After last week’s adventure with our first ever Yogasana class (and wanting to use our introductory offer at the yoga studio), we decided it would be worth our while to try other forms of yoga while we had the opportunity. Boy what an eye opener this has been!!!
I mentioned that I’d strained my shoulder last week. I didn’t realise at the time but I actually did some damage because after a week, it was still aching every time I lifted my arm. So it did inhibit my choices (for example, I chose not to go to a handstand workshop / class even though it’s something I really wanted to do and I had to skip all the Yogasana classes I had intended to do during the week) and I thought the best thing would be for me to just do beginner classes or classes that didn’t sound so dynamic.
It wasn’t just the injury that made me choose this. I realised that 3 years of Bikram beginners series didn’t at all equip me with the arm strength, ab strength, shoulder and hip flexibility that I needed to do even half the postures in a Yogasana class. Unfamiliarity with all the postures also meant that I had no idea what to do instead of a full/advanced expression of the posture and the speed of the class and the ability of all the other students didn’t allow for the teacher to sit there and explain the postures to me either.
So, I went and did a Vinyasa flow class which, was much milder, slower and allowed time for the teacher to explain how to get into a posture and how to do modifications. The end result was brilliant. My shoulder didn’t hurt at all and in fact felt better than before I started.
The best part was that I learned that I wasn’t doing my Utkatasana properly and in getting corrected understood why there were so many versions of it in the Yogasana class!! I also learned that Ardha Chandrasana in other forms of yoga
looks NOTHING like and doesn’t in any way shape or form resemble the Ardha Chandrasana in Bikram Yoga
and that I can’t do it to save my life. Every time I attempt this pose, every muscle screams WTF?! not in pain but in complete confusion – they don’t actually know how to work with each other to get the pose done and I topple over and fall every single time.
Lastly I realised that it wasn’t the upward and downward dogs that strained my shoulder. It was the bind in Bird of Paradise pose!!
Binding slowly in a Vinyasa Flow class actually allowed me to feel when the muscles around my shoulder were starting to twinge and gave me that understanding of when I’d reached my limit vs getting into it so quickly that by the time I realised it hurt, I’d already moved onto the next posture and done the damage.
That class also did a LOT of ab work and many of the postures worked to release tension in the neck and shoulders and although it was slower while the teacher explained the postures, it did work itself into quite a dynamic flow and Tones and I were drenched in sweat again.
I think it’s a natural state of being for us now. Any bit of increased body temperature and my armpits turn into a broken fire hydrant, gushing enough water to attract kids to run around me on a hot summer’s day. The teacher kept apologising for it being so hot, explained that all the heaters were switched off and the windows were open, not that we were complaining (we wouldn’t be Bikram Yogis if we complained about heat and sweat during the yoga class). I think he just felt sorry for us because we were both looking like we’d jumped into a pool (yet again) while the other students were completely dry.
I felt bad that Tony joined me on that class when he could have done another Yogasana. Afterall, it wasn’t him that was injured but he joined me because he agreed that it was best to go back to basics and get a firm grounding and better understanding of the postures. Better to build your practice on SOLID foundations 😉
Not all the postures were the same as in Yogasana but it was good to do so many different things, move our bodies in different ways and it was definitely filling in the gaps of our beginners practice. The feeling after class was free and easy as if all tension had gone.
We realised just how much more we have to learn and decided then that we’d try other beginner classes of other forms of yoga!