Thursday, September 4, 2008

The new yoga instructor is completely crazy

Today was my second morning of yoga with the new instructor. I've already determined that this class is going to be harder, more challenging, more strenuous than just about any yoga class I've taken. That's not a bad thing, I just need my shoulders to recover (from Day 1 and now Day 2) so I can participate more fully!

On the "good crazy" side (I guess it is good), she incorporates a number of Pilates-type ab maneuvers so there is more work on the core. For example, we started out with a round of what I would call "Pilates 100" and she, inexplicably, referred to as "breath of fire."* We also did, at various points, crunches, leg raises, and the bicycle.

Once again there was a big emphasis on upper body strength moves (which also strain the shoulders, hence the residual soreness), including lots of downward dog, plank, chataranga, side plank, and plank lowering to pushups. (Also, of course, her version of "crocodile," which as I noted yesterday is not crocodile, but rather a version of chataranga. I heard her tell someone that "chataranga" means "crocodile." I don't think so.) I am ashamed to say I was not able this morning to do plank pushups. I probably could have done the downward portion but my shoulders would not let me come back up again! Another day.

Our new position for the day which is not what she said it was, is "lizard." The true lizard is a hip opener, thigh and hamstring stretch. Our lizard was yet another variation on plank or chataranga pose, with the arms stretched directly out from the body and bent at the elbows, and the legs widened at the ankles, and the body hovering over the floor in a plank-like position. I'm sure this has a name, but it's not lizard.

My suspicions of this name problem increased when she directed us to move from Warrior II to Reverse Warrior, which I did, until I looked around and saw the instructor, and everyone who was watching her, doing something else, which she then identified as "twisted Warrior II," I believe.

Now, obviously I don't mind learning new poses, but I think there's a real problem when they're identified by the wrong names! I heard the instructor telling someone that she has a tendency to call out the wrong names of things, and people very rarely challenge her on it. Oh, great!

Near the end of the class, before going into some floor stretches, she announced that we were going to do an arm balance. Well, there's nothing about that that could be good. I don't particularly like balance poses anyway, because I'm wobbly in the ankles (at least my right ankle), and I've already mentioned that my shoulders were not willing to do much more today. But I had a feeling what was coming, and I was right: the Crow pose.

Now, maybe she should have looked around at the composition of the class before choosing this position. It wasn't very big this morning, and most of the participants were women about my age who tended to be bottom-heavy. There is no way that this ass and tree-trunk legs were going to be lifted in the air and balanced (upside down) on my elbows. Even Frank, the only person who looked like he had enough upper body strength to perhaps try this, just rolled his eyes at me as I mouthed "no, no, no."

This pose was not a successful attempt. She gave up pretty quickly and let us roll down onto our backs and move into the twists and stretches. And of course, shavasana.

So if I just ignore the names of things, I think this will be a good class. Maybe I can ask my other yoga instructor the names of positions I don't know. It would be really bad to refer to something by the name I've learned in this class, and have it be wrong!

*This is the first example of her calling exercises by the wrong names. Breath of fire is a breathing exercise, and it has nothing to do with lying on your back with your legs and torso in a vee while flapping your hands up and down. Or even with resting between sets.

No comments: