Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bikram Yoga: Standing Head to Knee, Humbling to Many

Standing Head to Knee Requires Lots of Determination and Patience and Even then it can be a Humbling Posture

The 6:30 pm Bikram class yesterday was not nearly as crowded as the class on Free Yoga Day, for that I was thankful. I was pleased to see the lady from Free Yoga Day that wasn't able to actually attend class, she came in a bit late and had already taken one yoga class down the street and had walked around the lake! She and her husband came back though and they made it through class, though I asked them afterwards how they liked it and hte husband looked a little drained and mumbled "it was hard." I hope they come back.

My class was good, I mustered through all the postures with a small amount of grace. The studio had my birthday wrong in the system so they all thought it was my birthday, which was fantastic because when someone has a birthday, we sing happy birthday during the second set of Triangle, making it a wee bit shorter time. We love birthdays. Rather than corrected the instructor in the middle of class, I played along, heck, it got us a shorter Triangle! And I get another birthday song in 10 days, super cool.

I'm on a mission to take class as much as possible between now and November 8th. The Texas Asana Yoga Championships are being held in Houston, Texas this year on November 8th and I plan on competing.  I've competed the last two years and really like the focus it brings to my practice since I know I am going to be showing off my abilities. I don't compete to win first or second place, there are far better yogi's, I compete to challenge myself and to expose others to yoga. So few people actually get to see what yoga is all about and this is a great time to share what I love.

The competition is comprise of five complusory postures and two advanced, optional postures. The first posture is Standing Head to Knee or Dandayamana-Janushirasana.I'll go over the other postures in future posts.

My first competition Standing Head to Knee

Benefits of Standing Head to Knee:
  • Helps build concentration, determination and patience
  • Very good for the cardiovascular system
  • Improves balance

How do to Standing Head to Knee:
  • Stand with feet together
  • Lock out your right knee
  • Raise your left leg, cup your hands under the foot
  • Raise your left leg so it is perpenticular to the floor
  • If you can balance there, drop your elbows down to the calves
  • If you can still balance, put your head on your knee
  • Repeat on other side
Second competition Standing Head to Knee

I often do well through "dropping my elbows to my calves" but the head to knee part always makes me lose my balance. There is a trick to it, besides have uber determination. The hip of the lifted leg tends to poke out as you lift the leg, the idea is to keep the leg paralle and push the hip forward to even out the hips, this balances you better to be able to drop the head. Very hard. And even if you get your head all the way still have to come up with grace and ease and come out of the posture with as much purpose as you went into it. I love this though, I like to stand with my foot cupped in my hand and watch my standing leg not move. Somehow the fact that I stare at my leg makes my leg want to move, requiring even more determination. It is so amazing what the mind and body can do when they work together, you really can stand there with the knee locked, and the leg not moving. But your mind has to be in agreement with the leg.

Photo of Joseph Encinia Courtesy of Bikram Yoga Dallas

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