Why Would Anyone Want To Straddle a Yoga Mat?

I enjoy practicing at different Bikram yoga studios, because while the basic premise is the same, there are always one or two unique features at each studio that help me in my practice. But one thing I find confusing is the way that different studios handle the three postures following the balancing series (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, Triangle Pose and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose). I have experienced three different methods.

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The Bikram Yoga Dialogue — Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

Today I went to my Bikram yoga studio for class, but the teacher could not speak. She had lost her voice and planned to do a silent class. I had never done a silent class before, so I was pleased. But then two new students arrived. A silent class would not work for them. Thinking on her feet, the teacher decided to play a recording of the Bikram dialogue on her phone and use that to guide the class.

As the teacher left the room to prepare the recording, a lively discussion ensued among the regular practitioners. Had anyone heard the recorded Bikram dialogue before? A few people had. Would the class still be 90 minutes? Yes. Should we just come back tomorrow? No. We all decided to stay and look upon this hiccup as an added distraction to overcome in our practice that day. I can only imagine what the new students were thinking!

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What Is Your Favorite Bikram Yoga Posture?

Our teacher did a fun thing in class today. We had three students with birthdays in class and she asked each of them to name their favorite posture. One chose Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, one liked Standing Head to Knee, and the other picked Balancing Stick. None of us knew why the teacher was asking, but we soon found out. A third set of their favorite postures! It was challenging, but fun, and singing through the extra set gave the class a nice boost of energy and playfulness. But it also got me thinking, what is my favorite Bikram Yoga posture?

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I Finally See How One Posture Drives Another

Teachers often talk about how one posture drives the next in the Bikram series, and even that some of the postures we do later in class set us up for the earlier parts of class the following day. I always understood that there was a flow within the class itself. For example, Camel comes alongside Rabbit so that the spine can work in both directions and Standing Head to Knee comes first after the warm-up so that the locked knee is firmly in place before other balancing postures are attempted. But I wasn’t always sure how the postures of one class set you up for the following day — until recently with Standing Head To Knee Pose.

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Can you Find These Three Things In Every Posture?

I recently attended a fabulous yoga retreat at the Crestone Mountain Zen Center led by a wonderful yoga teacher named Charlie Samos. The retreat combined yoga, hiking and Zen meditation. I loved it! There were so many enriching experiences at the retreat, but one of the most memorable was the final yoga class. Charlie challenged each of us to find three things in every posture of the class: (1) the ease of Sukhasana or Seated Pose, (2) the stability of Tadasana or Mountain Pose, and (3) the compassion of Savasna.

It was an interesting exercise and made for a deep and enriching class. Each posture was an exploration of emotion and spirit in addition to the physical asana. It was a wonderful treat and a good lesson in how a physical yoga practice can be expanded and deepened through thoughtful meditation.

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