Monday, July 9, 2012

The Hidden Agenda of After Yoga Stretching

I'm going to be honest and admit that I have had a love hate relationship with my yoga practice for about 1 year now.  I really feel as if my practice has gone backwards, slightly, due to a number of reasons and for the first time in over 3 years my practice has slipped from 6-7 times a week (and more) to barely 3 times (M, W, F).  I haven't trained a "double" practice in months and since that time have felt a little guilty over it, until now.

Two, back to back, Bikram's yoga practices takes over 3 hours. 90 minutes per class with a 1/2 hour in between, so 3 1/2 hour minimum.  It was on my regular training schedule to do a "double" three days a week, (the same M, W, F) and a single on Sun.  That equals out to 7 classes per week, basically a daily practice.

I liked "doubles" for a number of reasons.  The first reason is that I'm incredibly tight and not very flexible, my ankles and hamstrings having the biggest restrictions, and I could use the first 90 minute class as a "warm up" allowing me to get into most of the postures deeper in the second class.  Good-ness what would it be like if I didn't practice some kind of yoga at all?  Crazy!  Also, I had the time to train, lucky me.  Most people, unless they are in the business of getting and staying fit, just don't have hours and hours to devote to training.

The second reason why I liked training double classes is that it allowed me to completely recover with a day off in between.  Kettlebells Tues/Thurs/Sat, yoga Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri...what a life!  So why and how did it change?  Well, I just found myself not being able to recover enough, and plan appropriately, to train 3+ hours of 104 degree yoga anymore.  And as I mentioned I felt guilty, maybe even "less than" because of it.

OK, back to the point of this post.....

This next weekend Mark and I are attending a "Primal Move" workshop created and lead by Master RKC Peter Lakatos (Hungary) and I didn't want to show up all tight, weak and immobile....hey whatever motivates, right?  OK, so I've got this workshop I'm attending where I have to be on all fours, knees, hands, elbows, and who know's what else! I'm an almost 50 year old former fat girl for God's sake!  I don't do this kind of stuff!

It's not just this workshop, but last year at Mark's Bodyweight Cert I did not participate because I didn't train for it.  I don't naturally flip up into handstands much less one armed pull-ups.  And really I don't think less of myself because of it, but it's uncomfortable being around people that have never been that fat kid sitting on the sidelines watching all her girlfriends do cartwheels and hang from the monkey bars.

Wow, really?  This has to do with a little extra stretching after yoga?  Yes, I guess it does.

A couple of months ago I considered trying to commit to an advanced Bikrams class at 12:00noon on Fridays, at my good friends Mike Mayle's Studio, (, but I did not want to give up my early morning class so I asked him if I should try and do both.  The advanced class is 2 hours long, add that to a 90 min class AND schedule it for 12 noon would be a killer for me since I start my day at 4:00am.  He gave me some great advice....ready?

Mike suggested that instead of doing both classes simply stay after one class, for a full 30 minutes, practicing the poses that gave me the most amount of grief in my regular practice.  And you know what?  Good-ness, I so did not like it.....for weeks now, but I did it anyway.  And now I find myself looking forward to it!  Really?  I think so!

I've kind of come up with my own series of progressions to go into some of my most tight areas (ankles and hips).  Now that I have some order, something that makes a bit of sense, I just go through methodically, step by step until now its at the point that 30 minutes is not quite enough time, and they are practically throwing me out of the yoga studio!

OK, that's it for now.  I hope to post video of my own stretching progressions soon.  First I have to run it by Mark, "Master Stretcher" so he can give me his feedback and then I'll share it here.  Stretching is good, it's a must do as we Mark says, "I don't make the rules, I just know 'em!"


Maribel said...

I'm not sure what to comment to this other than it's brilliant. You always say things that make you go "hmmmm".

I've lagged on my yoga and I feel the difference immensely. While I've been here in Mexico, I've been working on my postures (all the one leg balancing ones) so that when I get back, I won't be such a mess in class. Yes, I know no one is watching me, but it's a personal challenge.

Tracy Reifkind said...


What do you mean no body is watching? We are all watching, lol! Not caring what any body thinks when they are watching is how we need to feel!

But seriously, everything we do we should want to be our best at...OUR best, not anybody else's definition of "best".