Bikram Yoga Schedule

Monday to Thursday 6pm

Friday 530pm

Saturday 4pm

Tuesday Thursday Sunday 930am

‘HOT 45’

Wednesday 7am  &   9.30am

‘OUT OF OFFICE / GONE TO YOGA’ DOWNTIME

Wednesday 1215pm to 1245pm   AND   115pm to 145pm (not heated)

Fees
Drop in Bikram £11
Drop in Hot45 £10
Drop in Lunchtime Downtime £5
10 class pass discounted fee £90 (valid six months)
Mat rental .50p
Mat purchase £20

If you want to take the next step but have a specific question you can Send Enquiry but if you are booking class today/tomorrow please TEXT (not send enquiry as we might miss the enquiry form) but don’t forget to LOVE Preparation before you come!

Class Variations

Since we opened 19 July 2011, aside from one Friday in August 2017 where we had only one booking after 430pm we have NEVER EVER cancelled a class on short notice. Even in the ‘Big Snow’ 🙂 we walked in from our northern parish to be here for any practitioners that could make it to class. Expect the following standard closures:

We are always closed Bank Holiday MONDAYs.

We take our annual’ holiday 5/6 days end August each year.

Schedule condenses/reduces in December because attendance drops and you will find that reduced schedule on our FB header https://www.facebook.com/ExperienceBikramYoga/ .  

We will ALWAYS give due notice at studio and notify/pin on FB page any ‘studio closed’ dates. 

Welcome to Yoga Matters

Stretching is not a warm up; you need HEAT to stretch. The added heat at YM ensures a deeper safe stretch for newer tighter people who may have trouble just getting things moving at the outset of practice. For those who no longer have the ease of movement they were born with and equally for those who are nicely mobile the heat can ease a very satisfying stretch

There are no fancy formulas or secrets in this Yoga. ALL the detail you need is in the verbal instructions given in each class. Follow the instructions to the letter to try to acquire the Yoga pose for your body. Progress is relative to your starting point, your effort and frequency. You will start to get a ‘feel’ for your poses in your beautiful working body the more you do this and your pose will develop with integrity when you follow the instructions. Over time, with repetition and mindful application of the Yogic techniques you learn in class, you will see the shoulders opening, the chest expanding, the spine flexing, the legs strengthening, your balance holding. These are ‘external’ things that you and others can see. These are just the tip of the iceberg. The real change is taking place deeper, not necessarily visible to the naked untrained eye but may be apparent in a new found confidence, positive attitude and radiance emanating from your person.

It Is Personal for Us

At YM we make it personal. You are our teachers. We spend a lot of time at the studio ourselves. The studio feels like an extension of our home and what we do there doesn’t feel like ‘work’; it is more like a vocation. What we do and who we meet there (likeminded people) are integral to us maintaining our own lifestyle choices, not separate. We feel very privileged that you enable us and we are proud to be your witness on your journey. Therefore, we will use your name in class, we will try to connect with you as much as you will allow us and we will verbally ask you to adjust something and we will praise, encourage and root for you every class. CLICK LINK to BLOGS Why Praise?  and  How to be a Yoga Student

The Poses and their Benefits

I set out hereafter a very brief description of ‘How To’ do the prescribed poses. I also list briefly what is happening in each pose. By no means are these ALL the benefits to be had from a class, as it is the sequence performed as a whole that maximises benefits. Practicing the sequence nourishes and invigorates the entire body and mind as well as enabling one to access their own personal power. It is excellent wellness maintenance as well as being very therapeutic when practiced in the right way. Whilst I may list what is happening as being “blood flows to the brain” or “stimulates the Endochrine System” that does not necessarily explain ‘Why’ these things are a benefit to you. Some will know why but others reading won’t know why (I know I didn’t when I first entered a Yoga class). I would just have had a very broad idea that these things must be good because someone somewhere says so! And so to pad out ‘what is happening’ let me explain here the overall effect of the poses combined with your effort…

In Bikram Yoga you will work 100% of your body from bones to skin, fingers to toes. That means ALL the body systems will get good attention. Through your own effort you will move your body and test your mind and both will be stretched, compressed, twisted, massaged, freed and rested. Anything sluggish will get moving, anything starved will get nourishment, anything dry will get irrigated (proper hydration allowing!), anything hurting will get healing energy and blood flow, anything dirty will get flushed and cleansed. There will be renewing, rejuvenating, realigning, rebalancing, restrengthening, remobilising, releasing, regenerating. Bikram Yoga is not the easy option but it is effective! Your body wants to be at its best. Cells are always renewing and with the right stimulation you get in your Bikram class you influence how they reproduce. The therapeutic applications are so vast, read what is happening in a class and then think about the area mentioned and if you have an issue in that area. Know that that area is getting lots of kind attention and healing energy flowing into it.

