Another yoga class kicks my butt — this time it’s Anusara

After having been away from the advanced class for a year (due to an injury and scheduling conflicts), I attended advanced Anusara tonight. Apparently I didn’t eat enough carbs today because my blood sugar plummeted about 3/4 the way through, but man oh man I need to get back into that class. Lots of good stuff – “yoga dandasana”: (no, I didn’t manage it, though I got fairly close for not having worked my hips like that for some time), “visvamitrasana”:, “astavakrasana”:, several bound poses including “bird of paradise”: (Sanskrit term unknown, this is a bound balancing pose that seems to be hard to find on the internet).

I was sad to see that poses I could fairly easily do last year, such as astavakrasana, visvamitrasana, and bird of paradise were just out of reach for me tonight. I know I have let my practice lapse, and maybe that’s another reason for the advanced poses. They’re a kind of yard stick of what our body happens to be doing right now and where it’s at. In some ways, I’m stronger than I was last year. My abdomen is a little more well-developed (and, unfortunately, a little bigger) and I’m stronger in my arms. I can generally work my shoulders a little better, and my hamstrings are looser. However, my hips seems to be tighter, and I don’t have the stamina that I used to. In fact, I plan to do 3 hours of yoga tomorrow night — half vinyasa/Anusara fusion and half straight (intermediate level) Anusara, and I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

On the other hand, it’ll be a joy to explore these poses again as a beginner, especially since I learned so much about myself the first time I managed to do visvamitrasana.


4 Responses

  1. Wow John, those look like real kick ass poses.

    I usually go for Bikrams early in the mroning when I havent eaten anything for roughly 10-12h. It was hard at the begining but it gets progressively easier as your body learns to start burning fat reserves. But every once in a while I run out of gas if I have had a few busy days before the class.

  2. You know, maybe you’re right about that. Stu Mittleman has a book called Slow Burn that addresses this very issue of burning fat vs. burning sugar. His position is essentially that most of your exercise should be slow, below the magic heart rate range. Much of the rest should be in the middle range where the body burns both sugar and fat. Some, but a small amount, should be in the higher sugar-burning range. (You can tell when you’re in this range when you lose your peripheral vision and get a strange taste in your mouth.) The idea, of course, is to push up the range where the body feels comfortable and burns fat. It is also supposed to raise your resting metabolism.

    These are interesting ideas to consider, even if you don’t completely buy his theory (or the other ideas he espouses in the book, such as choosing your shoes and vitamins via a muscle weakness test).

    When I’ve gone on Saturday mornings, I’ve eaten high-fiber cereal and a protein serving about 90 minutes before class. Given that I have some extra fat to burn, maybe I should alter that strategy.

    Oh, and I did a little checking. Apparently astavakrasana (an arm balance with the legs scissoring one arm) is on the FREAKING LEVEL I SYLLABUS. (Out of 3 levels.) As a comparison, Level I syllabus has all the basic poses, warriors, side angle, triangle, etc., and inexplicably a few of the more “advanced” poses such as visvamitrasana and astavakrasana. As a comparison, Level II has poses such as twisted uttanasana, twisted pigeon prep (think pigeon prep with your shoulder in the arch of your front foot), yogadandasana, lotus, one-legged wheel/upward bow (which I do on a regular basis). Level III has urdhva kukkatasana (think lotus in bakasana), standing splits (which we attempted the other night), kurmasana and supta k (which you read about all the time on the blogs), etc. You can see for yourself here.

    Given that at some point in the future I’d like to teach Anusara yoga, I’d better get cracking! I have 3 hours tonight during the second installment of my yoga marathon week (not really, just 6 hours in 4 days).

  3. For the longest time I used to work out in the evenings. I tried mornngs but I was always too stiff. After my daughter was born, I started working out in the mornings along with yoga. It felt great beacuse I was not that stiff anymore. In fact, these days I prefer going to the gym or doing yoga as early in the morning as possible and before I eat. You will be surprised how quickly your body can adjust to that. the only downside is that you need to be up farily early so that you can get to work on time.

  4. I’m there. 6am this Friday morning, Early bird flow.

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