Bikram Yoga Posture Tips
Article by Patrick Clark
In busy Bikram Yoga classes, the teacher, especially if they are a new teacher does not always have time to correct everyone’s postures. The problem with this is that people often just push ahead with a posture where there body is not ready or they attempt the posture with a completely incorrect alignment. All of these things leads to reduced benefits from the yoga and possible increased risk of injury. I will attempt to go over some of the common mistakes I see and provide some corrective advice. This will be spread out over a number of articles as the Bikram series is very long!
Half Moon – this posture is one of the most poorly performed that I see in the whole series. I see people collapsing into their waists in an effort to get down into the posture. Many times people do not have their arms behind their ears or their chins up as they slouch into the posture. If you cannot lock your arms above your head without bending the elbows for a full minute then you have no business in bending to the side. You should spend the time mastering the first position of interlocked hands above your head, locked elbows, biceps behind your ears and your chin up (so you could fit a grapefruit between your chin and chest). Once you can hold this position for a full minute maintaining a slow, steady breath, only then should you start to perform the sideways bend. When you start to bend sideways into the half moon, you will find it difficult to maintain your arms where they should be. If you feel this, back off. Once you lose the arms you have lost the full benefits of the posture. Even if you only side bend an inch, you are still getting maximum benefits if the rest of your body is properly aligned. Losing the arms or your breath for the sake of a horizontal upper body is a total false economy. It may take you a month of regular practice just to stand properly with your arms above your head.
Standing Bow – For this posture, the most common problem I see is people leaning their bodies forwards when they have not kicked up enough. In the beginning this posture should all be about the kick into your hand. Only start to pivot forward when you have kicked your leg up at least a few inches. Take your time and if you can’t maintain your breath you have gone to far.
Head To Knee Pose – The message here is simple. If you have a bent leg when you are kicking out you are suffering in a hot room for absolutely no reason. If that standing leg is not locked, do not kick otherwise you may as well just sit out the posture for all the good you are doing. Also there is difference between having a properly locked leg and a hyper extended knee. Do not just push your knee back, it must be locked with the muscles surrounding it holding everything in place.
Balancing Stick – I see so many “broken umbrellas” in this posture. It is similar to half moon in that if you cannot keep your arms locked behind your ears as you pivot forward, back off. Your hamstrings are likely too tight at the start to allow you to get your body horizontal with your non-standing hip turned down. This takes incredible strength and control. It is perfectly fine for the first couple of months to come down only as far as you can and still maintain the form – even if you only come down an inch or so. You will still be getting the exact same benefits.
We will continue this discussion in the next article. In the meantime, try to bear some of these points in mind in your next class.
About the Author
Patrick Clark has been writing articles on line for about 3 years. He is also a keen home improvement enthusiast and his latest writings are around storm door hardware and front door hardware as he tries to spruce his home up for a quick sale.