How to Approach Practice

PATIENCE.  Beginners should understand that it can take weeks, months or years of practice before their body will move to full expression of many or indeed any of the poses. It is the process of trying to move in the right direction with mindfulness that counts.

RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT.  If you like Bikram Yoga do scroll down and read through ‘LOVE YOGA‘ which contains the most basic technical information to equip you to understand the essentials in your new environment : Breathe, Water, Heat & Acclimatisation, Thermoregulation & Sweat, Mirrors, Rest & Relaxation.

HYDRATE.  At YM we take this very seriously. Our admission policy for practitioners does not allow admittance if proper hydration has not taken place. To understand more about what is hydration and how and when to drink during a class see ‘WATER’ in LOVE YOGA and also CLICK THE FOLLOWING BLOG LINKS: 1. Happy Hydrating 2. Electrolytes 3. Banging On About Water Again  4. Preamble to Long Water Post 5. Final Warning! Very Long Water Post

BREATHE.  This should be a primary focus at the outset of practice until it becomes ‘second nature’. Yoga is the most efficient and safest when you are breathing properly throughout practice. Strive to ensure the breath is moving freely and calmly in and out via the nose at all times (unless instructed otherwise). Proper breathing circulates Prana throughout the body, pacifies the nervous system, helps focus the mind and keeps us connected to our centre. See ‘BREATHE’ in LOVE YOGA

LOOK.  Look at yourself in the mirror. With the use of visual information (mirrors or looking down at your own body) it will help you correct any postural issues, over time helping your body become more efficient. See ‘MIRRORS’ in LOVE YOGA

SET UP.  Good Set Ups are Key. Every fraction of an inch counts in yoga and can make the difference between perfection and 90% correct. Make efficiency your goal. Spend more time on set ups and alignment matters when you are new.

WARM UP.  Whilst all activity up to end of Eagle Posture is the warm up for the whole class, consider the standing sequence a warm up for the floor sequence. Similarly the first set of every posture is a warm up for the second set. All are beautiful opportunities for the individual to gather information about ‘where their body is at’ in this precise moment in class and to use that information to work more wisely, efficiently, and if possible or necessary, deeply in the second set.

CONTRAINDICATIONS.  Whilst Yoga is therapeutic generally, not all poses may be safe if you are experiencing a condition or injury. At your first class, when you arrive timely, the instructor always asks if you have any injury or condition that might have a bearing on your practice in the class. Injury and conditions depending on what they are, can make some poses unsafe. You must give your Yoga instructor an honest account of all ailments and limitations to enable the instructor to manage any risk. Poses can be left out, modified or substituted with more appropriate ones. This can only be done by disclosing relevant information to the instructor so they can address it.

Strong Core = SAFE SPINE.  Engage your core whenever you are moving the spine which is pretty much every time you move! This is an especially important instruction in twists and weight bearing postures. For those nervous about backward bending please be reassured that the studio is a controlled environment and YOU are always in control.

RISK MANAGEMENT.  You are not permitted to introduce risk by ‘doing your own thing’ or deviating from the instructions without prior discussion with the instructor. Please provide this curtesy. This is not a ‘control’ matter. It is a matter of managing risk.

YOU ARE IN CHARGE.  Whilst the teacher may appear bossy! 🙂 You are always in charge. You are in charge about how hard you are on yourself or how easy you are on yourself. It does not matter what the teacher is saying; if an instruction or action doesn’t feel right to you in the moment don’t do it. The teacher has to manage a room full of people and their differing needs. You have to manage yourself. You must take responsibility. Common sense must prevail. You are nurturing your relationship with your inner voice. Don’t override what it is telling you in the moment. SEE BLOG Responsibility; The Road Less Travelled

TRANSFORM.  We are in the Business of Transformation. Whilst this practice is designed to help you grow and expand by pushing at your edges you must first establish what your ‘edge’ is. You must honor your limits. If you go over your edge, (especially if you are super mobile) you can injure yourself. Each person in their body is unique. What is easy for one person may require huge effort and time for another. You have to accept that some things just might not be possible for your body. Part of a good Yoga practice is learning to listen to feedback from your body and honoring your limits in the moment, even whilst you strive to open up and transform.

