Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 232 of 365 - Yoga

Physical skills cannot be learned from a book or video. They need to be taught in person. I don't like it, I don't want it to be true, but it has been proven to me time and time again. This morning's yoga lesson was no exception.

Despite reading a half dozen books from the library and watching dozens of youtube videos, there is so much I don't know. Not just things I cannot do, but basic misunderstandings on how to move. Today I started down the path of correcting it. What I learned is below. Once I integrate all this stuff, I'll go back for more. I never anticipated the yoga would be so complex.

My most fundamental miss was in chaturanga, but all the movements needed a few tweaks. Across the board I am bringing my shoulders to my ears (bad, ears are shoulder poison!) and failing to spread my fingers. Other specific problems:

High Plank - Center my shoulders over my hands

- The movement is forward and down, not just straight down. I have been trying to perform a close grip push up, which is completely different.

Down Dog
- My upper back is just too tight to let me keep my weight on my legs. This will come with time. I also need to drop my head.

Up Dog
- Knees off the mat is the more intense version of the pose and intentional

I think there is a lot left for me to learn around the transitions between these poses, but I need to get the basics first.

Split Stance Lunges
All sorts of issue here, just basic fundamental misses on how to stand:

1. Hip tuck - the big "no no" from lifting is key in yoga

2. Upper body upright - this comes with the hip tuck and is key to getting the torso aligned

3. Stagger the legs - The legs should not be directly in front of / behind one another . Balancing is much easier when I spread them and the stretch improves

4. Shoulders away from the ears - my shoulders love what is bad for them, unfortunately

5. Spread the fingers - this helps with the upper body opening. After all my years practicing "relaxed tension" with kettlebells overhead, learning this will be tough.

The individual moves also had specific tweaks

Warrior 1 - This is about internal rotation of the hips. I missed putting my rear foot at 10, pushing on the outer edge of that foot, not letting my front knee cave in towards center and moving my hips perpendicular to my mat. When I do all that, the move changes to major hip stretch.

Warrior 2 - This is about external rotation of the hips. The same tweaks from warrior 1 apply, but with my foot at 9 and moving my hips parallel to the mat.

Crescent Lunge - Getting my back leg straight is key here. I did not even realize I was bending it.

By the time we got through all this, my brain was full I am sure I'll need to relearn much of what I was shown. Then there are also the split stance movements with legs straight. They will be trouble.

We touched on these towards the end of the session.

Forward Fold - I need to extend when I breath in, relax further into the stretch when I breath out. The strength that comes from deadlifting will also make getting deep into the fold difficult

Chair Pose - Keeping the feet close together is more important than getting low. This is not a squat. No weight should be on my toes, but they should be spread. My struggle to keep my torso upright is due to my weak postural muscles in the mid-back. The offset weight of my kettlebells lets me lift around this problem, but that does not help my yoga. Improving my hip tuck also comes into play with the torso alignment.

Obviously there is a lot left to cover here - balances, twists, etc. Time ran out though and I have more than enough to synthesize.

Prone / Supine Movements
No time to cover these today, other than what we went over for the Vinyasa