AT THE BEGINNING of a Bikram Yoga Class in ‘Pranayama’ one of the standard phrases in the Bikram dialogue is ‘stomach in…depression of the abdominal wall…ribs stick out’ ‘RIB CAGE VISIBLE IN MIRROR’. Whilst I have found many of my own words to deliver Bikram Yoga posture instruction in each unique class, this is one of his many excellent stock phrases that I will never drop. I know the intention and meaning of it in the instruction and the MEANING of it to those who had to go through a process before they decided to reveal their belly in class so they can then ‘SEE’ and discover the ‘meaning’ of the actual instruction!
Interestingly and sadly there are hardly ever any female ribs visible and the instructor can’t see the ‘depression of the abdominal wall’ because for the most part they are covered in long tops! But I WILL CONTINUE TO SAY IT because I have the hope that someday soon one, or maybe all?!!, of the females may decide to abandon the longer tops for practice and don the proper apparel for the hot environment they are working in; a mid/bra type top (and for men ‘no top’) that frees/exposes the belly to enable better cooling (this is not a vanity top/it is a practical top: the more area of skin you can expose the better it is for your body’s cooling mechanism – see website ‘Thermoregulation and Sweat’). Then, as they FACE THEIR BELLY, come to ACCEPT THEIR BELLY, start to ACTIVATE their belly more (e.g. sucking in their tummy to create a vacuum pressure on their abdominal wall to create a resistance for the diaphragm to work against and get stronger), start to see their ribcage visible, then they can start to LOVE THEIR BELLY.
Some might not agree with me but I believe that ‘seeing’ your belly is actually a dependant condition for firming it (if that is your desire); the more they ‘see’ their belly, the more likely they are to work it when instructed, and so on. However, LET US BE REALISTIC. As your tummy gets older things will change. As mentioned in Belly Up Part I, elasticity gets lost. Those lovely little fat layers just love to accumulate in the subcutaneous tissue around this area and hide that tone you work so hard for. Does a couple of millimetres of fat here really matter that much? No amount of sucking in your tummy to try to hide this is going to make any difference. The flat bellies you are bombarded with in in advertisements are simply not every body’s possibility (e.g. genetics); and for those where it is possible; half of them again absolutely dedicate their life to ‘that area’ specifically. How dull. Instead of focusing on the fat layers why not delve just a little bit deeper?
Om Om Om UP Bellies!
Namaste ~ Trisha
To be continued tomorrow…