Frequency, Precision and Intensity - by Emmy Cleaves

I didn't write any of this. It's lifted from an awesome email from Jill Koontz, an owner of Bikram Yoga Boston, who channels the wisdom of Emmy Cleaves, the most senior Bikram Yoga teacher in the world, besides Bikram himself. Everyone in the community loves Emmy.


Frequency, Precision and Intensity - by Emmy Cleaves

NOW is the time to really re-focus on your beginning series. The beginning series is where all your health benefits come from AND some believe that the yoga asana competition championships are won or lost with the precision in the beginning postures. To emphasize areas of focus I am borrowing from the words of our dear Emmy Cleaves (if you don't know who she is..ask one of the instructors..we would LOVE to tell you all about her).

Do any of these sound like your class?

Precision and intensity without frequency - That would mean that you do a great job when you manage to get to class, but you never go to class.  You go every day for a week, then give yourself two months off.  That's not going to work!

Frequency and intensity without precision - You are going all the time, and you are trying really hard, but you're still not listening.  You're working harder, not smarter.  You're just doing whatever you feel like doing, instead of following the dialogue word by word.  You think that you're getting some really great exercise with all that sweating.  But in the long run, that's not going to work!

Frequency and precision without intensity - You are coming all the time, maybe even every day, and you're doing everything correctly, but you're never really pushing yourself, never putting any serious oomph into it.  You're coasting.  That's not going to work!

So what DOES work?

Frequency - This does not, by definition, mean that you have to practice every day!  In the long run, frequency means that you're committed to practicing 3 times or more per week, and you do so regularly.  In my mind, frequency is all about consistency.


Precision - Fall in love with precision.  Get interested in it.  Try to be precise in every motion, every twitch, down to the placement of your big toe or your thumb.  (On the line, with the index finger.)  All the good stuff is in the details.  Never assume that something is right just because you did it that way yesterday.  Keep your ears always open, just like your eyes.  Even if you've done 100 classes in a row, or 1000 classes in a row, go into every class hoping to refine your technique in some little way.


Intensity - Yoga class is a gas station, remember?  Bikram says that it's the only physical activity in the world where you gain energy instead of burning it.  And how do you make that happen?  By putting more energy in.  I think it's computer programmers who call this the rule of GIGO - "garbage in, garbage out"!  But we can look at it from the positive angle - energy in, energy out.  Change doesn't just happen on its own; you have to make it happen.  Don't let that intensity fade.  Practice like Bikram is in the room.  Practice like it's your first class in weeks, and you've been missing it.  Practice like it's your last class for months, and you want to squeeze every drop out of it!

Remember: Frequency, Precision and Intensity!

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