Back in March we had a Masterclass with Zeb Homison (Yoga Asana World Champion 2014) and Gianna Purcell (Yoga Asana USA Champion 2014).
It was a “normal” Bikram Yoga class in that we did the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises but it was 2 hours long and led by Asana Champions.
They alternated between teaching and demonstrating postures and gave some tips. Overall, it was a great class and we were grateful for having the experience of being in the same room and being taught by them.
I did find it enlightening to see the disparity between what they could do vs what I could do and although we know this already, it was clear as day that the only reason that disparity exists is because they’ve been practicing for many years more and they’ve dedicated their lives (many hours of their day, every day) to their practice whereas I have not! The enlightenment came when I watched them do postures that I’d seen other people do right next to me in an advanced class. That’s when I realised that EVERY body can actually do what their bodies do.
There is often that misnomer that yoga is only for the flexible or only contortionists can do those postures but the truth is quite the opposite. They have obtained flexibility and strength and therefore the ability to contort, through practicing yoga. With hard work, continuous practice and dedication (some more than others), any body can actually bend and stretch just like theirs. Now that’s inspiring 🙂
I’ve been listening to Bob Proctor again and one thing he says (I’m paraphrasing here) is that the only difference between you or I and someone who’s doing something we think is awesome, is not potential or ability. We are all the same. The differences we see in our results is just differences in our levels of thinking.
Whether you think you can or you can’t…. you are right.
So, back to Zeb and Gianna’s class…. they gave great examples of how a posture is supposed to be done, talked through and explained how to do the posture. They showed what not to do and then what to do. One way to tell when someone can do something really well is when they can do it really badly, on purpose, without hurting themselves!
I listened and watched intently, getting inspired by the possibilities of what the human body really is capable of, believing I was capable of doing that too since I owned a human body and then got smacked with reality in the face when I gave it a go, following their instructions and witnessed my body absolutely refusing to comply.
The road is a long one and as much as we want immediate gratification – I see therefore I can, there is a lot of action and time required in the space between “I think” and “therefore I am”! Patience, indeed, is a virtue.
One of the other big take homes from that session was that Gianna mentioned a couple of times that you had to learn how to isolate the muscles and be able to control them independently of each other. That way, you could tense the ones that needed to be in use and relax the rest to allow you to go deeper into a posture. I do not yet have this skill…at all.
It seems the connectors between brain and muscle haven’t yet been identified or formed to operate singularly. As it is I can only isolate groups of muscles. For example, I tell myself to tense my biceps and whoomp, my biceps, shoulders and lats all tense at the same time. And that’s just with my right side. God help me when I attempt this with my left side! Nothing moves!! I’m trying this again as I type and I managed to minutely tense just the bicep and then noticed that I was clenching my jaw at the same time. Just like patting your head and rubbing your tummy with opposite hands, I’ll need to grow some new dendrites for this type of activity. It’s a shame this body didn’t come with an operating manual!! I’m just going to have to fumble about until I figure it out. I guess this is the same skill as learning how to raise one eyebrow at a time without moving the other!
So what other tips did we learn? Things like the standing-head-to-knee should be a stretch from the standing leg heel all the way to the head, that the full locust should be done spreading the shoulder blades as far apart from each other as possible rather than bunched up preventing the head from going backwards and a wonderful example of just how far the stomach needs to be pulled in during the first breathing exercise. All, a lot easier said than done! They had a LOT more tips but it’s been a month now and with so much to remember and the inability to implement it all to have it ingrained, I’m sure I’ve forgotten quite a bit!
At the end of the class, they did a demonstration. I didn’t record it so here are a couple of YouTube clips of them instead 🙂