Recently a visiting teacher from Brisbane, Australia came to teach at Bikram Yoga Noosa & Kawana. An observation she made was the yogis were not doing sit-ups as well as she was used to in Brisbane. I replied it was probably because the Kawana studio has just had it’s 1st birthday, the yogis were new to the practice, blah bull blah. Basically I denied taking responsibility. On reflection, I realised it was probably due to the sit-up only recently gaining importance in my own practice and had not yet translated to my teaching.
But I’m stiff, I just can’t, why should I bother?
From personal experience as a relatively inflexible practitioner, performing the sit-up in it’s full expression seemed unreachable and I would break off early as my full-extent was stretching about half-way along my legs. After a few years of practice I started grabbing my toes then lapsed into further stagnation. Recently with renewed vigour, I attempt full expression every sit-up even though my forehead has yet to touch my knees. Not only are my sit-ups improving but I use them as a diagnostic, letting me know how flexible and supple I am on the day and telling me I can push a little more in the next posture, into the next sit-up and on.
Your body is changing!
During the last few classes I’ve been emphasising the sit-up, even sharing my experience hoping to inspire. I was completely surprised when one of the regulars grabbed her toes for the first time! After class she said something about just being lazy and thanked me. You have to remember that your body is continually changing; what might seem impossible one day, may be grasped the next day. For you to appreciate this fact, try not to just go through the motions of the asana. Focus on the instruction, the movement, the limitation and the goal.
Although I haven’t found any reference to sit-ups in other major yoga disciplines, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in yoga. The sit-up is relevant, almost perfectly suited for the Bikram series.
SIT UP Pose stretches the spine and increases flexibility, as does Half Moon.
Both poses firm and trim the lower body, where many problem areas, especially for women, reside.
SIT UP Pose works the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the legs and improves circulation
Provided the sit-up is done mindfully, with more elegance than violence, I cannot think of a more effective way to transition between Savasana and Asana. Use it as a tool, generate energy during the floor series and observe the difference in your practice.
Thank you Sandra for visiting Bikram Yoga Kawana & Noosa; our sit-ups will now be stronger!