So here it is, blog 4, and the second of the 26 Bikram poses. We're properly getting warmed up now - although not as warm as you'll be by the time you're halfway through the set. Dripping with sweat doesn't even begin to cover it, no matter how low in body fat you may be.
This pose has the unwieldy name Arda-Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana - which we'll helpfully translate for you as Half-Moon Pose with Hands to Feet.
Arda-Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana: Step by step
1. Stand with legs and feet together. Bring your arms over your head. Interlace your fingers with thumbs crossed and with the index fingers of both hands pointing upwards like a child making a gun sign. Keep your elbows locked straight and your biceps against your ears. There should be no gap between arms and ears at any time.
2. Stretch straight upwards as though you are being pulled up by a string at the top of your head.
3. The sideways lean. Lean down to the right, pulling your arms down to the right and sticking your hips out to the left, as far as you can whilst still being able to breathe through your nose. If you have trouble breathing or can't hold the pose without cramping in your side, you've gone too far.
4. Hold this pose for a minute then return to centre, pause for a moment and then repeat down to the left.
5. The backwards lean. Keeping your arms above your head, lean back at the waist as far as you can and tilt your head back. Now bring the arms back to meet the head. Eventually you should be able to see the wall behind you.
6. The forwards lean. Standing with your legs and feet together. Bending forward at the waist place your hands on the floor. Bend your knees if you need to. Take a few seconds to wiggle your hips, bounce up and down and generally loosen your lower back and hips. Now grip your feet from underneath with all ten fingers and toes pointing forwards. Tuck your elbows behind your knees.
7. Bend down and forward so that your torso and your quads are touching. There should be no gap between them. Your head should be touching your shins, or at least your knees if that's too tricky to start with.
8. Now grip your heels tightly and push your hips upwards, stretching out your hamstrings. If your head and torso come away from your body bend your knees until they reconnect. Hold for one minute. As your hamstrings get more flexible each time you do this, eventually you'll (theoretically, and after a LONG time) be able to touch your head against your feet while keeping your legs straight.
9. Perform this whole set a second time.
There are no end to the benefits of this pose according to Olga Allon, Director and Head Teacher at Hot Bikram Yoga in London. "It's good for a whole heap of everyday complaints," says Olga, "including frozen shoulders, lower back pain, abdominal obesity, bronchial distress, sciatica and glandular problems."
"And there are also benefits for other areas of the body, too. Your whole skeletal and circulatory systems get a good workout, as do your colon, pancreas, kidneys and respiratory systems," she says.
Only two poses in and already a large portion of your body and internal organs have been woken up and brought, blinking sleepily, into play.
"Runners' backs take a hell of a pounding," says Olga. 'It's a well known fact that you can (temporarily) lose up to two inches of height during the course of a marathon due to compression of the spine.
"This pose lengthens and stretches out your whole spinal and musculo-skeletal system, which means you'll start your next run feeling that bit taller and stronger. It also works your core, toughening up your mid-section which, if done regularly, will help your running posture and keep you going for longer before you start to bend forward at the middle due to fatigue."
Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.