Periodically I suffer from cramping toes and calves. A strenuous in-door cycling class or long bike ride will bring on the curling toes even though I drink gatorade during these activities. Many times in the middle of the night, I'll be jolted out of sleep by a foot cramp that sends me springing out of bed like a jack-in-the-box to relieve the cramping. Sometimes even in Yoga class the cramps will come, especially in sitting poses with the feet straight under you as during Child's Pose. After a recent Yoga class with Barbara Steiper at NOFO Wellness, I asked her if she knew of anything I could do to relieve this problem. Her immediate answer was "four ounces of tonic water before bed"! Wonder of wonders, it works! Little did I know that tonic water contains a small amount of quinine. My uncle Loy, "Taterhead", used to pop quinine tablets for his leg cramps. Apparently, quinine is not available without prescription these days, and the FDA apparently hasn't figured out how to regulate tonic water - a lot of gin and tonic drinkers would get mad!
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Yoga classes taught by Barbara Steiper at NOFO Wellness Center in Cutchogue, NY. She has enlightened my understanding and positioning for several asanas (poses). One example is the wide-leg straddle forward fold. In this position, the feet should be in a wide stance straddled position with the toes pointed inward in a definite pigeon-toed fashion. Then, the key to lowering the body closer and closer toward the floor is in the legs - actually engaging and twisting the inner thigh inward, allowing the lower back to release down closer to the floor. With Barbara's coaching, I felt a definite difference in how this feels using this technique.
Another fun posture is used to prepare one for handstand (someday). We place our palms on a wall at shoulder height, then move them down one palm length. Then walk our legs back until we can drop our head, shoulders opening toward one another, pressing into our palms. Actively pressing our weight into our palms, all the while visualizing and mentally feeling how a handstand will feel. Wonderful!
Monday will be my last class at NOFO Wellness as the student, then it's back to reality in Arkansas. I'm hoping my Yoga class at Highlands at the Crossing will have enough students signed up to actually have the class. I'm looking forward to teaching again!!