Wednesday, October 1, 2008


4:30 with Miranda.

I got only 3 hours sleep last night.  I rented the first season of the TV series The Shield, got totally hooked on it, and kept watching just one more episode.  Until all of a sudden it was 5am.  Yikes.

So I was afraid that I just wouldn't have it for class today.  I sometimes wonder about claims that Bikram doesn't sleep.  Before class, I was feeling kind of achy and tired.  By the end of Eagle pose, I was good to go.  By the end of class I felt completely energized and still do.   So, I go in dreading class, thinking it will probably be painful, and come out feeling great, as if I had lost no sleep at all.  Go figure.

Now the yoga might recharge all my energy systems.  But ever since I've been in my twenties, I've felt the lack of sleep in my joints, especially my knees.  And today was no different.  This made my left knee worse than usual, and the yoga was no help for that.

For the most part, I've been pretty good about taking care of the knee while practicing, and I've seen gradual improvement.  Today, it was a couple of steps backward.  For example, my situps have been getting better.  As a result, I have become a little more abrupt and sloppy with them.  In one of them today, I threw myself a bit too far forward and felt the dreaded sharp pain in my kneecap.  Thankfully, nothing serious came of it, but I need to let it be a warning.  We've been told again and again that Bikram says:  "You can mess with the gods, but don't mess with your knees.  Because the gods might forgive you..."

Anyway, my difficulties showed.  After class, Miranda gave one of her patented Final Savasana massages, and then she showed me a couple of stretches that she says will help with my knee, and one that will help with my hips.  She thinks the knee problem is probably related to a lack of flexibility in the hips as well (and she could well be right).

I've had some hesitation about the idea of warming up before a Bikram class.  The class is supposed to be complete, and thus shouldn't require any warm-up.  But there's no point in being stubborn about this idea without first trying her recommendation.  
One of the things I love about yoga in general is that it is a very practical approach to things physical, mental, and spiritual.  If something works, that's usually enough.   The why of it may be interesting, but its also kind of beside the point.  So Miranda has offered a possible practical solution, and I have a theory that says it shouldn't be necessary.  Thus, I'll be trying her suggestions.

The other thing I noticed today is that recently my weak poses have become rather strong:  Standing Bow, Triangle, Locust and Full Locust.  And then quite obviously some of the poses I thought I was making great progress in now suffer:  Fixed Firm, Third Part of Awkward, Final Stretch.  Lenette has said that we will work through our bodies several times, and that as a result, progress is a spiral.  I guess that means I can look forward to a time in the future when my Triangle sucks again.  It also means that when I look in the right direction, I am always somehow shuffling forward, even if the march ahead looks more like something from the Ministry of Silly Walks.  But that's part of what keeps it fun.


thedancingj said...

Hey there! I followed you here from the yoga boards. :) Your blog is great!

In my opinion there's nothing WRONG with warming up before class. It just gives you a leg up, so to speak. I always like to stretch my legs a little and work the kinks out of my back before class, because it makes half moon a less PAINFUL experience for me. (i.e. your back doesn't HAVE to "hurt like hell" in the first backbend if you do some little baby backbends first!) i don't think it's cheating. ;) but definitely experiment and see what you like best!!

ryanlvnv said...

I want to thank you for always posting such insight! It's refreshing to read, and realize that others have unique challanges in bikram as well. Namaste!