Sunday, March 04, 2007


things i don't understand about power yoga

devoted readers may recall that since i freed myself -- with some regret -- from the plunging quality of classes at my local yoga studio, i've been shopping about for better yoga instruction in a clean, friendly space.

how surprisingly hard that is to find in nyc nowadays, when it seems there are more studios than ever! sometimes i drop by yttp, which is clean, friendly, convenient, reliable, low-hype, low-ego, and low-marketing.

plus i still love to turn the alamo.

anyway, yttp does teach a basic sort of kest power yoga. i think greg himself is somewhat close to kest.

and since i've been going there for a while, i think i now have some familiarity with the class and its sequence. which i just don't get.

primarily, why an hour-long class spends 15 minutes in 7 variations on utthita and parivrtta parsvakonasana -- altho' if i were to be a yoga purist, i might note that 2 are actually preps for other poses. but still. . .

to the almost total neglect of classic inversions and seated forward bends like paschimottanasana. i mean, you would be lucky to get 2 minutes in halasana (plow pose), and i have yet to see a single paschimottanasana in any of the classes, period.

also, i have to say i don't get the strange insertion of a cooling balasana (child's pose) before kapotasana (pigeon) and other intense stretches. so the sequence deliberately cools you down before the most difficult stretching, thus making it harder for most people.

what's that about?

during the parsvakonasana portion, several of the regular teachers talk endlessly about the need to open the hips, which i find confusing, because that's not really what this pose does. parsvakonasana and its variations strengthens the legs and does some groin stretching, but it's not really a hip-opener per se.

what's also interesting is that some of the regular teachers will chat about the need to "breathe your way through the tenderness" in your hip during this poses. again, if you're doing this pose correctly, what hip tenderness?

if you keep your hips square and press firmly into the foot and leg to engage them, lifting the thigh towards the ceiling, i'm not sure there's going to be any hip tenderness.

if, on the other hand, your hips are outta wack and you are hanging in the joint there, yeah, then you're going to feel it, which is your body telling you to fix the posture because othwerwise you may risk straining the ligaments.

(coulter tells us the iliofemoral, pubofemoral, and ischiofemoral ones are involved here, see chapter 7's discussion of the warrior lunges and what he calls "extended lateral angle postures.")

so what gives, yogis and yoginis? why does power yoga (over)emphasize this groin stretching so?

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posted by fortune | 10:03 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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