Just over a week ago, I found myself in the hot room on a Saturday morning. This was unusual, as I am at work on most Saturdays. Even more unusual was the fact that I wasn't simply there to take a normal class. This would be different -- a MasterClass.
The notice stated that students would be led, "...through Bikram's Beginner Series as we all know it, spending
extra time to share information on alignment, execution, adjustments and
modification as well as medical benefits. This is a great opportunity
to learn more about the yoga and take your practice to a new level; it
will surely be great fun to experience a slightly more interactive and
colloquial class than usual. So drink up, sign up, see you there!!".
The first thing I noticed when I got there was the buzz. In the room, the normal 8:00AM class was wrapping up, but there were a lot of people sitting in the boutique/lobby. There was also a bit of a line at the desk of people waiting to sign up. Several instructors were running about taking care of people and prepping last minute things. I saw more than a few familiar faces (including a yoga buddy from back in the day), and some people who were visiting to take this class. The room filled up quickly and I was able to snag a second row spot for myself and a front row spot for YB. I stretched and tried to remain calm -- I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.
There was good reason, too. As we rose to start class, I took a quick look around to find myself surrounded by fit, healthy men and women (there were more gents in there than one might expect). I saw lean, fit, healthy bodies all around -- and then there was my reflection in the mirror . Pale, doughy, blobby , the antithesis of fitness. I tried to wipe those thoughts away and focus on the task at hand.
Eugene, our instructor, has practiced for over eight years and has been in competitons. He is outstanding at quietly getting the most out of you -- almost lulling you into a trance with his voice while just killing you (well, me, anyway) in the postures. That is not negative in any way -- he is one of the best human beings you will ever meet, and he is a great teacher. If you've been around long enough, you've heard the phrase, "The instructor (or class) you dread the most is the one you need the most." For me, Eugene fits that to a T.
The class lasted just over two hours, and most of it is still a blur. Here's what I can tell you:
1) From the off, the energy in the room was so positive, so supporting. At times the postures were so easy simply because everyone was working in unison. Sure, people fell out but got right back to it. I really felt the difference -- it was a living, breathing definition of Namaste.
2) Lots of focus on anatomy and setup. For instance, when doing backbends, do not think of only pushing your hips forward, think instead of pushing your pubic bone/pelvis forward. This automatically pushes the hips forward. Not only in the standing postures, but in Camel, too.
3) Lots of emphasis on the feet in standing/balancing postures. Lots of emphasis on the inner thigh muscles and how they are critical to establishing a stable posture (to stop rolling over on the ankle when on one leg).
4) Exiting the posture correctly and safely is JUST AS IMPORTANT as entering the posture. Do not simply pop back up or out of a posture. You take time to go in properly, you can undo the good work you've done (and injure yourself) by hurrying out of it.
There was so much more to tell but I simply could not absorb it all. It was a wonderful experience. By the time class was over, my mat and towel were absolutely soaked, but I really felt good! Not just physically, but mentally as well. I was quite proud that I was able to hang in for the duration. The staff was awesome about keeping the room just right. Adjustments were continually made: exhaust fan on, or ceiling fans up/down, even cracking the doors every so often. Everyone was on the same wavelength, and the two ladies who did demonstrations were very accomplished.
If you get a chance to attend one of these, DO NOT PASS IT UP!! You will not regret it!!
Hoping your next class is your best.