Breakthrough! Breakthrough! Breakthrough!
*Oringally posted April 25, 2016
I took the 3pm Sunday class with Sharka at Bikram Yoga Highbury and Istlington. And she is a lovely bubble of energy. Though I came in just a few minutes before the class started and it was another full call I still was able to get my favorite spot; front row right by the teacher. That’s my favorite place to practice in every studio I’ve ever been in. I don’t care if it’s hot or cold there. Being that close to the teacher and the mirror help keep me focused. After the two sets of breathing and we segued into the first forward bend of the class; I realized something that made me very happy. I felt good.
I have tight hamstrings always have, it takes me a lot of work to get them to open up. At one point in my life they were quite good and in the middle of a comedy show I decided to show off and dropped into the splits tearing my right hamstring. Since then they’ve not only been tight but lopsided. I don’t think that tear ever healed right. When I practice regularly Padahastasana or Hands to Feet Pose is the posture that I can gauge the rest of my class on. If it feels good it’s going to be a good class. If it feels like the muscles in the back of my legs have been replaced with metal sheets it’s going to be a tough class. That first forward bend is like a thermometer measuring my flexibility and willpower for the day. As I bent down to grab my heels and began to pull I nearly exclaimed “Holy hell!This feels great!” I didn’t because who wants to be that guy in class? But I thought it, and boy was I filled with glee. This is the first class so far that I felt in my own body.
That is a very hippy-dippy sentence. Let me explain. Right now I’m carrying a little extra bulk on my body. I’ve practiced Yoga a little fatter than I am now but it’s not that fat that is making me feel weird. It’s the muscle. I’ve started doing Crossfit on a regular basis and in the past month I’ve started to feel that my muscles are starting to firm up and get bigger. I don’t think any one would notice it but me. I’m by no means look like a weight-lifter. I don’t look bulky but I can feel it. The little extra muscle I’ve gained feels different than the fat I’ve gained and lost over the years. It’s harder and not as malleable. Muscle doesn’t shift out of the way or squish down like fat does. And due to this small but definite change in my mass these past few days have felt like I’m practicing in a strangers body. I look in the mirror and I see me. But this isn’t usually how my arms feel when I cross them for eagle. But today; today I felt like me. I was back in my body and I was ready to work. I was even enjoying the work. Which is much improved to yesterdays class.
Because I felt so good I did something I didn’t think I’d try doing for another week or so. I kicked out. And I held it…well on one side…I fell on out on my left side but everyone knows the left side doesn’t count. For those of you, who don’t practice Bikram kicking out is step two to Dandayamana Janushirasana Standing Head to Knee pose. It is the first one minute posture in the series and it’s a bitch. I’d say I’ve loved everyone of the twenty-six postures at one point or another except this one. It is my great white whale, and one day I mean to capture it.
It sounds easy when you say what has to be done. All you have to do to master this pose is concentrate deeply on your standing leg, make sure the knee is locked out, lamp post you don’t have a knee! Then you slowly lift up and kick your right leg forward. When both legs are locked out and look like an upside-down “L” like Linda, you bring your elbows down below your calf muscles and touch your forehead to your knee. No sweat.
In 2010 when I entered into the New York Regional Asana Championship after my time on stage my friend Caroline told me, “After you came out of Standing Headto Knee you flashed this huge smile. I remember doing that pose that day and I remember smiling right after. I couldn’t help it. It was the first and only time I’ve stuck the posture. I’ve gotten my head to my knee before but then when I’ve come out, I always lose my balance and fall. To hold the pose take a lot of strength particular in the core and moving through it has always been exhausting for me. Today I only kicked out. I’ve included three pictures in this post one of me kicking out today. And the other photos from 2013 is of myself in step three, and Adam Roper next to me in the completed posture. As you can clearly see I have a long way to so until I get to the end. But as I walked out of class today I took something with me. Hope. Maybe, just maybe if I stay focused over these 30 days I’ll get my forehead to my knee. Then again maybe not. But I’m excited to get back tomorrow and see what happens.
*Photos of Adam Roper and I were taken at Bikram Yoga Harlem by Kellyn Uhl.
**Do YOU have a yoga posture that’s been challenging all your life? I wanna here about it! Comment bellow.