June 21, 2020, 10:30am - class 1001 Bikram 90 - Today was International Day of Yoga and I felt it quite appropriate to teach my class in Rittenhouse Square Park in Philadelphia. I attracted a number of onlookers, mostly children and older folks, who seemed fascinated by my practice. "You have such a great aura about you. It's magnetic and just draws people in," a boxing trainer at Front Street Gym said, filming part of my class. He asked plenty of questions during the latter part of the class. As with every one of my classes, viewers get to experience so much more than a typical Bikram 90 class. The importance of performing two sets of every posture is emphasized. Learning how to fall properly is discussed. Phoenix in the second set of Eagle and an alternate bind in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee are shown. Esak's Toe Stand, with the hands never touching the ground, is demonstrated. Swinging the heel back in Triangle positions the back foot properly and at the correct angle. The importance of a pre-stretch before Fixed Firm is emphasized. On every sit-up, reach for the back of the feet rather than the big toes and try to reach your fingertips deeper and deeper down your feet until one day they touch the mat. Try to touch your forehead to your knees with every sit-up. The finer points of many of the postures, such as Camel, Rabbit, Head to Knee with Stretching, and Spine Twist are described. Prior to class, I watched Rajashee Choudhury's special live seminar on yoga. She advised, "You must practice yoga every day. It's got to be part of your everyday life. If you cannot practice in the morning, practice in the evening. We need to understand awareness, find time for ourselves, find our right time to do yoga, and accept the change in our lifestyle. That is yoga." She also stated, just as I do in all my classes, that every day is a different day and how you practice is affected by everyday events. If you have physical or mental ailments, it will affect your practice. You don't have to be perfect every day. Just by practicing every day, you will gain yoga's benefits, little by little, day by day.
June 23, 2020, 10:00am - class 1002 Bikram 90 - Today's class explored variants in the two sets of every posture. We did Eagle-to-Phoenix in the second set of Eagle. In the first set of Standing Head to Knee, we focused on standing tall and balancing. In the second set, we proceed with traditional Standing Head to Knee. In the first set of Standing Bow, we focused on standing tall and stretching the arm up while keeping the other knee down. In the second set, we proceed with traditional Standing Bow. In the second set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, we went for an alternate bind, assuming our legs are straight. In the second set of Wind Removing, we did Lotus in supine position. In the second set of Fixed Firm, we practiced Fish in Lotus. You may be wondering if doing all of this strays from the traditional vibe of the 26+2. I don't think so. Take a look at Tree and Toe. Toe Stand happens in the second set of Tree and starts off as Tree, but transitions to Toe. Just because your guru never told you to do this doesn't mean it's not right! I see plenty of people in Bikram classes do Separate Arms Balancing Stick in the second set of Balancing Stick. Even changing the distance between your knees or feet in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Bow, and Camel gives you a variant of the posture you did in the first set. Food for thought, my fellow teachers. While you're at it, do the alternate bind in Standing Separate Leg Stretching if you could already grab your heels.
June 25, 2020, 10:00am - class 1003 Bikram 90 - Some of my students may not be strong enough, flexible enough, or balanced enough to perform many of the postures in a Bikram Yoga class and that's okay. We're all working towards improving ourselves in whatever ways we can. By coming to enough yoga classes, you will begin to see subtle changes in your body. In Triangle, for example, some students may not be able to bend their knee at a 90 degree angle or extend their arms in opposite directions, up and down. Some students might not have very good balance or hip flexibility, so it may be better for these students to lean their lower elbow on their bent knee for support. This is all fine for beginning students who've practiced Bikram 90 in their first month or two. They will use modifications, such as this one, to help them get through a class. Over time, as the body gets stronger, the need to rely on an elbow on the knee will hopefully become less necessary. When I first started Bikram Yoga, even though I was pretty strong to begin with, I wasn't accustomized to the strength, flexibility, and balance needed in the postures. I started with modifications here and there. I kept practicing yoga almost every day with an intense focus and determination to get better. I became so good that I'm now a ranked yoga asana champion. With practice, you can do this, too!
