Hatha Yoga Class

A place to share ideas, concerns, questions, and thoughts about women and the martial arts.

Moderator: Megan Lieff

Hatha Yoga Class

Postby John Giacoletti » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:06 pm

I'm considering enrolling in a Hatha Yoga class that meets twice a week. It's based on the popular Bikram's Yoga Class book of 26 postures.

The instructor is an experienced yoga student and instructor; however, she is not a certified Bikram's instructor. In a trial class I took, she seems to know the material and executes well. But she faces the class and does not give the instructions in mirror image language so it's a little confusing.

My goals are to increase my range of motion, strength and flexibility and achieve some degree of the health benefits that yoga seems to afford.

She concludes with a short meditation and Tibetian singing bowls. She uses a little incense and subdued recordings of Indian chants throughout the class for setting the mood.

There were 13 women and 6 men in the initial class.

It seems to me that it's a physically challenging workout and I hope to get some karate benefit from the class.

What thinkest/sayeth thou?
There is much to make of every moment.
User avatar
John Giacoletti
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Largo, FL

I believe

Postby gmattson » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:23 pm

any exercise you can do to increase flexibility and range of motion will help your Uechi-ryu and is good for your general health.
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6036
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Location: Mount Dora, Florida

Postby mhosea » Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:55 pm

My doctor emphasized recently that I simply must devote myself to stretching at this point in my life, and he actually recommended that I look into yoga to supplement my karate training. I went to a "power yoga" class and found it very demanding, especially for a big, pot-bellied, muscled guy like me. However, even doing only about half the work was a great workout. My only concern is over-training, so I'm looking for a slower-paced class. BTW, I knew that the "power yoga" class would be demanding from research, but the truth is that I arrived at the gym too late to use the room for practicing kata. :)
User avatar
Posts: 1142
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:52 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Postby jorvik » Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:55 pm

I've done Yoga on and off for years.in fact since I was 13 and I'm now 51.most of the time I've done it from books as in the early years there were no instructors. Yoga is good, stretching is good.but finding a good instructor is very hard.very,very hard.
and by instructor I mean some one who can tell you what is good for YOU not what is good for them :lol: ...I suppose rather like a good Karate instructor.....I wish that years ago somebody had told me to ignore kicking as I would never be anygood and would one day need an artificial hip if I continued to do it :evil:
Get a good book and do it from that and save yourself some money :lol: ..there is a book called Sivenanda Yoga..if you just do the "Salutation to the sun" exercise a couple of times day that will keep you supple.......also the plough is supposed to be good for longevity :D ...other than that, I have tried to be supple for years never worked.......could never get close to the splits :cry: :cry: ....folks say be vegetarian will help, nope been veggie for 30 years didn't do diddly squat
I used to be able to get into the lotus...can't now I've got a titanium hip :cry: .but whatever.have fun :wink:

Yoga Followup

Postby John Giacoletti » Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:42 pm

Thanks Jorvik and Mike for the input.

Sun Salutation is a flowing sequence of 12 basic yoga postures which is widely used as a warmup.

We used to have a Godan who taught an open rank class on Saturdays. He often incorporated the Sun Salutation into the class as a cool down. At the time I thought is was just an exercise sequence and didn't realized that it was a widely known and used Yoga exercise.

Also, several of the junan tiso stretches we normally used in class are also legitimate yoga asanas, the hurdle stretch being one of them.

In addition to Sun Salutation, many karateka might be familiar with The Five Tibetan Rites, which are five basic yoga postures that make an excellent warm-up sequence for class or could easily be incorporated into the class plan for stretching.

I am noticing a number of subtle similarites to karate in several postures. The Mountain includes our Sanchin shoulders back and down position as well as the butt tuck and pelvic forward thrust. In the Hurdle Stretch there's the dynamic tension of the front leg foot pushing back and the back foot pushing forward for strength and stability.

I find The Eagle a challenge. And some of the advanced stretches like the Shoulder Stand and Plow I do easily and I have always been able to do full front and rear stretches. One of the women in the class asked me how many years I've been doing yoga :lol: :lol: :lol: I blew her away when I told her it was my fourth lesson.

I find the workout sessions to be vigorous, challenging and satisfying. I have balance issues to imporve upon and I'll benefit by the upper body and shoulder stretches as in The Eagle..

I think the Yoga will be a definite benefit to my kata execution, balance and exercise symmetry and general physical health (it works the internal organs as well as the muscles, ligaments and tendons.)
There is much to make of every moment.
User avatar
John Giacoletti
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Largo, FL

Postby jorvik » Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:56 pm

good on you john for doing it :wink: .just take it with a pinch of salt.especially the Tibetan rites..Sadly as I have grown older I have grown sceptical about many things.................if it floats your boat then do it, don't ask too many questions....and life is sweet :wink:

Postby AAAhmed46 » Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:55 pm

Ive always wanted too...

but im not interested enough to want to pay for it.

Unless you can learn it somewhat well by tapes.
Posts: 3498
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:49 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Postby dejsis » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:04 pm

I learned hatha yoga from a very-very old book that my mother used to have. None of this commercialized crap they teach in yoga classes today. Can't remember the author though. :?: The breathing exercises by themselves are a great help for a uechi-ka.
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 6:01 am

I became interested in Yoga

Postby gmattson » Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:58 pm

back in the 60s. Went to the Laurentian Mountains (Canada) and attended the first camp run by Swami Visnudivendetta. (wrote an early yoga textbook around that time)

I taught the "sun" exercise as part of my classes for many years and eventually just stopped all yoga stretching.

