Well, this morning I completed class number nine of my 30-day challenge! It is feeling really good going to class every day. I find my balance getting so much better (even in the difficult standing bow posture!), and my flexibility gradually improving.
At the weekend, getting to class requires a bit of extra motivation as the class is 30 minutes away. But I managed to make it both days to the morning class. And we even managed to fit some snowshoeing in Sunday afternoon, as well!
Another big thing I have noticed is improved posture. This is a big one for me, as I naturally slouch quite badly. I find the biggest difference in my lower back; it seems to automatically arch back already, at just 9 classes in. One really big focus of Bikram yoga is back bends, focusing on every part of your back. Mine is not very easily manipulated at the moment, so my back bends are quite shallow, but I hope to improve this soon. I also hope to get more flexibility in my hips; they are very tight and inflexible, so I hope to see progress in these two areas over the remainder of this challenge.
And finally, here are the next four postures in the series, along with a few of their benefits. The first three are a part of the balancing series... aka they really get your heart rate up!
Improves flexibility of sciatic nerves and strengthens hamstrings and leg muscles.
Works muscles of the back, biceps, triceps.
Helps squeeze and flush out internal abdominal organs (gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, uterus, ovaries)
6. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Posture)
Moves all the blood from one side of your body to the other and back again.
Develops balance, increases size and elasticity of the rib cage, firms abdominal wall and upper thighs.
Improves strength and flexibility of lower spine
Builds patience, determination and concentration
7. Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Posture)
Forward tilt of your torso sends high-speed blood pouring into the heart, especially the neglected region, cleaning out the veins and all of the arteries, strengthening the heart muscle.
The same rejuvenating flood rushes to the brain as well.
Strengthens your powers of concentration
8. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching)
This posture is like kryptonite for sciatica!
Strengthens and stretches those poor crushed and shriveled sciatic nerves, as well as the tendons in the legs
Massages internal abdominal organs and small and large intestines, and gives added flexibility in the pelvis, ankles, hip joints, and especially the last 5 vertebrae of the spine.
So far, so good! Only 21 more days to go!