Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Loosen Up (your grip)

Tonight was 6pm with Oleg. Mellow, chill, nice Oleg. He's chill, but the room certainly wasn't. It was a nice hot and humid class without being over the top. Hot enough to force you to focus, humid enough to sweat early and often. As I was getting ready to do standing head to knee a conversation from two days ago came back into my mind and I decided to try the advice I heard that day. The conversation was with teacher Marie, who also competed last year. She reiterated for me something I have heard before but have never been able to incorporate into my practice. It's about your grip. Once you are kicking out and working on bringing your elbows down, it's hard to get where you need to be if you are holding your foot in a death grip. It's all in locking that kicked out leg and sucking in the stomach. The posture is major core. If you loosen the grip on your foot slightly, and make sort of a box with your hands it's easier to bring the elbows down and work toward the final expression with your forehead to your knee. I hope I'm describing this correctly! It's much easier when somebody demonstrates.
Anyway, in real life I seem to fall out as soon as I loosen my grip and tonight was no different. What I didn't do, in retrospect was re-lock my standing leg right before loosening it. Marie suggested that. She said anytime she makes a correction to her standing head to knee or standing bow she consciously checks in with that locked leg and it helps her to perform the tweak without losing the posture. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!

Locals: this Sunday (Aug 8th) at 9am Dray is teaching a free Bikram class at Town Square in the park. We will be outside in the park under tents. Arrive 10 mins early to sign in. Kids welcome! This is part of the fitness in the square event every Sunday sponsored by Yogi's Unite. Come down and join the fun!

Monday, August 2, 2010

No more binkies!

Binkies are pacifiers or blankies for babies. Tonight, at 6pm yoga with Dray, binkies were outlawed. During the first three postures of the class, laughter suddenly erupted from several students. Dray was running around collecting hand towels. He said "no more binkies!" Stripped of their crutches, several students struggled. One of my dear friends uses a hand towel to grip her ankle for standing bow pulling posture all of the time. Stripped of her binkie, she giggled and shook her head during the set up for that posture like "how the heck am I going to do this?" Dray noticed and said "you can do this!" She did. She executed her gorgeous bow as is normal for her cute little self. Perhaps she fell out early, I don't know. Only she knows. What I do know is even if she did slip or fall out and feel uncomfortable, Dray was not being mean. He was helping her. He chuckled late in the class, holding up a few towels. "We've got the binky lost and found right here! Come collect 'em after class!"
Roughly a year into my practice I ditched the hand towel and never looked back. I didn't use it for grips, really I was just wiping my face when I got to the floor, but it was a crutch and a distraction. My practice advanced by leaps and bounds when I threw the binkie out the window.
Do you have a crutch? I know that there are always many reasons why they are needed. Good reasons. But think about it. What if you could ditch the binky and soar to new heights....all by yourself. Just you, your mat, and your strong sweaty grip.....