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 :
[klin-ik] Show IPA
||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.
||a group of physicians, dentists, or the like, working in cooperation and sharing the same facilities.
||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.
||the instruction of medical students by examining or treating patients in their presence or by their examining or treating patients under supervision.
||a class of students assembled for such instruction.
||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.
||of a clinic; clinical.
1620–30; 1885–90 for def. 1;
< L clīnicus
< Gk klīnikós
pertaining to a (sick) bed, equiv. to kln
) 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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?
– 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.