Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Fear! Backbend Workshop - dimanche!

fragile heart.
Originally uploaded by twojangles
The family of poses referred to as "backbends" or "heart-openers" or "les flexions arrière" is ofttimes either loved or hated; revered or despised; embraced or repulsed...and for good reason.

When done skillfully, backbends can be stimulating/mood-lifting/powerful little tools for beating back fatigue, exhaustion, malaise, low self-esteem, and even mild depression. (Really, it's a feeling like none other.) When done poorly, with unnecessary force and ambition and less-than-stellar instruction, they can feel like a bad hangover, with nagging sciatica to boot. (Testify.)

The symbolic act of "letting the heart lead" is scary business. Opening up the front of the body and exposing that vulnerability is not to be taken lightly, rushed into, or forced. The rock-hard resistance that has been built up over a lifetime in the muscles, tendons, joints, and cells is real. It is our protective shield; our body armor that we think defends the most fragile of places from pain, hurt, and betrayal.

Or if you prefer a less war-like analogy, how about a first date? If you're using your truest intelligence, you wouldn't lay yourself completely bare, literally or figuratively, in the first (or first ten) dates; exposing your deepest fears and secrets to someone you barely know. Of course not. (We've all learned the hard way.) You would move slowly and allow the opening to happen with integrity and self-care; valuing yourself in the process.

Recent dramatic happenings in the yoga world have brought to light that deep, repetitive backbends are not for everyone and certainly not all the time. Matthew Remski a senior Canadian yoga instructor and Ayurveda consultant describes it nicely in the 2nd of his recent trilogy of articles: (I highly recommend reading them all)

"Gentle thoracic extension is also a smart antidote for computer-back. Great. But for those with poor boundary issues or a history of compensatory behaviour, repeated backbending might exacerbate patterns of relational sacrifice. Let’s remember that consciously opening the sternum depends upon less-conscious abdominal extension: the baring of the belly to primal vulnerability. This might not be the best action to repeat in the context of a dysfunctional power relationship with a narcissistic guru, for example. And the pace at which backbending is tackled is important in discerning the almost-invisible threshold between “opening” and retraumatizing. In another vein, for the pitta-dominant, the constant adrenal-squeezing of backbending (if not antidoted by generous kidney-looping) may over-caffeinate, overheat, and bring a fanatical edge to a practice and/or belief system."

A conscious and wise backbend practice is one that honors and gently presses into those areas of resistance just far enough to feel an organic and subtle softening and...wait what's that? A deeper breath? That's it, no farther. We start there.

Let's not give in to the egos' maniacal little plan of rushing to look like the backbends on the glossy magazine covers. With skillful instruction and full attention, let's work together to create an experience with backbends that is safe and fulfilling. And, if the ego has at one time or another already led you to the all-night backbend rave, numbing (forcing) yourself into repetitive Natarajasana (like me), bring your hungover self to the No Fear workshop on Sunday morning. There will be heart-felt compassion, lots of water, and plenty of supported Setu Bandhasana.

No Fear Backbend Workshop
10h30 - 12h30
Paris Yoga
9 rue Magenta
Metro - George V
Reservations are necessary - info@parisyoga.com

Ce dimanche Amanda enseigne l'atelier "No Fear" Backbend Workshop. L'atelier sera focalisé sur les flexions arrière. Nous allons explorer les postures qui ouvrent la région du coeur à l'aide d'une respiration profonde. Accessible à tous niveaux, à part grands débutants. Venir avec l'estomac léger et apporter une bouteille d'eau et une petite serviette.

Merci de vous inscrire à l'avance et de vous présenter au moins 10 min avant le début de l'atelier.

Dimanche 22 avril 2012, 10h30 à 12h30, prix 40 €