“It is accepted that it takes about 13 sessions for your body to start enjoying maximum benefits from Bikram yoga; three classes to understand and get used to the posture, then ten classes to work optimally with poses.”
Today was class number 14. Yesterday was 13. I woke up this morning from class 13 feeling sore, especially my lower back. I woke up grumpy, sore, stiff, and needing another class. I was supposed to run today, but since I can’t do both in the same day…yet, I opted to go to yoga instead. My body (and mind) needed it very much.
New instructor. I was ready. Class seemed to go by really, really fast. I thought maybe this new instructor was just speedy, but I checked the clock, and nope, she was right on schedule. The first part of class went by very smoothly: no dizziness, no parched mouth. I felt great! Well, except for my lower back, it was sore. I did discover a lot in this class, however:
1. If I sucked my stomach in on all the poses, especially on the forward bending poses, my lower back didn’t hurt: Standing Head to Knee Pose, Balancing Stick Pose, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose, and Half Tortoise Pose. I think my extra sore lower back was caused by pushing myself a little hard in yesterday’s class, and not sucking my stomach in on the poses.
2. In Triangle Pose (my least favorite), if I pushed my knee back with my elbow, it distributed my weight to my bent leg, taking the weight off my other leg so I wasn’t slipping. I actually managed to stay in the pose and partially enjoy it!
3. In Fixed Firm Pose, I have been unable to go back to lie on the floor because I thought my knees wouldn’t allow it. It’s actually my ankles, specifically my left ankle, which are not allowing me. I have sprained my left ankle twice, and my right ankle once…all very bad sprains, and I can feel the old injuries in this pose. So, I focused more on slowly, and gently stretching out my ankle…hopefully this pose will help heal the injury. I can also feel the injury in tree pose.
4. If I don’t have good, solid, deep breaths in Standing Deep Breathing…if I don’t prepare my breaths for the entire class, I won’t have a good class. I noticed that if I can’t breathe deeply in the poses, specifically the forward bending poses, and Spine Twisting Pose, then I have a difficult time sucking in my stomach, it makes the poses more difficult, resulting in a really sore back the next day. So what did I learn??? BREATHE!!! DEEP! I have had “breathing problems” for quite some time. When I am over tired, and over stressed, it affects my ability to take deep breaths. It is very important for me to focus on my breathing and allow myself deep breaths. Yoga should help with this. Yay.
So, since this was the 14th class, I am supposed to start enjoying maximum benefits now. I believe that to be true, since I learned a lot more in this class. I realized how important it is for me to breathe and to suck in my stomach. It took me 13 classes for me to fully understand the importance of doing the postures correctly. It took me 13 classes to realize that if I don’t breathe deeply, class will be difficult. It took me 13 classes to understand my lower back pain is caused by my not sucking in my stomach. 13 classes…It is amazing how much I am craving yoga, both my body and my mind. Those 90 minutes are so precious to me these days, and I am lucky to have the ability to go to a class whenever I want. I can’t wait to go again!