Now, let me take you through the basic 90 minute class…

FIRST:  How To Stand

THEN:  Here come the Postures 26/2…

1. Pranayama – Standing Deep Breathing

Pranayama is ideally placed at the start of practice to help focus the mind and help people ‘arrive’ in the present moment (especially good if they have been rushing around all day). It expands the lungs to their maximum capacity, gets them moving efficiently and ‘initiates’ calm and relaxation.

Begin. Stand with feet side by side, touching if possible. Interlace fingers and connect them underneath your chin. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Keep your eyes open. Maintain a neutral lumbar/thoracic spine throughout.

Inhale and start to open your arms like wings until your elbows are at their highest point possible at the end of the Inhale. Sniffing is wrong; you must pull the air steadily in through the nose until you feel pressure against back of throat. Inhale is for a count of six.

Exhale, tilt the head back gently so your neck spine is in extension. Open your mouth wide and push the air out. Your fingers/knuckles are still in contact with your chin as you gently push the chin back. Exhale is for a count of six.
Inhale, slowly bring head/chin back to neutral as you inhale again. Do 10 breaths x 2 rounds.
You have begun.

What is happening?
• strengthens shoulders, deltoids, diaphragm
• stretches and opens intercostal muscles, ribcage, shoulders, scapula
• stimulates Respiratory, Para-Sympathetic Nervous and Circulatory Systems
• releases tension in the respiratory system
• maximises respiratory efficiency
• learn slower, deeper breathing
• learn to use maximum capacity of the lungs
• prepares the body for the class ahead

2. Ardha Chandrasana with Padahastasana – Half Moon with Hands to Feet Pose

Prep: Your weight is towards the heels. The practitioner must endeavour to maintain firm legs and try to lock their elbows. No gaps between arms and head. No gaps between hands to wrists.

Sideward Bending: This is actually more of a stretching pose and provides quick vitality for the class ahead of you. Inhale, lift up and bend/stretch your torso to the right. Keep the lower spine ‘long’ here.

Control your bend; do not collapse into the side you are bending on. Keep the chest lifted. Do not let chin drop from neutral position. Repeat other side. This posture is not about depth nor is it a backward bend. That comes next!

Backward Bending: Ensure correct standing/starting position. Lift your torso out of hips. Drop head back. Look back. Push your hips forward as much as possible. Pull your arms back towards your ears. Lean upper body back. Go back, relax, hold and breath. Inhale, come up.

Forward Bending: Fold forward from hips – chin away; shake out hips first. Grip the heels from behind. Then, working with the breath, pull with your hand grip (this is continuous throughout), lift the hips up, endeavour to lengthen your spine downwards whilst gluing your torso and face to the lower part of your body so there are no gaps, try to straighten/lock out your legs over time. Do not force your hamstrings. Give them time to get back to normal length if they are tight. Repeat All.

What is happening?
• strengthens every muscle in the body’s core, especially in the abdomen and the back
• stretches the spine and shoulders
• stimulates Kidneys, Liver, Lymphatic and Respiratory System
• improves the flexibility of the spine comprehensively from coccyx to neck
• decompresses and realigns spine
• maximises blood flow to the face and brain
• stimulates the pituitary gland
• brings quick energy and vitality

3. Utkatasana – Awkward Pose

Strong Legs are coming! Stand with feet parallel to each other hip width apart. Bring arms up parallel to the floor shoulder width apart. The precise alignment of the feet and hands should not change to ensure maximum benefits. Elbows, wrists, fingers straight/locked throughout. Ensure shoulders stay relaxed back and away from the ears whilst you stretch through the fingertips in all parts of this pose.

1st part sit as deep as you can and lean the upper body back whilst maintaining the ‘hip distance’ gap between feet, knees and hands. Don’t allow hips to sink below knees.

2nd part come up as high on your toes as you can, keep tummy muscles tight, sit down, hips do not go below the knees, chest faces forward, spine straight. Don’t sink.

3rd part squeezing the sides of the knees together, move down as slow as possible maintaining the straight spine. Don’t sink. Come up the reverse of how you went down. Repeat All.

What is happening?
• strengthens triceps, deltoids, abdominal muscles, quadriceps, calves, back, ankles, feet
• stretches toes, feet, ankles, shins
• stimulates the Abdominal Organs (Liver, Spleen, Pancreas, Intestines) Diaphragm and Heart
• improves circulation in legs
• improves gait which better alignment can prevent problems further up the body (knees, hip, back)
• develops concentration

4. Garurasana – Eagle Pose

Focus. Sit down to create room to get a good wrap. Try to achieve a leg and arm wrap. Try to eliminate any space/gaps between the wrapped limbs. You can still have a good posture without achieving this fully. Keep tummy muscles tight as you continuously lean upper body back. Chest and tummy should face forward toward mirror (not down towards floor). Try to get palms flat together and position fingers below your nose. Try to align your body via your sagittal plane and squeeze to create maximum pressure (tourniquet effect); this action will also help prevent wobbles. Weight towards heel of standing foot. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
• opens up ALL the major joints
• releases neck and shoulder tension
• improves joint lubrication
• develops concentration and sense of balance
• stimulates blood flow to the organs of reproduction and kidneys via tourniquet effect
• stimulates the Lymphatic system/helps to move lymph around the body

5. Dandayamana Janushirasana – Standing Leg Head to Knee Pose

Concentrate. As much as it is anything else, this posture is a concentration pose. You could say it is 1/3 balance, 1/3 stretching 1/3 flexibility. This is the ultimate standing posture to help you find your body-mind connection. Being patient and breaking this posture down into four parts to work on methodically is one way to approach this. Learning to lock the knee properly and using that lock is integral to the Bikram method. Finding the correct distribution of weight on your foot and getting in touch with your centre of gravity will help you keep your balance. Engage your core: contracting abdominal muscles support this intense forward bend. Grip is important to cultivate; you do not want the grip to be a main focus; so it is worth spending time at the outset of practice getting this right so that you can quickly move on to the major focus points. Kicking the heel of the extending leg will help you recover balance if you feel like you are going to fall. Be prepared to ‘fall out’ a few times especially when you are new in transitioning forehead to knee (full expression). Completing all four parts of this pose will strengthen your body AND mind. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens and tones muscles of the abdomen, backs, arms, legs and soft tissues around the knees
• strengthens tendons
• stretches the back, shoulders, hamstrings
• stimulates, squeezes and flushes out Abdominal Organs: Gall Bladder, Pancreas, Spleen, Uterus, Ovaries
• stimulates the heart
• improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves
• develops balance, patience, determination and concentration

6. Dandayamana Dhanurasana – Standing Bow Pulling Pose

The ultimate tourniquet effect in the sequence. Once you have the grip ensure you bring your knees together so your hips are in line from the side. Get the alignment right at the beginning and hold the fundamentals as you move into the posture. Maintain the lock in the standing leg knee. Kicking harder will help you keep your balance. Point your toes and work your front shoulder under your chin whilst allowing the kick to pull your shoulder back and out of sight. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens spine, diaphragm, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, ankles and knees
• stretches Trapezius, latisimus dorsi, sartorius, hamstrings, pectorals, diaphragm, ribcage, spine
• stimulates Circulatory, Digestive, Reproductive, Urinary, Cardiovascular, Endocrine Systems
• creates a tourniquet effect on each side of the body
• tones triceps, abdominal wall, gluts, hips and upper thighs
• opens the shoulders
• develops balance, patience, determination and concentration

7. Tuladandasana – Balancing Stick Pose

Coordinate! A heart thumping posture! Hips must be level to start. Root your standing leg foot. Lock the backward extending leg. Inhale, lift up and PIVOT forward in one piece from tips of fingers to tips of toes. Maintain the locks in your knees and elbows. Do not allow the extended leg hip to turn out. Do not allow your chin to sink. Squeeze your head with the side of your arms. Keep your chin neutral. Broaden through your chest/ribcage. Continuously stretch your arms forward and your leg backward. Repeat other Leg.

What is happening?
• strengthens the heart muscle
• strengthens the ankles, legs and shoulders
• stretches the hips, shoulders, spine
• stimulates Pancreas, Liver, Spleen, Kidneys, Nervous System
• tones the abdomen
• cleans the arteries
• develops balance, posture, concentration

8. Dandayamana Biphaktapada Paschimothanasana – Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

More circulation to the brain! A nice wide stance please if you are new to make the stretch easier. Over time the feet can move closer to each other. Grip is important. You cannot work deep in this one without it. Endeavour to maintain neutral/straight spine throughout (this includes neck spine). Try to straighten legs/lock knees. Longer exhales make this easier. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens inner and back of legs, spine, shoulders and arms
• stretches whole back side of body including the sciatic nerves
• stimulates Endochrine System (Adrenals), Digestive System
• releases lower back, tones abdominal region
• helps get hamstrings back to normal length and maintain hamstrings at normal length
• improves flexibility in the hips and pelvis and spine
• blood flows to the face and brain

9. Trikanasana – Triangle Pose

Revitalize and Expand! This is one of the hardest postures. A real power pose! You are working EVERYTHING at the same time. The ‘Triangle’ forms between upper thigh, inside arm and torso on the bending leg. Aim to get two arms perpendicular to the floor and chin to shoulder (not shoulder to chin). The bending leg stacks over the foot/ankle (never past the toes). The lower fingers between big toe and second toe. Don’t allow extended side rib cage or hip to ‘stick up’. Suck in your tummy if you are collapsing forward. This posture can take years to perfect but it is so joyous to work on (I might be biased here but it is my favourite posture after all).

