Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Sit up - For beginners

From where you are in Dead Man Pose, raise your arms up over your head simultaneously inhaling, and sit up, keeping legs straight and heels on the floor. Use the force of throwing your arms toward your toes to help you sit up. Just before you reach the upright position, start exhalation and dive forward, reaching for your toes, which are flexed back toward you. Grasp them, laying your whole body and face out flat on your legs or at least touching your forehead to your knees. Touch the floor on either side of your legs with elbows.

Some people at first can find no way in the world, no matter how hard they try, to sit up - as though something big and fat is sitting on their chest. Others can do it, but their feet bounce two feet into the air as they do so (This is all right. You can even lift the feet farther and use their downward thrust to sit you up if you are having a great deal of trouble). Others can sit up keeping the feet firmly on the ground, then can't grasp their toes, much less touch even the forehead to the knees.

Do not let your particular state of unfitness discourage you! Give each sit-up your honest effort and in two months maximum you will do it exactly as we described.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pavanamuktasana - Wind Removing Pose - For Beginners

As a beginner, you'll find it easier to do is you move the leg a little bit outside of the body before pulling down to the chest. Don't be surprised, of course, if you can get the knee nowhere near the chest at first. Just pull as hard as you can, while concentrating upon relaxing, letting everything go, in the right hip joint. When you really try, there is fast progress in this pose. (If you don't feel the pull in your hip joint, you aren't really trying.)

It is essential to keep the calf of the left leg touching the floor. If it gives you difficulty, flex the toes up toward you; the calf will then touch.

Those of you who can get the leg down to the chest should use a more advanced grip. Instead of interlacing fingers, catch the raised right knee in the crook of the right arm,raise the left arm and grasp the opposite elbows, keeping them square, as though they were holding both knees. With shoulders on the floor, pull straight down toward your chest.

As in many of the other poses, you'll probably find more flexibility in the knee and hip joint on one side than on the other. So, keep urging the less flexible side by pulling harder, but with a slow, steady pressure.

If you are unable to get the legs far enough down toward the chest to grasp opposite elbows, then grasp forearms, wrists, fingers, a skyhook, or anything you can manage.

As you now see that all three sections of this pose are a bit like rubbing your stomach clockwise with one hand, patting your head with the other, while wiggling your ears. You have three separate and opposing things to think about  - pulling down on the knees with all your might, keeping the chin tucked firmly down onto the chest, and either keeping the calf of the leg touching the floor or lowering the tailbone to the floor. While working on one task, you invariably forget the others.

A deceptive pose, indeed. It looks so simple, yet requires concentration and effort. Just keep in mind your two main goals: to open up your stiff hip joints and to push every single vertebra into the floor.You should feel a pull in your hip joints while you are doing the pose. But you may also feel the real effects when you release and lower your legs to the towel. So release slowly.

Benefits

The Wind Removing Pose cures and prevents flatulence, which is the source of most chronic abdominal discomforts. It also improves the flexibility of the hip joints and firms the abdomen, thighs, and hips.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Savasana - Dead Body Pose - For Beginners

We never fully realize what reservoirs of tension we are until we are given the seemingly simple instruction to completely relax. Your hands will twitch and your feet are full of as much nervous energy as are your hands. And how about the muscles of your legs, buttocks, pelvis and spine - especially your neck and shoulders - not to mention that convoluted gray mass called brain? Suddenly you notice how many parts of you want to be tight because they're used to it.

The object of this pose is to consciously let go of as much tension as you possibly can. But trying to relax each part of you separately is akin to plugging a weakening dike. The minute you get your fingers pacified, the tension will pop up in your toes; if you manage to relax the buttocks, you'll find that your calf muscles have tightened, and so on. You could lie there and chase the tension for hours on end and still not catch and contain it.

It is far better to concentrate on relaxing the body as a whole unit. Let the floor support you. Pretend that all the spark has left your body. You would fall through space like a chunk of a lead if the floor were not there, pressing upward, holding you easily. There's no need to worry, no need to be tense; the floor can do it all. Let it!

Benefits

The Dead Body Pose returns blood circulation to normal. It also teaches complete relaxation.


Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Padangustasana - Toe stand - For beginners

It is handy that your hands should begin the Toe Stand in a praying position. Because if you've looked at what comes next - first you will pray your knee will not break and then that you won't fall over onto your nose and become disfigured. Believe me, the praying is unnecessary. The Toe Stand is really the Lion Who Could Not Roar. It only looks fierce.

You haven't really been asked to dive fifty feet into a half-filled tea cup, you know. Don't scare. Nothing will break. You have warmed up to this exercise, and gaining balance is probably your biggest problem here.

