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.
- 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!