Recently, Sue began taking Tai massage here in Florida (got started with M. Choking in N.E.) and talked me into getting a few 1.5 hours sessions.

Took my 2nd one yesterday and wow, discovered how restricted much of my non-karate movements have become. I was told that it was very important to get back that old range of motion, lost because I had ignored "balanced" (to my karate) exercises.

Most of the massage consisted of what is considered "assisted" yoga. . . where the masseuse helps with the stretching.

Recently I was sent a book for review called "Martial Artist's Book of Yoga". I pulled out the book again and am planning to perform many of the exercises in my classes.

I understand (from professionals) that the stretching will alsogreatly improve my golf game! :)
"Do or do not. there is no try!"
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 6036
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Location: Mount Dora, Florida

Postby Joe Graziano » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:15 am

Greetings George-Sensei,

Your student Forrest - my first teacher - taught the sun exercise, which is still ingrained in me. Reading your post brought back fond memories of Forrest-Sensei.

He also made us do a million (it seemed) push ups and leg lifts. Can I "blame" you for that too?

Joe Graziano
Posts: 202
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2000 6:01 am
Location: Milford, MA, US


Postby John Giacoletti » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:23 am

With a little "googling" one can find on line many helpful step by step illustrations and explanations of the various exercises.

The "Sun Salutation" sequence of 12 postures adapts well to karate since it flows like a kata.


There is a right hand sidebar at the above site which indexes numerous asanas which can be clicked on for step by step photographs and explanations.

I print off these descriptions and have a manilla folder for them. So for Sun Salutation, as an example, I have what amounts to a short, very useful and inexpensive manual which I can refer to at leisure.

Most of the stretching exercises my teacher Sensei Martin teaches are ones Master Tosh learned in Okinawa "tegumi" (spelling?) or which Ric's wife, Sensei Bonni, adapted from her ballet training. Almost all of these are ancient yoga positions

I have the same experience as GEM related. In my karate related yoga postures I do well. In others ... I am a work in progress. :lol:
There is much to make of every moment.
User avatar
John Giacoletti
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Largo, FL

Postby Dana Sheets » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:18 am

Hey John,

I'd be interested in hearing about those tegumi. I've only heard that word used previously to describe two-person sets. It seems there may be other meanings as well.

Can you share a little about the tegumi exercises as done at your dojo?
Did you show compassion today?
User avatar
Dana Sheets
Posts: 2714
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2002 6:01 am

Partner Assisted Stretching

Postby John Giacoletti » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:23 am


These are some of the partner stretching exercises taught by Master Tosh and which we still do in the advanced stretching modules of the lesson plans. He called this Okinawan Sumo.

This is how Justin developed his stretch starting at age 10. A little heredity and a lot of hard work over an 8 - 10 year period.

In a yoga exercise, the student moves through the posture and resistance is provided by the nature of the stretch and the self-control of the individual.

The dynamic of the tegumi partner exercises lies in the partner who participates in the stretch himself and provides energy and assists in the control of the partner's stretch.

Example I.

A and B face each other in a seated position with legs spread wide. A's legs are inside of B's, slightly bent at the knees.

A and B place their hands as their sides, palms on the floor, slightly behind the buttocks for traction, fingers pointing to the rear of the individual and away from each other.

The soles of A's feet are at B's calves. A slowly straightens his legs gradually widening B's straight legs into a wider stretch, holding his position by pressing forward with his hands for traction, as necessary. A adjusts his feet along B's calves and ankles as necessary until B's limit is reached. A's stretch is also challenged by B's natural body resistance.

The partners reverse roles with B placing his legs inside of A's and beginning the double stretch again.

Example II

A sits on the floor with legs straight and spread wide. A bends forward from the waist grabbing shins or ankles or inside of the foot as far forward as he can. A pulls forward bending as much as possible straight forward with back and spine held straight.

B kneels behind and exerts gradually increasing pressure on B's shoulders so that B can bend farther forward and increase his stretch, the eventual goal being B being able to stretch with hands extended straight forward and with his belly on the floor.

A and B then shift positions.

A variation on this for beginners is to bend forward along the length of one leg and then the other with the partner assisting.

Example III

A sits on the floor with legs crossed in front, legs drawn as close to the groin as possible in a butterfly position. A presses down with the palms of his hands on his knees, attempting to press his own knees to the floor.

B enters the picture at the stop point, and assists B's efforts to gradually extend the stretch, even if only by a quarter of an inch. A can relax as much as possible by stopping his own pressing efforts, entrusting the pressing to B.

Eventually B might stand on A's thighs for 20 seconds or so to assist A in holding the position when A is finally able to stretch his thighs to the floor.

The keyword here is "caution" and "assist," and respecting your partner's limits.
There is much to make of every moment.
User avatar
John Giacoletti
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Largo, FL

Postby f.Channell » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:31 am


Used to do the same series with standup wall stretching added in.

One of my Uechi instructors at the time had trained with Ed Parker and we called it Kenpo stretching.

But sounds like the same thing. Gives a great stretch but I've overdone it a couple of times.

I constantly change my floor stretches when I teach to add interest and to hit the muscles different ways.

Sans Peur Ne Obliviscaris
User avatar
Posts: 3544
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:01 am
Location: Valhalla

Partner Stretching

Postby John Giacoletti » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:02 pm

Thanks Fred:

Used to do the same series with standup wall stretching added in.

Ditto: :D
There is much to make of every moment.
User avatar
John Giacoletti
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:08 am
Location: Largo, FL


Return to Women and the Martial Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest