Hold that Camel!


Camel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been trying to work on my back bends. Really, I swear. And as you might know from reading this blog, I am not a huge fan of actually doing back bends.

Oh, I believe in doing them. I believe I should do them daily in addition to what I do in class. For awhile I had gotten pretty good at it, but then my schedule and daily routine got all mucked up and, wouldn’t you know it?, thos gosh darn back bends went right out the window.

Joseph’s recommendation has been to do five a day. He emphasizes quality over quantity. Who can’t handle five back bends a day to the best of their ability? It’s not asking a lot. And yet, it still sucks. But I’m making myself do it because, like I said, I do believe and agree that I should do them.

The other night I had done three or four camels. I really have no idea if it was three or four because, for some reason, I lose my ability to count when doing camels. And even though I’m only doing five, and it seems reasonable to count to five, I cannot keep count most of the time. I decided that my last camel I should hold for as absolutely as long as I could stand it. The first few I held for about 20 seconds each.

I had someone time me. The clock started when I grabbed my ankles. I found something to focus on and put my attention on my breath and pushing my hips forward. It was uncomfortable, but I did ok. I counted my breaths in and out. I tended to lose count with that too, but whatever. I just started over.

Eventually, when I hit the two minute mark (in my head – not reality), I came up. I held it for so long (for me) that I literally felt stuck at first. I’m taking this as a sign that I picked a good time to come out of it. Any longer and I would have needed help I think. My timer smiled and said, “28-seconds.”

28 seconds? Are you kidding me? That felt like at least 2-minutes.

“No,” my timer replied, “just kidding. That was 50 seconds.”

At first I was disappointed in myself for not hanging in their 10 more seconds. To be fair, I had not asked my timer for any updates. I didn’t want to focus on the time. I wanted to foucs on how I felt in the posture and end it when I felt it was time to end it. But seriously, 50 seconds?!? For me, that is something to celebrate.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tallmartha
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 07:35:54

    Do you do your back bends at home or in the studio? Before or after class?


    • leighahall
      Sep 16, 2013 @ 12:11:47

      I sometimes do them before class in the studio and sometimes at home before or after class. I’m not really consistent about the when part.


      • tallmartha
        Sep 16, 2013 @ 22:45:41

        I bet they feel really different depending on when and where those back bends take place! I should do more back bending. I had a dream last week I could see my toes in camel!


  2. MIke Mitchell
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 12:17:33

    I just started doing back bends at home in the morning on the days I can’t make it to class and after one week its helped a lot. My in-class back bends are deeper and I don’t return to class after a number of days off totally stiff. I take it real easy and warm up a little but I want to advance to wall walking gradually, not there yet.

    As for Camel, I bet you can do it longer if it wasn’t up to you and someone else was counting the time. There’s one teacher at my studio who always makes us hold 2nd set of Camel for a full minute. Each and every class, you can count on it. She’ll do 30 secs for the first set and 60 for the second set. She counts it out, “there’s 30 just keep pushing your hips forward…45 already…Ok come up….” Some people dread it but I’ve come to love it and crave it. Some days it feels like its going to kill me but always feels so good coming out of it. I never cut it short and never bail on the posture, just hang it there and breathe…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!


    • leighahall
      Sep 17, 2013 @ 12:55:39

      I think in some regards its a real mental issue for me. I sometimes have classes where a teacher will hold it for a minute and go through the process you described, but it is still hard for me to hang in there with it. I think I do better holding them outside of class rather than inside. I don’t know why.


      • MIke Mitchell
        Sep 18, 2013 @ 16:30:14

        Everyone’s practice has its quirks. How’s your Half Moon Back bend and Cobra? Do you see any correlation between your struggles with Camel and those poses? My back bend comes and goes. Its as good as its ever been now (which may or may not be saying much) but week before last I lost it totally and could barely get back past straight up. For some reason my back was locking up but its better now. Doing a few easy back bends at home on non class days seems to have really helped that.


        • leighahall
          Sep 19, 2013 @ 13:33:05

          My half moon bend is pretty stinky. Cobra was pretty decent for awhile, but lately not so much. My back is cramping up in cobra. I do agree with you about doing some easy bends outside of class. I think it helps.


  3. MIke Mitchell
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 10:47:50

    Had class with this teacher this morning and she switched things up a bit. Instead of counting out the 30 and 45 second marks she waited and waited what seemed like forever until she said “ok you’re down to single digits now….come back up.” One of those “thought I was gonna die” moments but you realize you will bend but not break. Felt awesome afterwards. “Anticipation” is rarely a good thing unless its sung by Carly Simon.


  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 01, 2014 @ 01:03:53

    Hold that Camel! http://t.co/lQwthWLias #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


  5. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 01:41:26

    Hold that Camel! http://t.co/D9Pw89C18I #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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