View Full Version : Yoga; struggling
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07-07-2006, 05:09 AM
I bought a Yoga DVD last week for beginners and intermediates. For Level 1 (beginners) I can do most of the poses at least for a certain amount of time. But there are poses in specific that I can't do... anything involving bending foward with the legs straight where you stomach has to bend down all the way foward to the knees/legs.
I can't remember the names of the poses, but it involves simply standing up looking up with arms in the air, hands together, and the folding fowards so your tucking your chest to your legs and looking through your legs. The other is just doing the same thing (folding foward) but from a sitting position with legs straight infront of you.
For both I just can't go all the way down!! I probably sound so impatient and just like a typical beginner! Just not doing 3 or 4 of the poses makes the 1 hour exercise not so complete... like I need to compensate and do some more exercising of something else to catch up.
Does anyone have any tips for the specific poses I'm talking about. I really can't bend all the way fowards. Are their other poses I can do that can strengthen specific parts of my body to be able to perform it. How long does it take to get "into" a pose like this if one practised everyday?
Thanks for ANY advice!!
07-07-2006, 05:28 AM
It takes as long as it takes. I'm not being funny here ~ it just is what it is. I'd suggest you get some instruction from a live instructor, reason being even if you think you are doing the poses correctly it may not be so AND they can point out and assist you in some minor adjustments.
You are doing the poses ~ you're just doing them as you can at this time. And yes, you are impatient. A whole week, huh? If you were this impatient when you were learning how to walk you'd still be sitting down. :o
07-07-2006, 05:59 AM
dear up leap,
please be patient! That is the most important rule when starting with yoga.
I do think I know which poses you are talking about and I know from my yoga practice that many people struggle with the forward bend poses. Your spine and body is not used to that bend and you should leave it some time to get used to it.
I would suggest that you practice the poses you struggle with by themselves for some time before incorporating them into the exercise.
Yoga can be very challenging and I have practised it for many years and still have some poses I struggle with. I believe I might never be able to do them but I keep practising.
Take your time with yoga, it is more than just exercise, it is a mind and body thing.
Another good approach at a more holistic body exercise is Pilates - you can gain good flexibility from that and I like alternating Pilates and yoga.
I am sure in a short amount of time you will be most successful!
07-07-2006, 06:28 AM
MadMel gave you great advice.
I also recommend that you go to a yoga class. Find a class for beginners, introduce yourself to the teacher and tell her/him what you're doing at home with the DVD. The teacher should be able to give you lots of advice and assist you during the class.
And, when doing forward bends, it's ok to bend your knees a little while you are a beginner. Yoga is not about getting the perfect pose right away. I've been practicing for years and their are so many poses I'm learning and re-learning.
07-07-2006, 07:01 AM
Yoga classes with an in person instrutor are best for beginners. That way you have someone to check your body alignment and asssist you with the poses.
Your ability to do the poses also improves with practice.
I've seen the bes improvement for me when my breathes are sequenced and I focus on the rolling up and down of my vertebrae, plus working from my core.
I do both pilates and yoga and think they are the most awesome form exercise one can do.
Check out my avatar
07-07-2006, 10:05 AM
I agree w/ all that's been said here except I would change one thing ~ the word "struggle". Life, as well as yoga, was not meant to be a stuggle. Surrender to life and surrender into yoga poses through conscious awareness and breath. This does not mean to be flacid ~ or rigid. Find the balance. Then it all becomes pleasure and THAT is the purpose of life to me.
Up LEAP 100 Billion
07-07-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks guys/gals for the replies!! Great advice/help by everyone!
I am struggling on a certain pose, but I am still enjoying the whole experience of yoga from what I've tried so far, so I'm not giving up on it just yet! With that said I'm still determined to stick with the DVD for a few weeks and try doing 1 hour every day so I can hopefully get better and build confidence before I try out yoga classes.
Back to the foward bend I'm having trouble - would it be best to bend foward as far as I can WITHOUT bending the legs with the thought if I keep doing this I'll gradually be able to bend foward more and more, or just bend my legs so I'm able to bend foward fully with the shest touching the knees?
07-10-2006, 10:50 AM
Hi Up Leap!
Glad to hear you have found yoga! Or should I say, "yoga has found you!"!!!
I am a yoga therapist and while I teach many styles of yoga, my main concentration is "therapuetic". I just wanted to give you my opinion on your forward fold. Coming from a theraputic backround---this is what I suggest that you try:
Begin standing in mountain pose, feet flat directly below your hips, inhale up while lifting your arms high (this will help to lift each vertabra off the one below), as you exhale, slowly fold forward from the hips so that you are using your core while you are lowering down (this will help protect you lumbar spine), you will now be in a 90 degree angle -- take a moment here to inhale deeply again and slowly begin to exhale fully while rounding your spine and allowing your torso to become closer to your legs.
Of course I don't have any idea what body conditions you may or may not have and I certainly don't know your body type and size so I am also going to give out a few general suggestions for this pose and if they pertain to you then please try them out.
1. If there is an issue of a larger belly region which is making it hard to breathe while in this pose then use a pillow between your chin and rib cage while folding forward and it will help to keep the lungs open.
2. If you are having trouble with tight hamstrings or calves then try putting a small wedge under your heels (only about 1/4 to 3/4 inch high) and this will take some of the pressure off so that you absorb some of the deeper hanging benefits from the pose.
3. Finally, if need be, try placing a chair in front of you and only folding to the height of the chair for a while until you feel more comfortable going further. Definitely don't go beyond your edge or you could end up doing more damage than good.
I guarantee that unless you are having a structural issue forward fold will become quite simple in no time at all. You will certainly begin to notice some changes within the next couple of weeks, especially if you are practicing every day.
I just realized that I didn't really answer your main question, Yes, I think it is fine to keep your knees slightly bent while beginning with the pose. It is always a good idea to modify the poses to suit your needs in the beginning. I do think that once you feel comfortable it would be a great idea to join in a beginners class where you will feel comfy among other beginners, only because it is very important to practice good body mechanics and proper form. YOu certainly don't want to get into the habit of moving your body in the wrong ways. I hope this helps you out. Please let me know if I can be of any other help with your practice!
07-11-2006, 02:21 PM
The models in all yoga books, tapes, dvds, etc are extremely flexible and very experienced. Take it easy at the beginning, holding the poses for a short period of time.
I(male) have been doing yoga for 11 years, am not particularly flexible, and I cannot touch my head to my knees, and am quite satisfied with putting my palms flat on the floor.
Up LEAP 100 Billion
07-12-2006, 07:09 AM
rawjojo, you are so kind! I've had a few days break as the back of my legs/knees feel a bit tight/sore where I've been trying to keep my legs straight whilst folding fowards. I'll try the pose again tonight taking in everything you've said. Thanks again for such a detailed reply!
07-12-2006, 07:28 AM
You are so very welcome, Up Leap!
One more thing that I forgot to mention was:
Try sitting on the floor with your legs straight out, feet flexed, pelvis tilted and slowly begin to move into a seated forward fold. This will help with some of the muscle tightness that you are experiencing in the backsides of your legs. Also, do the same fold with your legs wide open in a "v" to further strectch you legs, and this will get a little deeper with even more muscle. Both of these stretches will help you to achieve standing forward fold a little easier, safer, and stronger!
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