Review the Bikram Yoga poses from class!
It's hard to see what the Bikram Yoga postures should look like while your head is smooshed on your knee.
I offer a heads-up review in the coolness of your apartment...
Plus a twist of affirming pep-talk for your mind body connection!
1.) Pranayama Series (Standing Deep Breathing Pose)
This is the first bikram yoga posture and it sets you up to have a great class. Focus on completely filling and emptying your lungs, while picturing that you are gathering the momentum you need for your whole class. Notice the pain you may feel in the back of your neck, and allow any feelings of dread that may surround you as you begin a long, hot class with 25 bikram yoga poses ahead. Know that long classes have started and ended before, and just allow yourself to stay right where you are. You came to class today. You have already succeeded.
2.) Ardha-Chandrasana and Pada-Hastasana(Half Moon Pose and Hands to Feet)
Tricky part about this one? Keeping those arms back, squeezing the ears. Those darn arms like to slide forward in an attempt to rest (it's okay arms, we don't blame you.) Resist the urge to "pose" in Half Moon Pose, just looking good for the mirror. You should strive to stay continuously engaged, arms reaching for the ceiling (and activating the sweat!)
3.) Utkatasana (Awkward Pose)
Awkward is, well, so awkard. It's not too bad to just go through the motions of this one, but the more "correctly" you do it, the more awkward it gets.
4.) Garurasana (Eagle Pose)
A sweaty pretzel. You sure are at a hot yoga class now. Some people just can't hook that foot around the calf - yet - no worries. Keep on keeping on, strong and exact, like an eagle.
5.) Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)
A lifetime of practice is in this one. Perhaps a few months just to get that standing knee locked. Wherever you are in the mastery of this extra challenging of birkram yoga poses, know your hamstrings and your body are loving you.
6.) Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose)
This is the shining star of the bikram yoga poses...the one people bust out on beaches to demonstrate their mastery and grace. As you kick! kick! kick!, imagine yourself on the cover of Yoga Journal, happy and healthy and committed to your own self-care.
7.) Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)
The culmination of the standing series. Your heart is at full strength as the sweat drip drip drips onto your hot yoga mat and yoga mat towel. It is intense, but it's quick.
8.) Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana(Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)
Designed to start bringing your heart rate down, at just the right time. One day your head will touch the floor, just keep picturing it.
9.) Trikanasana (Triangle Pose)
The master of all the hot yoga poses. This pose engages every muscle, every everything. No wonder it's so hard. Notice what your mind is saying to you during Triangle, because at this point the Mind has given up being polite. Then let it go.
10.) Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana(Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose )
Instructors say you must touch your forehead to knee to get the medical benefits of this bikram yoga pose. There is plenty to work on here, as you struggle to bend and balance and not choke...just focus on the fact that you are getting "medical benefit." That feels good.
11.) Tadasana (Tree Pose)
Tree comes in like a breathe of fresh air. A chance to hover and rest a bit, and then look yourself squarely in the eye and think, "Wow, I really AM awesome."
12.) Padangustasana (Toe Stand Pose)
Well, ya know, a lot of the class is still in tree. But the day you bust out a toe stand pose, will be a very very good day. If you are already there, then you know the power of being able to hold yourself up in such a precarious spot. These are the moments that make a bikram yoga practice.
13.) Savasana (Dead Body Pose)
Finally! Collapse on your mat. But interestingly enough, half of us are fiddling and getting water. It's time to rest - so get to it! That's the interesting thing about Savasana....they say it's perhaps the hardest of all the bikram yoga poses. How difficult it us for us humans to take rest!
14.) Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)
No one is looking. You have just pushed very hard. Easy to zone out half holding your knee to chest. Notice what happens for you here. One of the "easier" of the Bikram Yoga poses.
A big huge push of a sit up, followed by a double count of sharp exhalations - SSSHHH! SSSHHH!
16.) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Remember it's not a push up for your arms, but more of a pull up for your back. Cobra starts the spine strengthening series. Good, good, good for you.
17.) Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
With each exhalation, get those legs up more, and all of a sudden one day you have lift-off.
18.) Poorna-Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)
Kids would call this airplane pose, like a G6, baby. In Sanskrit, it's a little more profound: Poorna stands for "complete."
19.) Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
This one is really about the pulling, like they say. Focus on the pulling and you cannot go wrong.
20.) Supta-Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose)
If you aren't having a hot and dizzy class, this first backward bend can feel like heaven. Right elbow, left elbow, then head touches down. Agh.
21.) Ardha-Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)
This point in the class can often feel like you are dog circling your mat, trying to find a place to lie down. With Half Tortoise Pose, have the intention of having your nose touch your mat first, even though that might be one of those "someday" things.
22.) Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Camel Pose is opening your heart wide open, and this pose can often bring a swell of emotions. You might find one class you can do it easily, and another not at all. One of those mysteries of the mind body connection.
23.) Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
This hormone balancing pose can feel a bit uncomfortable as one strives to curl inward, but the discomfort is worth all the refreshing benefits of this pose for the brain. Another distinguishing feature of this pose is bringing your towel around your ankles for a tight grip.
The Breathe mat has a built-in rabbit flap just for this pose. I love the innovation.
24.) Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana (Head to Knee Pose)
This bikram yoga pose signals that we are nearing the homestretch. This pose is like an elaborate runners stretch, with many parts. Just follow the instructor's words and you will find all it's many parts.
25.) Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose)
The mysteries of this pose unfold with time. Spine Twisting Pose can start as a fairly complicated pose to learn, and quickly becomes a refreshing and invigorating stretch.
26.) Khapalbhati (Blowing in Firm Pose)
Easy, but easy to complicate. Just focus on "snapping" your belly button back while imagining exhaling all of the toxins of your day, week, month, year.
Thank you for practicing the bikram yoga poses with me. Virually at least. (smile)