I am double jointed in my hip flexor muscles. I discovered this when I was 5 and then re-discovered it this past October in a sweaty Bikram yoga class near the Vatican. For those out-of-the-know (i.e. anyone who doesn't actively follow yoga trends nor have a past life in Los Angeles), Bikram Yoga is the hot yoga: 90 minutes of poses in a room heated to 40* Celsius in order to loosen the muscles and increase flexibility.
The first time trying Bikram Yoga, I spent 84 of my first 90 minutes cheering myself on for not throwing up. The two American clone boys towards my left (in not so flattering tighty-whities) continually snickered at my lack of balance and coordination- until I rocked it on the Tree to Toe Stand, my favorite sequence of Bikram's 26 integrated poses.
I haven't gone back since late November, though I could use a quick ego boost by showing off my Tree. To be honest, I occasionally "fall" into toe stand when hanging out with friends. But becoming a disciplined yoga student? For some reason, I haven't had the time. Excuses could be The Professor, my penchant for celebrity gossip websites, lack of motivation, lack of motorino or simply that I keep getting distracted each time I try to go there. My latest and most favorite of distraction is the mound at Piazza Santa Maria delle Fornaci (Vaticano)-- an incredible use of public space for contemporary art, in a city where public art only exists if the "piece" was installed 2000 years ago. Or if there is a public art event (or installation), critical review seems to all point to "not good", "why?" or "who cares?!".
Unable to decipher who the artist is (Mario Merz? 2005), I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for more contemporary and public art in Rome-- let's use it more as an artist's continually changing canvas, not as a tourist snow globe. And before the weather gets hot enough to practice Bikram outside, I considering buying a motorino for my heralded return to Bikram.
Tree Pose to Toe Stand
Balance one one foot. Flex other leg at knee and bend up leg and inward. Balance. Then slowly crouch downward, to a "stand" balancing on 5 toes.
My suggestion: Don't try this at home, take the class
Via Aurelia 190 (Vaticano)