If you have stiff hips add an extra step when coming out of this, come back to the drop position, pause, then come up (effectively reversing out the way you came in). Repeat other Side.  {Trisha Loves Bikram Triangle so much she can’t stop bloggin about it! here is some more on BT if you want it!: Lines of Energy & Where we going with Bikram Triangle?}

What is happening?
• strengthens the legs and ankles, groin, chest, lungs, shoulders, abdomen
• stretches and opens the chest, shoulders and hips
• stimulates the Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Digestive, Renal and Immune Systems
• improves neck and shoulder mobility
• develops balance, stamina and concentration

10. Dandayamana Biphaktapada Janushirasana – Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose

Squeeze! Not a stretching pose but a compression pose. Another wide leg stance, pivot on heels, ensure hips in line with each other from side view. With straight legs and straight arms stretch up, tuck your chin and start to curl your spine over the front leg. Try to bring forehead to knee in one fluid movement. Try. Stretch the arms in front of the foot/toes. Reverse. Repeat other side.

What is happening?
• strengthens the shoulders, abdomen, hips, thighs and calves
• stretches kidneys and all muscles of the whole backside of body, Achilles tendon
• stimulates endocrine and digestive systems
• massages and compresses the abdominal organs
• compresses of the pancreas
• massages the thyroid and parathyroid
• blood flows to the face and brain

11. Tadasana – Tree Pose

Meditate & Elevate. Root standing leg foot and lock the knee on that leg. Flex the lifting leg knee and pick up the foot. Support the ankle as you place foot ankle anywhere on your thigh that feels fine and safe for your bent leg knee. Gradually over time work the foot towards your hip crease. Work to get hips and shoulders in one line from front and side. Keep shoulders back and hips open. Draw the bent knee back to line up with the standing leg knee from the side. Place hands in ‘prayer’ position in front of your heart if foot is secure and you can keep your balance. Try to find elevation from the waist up. Repeat other side.

What is happening?
• strengthens abdomen, gluts
• stretches knee and opens hip joints
• develops posture and balance
• improves flexibility of the ankles, knees and hips

12. Padangustasana – Toe Stand Pose

Strengthening. Establish your good ‘Tree’ pose first. Focus gaze on a point on the floor in front of you. Beginners keep leg straight, stretch arms/hands out and start to round lower spine toward floor with standing leg straight. Put your weight into your hands, bend the straight leg and lower the hips. Grasping the towel with your ‘standing toes’, ‘walk’ hands around to side of your hips, use fingertips to help balance. Try to lift chest to create neutral spine with head balanced nicely over that neutral spine. Try to balance and slowly lift each hand to bring your hands into prayer position. Be prepared to wobble and perhaps fall a few times in the process. There should be a gap between your heel and bottom. Rise to standing and repeat other side.

What is happening?
• strengthens knees and legs
• opens up the knee, hip and toe joints
• develops focus

13. Savasana – Corpse Pose

Relax folks! Lie flat on your back. Heels are together toes flopped out. Chin down slightly so the neck is long. Slide shoulderblades down your back. Scan your body quickly to ensure you are not holding any residual tension after the big first part of class. Ensure your breath is free and easy. Absolute stillness is required here. Savasana is as important if not more important than the other postures. You must be comfortable. (If you have back problems then open your feet about hip distance apart, bend your knees upwards so feet are flat on floor and let the knees fall in towards each other to ‘prop’ each other up.). Allow your arms to fall palm up by your side wide enough to allow full expansion of your lungs but in the vicinity of your mat. Keep your eyes open, gaze soft.

What is happening?
• facilitates flow of oxygenated blood flow to where it is needed most
• allows heart rate and breathing to slow/return to normal
• magnifies the benefits of the postures that precede it allowing the nadis and the circulatory system to deliver Prana and fresh oxygenated blood supply that has been generated to where it is needed without diversion
• trains the mind to not wander
• we finally begin to learn what proper relaxation is

14. Pavanamuktasana – Wind Removing Pose

Out with excess HCL! From the supine position in Savasana bend your right leg up, interlock fingers and thumbs and grasp just below the knee. Pull that knee down towards your shoulder on that side. Keep the left leg extended, calf touching the floor. Ensure head, shoulders and pelvis (both sides) stay in contact with the floor. Relax your jaw. Repeat other leg.
Traction! Wrap your arms accross the top of your shins (both) grasp both elbows. Tuck your chin down. Pull your knees to your chest more in a big hug and try and get your bum to the floor. Goal: to get whole spine/back flat on the floor coccyx to neck; one vertebrae at a time. This is the easiest pose to ‘fake’ (i.e. to just hang out in). I recommend you don’t! You really have to ‘white knuckle’ this one. Repeat All.

