Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day Three - Japanese Ham Sandwich?

9:30 am class with Amy.

So, in between sets of half moon pose, Amy says that she forgot to bring in a picture of a Japanese Hand Sandwich.  One of the silliest parts of the dialogue comes in the first forward bend, where the instructor tells you to fold your body like a Japanese Ham Sandwich.  I've asked around, both at class, to some friends, and on Yoga.com.  It doesn't look like anyone has ever seen a Japanese Ham Sandwich. 

Then I did a Google search.  The phrase "japanese ham sandwich" mostly brings up Bikram yoga related pages.  But it doesn't bring up anything that has either a picture or a description.  I didn't even know the Japanese ate ham, and thought that the sandwich was so thin and compressed because there wasn't any ham in it.  Now I'm waiting to see if Amy ever actually brings in this picture she claims exists.

Today was a lesson in taking a step back after having made so much progress.  Things didn't go badly, but I couldn't hold my balance in Standing Head to Knee (like yesterday), and I just didn't have the strength for the second set of half locust.  I'm thinking that part of it could be the four hours sleep I got last night.  But my energy level seems fine, even with so little sleep.  

It could be the effect of four consecutive days.  But I have to put that thought out of my mind.  Because that leads to extrapolating to how beat up I might feel after 40 days, etc...

I also am wondering more about group dynamics in the class.  Nobody talks, of course.  And for the most part, when I'm looking in the mirror I am barely aware of the people around me.  And after the balancing series, the mirror is irrelevant and I basically don't see anyone, except maybe in between poses.  Even so, the mood of the room seems to have a real impact on how well things go.  If others are suffering, it becomes contagious.  The room actually feels hotter when other people are struggling.  When the folks are strong and composed, its uplifting and the room cools down.  I know the room doesn't actually either heat up or cool down.  But I'm also sure that, with the same absolute conditions, almost everyone would say that the room was hotter than usual when people are frustrated and suffering (and vice versa).

One answer to this, I suppose, is that I should try to focus on myself, and put away the group dynamic.  First off, this is much easier said than done, I think.  Secondly, if I did that as a general rule, then I would miss the really great times when the class seems strong and together.   And this is one situation where I think the good probably outweighs the bad.  Now, if you could tap into the mood when its positive, but somehow ignore it when its negative....  But I have no idea how I would do that.

5 comments:

Glenn said...

I too googled Japanese Ham Sandwich in an attempt to understand what was meant by that phrase as I have NEVER heard of a Japanese ham sandwich and got to your blog. And I totally agree with you. I think if anything "Mexican Taco Shell" would be better.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I googled too (just started Bikram yoga myself and was just chatting about this very thing with my husband this evening), and am still mystified. In addition, I actually lived in Japan for three years, and while they do eat ham sandwiches, I don't see any great difference between theirs and those of the rest of the world.

Jessie Mo said...

We've been pondering it for ages. My friend Jen had a lesson with Bikram himself and he claimed he ate nothing but half a Japanese ham sandwich for lunch (in contrast with fat Western women who stuffed their faces every day, he said - delightful!) This was the point she decided not to carry on with the course...
And then another friend just had a lesson and was told to keep it tight like a JHS, which reminded me of the story, got me googling, and brought me to your blog. As they say up north, Nout so Queer as Folk!

Josie said...

ha! me too. ever since my first bikram class, i thought maybe everyone else knew what a japanese ham sandwich was...which has led me to your site. why would they use it as a description when no one knows what it is??
-josie

Anonymous said...

I searched too! Only found these blogs, and an Urban Dictionary description that I hope Bikram did not know about!