supposed to be! 

 

If you’re wondering why my navel looks weird [ok if you weren’t, I’ll tell you anyway], it’s cause I had a navel piercing which didn’t sit too well, plus another scar from a laproscopic procedure to remove my appendix. If only I could sell it to raise funds for Teacher Training ..

 

The top I’m wearing in this photo is a halter neck top, with adjustable strings for women who are blessed with a more bountiful bounty. As I was. A slight push-up guaranteed to bring the girls out to town, I didn’t quite like the strings on the front as sweat pooled there and went up my nose during Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. Maybe I ought to retie it before class. The halter neck is a tied halter, which allows for adjustability. Again, I found it to be a wee bit disturbing as the knot got in the way of my backward bend [or any other posture that requires neck work, eg Camel].

 

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

 

I didn’t get it right in this photo. I should be sitting down lower with my left hand more to the left, just a wee bit. This is why you need to look in the mirror before you look up! And shoulder always to the chin! If you’ve got a flexible cervical spine [like me], this posture is easy peasy. Not only does this posture help open up your hips, it also helps to stretch and stregthen your cervical spine. 

 

As you can see, no camel toe, no ass coming out, no weird or odd looking privates making a guest appearance. Excuse the white tag that’s sticking out under my right boob. It’s the Shakti Activewear tag, and I have no intention of cutting it off lest the sharp edges irritate my delicate skin.

 

On a side note, ARGH my boyfriend cropped my left foot out of the photo 😦

 

Tree Pose (back)

Tree Pose (back)

 

The shorts sit really, really, really low on the hip. So low, you can see my full tattoo during class. But like I said, it still covers up all bits perfectly. I like the backview of this blue top. And wow, I can see my scapula in this photo. 

 

Tree Pose (back)

Tree Pose (back)

 

Excuse my right knee, it should be pushed further back to get both knees in one line. 

My spiderback top! Nice, bright flouro pink, I had to soak this top in vinegar lest it stains my white towels a pale shade of pink. Well, during class yesterday, I dripped pink sweat onto my pristine white towels. Argh! Back to the vinegar vat…

 

And no, that isn’t cellulite you see on my thighs. I was sitting on a rattan chair which resulted in blemished-looking thighs. 

 

Disco Pose

Disco Pose

 

I ran out of postures to do that would perfectly show the front, so this came about. As you can see, perfect boob coverage in the spiderback top. 

 

I also just wanted to show off my 2 pack. Hah! 

 

In short : Shakti Activewear = the way to go! Comfortable, lightweight, easy to wash, fast to dry, sexy and fits nicely on my miniature hips. 

 

Cons : Dyes may be too strong, super expensive.

 

 

If only they sell Shakti Activewear here in Malaysia 😦

 

M*

I HAVE A SHAKTI ACTIVEWEAR TOP

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

*orgasms

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

*jizzes in pants again

I have bought my very first Shakti Activewear top! Thanks to Mel who was in Singapore, she paid a visit to Bikram Yoga City Hall and got me a spider back top … in [what else?] Flouro Pink!

hehehehe

I am so excited.

And I don’t care it doesn’t come with padding. As long as my nipples stay INSIDE my top, I am perfectly okay with it distracting the perverts who ought to be practicing and looking at themselves in the mirror.

*sticks toothpicks into perverts eyes.

Hah!

Weeee okay time to wash it and soak it in vinegar 😀

M*

I Wanna!

Even though during this economic turmoil, even though I have a steady job [that has such a crap pay for the amount of glory I do], I would still like to be able to make it California.

Demonstration of Bikram Yoga

Since I haven’t got the appropriate gear YET, here are some videos to tide you down 🙂

PART 1

Postures Demonstrated

1. Pranayama Deep Breathing

2. Half Moon Pose [3 parts] with Hands to Feet Pose

3. Awkward Pose [3 parts]

4. Eagle Pose

5. Standing Head to Knee Pose [4 parts]

PART 2

Postures Demonstrated

6. Standing Bow Pulling

7. Balancing Stick Pose

8. Standing Separate Leg Stretching

9. Triangle

10. Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee

11. Tree Pose

12. Toe Stand

13. Savasana

14. Wind Removing Pose [3 parts]

Not demonstrated : 15. Sit-up

Notice how Standing Bow Pulling is an extremely difficult posture? Even the very experienced find it hard to balance [at least they fall gracefully, unlike me who falls about as graceful as a rhino waltzing to the Blue Danube].

PART 3

Postures Demonstrated

16. Cobra Pose

17. Half Locust Pose [3 parts, demonstration of the advanced Half Locust in Part 4]

PART 4

Postures Demonstrated

17. Half Locust [advanced set at 0:12. There’s a guy who’s got his feet up onto his head. Currently working my way there… once I hold my feet up at a 90-degree angle, that is 😉 ]

18. Full Locust

19. Bow Pose [you can see the advanced set in motion at 1:02 – 1:04]

20. Fixed Firm Pose

21. Half Tortoise Pose

22. Camel Posture [advanced set 3:11 – 3:15]

23. Rabbit Posture

24. Head to Knee with Stretching Pose [3 parts. The last part is my least favourite, go figure]

25. Spine Twisting

26. Kapalbhati Breathing

And there you have it, all 26 postures of Bikram Yoga that is practiced in a room heated to 32-34 degrees Celcius. For all those who think that Yoga practice = chanting and what some uninformed people have been talking about in the papers … if you have time to chant or even talk during class, you aren’t practicing Bikram Yoga.

M*