Monday, May 14, 2012

Yoga vs. Stretching

I really do miss my double yoga practice. "Double yoga" is doing two, back to back, 90 minute Bikrams classes on the same day.  The reason why I like it so much is that I only practice every other day to begin with, and I get so tight and stiff that my first practice is basically a warm up!  And that's part of the reason why I practice at 10:00am.  Any earlier and I feel cold and stiff, which is why I try and take a walk beforehand for 30 minutes.

When I got to yoga last Friday my Instructor Myrna said to me, "I saw the picture in your book of your standing bow pose, and I expect it to look like that this morning!  You are almost in full splits!". To which I had to remind her that that picture was taken after a dbl yoga practice and I was as loose as I could possibly get!  I also had to remind her that my 6-7 day a week practice had fallen off to 2-3 times a week...yikes! (partially due to the increase in new kettlebell classes and privates!)

But that gave me a few thoughts about how to improve my practice, and that doesn't mean more Bikrams yoga!  Like most sport or physical activities you can improve your performance by practicing other "supportive" exercises....this is the basis of "crosstraining".

You can only do so much of the same exercise before it may become counter productive.  I train the kettlebell ballistics more than anybody I know, yet I'm not skinny as a stick, burning a bazillion calories every workout.  I've acclimated to my own workloads to a certain degree, and if I wanted to be skinny as a stick I would have to look elsewhere...and we all know where that is, right?  (yep, diet!)  And if I wanted to press the 20kg I would have to change my training to accommodate building more absolute strength, abandoning some of the ballistics.

Back to cross training, and my Instructors comment about almost being in full splits.  I could practice getting into splits outside of yoga.  In fact I could practice splits a few times a day, along with other important stretches that would only improve everything else I do, including simply being able to move my body easier and overall feel better!  So why don't I do it?  If I practiced stretching, including splits while hanging out at home it would help my standing bow pose.  If I can do the splits on the floor then most likely I could do them standing up so much easier!

Basic regular stretching is so underrated and the only person I know that does it is Mark!  I could join him...we have plenty of room...yet I don't!  Stretching isn't fun....there I said it!  I think maybe an attitude adjustment is in order!  I have plenty of time to stretch.  I have a need to stretch.  Being married to Mark, a former elite level gymnast (and coach to other elite level gymanasts), I have the best "stretching" teacher anyone could ask, am I a baby or what?

How much do I really want to improve my yoga practice, overall flexibility and health of my muscles?  We shall see!


Mike C said...

Cool stuff Tracy!

Is that first pict a Yoga pose? Pardon my ignorance. I've been working the Convict Conditioning 2 Twist progressions for a couple of months and it looks like a move that I am working on.

Tracy Reifkind said...


It's "spine twist" from the Bikrams practice. There are many variations of spine twist in all yoga practices. You find imbalances very quickly in this pose, as with others. In my practice my "counter clockwise", left twist, demonstrates much more flexibility in my chest and shoulders that the opposite "clockwise", or right twist.

Diana said...

"stretching isn't fun" got that right!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Being tight and in pain isn't fun either! Not in enough pain yet :(