When I was waiting for class on Monday night, I was talking to someone who had only attended her first class the day before and was back for seconds. She said that she had just spent two weeks at another “hot yoga” studio but not Bikram Hot Yoga and she said that there was a HUGE difference between the two classes. She referenced Bikram as being more boot camp style and much more difficult.
I guess that’s why I like it so much – I really feel like I am getting a good workout.
I was looking at a bunch of websites today (yes I’m still busy at work but I needed to take a break ) and I found this link to a YouTube piece on Bikram Yoga.
The website that I found the above link to, this was his comment:
This is tough, it doesn’t matter your level of fitness and how strong you are, exercising in a room at 42 Degrees Celsius and 40% humidity will break you if you’re not used to it.
I must note here that you do get used to the heat and I haven’t broke yet
The point I am trying to get to here is that lately I’m really realizing how important it is for me to stretch. It is more important than just about anything else I could possibly do to get fit and healthy. I was reading in a Men's Health book on Monday night after Yoga (I bought the book for Mr. Sandra as a hint to get started on the fit trip), and found an article on Muscle Fascia. It was a terrific article and I learned quite a bit about muscles and the fascia. So of course coming in to work the next day I had to “google” fascia and found tons more information (Raymond, that is how I found your website). Anyway, in the article he talks about a certain movement that I try over and over again to do in Yoga and I can’t.
"Connective tissue is the Saint Bernard dog of the body -- it's slow and loyal," Schleip says. "Once it's formed into position, it'll stick there." You can contort all you want in search of that mythical ideal alignment, but the odds are against you. The pull of your fascia is so ingrained in your movements, your friends can recognize you instantly at a distance before they even see your face. Making some kind of fundamental shift in those movement patterns is unlikely, at least in the short term. So if you can't make the fascia instantly obey, what's the alternative to injury?
"Easy," Schleip says. "Recruit one movement to enable another. Instead of straining to loosen a major fascia and muscle area, loosen a minor one instead."
To demonstrate, he has me stand up and try lifting my right knee until I can grab my foot with both hands. I make it only halfway before I'm tense and wobbling.
"Now grab your knee and swing your leg around," Schleip says. I lift my knee to waist height, grip it with both hands, and swirl my entire thigh for a few rotations. Then I try grabbing my foot again. This time it comes up easily. "You just loosened the minor fascia around the hip-joint capsule," he says. "You've increased the range of motion in your hamstring instantly, without stretching or working the muscle at all." If you've ever watched a cat yawn or a horse stiffen its rear legs, you're watching the same kind of joint extension in action. "That's why you feel such a feeling of satisfaction after yawning. You just popped a few joints loose."
But after reading this, I stood up and gave it a try and although I still can’t grab my foot properly (it’s the junk in the trunk syndrome), I was able to reach down much farther just by trying the additional stretch he mentions.
Last year when I joined the Kidney March, I started strength training at the gym and doing a LOT of walking. I almost stopped going to Yoga entirely. I did some stretching but I now know it wasn’t enough. Because since the summer, and with all that walking, I am tight all over again (maybe worse) and when I started back faithfully to practice Yoga in December, I felt like I hadn’t made any progress from when I had started last January. My calves and hip are so tight that I struggle in most of the poses … It’s time to stretch that elastic band so I can strengthen those muscles more and just feel better.
I hope you all have a fantastic day and remember to always stretch!