June 26, 2020, 10:00am - class 1004 Bikram 90 - When drinking water during class, take a sip of water and move your water bottle away from your face so you can continue to breathe properly and not limit yourself to the air that's inside the bottle. If you feel your heart race or hear your heart beating inside your head, slow down! Breathe and calm your mind, lower your heart rate, and then proceed with the next pose when it feels right.
June 27, 2020, 4:00pm - USA Yoga Seminar with Emily Avery - Emily emphasized the importance of minimal, efficient movement, including the push-up between postures and graceful ways of getting out of postures.She showed us how to time our practice transitions using the following mini routines as examples:
- Standing Head to Knee to Standing Bow
- Standing Head to Knee to Standing Bow to Split Arms Balancing Stick to Tree
- Crow to Separate Leg Stretching to Cobra to Spine Twist
Prior to the transitions, Emily had the class practice Salute to the Gods and Goddesses, Surya Namaskar, and the Standing Series. I didn't enjoy this workshop as much as others, because I found it to be a lot less accessible than others. I feel that Emily's ballet background gives her a distinct advantage in many of the poses she demonstrated.
June 28, 2020, 10:00am - class 1005 Bikram 90 - I taught my class at Rittenhouse Square Park again. I taught Phoenix in the second set of Eagle and Fish in Lotus in the second set of Fixed Firm. It's been a while since I could touch my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching. It felt good to do so.
June 30, 2020, 10:00am - class 1006 Bikram 90 - I spoke about pain tolerance and the relaxation phase between every posture. During the floor series, I believe relaxation starts the moment a posture ends rather than during the time you are strictly on your back. If you're not performing a posture, you're relaxing or mindfully meditating. To be forced into a way of thinking where the teacher says, "Okay, you can relax now!" is not good for anyone. Relax when you want to. Relax when you need to. Never let anyone steal your peace, not even a yoga teacher!
July 2, 2020, 9:00am - class 1007 Bikram 90 - When practicing yoga, or any physical endeavor, it's important to realize that improvements do not come on a daily basis. What ails us mentally and/or physically can affect our yoga practice on any given day. We should monitor our progress over a period of time rather than scrutinize what we do today versus yesterday. In a large way, yoga teaches us patience. Physical changes do not happen overnight. They come about slowly through focused efforts over a long period of time.
July 3, 2020, 10:30am - class 1008 Intermediate Series - Today's hybrid class had two breathing exercises to start, two sets of Salute to the Gods and Goddesses, two sets of Surya Namaskar, two sets of Chandra Namaskar, two sets of the Standing Series that include Phoenix, Separate Arms Balancing Stick, and Beach, two sets of arm balancing postures (Crow, Baby Crow, Crane), one set of the Floor Series that included Lotus, Separate Leg Stretching, and Frog, and two breathing exercises to end. Everyone's body is different, so just because you might not be able to do a particular posture well doesn't mean you won't be able to do other postures well.
July 5, 2020, 10:00am - class 1009 Bikram 90 - I taught my class at Rittenhouse Square Park again. My photographer suggested we try a different location next time. I taught another hybrid class with Phoenix, Bound Extended Side Angle, Pyramid, Beach, Fish in Lotus, and Mudra in the second set of Eagle, Triangle, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, Tree/Toe, Fixed Firm, and Half-Tortoise.
July 6, 2020, 10:00am - class 1010 Bikram 90 - I tried to teach simultaneously on Facebook Live and Zoom today, but Zoom crapped out. Like yesterday, I covered alternate postures in the second set for those who want to explore them more deeply.
July 8, 2020, 10:00am - class 1011 Bikram 90 - I used my secondary computer to project my class on Facebook Live because my primary computer was still uploading Sunday's class to my YouTube page. It took 48 hours to upload a 100GB 90-minute video!
July 10, 2020, 10:00am - class 1012 Intermediate Series - A beautiful class today with five students from my music group projecting my Facebook Live session onto their Zoom screens and everyone practicing together.