If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you may have noticed that there are certain poses that are repeated throughout the practice. As with most skills, the best way to master a yoga pose is to practice it often. That’s why I’ve put together a list of guided yoga poses for beginners where you can either practice on your own or with a friend.
Yoga is a great way to exercise and stay healthy, but it can be hard to keep up with and there are many poses that you are not able to do. This is where the crystals come in. The crystals help you to hold the poses, so that you can easily do the entire sequence without getting tired.
You know those little plastic disks that are used to strengthen and support the cell phone screen edges? Well, those are called ‘rubber domes’, they are traditionally made out of ‘memory plastic’ (typically PET). You can either place one on your yoga mat or you can buy these super-small yoga crystals. As you can see, they are very small, but for a minimalist like me, they work great. They help you focus on your Om and keep your mind calm.
Leaving aside all the scandals surrounding Bikram Chowdhury itself (which are horrific enough in themselves), I strongly advise my students against practicing classical Bikram yoga or the Hot 26 series.
There are several reasons for my advice, but the main one is basic human anatomy. The Bikram sequence is certainly no mistake when it comes to working with the human body, and the sequence itself should be seriously considered to promote the health and stability of the practitioner’s body.
I try not to be dogmatic in my teaching (I’ve studied a wide range of different schools and styles of yoga, including hot yoga), but this is a topic close to my heart.
In my humble opinion, there are many anatomically untenable elements in the classic Bikram yoga sequence, but I think the following four elements are the most important to consider:
1. The scenario does not apply to all students
To teach Bikram Yoga, the teacher must learn the script and never deviate from its words during class. This can have negative consequences for the students.
The dialogue, as it is called, is written to guide a very capable, strong, flexible and non-intrusive user through the entire series. But not all students who come to a yoga class meet these requirements. Often absolute beginners can go to a Bikram class and push themselves far beyond their own abilities, because the script teaches you that your forehead should touch your knee when you lean forward into a seated position, for example.
In addition, a student who has a pre-existing injury or illness is not encouraged to change their practice. They are taught to stick to the script.
Strict adherence to dialogue does not allow for the teaching of a range of learners with different levels of form and ability. Failure to adapt the classroom to the students present can lead to injury and is just plain irresponsible in my opinion.
2. Push your head back. A long, long time ago.
This is one of the first lines of the whole series. It is used to describe the deep standing breath taken at the beginning of the exercise. First of all, I don’t like the use of words like push, pull, fall, etc. when it comes to the human body. These words are aggressive and imply aggressive moves that I never, ever recommend.
But otherwise the language is very poorly chosen. Pulling the head far, far, far back, as the dialogue literally says, suggests and encourages hyperextension of the neck (the very, very fragile cervical spine), and most students (and even teachers) do exactly that.
While there are no immediate effects, over time it can lead to many problems in the neck and all surrounding muscles.
3. Securing the connections
The Bikram script also teaches knee and elbow blocks. At this point, it is generally accepted in all exercise methods that joint fixation is detrimental to health.
Locking the joint promotes hyperextension, which can wear down the ligaments that support the joint and also disables the muscles around the joint. Essentially, you are transferring all your weight to the joint itself without supporting it by activating the muscles around the joint.
So they do evil and receive no benefit. This is certainly not what we want to teach in a yoga class.
4. Immediate transitions between deep bending and straightening of the spine
Imagine for a moment a sheet of paper. If you fold a sheet of paper in one direction and then immediately fold it back in the other direction and continue this process long enough, the paper will tear at the fold.
Our backs are obviously very different from the newspaper’s, but the concept remains the same. When you put your spine into deep extension in one direction (bending backwards) and then into deep flexion in the opposite direction (bending forward), you create incredible tension in your spinal joints. Moving back and forth between these two extremes can also be very hard on the muscles around the spine.
Therefore, when practicing yoga, it is highly recommended to group all back bends (and gradually move to more complex bends) and all forward bends, and do neutralizing postures in between to reset the spine.
But the Bikram series does just the opposite: It offers a pose and then a counter pose, a pose and then a counter pose between back and front bends, which is not ideal for spinal health. For example, the transition from camel pose (deep back bending) directly into hare pose (deep forward bending) is a dangerous sequence for the spine and should ideally not be practiced without a neutralizing posture in between.
Whether you like the person or not, like the heat or not, or are indifferent, I highly recommend that you don’t do the classic Bikram yoga sequence. I have no serious objections to doing yoga in a heated room (as long as you listen to your body properly and stay within your own parameters and limits), but I have serious issues with the established Bikram Yoga/Hot 26 sequence.
I encourage you to consider the anatomy of your own body before beginning your practice. I think you’ll thank me in the long run.
Photo credits: Kate Roy.If you’re new to yoga, you may not realize just how good it can make you feel. It has been proven that it can reduce stress, improve sleep, and decrease fatigue, and even increase focus and productivity. If you’re looking to dive more into your yoga practice and enjoy getting the most out of it, here are five crystals to help you along the way.. Read more about yoga crystals shop and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use crystals with yoga?
Yes, you can use crystals with yoga.
What Crystal attracts positive energy?
Crystal attracts positive energy.
How can I improve my yoga practice?
The best way to improve your yoga practice is to keep practicing. It takes time and effort to build a strong foundation of yoga poses, so it’s important not to give up when you feel like you’re not getting better.
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