Crim Week, Day 1: Hot Yoga

Run out of office in the late afternoon and drive to class, cursing the traffic and feeling stressed about time. Ah, so this is what people feel like, going to yoga class. No driving through the quiet morning darkness, singing Sanskrit chants and enjoying the new day.

Hot yoga was fine. A not-Bikram sequence. Complete with no Bikram-style yelling pep talks about “Pull! Pull! Pull!” No, in fact, the instructor talked in vinyasa voice. Which is better, but still pretty sketchy.

I got totally freaked out by all the directions at one point and wanted to scream, “Stop telling me what to DO!”

Self-practice much? 😉

The practice was okay. The heat a bit much. Made me feel kind of shaky and distracted. No freaking way I can do UHP looking at my reflection in a mirror. I pratyahara-ed as hard as I could, but no go.

Discovered that Evian tastes sweet in a hot yoga room. I’m no Evian fan to begin with, but it’s all that was in the pantry this morning — the sweet water discovery was deeply unpleasant. I’ll take my water bitter, thanks.

Muscle cramps. In my calves. Must eat salt later (this is good news, I LOVE salt and any excuse to consume it).

Backbends. Hey! The intermediate work is “working”! My salabasana and dhanurasana look great! Uh oh, why am I thinking this? Oh, I know, it’s because I am staring at myself in a mirror.

And duh, suddenly I realize that my back woes started when I backed off the intermediate backbends and threw myself headlong into the dropbacks. Hmmmm?

Baddha konasana. I don’t think so. It’s a total NO GO. Not only can I not bend forward, I have a screaming piriformis. Huh? I’ve been here for an hour, but I’m not open enough to do baddha konasana in any form? Oh wait, it’s because I have done pretty much ZERO forward bends.

I miss Ashtanga! I miss bending forward!

Criminal status revoked.


Driving home, I plot. To no avail. I have a bunch of variables, but no good design solution. Perhaps I my overheated core and dehydrated brain are not up for creative thinking.

Here’s the deal, though: My T12 hurts in backbends. I suspect I need to rehab — with the early intermediate backbends.

My piriformis is tweaked. Keep doing baddha konasana, or back off for a bit?

Ideally, I’d do a nice, slow, mindful primary plus some-of-intermediate practice, with a lengthy, rejuvenating closing sequence. But the reality is: I have a shorter amount of time for practice, due to the hours Muscle Man and The Archangel keep at Starbucks of Yoga. So I jettisoned intermediate backbends and just did primary and lots of urdhva dhanurasana and assisted dropbacks.

But maybe, just maybe, the deeper dropback backbending has to be supported by the intermediate backbends? Did I jettison an important support beam in the structure?

How to compress primary, intermediate through ustrasana, UD, dropbacks and closing into an hour? Is that even possible? If someone is actually managing that, I’d like to hear about it.

Otherwise the options seem to be to do a truncated practice of some sort, or to ditch the shala and do lengthy practices at home. “Slower progress without a teacher!” “Do the whole practice!” “Listen to your teacher!” “Listen to your body.”


Mucho chitta vrttis.


7 Responses

  1. I guess I’m a better crim than you!

    Can you alternate days of primary pre-navasana or post-navasana+intermediate backbends+finishing?

    (and it doesn’t count as a bikram day if there was no script and a different sequence!)


  2. Yeah, that’s one thing I’m considering — the half-primary + intermediate + finishing dealio. It hurts my fundamentalist feelings, but I’m not sure what else to do…

    Hey, this might be the most crim thing of all, Cody. You can go around giving people crim practices. Guru of Crim.

  3. What a fun post to read… I love reading about an Ashtangi’s experience in another class. The part where you griped about being told what to do- It is so nice to practice in silence at our own pace, isn’t it? Really made me laugh. Mirrors are evil. I don’t know how the Bikram people do it. I guess I’d be shamed into losing weight if I did Bikram and had to see myself jiggle around every day. Just typing that is making me sweat.
    Oh yes, Cody is Guru of Crim!
    Sorry this is long, but I was thinking about my own modified practice of late (time crunch), and I’ve been only doing 3 A and 3 B surya namaskaras, then trying to tick out my practice like there’s a metronome in the room. I go to 2nd after parsvottanasana and don’t allow ANY hesitating (like I usually allow) when doing 2nd through ushtrasana (sometimes leaving out parsva dhanurasana too). It’s rough. Good luck! – Liz

  4. Any time I looked at the mirror, it was either, “Wow, that looks GREAT!” or “Whoa, that looks TERRIBLE!” No middle ground whatsoever. Interesting.

    I hate the idea of splitting primary, since primary is supposed to be making me strong. I fear that I will shrivel up and grow weaker and weaker if I don’t do the whole thing. Every day. Correctly. LOL!

    Your practice sounds rather daunting. Is this just because you are busy with your work now, or do you actually practice like that routinely?

  5. oh, it’s because I’m busy with my work. Normally I do the standing sequence, full 2nd, the headstands and then all the handstand/backbending stuff. I also don’t chug along full speed. I hang out in some poses longer than 5 breaths. It sucks to blast through the practice, but it really saves my body! Primary only makes me strong if I do every lift up and shoot back and jump through. You’re probably more disciplined than I am!
    No middle ground! ha- that’s how I am when I see photos of myself. I always tell myself that when I’m 80, I’ll look back and think it all looks great.

  6. Or… you could skip primary and do intermediate only, with 10 breaths for each pose instead of five.

  7. 3 of each Sury’s, All of Standing. Primary, but strong, focused jump backs in between asanas rather than each leg which saves enough time for Shalabasana to kapotasana ( Droping pashasana and Krounchasana), then do Closing. Takes me just under an hour on a work day so you should have enough time for a couple of drop backs. Have you watched Sharath’s primary DVD? I used to do Swenson’s 45 minute short form before work but follow Sharath a couple of times and it can shave twenty minutes off the whole of primary. Just take it extra slow on your days off so you don’t feel bad.

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