Breathwork and Chapasana Deep Core Work for Greater Openingheart openerBREATHWORK AND CHAPASANA It’s pretty well understood that the way we utilize our breath in our yoga practice will affect our experience. We also can’t escape the fact that this understanding leads...
REVERSE WARRIOR: PREPARE FOR BACKBENDS
Full expansion, widespread freedom, release, and openness — this might describe what we feel as yogis when it comes to the shape of a backbend or heart-opening posture in our yoga practice. We might see ourselves floating easily into this posture and enjoying the lengthening in our front body along with the confidence and strength we embody in our upper and back body (depending on the posture).
Alternatively, we might think about pain, tension, injury, constriction, fear, limitation, even inadequacy if we can’t “achieve” the posture. These are all real experiences, thoughts, and emotions we may have when it comes to backbends. We must always consider, however, what our intent is when it comes to our practice and how we can still find enjoyment and expansion within our bodies, hearts, and mind.
Backbends are also referred to as heart openers because they are associated with doing just that: opening your heart from what may be closed off, such as buried energy and/or emotions like fear, mistrust, sadness, or frustration and anger. We may go to backbends in our practice to shift this energy, to release it. Through this idea, we can create more space between ourselves and our pain. If we can’t make these shapes with our bodies for various reasons, do we not have the ability to shift these energies? The answer: Of course we do.
November 2021 Immersion
- Twists • side bends • forward folds • heart openers
- Learn techniques to strengthen and mobilize your spine
- Release back tension and discomfort
- Twelve 75-minute classes, all levels appropriate
- Advance your postural practice
- Lifetime unlimited access to all
If it’s not an injury or condition that is preventing you from creating these shapes, you can approach a backbend through preparation. (This is not to say you can’t experience release in other ways, like using pranayama to unlock freedom, but that is for another discussion.) Begin by stepping back from what you envision as the end result and looking at placing your attention on areas that focus your mind, prepare your body, and allow you to let go of outcomes.
I’ll show you how we can do this with Reverse Warrior. If we place our awareness specifically on how we execute lateral flexion with the torso in this posture, it offers solid preparation for backbends. It takes our focus into the process. We are investing “well-placed effort” in how we deconstruct the appropriate actions. We can then experience and feel more expansion, opening, freedom, and release with this “preparatory posture.”
The required flexibility in this posture is directly parallel to the flexibility required in a backbend. I’ll discuss this further. Let’s talk about this well-placed effort first.
Learn to Fly in Side Crow Get to the Core with 3 VariationsARM BALANCELEARN TO FLY IN SIDE CROW Getting to the core of this arm balance will awaken a potential in your body that you may not be aware is even present. Learning to fly in Side Crow actually goes deeper...
Create Fluency in Your Flows Workshop These Vinyasa TransitionsFLUIDITYIS IT "FIND" OR "CREATE" FLUENCY IN YOUR FLOWS? It’s most definitely possible to say “find” fluency in your flows when it comes to a Vinyasa-style yoga practice, but I believe “create” is a more...
Build Strength and Endurance Infuse Calisthenics Into Your Yoga PracticeresilienceSTRENGTH AND ENDURANCE WITH CALISTHENICS There are both simple and more complex ways of infusing calisthenics into your yoga practice, especially as you get stronger and build upon...
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 Five Drills for Greater Accessflying splitsEKA PADA KOUNDINYASANA 2: STRENGTH AND POISE The elegant long lines of a posture like Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 require a great deal of strength and preparation. The pose also requires both ease and...
Smooth Seated Jump Throughs Skillful Transition Techniques SimplifiedmovementSEATED JUMP THROUGHS It’s true that seated jump throughs are an example of how to seamlessly create a link between two yoga postures, but they also provide a lot of information about how you...