What is happening?
• strengthens the arms and grip
• stretches and flexes the hip joint
• stimulates Digestive and Endocrine Systems (thyroid and para-thyroid)
• the supine position and action therein aids a natural traction of the spine without force

15. Sit-Up

Double jerk, double exhale! see in depth blog: Sit Up!

What is happening?
• strengthens abdomen and diaphragm
• stretches the back side of body
• invigorates the body between postures
• helps prepare for the big seated forward stretching posture towards the end of class

16. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Let the spine strengthening commence! Lie on your belly. Position of hands is extremely important; place the palms flat on the floor just below your shoulder area. Activate your legs and keep them tight and press the tops of your feet into the floor. Inhale, push your belly into the floor and lift up. Look up and you will go up. Practice 80/20 breathing (as with most of the Bikram back bends). Do not push up with your arms. (As a beginner you may need to use your hand strength to go up but very quickly you will only use your back strength.) Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens the lumber spine, arms, shoulders, gluts, abdomen, thighs
• stretches and opens the chest, heart, lungs, shoulders, abdomen, groin
• stimulates abdominal organs
• stimulates renal, digestive and reproductive organs

17. Salabhasana – Locust Pose

Persevere! Lie on belly, chin forward (neck extended for first part). Lift body and place arms underneath with palms face down. Keep the arms long (no bend in elbows). Spread fingers for a wider base. Now ‘even out’ pelvis again. Push right hand against mat, extend right leg (lock knee) and lift towards ceiling. Hold. Repeat other leg.

Last part: Kiss the towel. Zip up your legs, lock the knees and lift and stretch BOTH legs p and back behind you. Work towards lifting the pelvis over time. Keep throwing the weight forward towards your upper body (the base) whilst trying to lift lower body. Repeat All.

What is happening?
• same as Cobra PLUS
• strengthens the upper spine and back muscles, gluts and pelvic floor
• stretches elbow joints upper back
• stimulates Digestive and Reproductive System, Liver and Spleen

18. Poorna Salabhasana – Full Locust Pose

Soar! From belly resting position extend arms out to side palms down flat in line with your shoulders. Hover arms over neighbour on mat next to you if space is short but make sure they are WIDE. Keep legs firmly together. Inhale, take off! Arms up and shoulder blades back; Balancing on your hip bones; Fingers level with top of your head; Where your eyes go your body will follow so LIFT YOUR GAZE. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens middle spine
• strengthens muscles of the upper arm, abdominals, gluts, quadriceps, calves
• stimulates Digestive System, Liver and Spleen
• opens up the rib cage
• firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, hips and thighs

19. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

From belly resting position, bend your knees, reach your arms back, and grasp your feet from outside. Keep your wrists straight. Keep the ankles and knees drawing towards your midline; do not allow them to ‘go wide’ past your hips. Roll your shoulder blades back and down and slowly kick the feet into your hands. Allow the kicking action to lift you up off the floor and help open your chest and shoulders. Guess what? You can breath normal here. See what normal breathing might do for you in this pose. Come out slowly. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens the spine along its entire length
• stretches and opens throat, shoulders chest, ribs, hip and groin area (entire front side of body)
• stimulates Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Digestive, Lymphatic, Endochrine, Renal Systems and Liver

20. Supta Vajrasana – Fixed Firm Pose

From belly resting position, push up on to all fours and walk your knees forward. Sit down on your heels to start. Open your heels and let your bottom sink to floor between your heels. Shins ankles, toes in a straight line. Heels must touch with side of hips. Place hands on soles of feet with fingers pointing forward. Lower one elbow to floor, then the other. Let head hang back. Never rest on your head. Then exhale and release the shoulders gently to the floor.
It is more important that your knees stay on the floor than for your shoulders to reach the floor. Open the knees if this helps and stay on elbows until you are sure knees will stay put. If you have gone back holding the fundamentals then bring your arms up over your head, bend arms and grasp elbows. Root down through knees, pelvis and shoulders. Relax lower back. Reverse out of pose, using core strength to lift too. Head comes up last. Turn around and lie down. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens and improves flexibility of the lower spine, hips, knees and ankle joints
• stretches the abdomen, adrenals, thighs, deep hip flexors, knees and ankles
• stimulates Lymphatic and Endochrine Systems (Adrenals)
• increases circulation to the lower limbs, knees, ankles

21. Ardha Kurmasana – Half Tortoise Pose

Surrender! The Yoga’s gonna getcha! Kneel with feet and knees together. Inhale, arms up sideways, palms together, cross thumbs. Inhale arms stretch/lift up and exhale fold forward, arms and head together, with a flat, long back. Move forward until forehead and sides of hands touch the floor. Try to keep hips and heels touching. If they separate. No biggie! Just try and get them back together once you are down there. Keep the arms engaged, stretching through to the tips of the fingers from the lower back. Exit by engaging your core and trying to draw hips and heels together again, whilst coming up with a flat back. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens your core
• stretches Deltoids, Scapula, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, Hips, lower part of lungs
• stimulates Pituitary Gland Pineal Gland Hypo-thalamus
• releases tense necks and shoulders
• blood flows to the face and brain

22. Ustrasana – Camel Pose

Open your Heart! Start by ‘standing on your knees’, knees hip distance apart. Place hands on lower back/upper pelvis with fingers pointing down. Draw elbows towards each other behind your back. Push your hips forward, lift your chest upward, drop your head backward. Go back slightly and extend your right hand down to grasp your right heel and then left hand down to grasp left heel. Give a little pull on the heels but a big squeeze of the gluts and lift of the chest. This action is continuous for the duration. (If your hips or chest tend to ‘collapse’ (when you are new) then stay in first position which will give you a more gentle extension, practice pushing the hips forwards to open the hips more, in time you will ‘go back’ without collapsing). Reverse back out, you must support yourself coming out, head is last to come up. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens muscles of the spine and backside of the body
• stretches and opens the throat, thyroid, parathyroid, shoulders, chest, abdomen, groin, deep hip flexors, thighs, ankles
• stimulates Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Nervous and Endocrine Systems
• maximises extension of the spine which stimulates the nervous system
• improves flexibility of the whole spine
• flushes fresh oxygenated blood through to the kidneys
• releases stress and anxiety from chest region

23. Sasangasana – Rabbit Pose

Burrow Inward! Kneel on middle of your towel so there is enough towel left behind you to quickly wrap over your heels. Immediately grasp your heels over the towel as you do this, thumbs on the outside. With that grip, starting position is straight back or lean back slightly. First, drop your chin into your chest and commence curling your torso inward. Bring your forehead as close to your knees as you can and allow the top of the head to touch the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling to try to get thighs perpendicular to floor (one day. ‘Walk’ the knees forward to try to seal up any gap left between forward and knees. Ensure the arms have gone ‘long’ (no bent elbows). Keep the shoulders away from your ears. Press firmly down through your knees and tops of feet whilst pulling continuously on the heels. There will be approximately 20% weight on your head. Keep the tummy tight as you lift the hips towards the ceiling for the duration.

The stretch in this pose is created by the pull of the hands on the heels so it is essential to maintain a tight grip in order to create enough force to elongate the back in this curl. NEVER turn your head from side to side whilst in this posture. Slowly uncurl, bring hips to heels. Repeat.

What is happening?
• maximises compression of the whole spine
• provides maximum longitudinal stretch of the back
• increases spine and its muscles mobility and elasticity
• stretches back muscles, shoulders and scapulae
• relieves tension in the neck, shoulders and back
• compresses and stimulates thyroid and parathyroid, thymus
• stimulates oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, digestive systems

24. Janushirasana and Paschimothanasana – Separate Leg Head to Knee with Stretching Pose

Integrate! From supine position, sit-up and swivel around on your bottom. Extend your right leg out cornerwise 45 degree angle. Bend the left leg knee and place the sole of the left foot against the upper inner thigh, foot flexed. Make sure both sit bones are touching floor and facing directly forward, inhale lift arms overhead sideways, interlace fingers, lift, rotate torso to the right and stretch over extending leg. Grasp the right leg foot, fingers interlaced underneath the foot. Bend the right leg knee if you need to in order to get the grip. The grip must come first. With the grip held, slide the heel away to get the fullest length of your leg you can today. Tuck your chin into your chest and roll in to bring forehead to the knee.

Arms will bend with elbows moving down towards the floor by the side of the calves. Roll into centreline slightly to even out the shoulders so they are in one line from the side. Continue to slide the heel away on extending leg to eventually get the leg long. Do not allow the forehead and knee to separate in this process. Come back up drop arms, swap legs, reset your body and repeat action on left side.

