Sunday, September 13, 2009

Balancing Stick in Bikram Yoga Increases Blood Flow, Great for the Heart

Sometimes "bad" classes happen, the good news is there is always another class waiting to be great! 

I went to Bikram yoga class yesterday, not my best showing and I got there so early I had to sit on the front row! I am always puzzled as to what makes a good class and what makes a bad class. It seems like my mind thinks about this in class when I have a bad class. And I define a bad class by the inability for me to finish all the postures. For some reason yesterday was a bad day, I felt light headed and weak after the first 4-5 postures. Sitting out in the standing series is always bad for me, when I try and get back up I most always feel dizzy and the room seems to spin a bit.

I did fine through Head to Knee but felt weak during Standing Bow Pulling and sadly I sat out part of Standing Bow Pulling. I did manage to do both sets of Balancing Stick though I’m not sure how graceful I was. I suppose now is a good time to explain Balancing stick.

Balancing Stick or Tuladandasana is often called a mini heart attack so you don’t have a real one. It seems like such a simple posture and yet, when you are done, your heart is typically racing. So great for improving blood flow!

Health Benefits:
  • Increases blood flow all over body at the same time
  • With shoulders up and chest down, all arteries of the heart receive blood flow
  • Clears blockage in arteries, preventative for future   cardiac problems
  • Total spine stretch, relieves stress from the spine
  • Good for varicose veins
  • Builds strength in lower extremities
  • Works all muscles of the spine and lower extremities

How to do Balancing Stick:
  • Stand with your feet together
  • Raise your hands over your head, elbows locked
  • Clasp your hands together with pointing fingers sticking out
  • Lock the left knee
  • Step out with the right leg, lock the knee
  • At the same time, raise the left leg and drop to torso and arms
  • The leg, torso and arms should now be parallel
  • Your body should look like the letter “T”
  • Repeat on the other side

Usually by the time class gets to this posture, my shoulders are burning a little and my arms are certainly feeling a bit week. This makes the posture even more challenging because your arms are constantly working. It isn’t so much the balancing part that is hard for me, it is the lifting of the leg and the stretching out of the arms…and maintaining good form. And the pose is just 10 seconds!

I muddled through the rest of the standing series with less than stellar form. Savasana was my heaven for the day. Today I am going to Bikram yoga again, I plan to eat more before class and go in and be the yogi I know I can be. Give 100%, get 100% benefit.

Photo courtesy of Bikram Yoga Dallas.

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