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Friday, September 4, 2009

What I learned about Hands to Feet Pose at Bikram Yoga

In yesterday’s post I included Hands to Feet Pose as part of Half Moon Pose; those of you familiar with Bikram Yoga might have been snickering. It’s ok, I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable about Bikram Yoga, I just love it and am share it with others. So forgive me!

I’m on a tiny vacation at a magic convention so no yoga today. Yes, that’s right, a magic convention. I am a semi-retired magic assistant, yoga pairs well with this profession for sure! Yesterday I was in Austin, Texas performing the Stocks of Zanzibar; you can see picks by clicking here.

Yoga has really helped me be more flexible, which has definitely helped me in my hobby, if you will, as a magician’s assistant. For reasons I can’t share, being able to bend your body in sometimes odd and certainly seemingly impossible ways bodes well for magician’s assistants.

Bending the body in a way that seems impossible is what Hands to Feet Pose is often seen as when I explain it to other people. I usually get, “huh, let me see if I can do that.” And then you watch people try and bend over, some can bend over and touch their fingers to the ground, some can’t, but rarely do you find someone that can lock their knees, clasp their ankles and put their chest and face to their legs.  If you can do it, that is amazing, congratulations. I can only do it after practicing yoga for a consistent amount of time.

When I do Bikram Yoga, I don’t watch others so I have no idea if other people do this pose correctly or not, I just assume they all are doing exactly what the instructor is saying. I recalled this feeling recently when I found a YouTube video of Bikram Yoga Dallas and this pose was part of the taping. I watched and was amazed; many people couldn’t lock their knees, clasp their ankles and put their face and chest to their legs. Let me explain, I was amazed only because I thought everyone did this pose the way the dialog says, I had no idea people struggled with it like I do! It was a bit of a revelation. The whole time I have been practicing I just assumed everyone else could do it and I was the only one that couldn’t. It made me laugh a little that I could be so silly.

This is a hard pose, stretching the back of the legs happens first and for me, this can be very uncomfortable, like your ligaments are being pulled from the knees. This is so good though for the trimming and toning the legs, buttocks and hips. As you stretch down to get yourself closer to your legs, you stretch the spine, increasing flexibility all over. You also have to suck in and tighten your stomach to really bend and reach, this helps flatten the stomach. Totally bent in half, with no gap, light or air, that is what they say in class and that is the goal.

If you want to try it yourself, come to a Bikram Yoga. Most studios are participating in some free yoga event in celebration of Yoga Month. Bikram Yoga Dallas is offering free yoga on September 7th at 7:30 am, 9:30 pm, 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. I’ll be at the 9:30 class, come by and say hi!

Photo courtesy of Bikram Yoga Dallas

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