DAY 68: Frequency, Precision, Intensity

Author: thedancingj /

One of the lovely Bikram 101 bloggers (thanks Johan!) reminded me last week of one of my favorite Emmy-isms.  (If you don't know who Emmy is yet, you can click here or here for a little idea.)  Emmy says that there are three components that you need for a successful yoga practice: frequency, precision, and intensity.  ("Successful" just means that your body changes, your health improves, and you see the results that you've come for.)

I've always loved this little summary.  It explains so much.  Just think about what happens if you leave out even one of these things...

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 (though it's awesome that we all are practicing so often right now)!  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?  (Maybe you don't?  Maybe I should talk about that next time.)  Take my word for it - yoga class is a gas station.  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!

Easier said than done.  But that's the idea... frequency, precision, and intensity!


Anonymous said...

I love this Emmy-ism!

I would add in precision: LISTEN like you've never heard the dialogue before - you will hear things you haven't heard to refine your postures. LISTEN to every correction given to everyone in the room. See if you can apply it.

Try the right way :)

bikramyogachick said...

Oh, great post! I really needed to read this right now. I'm so burned out. This was awesome!! Thank you!!

Johan said...

Hehe, thanks J. It really does sum things up nicely.

L, oh yes "try the right way" can't say how many times I heard that lady week but it never gets old.

thedancingj said...

I think I could easily fit "try the right way" into EVERY single post that I've ever written about Bikram yoga, but I try to restrain myself. ;-)

Prodigal Yogini said...

This is so good in so many ways! I may have to link to this from my blog one day soon!

I find it so helpful to have different teachers because they each emphasize different bits of the dialogue. One of my teachers always takes the time to point out that the dialogue in the floor bows is to kick up first {to make the bow}, then kick back {to get the height} and then kick up again and roll forward {to deepen the bow}. Her way of slowing down each step of that part of the dialogue makes it easier to find the full expression of the posture.


hannahjustbreathe said...

Yes, three words to live my yoga by indeed. Thanks for the reminder, Juliana!

aHappyYogi said...

Thanks for the post! Those words are always needed to hear!

Brody said...

Thanks for this great blog! I'm back to Bikram about 3 days a week after taking a year-plus away from it (it's like a drug I just can't quit, but good for me!), and I'm really enjoying reading the entries here. It's motivating me, every day! I hope to someday do a 30-day challenge, and then on from there.

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