Even though I swim, bike, and run throughout the week, as part of my cross-training routine I also do strength and stretching work at the gym. This conditions other muscles not used in my primary sports and allows me some recovery from regular training, preventing boredom and burn-out. Stretching also maintains and improves range of movement, preventing injury to muscles and joints due to loss of mobility.
Three weeks ago upon the invitation of a former yoga classmate, Dax, I dropped in at Bikram Yoga Greenhills for a change.
not as easy as it looks
I used to attend Bikram yoga regularly back in 2008, but it’s been two years since my last class in a heated room, the trademark of Bikram yoga studios. Dax was now a teacher at BYG, and it was his class I was to take.
I came with low expectations of my performance. The benefits of yoga come with regular practice (Dax becoming an excellent teacher was partly due to his frequent yoga practice), so I couldn’t expect to jump right back in at the level I’d done it last time. The Bikram yoga beginner’s class does the same 26 postures always, which helped mentally because I knew what was coming up next. Familiarity didn’t help with physical execution, however.
sign of a strong and flexible spine
Over those hot and sweaty 90 minutes, the postures exposed the weaknesses of my workout regimen. Holding an erect running form had caused a worrisome adaptation: my neck and upper back don’t bend backward and forward as much as they used to. And while I have gotten dynamically stronger in my legs (I have run two marathons, after all), I couldn’t hold standing balance postures as long as I used to because I couldn’t keep my standing leg from wobbling. Lastly, there was a slight loss of flexibility in my hamstrings. I couldn’t bend over and hug my legs without feeling some tension in my lower back (tight hamstrings make the lower back curve excessively in a forward fold). The one sop to my hurting pride was that I could still twist like a pretzel, simply because twists are part of my regular stretching program.
working out the kinks
I was both exhausted and invigorated by the last savasana, if that makes any sense. Dax assured me that it was a good showing for my first time back. I know if I make this class part of my cross-training routine, I will definitely see some improvement in my strength and flexibility, helping make me a better-conditioned and well-rounded athlete.
Bikram Yoga Greenhills is located at 3rd Floor, Fox Square Building,
53 Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan. Tel. no. 721-8350.
all photos by Daniel Tan, courtesy of Bikram Yoga Greenhills