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Posture of the Month: Half Moon with Hands to Feet Arda Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana

In Half Moon, you begin to open up the whole skeletal system, including the spine, the neck, the ribs and the scapula. Your entire body will open like a beautiful blooming flower. From "Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment"

The Posture

  • Start with you feet together, arms up, interlocked fingers with the index fingers released.
  • Bend right and left to warm up, stop in the center. Make sure you are stretching up to the centre each time.
  • Push your hips to the left and slowly bring your upper body down on the right; breathe normally.
  • Slowly return to the center and repeat on the left side.
  • Return to the center and stretch up.
  • Drop the head back, bring your arms back, and slowly bend your upper body backwards.
  • Return to the center then slowly bend down and grab your heels.
  • Straighten out the legs while keeping your body against the thighs and arms pulling on the heels.
  • Release your hands and slowly come up.

Tips These stretches in four directions gets our bodies ready for the class so it is important to work extra hard at this point. Side stretching

  • Focus on form before depth.
  • Keep the elbows locked and the chin up.

Backward bend

  • Avoid collapsing in your lower back.
  • Feel the stretch all over your total spine.
  • Try to set your gaze to the wall behind you.
  • Keep breathing. Never hold your breath.

Forward bend

  • Keep the body compressed to the legs with no room for air. Bend your knees if you need to in order to keep the connection.
  • Roll your body weight forward when the knees are locked.
  • Pull with your arms to create traction.

Benefits

  • Increases flexibility in the spine.
  • Strengthens the midsection creating better posture and trimming the waistline, hips, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Promotes proper kidney function.
  • Increase circulation and strength in the legs.
 

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Video of the Month

Brandy Winfield (USA) - 2010 Womens Division Champion [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5YHFb8beeI&w=475&h=300]

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For the Beginners

10 Things People Won’t Tell You about Bikram Yoga by Julie {read original post  here} http://www.bikramyogacowichanvalley.com/images/610xc.jpg
  1. When you are in an upside down pose with sweat dripping from your forehead, that sweat will inevitability drip into your nose and therefore remind you what it was like to breathe in water as a child.
  2. Find some tight hot yoga shorts and just wear those. For the first few months of my practice, I wore underwear but it was disgusting. Just wear the shorts and you’ll be fine.
  3. In between your spinal postures, you are asked to “put your chin to your towel and look to the left/right.” If you look the wrong way, you set yourself up for an awkward staring contest between yourself and the yogi next to you.
  4. After a tough yoga class, it’s like you are drunk. Putting on sweat pants is difficult. You run into people (literally) in the dressing room. Your energy is drained… yet in a good way.
  5. If you do a 60-day challenge or practice often, your priority will be washing your yoga clothes only. Your other clothes will take a back seat until you realize you have no clean clothes and you’ve worn the same work pants 5-days in a row.
  6. Eventually, you will be able to predict what your Bikram teacher will say next. Each one has their own style and quotes about life. At first, this will be refreshing. After awhile, you will wish you could mute them. (However, there is nothing like the Bikram dialogue and it all has a purpose!).
  7. There is a nasty White Elephant in the room when you are doing Triangle Pose (Trikanasana). The fact that your sweaty feet can barely stay put. They slip all over the place and this bugs the living daylights out of me.
  8. Sometimes, you will have gas. This is annoying and highly correlated to what you ate that day. I can tell you this from experience.
  9. Contrary to popular assumptions about Bikram yoga, the room does not smell. Well, it has it’s own kind of smell but it’s not bad. It’s not body odor and people who practice Bikram typically take really good care of themselves. I’ve never been turned off by a bad scent.
  10. There will be days when you don’t want to practice. If you practice anyways, those may be the days you amaze yourself. I recall a class where I arrived sick-to-my-stomach. After the first Half-Moon series, I was feeling amazing and my stomach ache went away! This is the same with headaches and other pings of pain.

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Posture of the Month: Pranayama Breathing - Standing Deep Breathing

Exert from "Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment".

Pranayama breathing feels strange at first, because your lungs are not used to maximum expansion and contraction.  they will feel tight and small, which is perfectly normal.  It might even be impossible for you to inhale fully for six full counts (roughly 6 seconds).  But with each class, you will find that the breath becomes deeper and fuller.

The Posture

  • Start with your feet together, fingers interlaced under your chin, thumbs touching the throat.
  • Slowly inhale through the nose while simultaneously raising your elbows until the forearms frame the face, press your chin into your knuckles.
  • Once the lungs are full of air, slowly exhale through the mouth as you drop your head backwards with the elbows coming together and arms parallel to the ceiling. Keep chin in contact with the knuckles.
  • Lower your head and open your arms to repeat the cycle.

Tips

  • Keep the heels together and the bunion bones touching.  Keep your lower body contracted.
  • Concentrate on pressing your chin into the knuckles.
  • Continue to sip in air until the very last moment.
  • The eyes are to remain open throughout the whole posture.
  • Breath by compressing the throat: as you inhale strongly through the nose, the stream of air should be so powerful that it makes a smooth snoring sound when it hits the back of your throat.  When you exhale, the air hits that same spot in the back of the throat.

Benefits

  • Increases lung capacity and elasticity
  • Helps prevent respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and shortness of breath
  • Helps with mental relaxation
  • Helps high blood pressure
  • Relieves irritability
  • Good for detoxification
  • Exercises nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems

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Bishnu Ghosh Memorial Donation Day

It has been a standing tradition in the Bikram community for all schools to be closed on July 9th in honour of the passing of Bikram's beloved guru, Bishnu Ghosh.  This year, instead of closing on July 9th, we will have a Donation Day where all proceeds will go to the Ghosh's Yoga College Trust Fund.

Ghosh's Yoga College is where everything started.  The entire lineage of Bikram Yoga started at Ghosh Yoga College.  Founded in 1923 by Bishnu Ghosh, the school was where Bikram began his yoga training at the young age of 4.  Then years later, Rajashree would receive her training there.

The school is very sacred to not only Bikram but everyone who has or ever will attend a Bikram class. Funds raised from July 9th will go towards keeping the Ghosh's Yoga Collage running.  Please make a donation if Bikram Yoga has in any way impacted your life.

Visit the Ghosh Yoga College website at www.ghoshsyoga.com

All classes on Saturday, July 9th will be by donation.


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