I’ll admit it, there was a time, not very long ago, that I avoided any class with a backbend theme. So I thought I would share a little of my own journey that helped me appreciate backbends in my own practice, and hopefully made me a better teacher.
If you already love backbends and are just curious about themes, skip to the bottom.
I understood how opening up my front body would help those tense spots in-between my shoulders feel better. I understood how opening through my front body could help me into that oh- so-lovely energetic open heart feeling. Hate might be too strong of a word but I really really really really really REALLY didn’t like backbends.
The road to enjoying backbends wasn’t a short one for me. First came acceptance of my mobility the way it was. Rather than force myself, or internally repeating things like “I’m not good at this, my back doesn’t bend this way, I don’t like this, I don’t like this, please be over…” to myself while I practiced, I relaxed. I promised myself that I wouldn’t push myself too far, I decided it was okay with me that I didn’t move that way… in other words I found acceptance; I just accepted the sensations.
Slowly, though, my ribcage started to relax and open. I had been working with Sharon Mansur in private somatic sessions and she noticed how rigidly I held my ribcage. When she first asked me to relax it towards the ground while I was laying on the ground I had no idea that was a part of my body that I could move! But I started getting curious and playing with softening through my ribcage, finding mobility there.
I noticed a new openness in my low cobras in Sun Salutations as well. Lo and behold, it was becoming not just a pose I had to get through to be able to get to Down Dog, but a pose I enjoyed. It was starting to actually feel good to open up.
In classes like the ones we’ll have this week where we are purposely exploring backbends, we will warm up and support ourselves with care. Talk to me about any injuries or concerns you have before class and we can make sure your backbend experiences are good ones.
Forrest Inspired Vinyasa
Warm up and open up to your week. As you might know ,Mondays are usually inversion days. Uncertain how backbends relate to inversions? You’ll have to show up to find out!
Bring your backbends into Sun Salutations and B Series with Vignettes. For those of you who have already had a backbend class or two this week, this will be the perfect way to celebrate your newfound openness and recover from any soreness. If this is the only class you make this week, it will be a great refresher on getting the most out of your cobras.
Monday 4:30pm and Wednesday 8:15am
We’ll be getting into the nitty gritty of how to support yourself. This is a great class if you want to spend time getting deeper into your backbends, and it’s a great class to address your questions. Let me know what your questions and concerns are ahead of time so I can better support you.
Ahhh, heart openers. If you’ve been practicing with me all week, don’t miss this class. And of course it’s great for everyone looking for a gentler practice as well. We’ll explore the nuances of opening up within your range of motion using gentle backbends and lots of support. We’ll end with a delicious heart opening meditation.