In the San Francisco Bay Area, Funky Door Yoga (a Bikram joint), used to use the slogan, “A regular yoga practice gives you a great butt.” (Note: I just checked the website and it now states, “A regular yoga practice gives you great legs.”) Yes, we’ve all heard about the yoga butt, yoga abs, yoga toes.
But what about yoga arms? No, I’m not talkin’ about sinewy muscles but arm position. In Iyengar yoga, teachers emphasize classic yoga arms: straight but not stiff (including wrists and fingers). If tight shoulders prevent you from raising your arms straight and parallel, in line with the ears, just separate them into a “v” shape. This ain’t ballet!
I assumed that all yoga lineages followed the straight-arm rule, until my recent adventures at the mega studio. There, some teachers were Iyengar acceptable, but others (with otherwise decent asana practices) consistently flouted this rule.
Some softly flexed their elbows. Others (and this offshoot amused me to no end!) kept their elbows straight but cocked their wrists and splayed their fingers in a dramatic flamenco-rivaling gesture. This is the closest image I could find.
Whassup with that?