Once you have conquered your fear and become accustomed to sinking down using your hands for support, try to go all the way down without touching the hands to the floor. Your goal is to keep your hands in the praying position throughout.

The straighter the spine and the more parallel the crossed leg is with the floor, the better your balance will be. Also vital is concentration on that one spot in front of you. Balance in the Toe Stand is really only a matter of patience and concentration. Waving your arms as though you were directing traffic can be helpful in finding balance. Also, learn to use the toes of your balancing foot just like fingers to grip the floor and help you keep your balance.

If the method just described hasn't worked for you after a few weeks, you can still practice the Toe Stand. Squat down, put one foot up on your thigh, and proceed to try for balance, first using both hands and then only one until you feel solidly set

To bolster confidence in the strength of the knees, go back up to the standing position on one leg, foot still on thigh, by putting your hands on the floor, weight well forward, then rear your buttocks up and backward and push the standing leg back, locking the knee. Gradually, you gain confidence, balance, and strength.'

Benefits

The Toe Stand develops psychological and mental powers - especially patience. Physically, it helps to cure gout and rheumatism of the knees, ankles and feet. It also helps cure hemorrhoid problems.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tadasana - Tree pose - For Beginners

As you have just observed, balance can be your first problem here, but now you know how to solve it. You may also find it impossible, as yet, to get the heel up to the hem of your costume. Just do your best. Gradually, the flexibility in your hip and knee joints will increase.

The essential thing here is for that foot to be high and knee forced down as much as possible. And so, as pretty and and dramatic as the praying position looks, as much as you yearn to look like Buddha - ignore the temptation to pray and instead hold the foot securely in place with your left hand until the heel remains touching at least the bottom of your leotard/trunks when you let go of the foot.

Some yogis, after a year, still have to hold the foot up with one hand, putting the other hand to the breastbone in half prayer. This is perfectly okey, as long as you keep trying honestly to keep the foot up there without either hand and are not just being lazy :)

So, up with the heel, down with the knee, in with the buttocks, bear the pain, keep your balance for ten seconds!!!

Since your knee has been forced into unusual activity, treat it with care - shake it and wiggle it around a bit before reversing the pose.

Benefits

The Tree Pose improves posture and balance and increases the flexibility of the ankles, knees, and hip joints. By strengthening the internal oblique muscles, it prevents hernia.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

My Everything hurts - First Bikram class after a long break

My everything hurts - that is how I felt day after my first Bikram Yoga class!

I have been doing Bikram Yoga since September 2009. That is 3 years! And in 2010 I did a 100 day challenge, where I took a class every day, for 100 days in a row. That totally changed my life! But why did I take a long break recently? Because I got pregnant last November. I was going to do the pregnancy series, but I was working a lot (4 different jobs) that after a work day I just wanted to go to bed (being pregnant makes you extra tired. Now I have a 2 month year old beautiful daughter and my 10 month break from the HOT room is over!!!!

How was my class? It was pretty hard. Heat wasn't bothering me. I was still friends with humidity. I remembered all the poses. BUT. I was super stiff!

1) Trying to lock the knee almost felt impossible again. My muscle was wobbling ...almost vibrating, when I desperately tried to lock the knee.

2) I used to be so good at Half Moon´s last part - but not this time. My hamstrings were very tight!

3) Awkward pose was the only one I didn't listen to the dialogue and did the second part first. lol. Oh and my ankles made such load cracking noise that i bet every yogi heard it!. (It startles my little one too at home..when I am trying to quietly leave the room when she is sleeping)

4)Standing head to knee used to be my favorite. Well.... with jelly instead of muscles.. it was impossible to keep the knee locked. AND I got a little cramp in the legs too.

5) Triangle was very hard to do. AGAIN - out of shape me, got a cramp!

6) Locust pose. The one teacher always say to new people " your arms will hurt like hell". And every time I used to think "no it doesn' t". Well now I know that hurting feeling. Now I know how new people feel. (and my hubby who comes once in 3 months. hehe). And this pose was little hurtful because of the pressure on my chest (breastfeeding!).

All the rest of the poses went great!! I felt amazing after class. Plus it was the first time I was away from my daughter for 2 hours (She does sleep too, but this time she was up and being babysat by daddy).

And now the the "how I feel 1 day later". Every muscle in my body hurts. I missed it. I love all the muscle pain, except one part of it. My NECK! I think Bikram Yoga is the only exercise where you get a short-lasting neck muscle pain. It comes from the first Breathing exercise. But it will go away soon.

I am so happy to be back in the hot room. After the class I felt I could fly. I was energized and super happy for the rest of the night. And now I can´t wait to be back. To all of you who have taken long breaks and hesitate to go back - DO IT! You will thank yourself for going.

Here is my little gem. And the photo at top is taken while I was on my 100 day challenge. The last photo is from when I was pregnant and we had a little photo shoot in the studio.

Even though I didn't do any yoga throughout my pregnancy - my baby delivery was amazingly quick.  Hour and 40 minutes of painful contractions and 20 minutes of pushing. I would do it again in a heart beat!


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana – Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose – For Beginners


Don’t worry too much about your arms that look like a steeple in this pose. The steps that follow will keep your arms straight.

The wider the stance, the easier this pose will be, just as in the Standing Separate Leg Stretching.  Also note the difference between this pose and the Triangle. Instead of keeping your hips and torso facing directly forward you face directly to the side.

You’re having trouble?  As a beginner, you are allowed to bend the right knee as much as necessary to touch your forehead to it. If, even bending the knee, you still cannot touch your forehead to it, you either suffer from a cast-iron spine or you are trying to touch your nose or chin or chest to your knee instead of your forehead.

This is a forehead-to-knee pose, and to get forehead to the knee you must tuck the chin in and keep tucking it in while you curl toward the knee with the forehead, using everything you’ve got.
I don’t know why, but no matter how many times I (Bikram) say the word forehead, my students continue to concentrate on stretching their backs, reaching for their feet, getting their chests close the their legs – everything but what I tell them. 

When finally you succeed in getting your forehead to your knee and your hands down to your feet (which can take a day of weeks), begin then to use the forehead to actually push on the knee and straighten the leg back to the locked position. As you do this, you’ll feel the stretch in the back of your knee. This is good. Push more. Breathing will be a large help here. Big exhalations!  And with each exhalation you will sink deeper into the pose.

Once you are all comfortable, forehead touching, both knees straight, work on twisting your hips even more to the right. Your goal is to face squarely to the right.

This pose gives many of the same slimming and tightening benefits as the Hands to Feet Pose and the Triangle, so give it your best effort!!

Benefits

The benefits of this pose are the same as Hands to Feet Pose. It also slims abdomen, waistline, hips, buttocks, and upper thighs.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trikanasana – Triangle Pose – For Beginners


You’ve been prepared by the Standing Separate Leg Stretching for the big side ward step, so be sure to take a huge one. If you don’t, you will have to adjust your stance in the middle of the pose.
The injunction to keep your hips level and facing forward and the instruction to lunge down to a parallel position and/or hold it there will both seem ridiculous to you the first day. Cheer up. Things will get worse.

Despite my directions, beginners usually do put weight on their fingers at first to keep from falling over or collapsing. Just try as best you can, though, to bear all the weight on the bent leg, which will probably be trembling from the strain. And if you feel like the Tin Man (or Woman) when you try to touch chin to shoulder, don’ t worry. Oil can is on the way.

The triangle is quite simply a killer for most beginners. Just trying to hold it for ten seconds will at first preclude pushing stomach and right hip forward and upper body and left hip backward, not the mention pushing the right knee backward. You’ll be surprised after a week, though, at the strength you have developed. Then work on the refinements.

One side is always easier. If you’ re lucky, this may be it!

Soon you’ll begin to feel like that flower opening to the sun. Just trust the process.


Benefits

The Triangle is the only posture in the world that improves every muscle, joint, tendon, and internal organ in the body. At the same time, it revitalizes nerves, veins and tissues. It helps cure lumbago and rheumatism of the lower spine by flexing and strengthening the last five vertebrae, and it improves crooked spines. This is the most important pose to increase the strength and flexibility of the hip joint and of the muscles of the side of the torso. It also firms upper thighs and hips, slims the waistline, and improves the deltoid, trapezius, scapula, and latissimus muscles.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Dandayamana – Bibhaktapada – Paschimotthanasana – Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose - Fot Beginners


The wider the stance you take, the easier the stretch.  And the slightly pigeon-toed stance helps keep your feet from slipping outward and almost automatically makes your legs bow backward, putting weight on the heels, where it should be. 

Those of you who have trouble taking a sideways step of at least four feet – keep trying, be patient.
Once you get the idea of this pose, your body position and weight will do most of the work, allowing you to just hand there and stretch. You could almost fall asleep. How to reach this mini-Nirvana? Good news! It’s not hard. All you need is the patience to push it an inch farther each day, plus a few pointers.

The first day or two, once your legs are positioned properly, you might wish simply to put your hands on the floor in front of you, about twelve inches apart. Then, keeping your legs straight, bend your elbows toward the floor and roll your body forward like a wheel, reaching for the floor with your forehead. That way you begin to stretch yourself out and get the feel of the posture and the balance.
Now, it’s obvious that to get your forehead to the floor you are going to need every inch of body you can find. Luckily, the body is hiding all kinds extra stretching in tight muscles and tendons. Once stretched out – do you remember Rubber Man in the comic strips? Like him, you will soon find yourself bending absolutely double from the base of the buttocks.



Benefits

The Standing Separate Leg Stretching cures and prevents sciatica by stretching and strengthening the sciatic nerves and the tendons of the legs. It helps the functioning of most of the internal abdominal organs, especially the small and large intestine, and improves the muscle tone and flexibility of thighs and calves and the flexibility of the pelvis, ankles, and hip joints, and of the last five vertebrae of the spine.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Duladandasana – Balancing Stick Pose - for beginners


Get yourself set just as surely and solidly as you did with the Standing Bow Pulling. Straighten your steeple and move the head and shoulders back as far as they will go, farther than ever, allowing the chest to puff forward. That is exactly the torso position you are going to keep throughout the pose – at least you can try.

As in the Standing Bow Pulling, this is a totally front to back, up and down, parallel position. So, as you take your big step forward with the right foot, check your left hip. If you have allowed it to angle slightly left, adjust both hips and torso to face the mirror directly, and keep them level.

As you pivot forward, use all your strength and determination. Be sure you are moving all in one piece (that means maintaining exactly the position you started in). To make this easier, pretend the floor is a pit of hungry crocodiles. Your standing leg is in no danger, being quite fortunately encased in crocodile repellent. But every other bit of you is in grave danger. The only way to keep your tummy and chest and left leg safe is to stretch your torso forward like crazy by lifting, ever lifting your arms and head, while you stretch more and more backward with the pointed foot and ever more forward with the fingertips, all the while lifting at front and back.

If you can pivot forward only two inches today, so be it. Tomorrow it will be ten. Remember to keep that left hip level. The more you press it down, the more pull you are going to feel in the back of your standing knee. This is good. Pull more

Make up your mind you are going to do it for 10 seconds, and don’t give up! 

Everybody wants to let their hands collapse and rest on their heads for an instant before doing the pose to the left. For reasons of stamina and discipline, do not succumb to this temptation!

By now you realize how difficult it is not the feed the crocodiles!!!

Benefits

The Balancing Stick perfects control and balance by improving physical, psychological, and mental powers. In addition, it firms hips, buttocks, and upper thighs, as well as providing the same benefits for the legs as the Standing Head to Knee. It increases circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, and stretches the capacity of the lungs. It is one of the best exercises for bad posture; strengthens the flexibility of latissimus, deltoid, and trapezius muscles; and improves the flexibility, strength, and muscle tone of shoulders, upper arms, spine and hip joints.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana – Standing Bow Pulling pose - For Beginners


Almost everyone gets the grip wrong at first. Your wrist will be inside the foot and your fingers pointing outward.

As in Standing Head to Knee Pose, the standing leg must remain absolutely straight. So as a beginner, do only as much as you can while keeping your knee locked. Remember also not to let your arm drop. Think of it as a Siamese twin to your head.

As impossible as this pose seems the first time you try it, it is the pose people seem to resent the least and are the most anxious to perform and perfect. It just looks so pretty!

The most important advice we can give you here is don’t be in hurry to dive into this position. Get yourself firmly set! Set your eyes on one spot, lock your standing knee, level your hips, and drop your raised knee toward the floor. Both of your thighs will then face directly forward, the bottom of your raised foot will point directly at the ceiling, and the toes will point directly at the back wall – all perfectly up and down, forward and back. No ballet “turnout” in Yoga. Only after you have done the above should you commence pivoting forward, at all times reinforcing the straight up-and-down, forward-and-back angles you began with. Most important, don’t let your lifted knee swing to the side  - like a chicken wing.

Remember, the name of this pose is the Standing Bow Pulling ; use your body exactly like a bow being strung and drawn by an archer. This means you must arch your head and spine even more backward as you pivot forward. If you begin to lose your balance, raise your arm and head higher and kick harder upward and backward against your hand – in effect tautening the “bow” even more, or “picking yourself up by the bootstraps.” You’ll be amazed at how it restores balance!

Naturally, you must make it hurt in the back of your standing knee. But never dive forward or kick up exuberantly or abruptly. And never do the Standing Bow Pulling with cold, unprepared muscles. In other words, nice as it is to have a spectacular party trick – don’ t.

Once you get your abdomen truly parallel to the floor – and only then – will you achieve the graceful standing split!


Benefits

Standing Bow Pulling is a perfect example of the “damming” effect in Yoga, because it transfers the circulation from one side of the body to other, and then equalizes it – circulating fresh blood to each internal organ and gland to keep them healthy.

Like the Standing Head to Knee, this pose helps develop concentration, patience, and determination. Physically, it firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, and tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks. It increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs and improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine and most of the body’s muscles.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from here!
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.