Backbending: clearing space for the future

Our class theme this week is backbends, which in yoga correspond to our future. Backbends are great for opening our hearts, both physically and mentally, stretching the muscles of the chest and upper body, and activating Anahata Chakra, the energy center concerned with clearing out anger, resentment and jealousy. In doing this clearing work we create space for joy, compassion and love.

Clearing out the negative, practicing forgiveness, enables us to move forward and to stop blaming others for our suffering. As we let go of feelings of victim mentality we take back our ability to shape a positive future; as we open our hearts in our backbends we are on the path to finding the best version of our Self.

In our yoga practice, as we prepare to move through our asana, we can take pause to make an elevated intention by beginning with a dedication of our efforts to others. We can then move through into sun salutations, giving thanks to Surya, the Lord of the sun, center of our universe and giver of light. As we practice our flowing sun salutations and standing postures we develop strength, both physically and psychologically.

We then allow the flow to continue into our back bending practice, particularly with the breath; it’s often the case that we unconsciously hold our breath when we come to a pose that we find difficult - for me that’s always been Urdvha Dhanurasana, upward facing bow, aka wheel! If we find that the breath isn’t coming easily in our backbends, it means there’s something stuck, and that we must persevere with that practice to release the blockage so that our heart energy can flow freely. I've no doubt that if you're a yoga practitioner, you will also know where you have your work to do. Wherever that is, practice with a joyful and open heart, and a knowing smile if the going gets tough. In the immortal words of the band Imagination: "It's just an illusion"!!

Once we’ve cleared the heart space, allowing flow of energy coupled with flow of breath, our backbends can take us towards our future, bringing compassion and love into all that we do.


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