The Bikram Chronicles: Fixed Firm Pose

“Don’t sit like that! You’ll hurt your knees.”

This was the refrain my brothers and I heard from my mother every Saturday after we had each grabbed a bowl of whatever off-brand cereal was in the house, wrapped ourselves in our comforters, and parked our little butts in front of the TV to watch cartoons. All three of us would sit with our knees splayed out, our feet pointing back as if we were drawing little M’s on the living room floor.

“But it’s comfortable,” we’d whine as she’d force us to sit in a different position. We’d wait until she was out of sight and resume sitting the way we were before.

In Bikram there is a posture called Fixed Firm Pose. You put your knees together, place your hips between your ankles, and stretch back to lie on the floor. If you can’t stretch back, you are advised to push your knees slightly apart. I cannot do this pose. Correction: I cannot do this pose yet. It KILLS my knees. They ache like crazy when I try to point them forward so I always end up pushing them out slightly to the side just as I did in front of Saturday cartoons. This always makes Bikram instructors frown at me since the rest of the class seems to have zero problem getting into the pose. If they do have an issue, it tends to be with the part where they lie on their backs.

Yesterday the class was smaller, and the instructor was able to show me the proper way to do the pose; it was still painful and difficult, but, amazingly, markedly less so. The entire time I could just see my mom shaking her head at me in a little thought bubble above my head. (I will not be telling her about this) Besides, my knees are kind of messed up from running and soccer too. Plus my hips are kind of big (and so is my butt for that matter). It must be the running and the big hips, right? RIGHT?

Moving on! I’ve begun compiling a list of Bikram tips for beginners that I will be doling out slowly.

Today’s Bikram tips:

1. Don’t wear a brand new hot pink sports bra. Your towel will also be hot pink by the end of class.

2. Listen to your mom.