At end lie down quickly and sit up immediately. Shift on to your sit bones. Grasp big toes with index and middle fingers. Hold the grip and stretch legs out in front of you. Ensure pelvis has tilted forward, flatten your spine, shoulders away from ears. Inhale, lift and elongate your spine. Exhale, fold forward without rounding. Pull with your arms strength. Move elbows towards the floor. Do not round spine. Destination forehead to toes – you are already on your way! Repeat All.

What is happening?
• strengthens spine, abdomen, thighs, arms
• stretches and opens the lower back, hips, backs of legs, adductors, sciatic nerve, Achilles tendon
• stimulate Digestive, Renal, Lymphatic and Endochrine Systems Thymus Gland and Liver

25. Ardha Matsyendrasana – Spine Twisting Pose

Release! From a sitting position, bend your left leg in front of you for the left heel to land just on the outside of your right hip (heel, hip touching). Bend up the right knee and bring it up and over the bent left knee. Place the right foot flat on the floor on the far outside of the bent left knee (ensure not halfway up your thigh). Ground yourself here through your sit bones. You must try to keep your left knee thigh and both sit bones on the floor throughout this pose. Remember! It’s the trying the counts. Bring your right hand behind you and push the hand or fingers into the floor close to your spine (around your tailbone area) to help you straighten up your spine. Inhale lift your left arm up and OVER the right knee and try to grasp the left knee at the front. Grab whatever you can when you are new. Maintain your straight spine, inhale, lift up and on an exhale twist, looking over your right shoulder as far as possible without extending your neck (remember it’s a spinal twist not an extension). The twist is up from coccyx to neck which means the head turns last. If you are particularly mobile and have grasped the front knee with your left hand and are able to bring your right hand around behind your back to grasp your left thigh then please do so. Do not sacrifice your straight spine to do this. Repeat other side.

What is happening?
• twists the spine from bottom to top, increasing elasticity, flexibility and circulation to all the spinal nerves
• aids nutritional access between intervertebral discs
• strengthens gluts, thighs, abdomen
• stretches the spine and spinal nerves and hips
• twists, stretches and compresses (massage) abdominal organs
• stimulates Digestive, Renal, Lymphatic Systems and Liver
• calms the nervous system

26. Kapalbhati in Vajrasana – Blowing in Firm Pose

Clear your head! Sit in Thunderbolt. Place palms flat on thighs wherever the full length of your arm allows them to land (no soft elbows). Shoulders relaxed back and down. Belly soft to start. Head balanced nicely over your neutral spine. Inhale, begin. Take 60 steady fast exhalations (pace as set by instructor) ensuring you have cleared the lungs fully with each exhale. Focus is on the exhale. Inhalation will take care of itself. Pause after 60. Repeat.

What is happening?
• strengthens diaphragm and abdominal muscles
• massages and stimulates abdominal organs
• stimulates Digestive, Cardiovascular, Respiratory Systems
• generates Prana
• amplifies elimination of toxins via breath
• aerates lower lungs
• balances CO2 levels in your body
• clears the head
• energises body

Final Savasana – Corpse Pose

Where the Magic happens! Lie on your back, limbs long. (Modify this if you have back problems or are pregnant – speak with instructor.) Allow your legs (comfortable distance apart now) and arms to fall open (enough to enable full expansion of lungs) but within the vicinity of your mat (i.e. don’t go all ‘Pentagon’ on me now 🙂 ). Ensure the chest can open. Lengthen the back of your neck and release your jaw. Close your eyes and relax. You earned it!

Ideally take one minute Savasana for every 10 minutes of practice. In Jersey everybody is rush rush busy busy!! There used to be a mass clamour to exit the studio the minute Kapalbhati finished. This posed a dilemma for me. I cannot force people to take Savasana. However! the terms when you sign up state you are ours for 90 minutes. You committed to this formally on first registering at reception and so in order to ensure practitioners try to maximise their benefits I have had to cite these terms and use them to at least ensure practitioners take time to slow their heart rate down and get their breathing back to normal before they start rushing around again. So.

We ‘built IN’ 2 minute conscious relaxation to the 90 minute commitment and we talk you through that each class.  Why 2 Minutes Conscious Relaxation at YM

We wish people would stay for full Savasana too. This is the time to allow your body to absorb the benefits from all the work effort you have just put in. Time to allow the magic in.

To truly understand the magic that is Bikram Yoga you have to experience it first-hand.  Hope to see you soon ☺

LOVE Trisha & Darren

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