How far should we take our back bends?
For many of us extreme back bends are not what the body needs! Too oft yoga practitioners strive after postures like urdhva dhanurasana and kapotanasana with a fierce passion. I have a students who is doing everything she can to get into full Kapotasana (arguably one of the most intense back bends possible). Whilst flexibility is vital in the spine for good health the long term effects of extreme backbends may actually be a weakening of the spine that can lead to all sorts of issues.
Remember yoga lovers that you don’t get any prizes for bending yourself in half or twisting your body into a pretzel. (A boost to the ego maybe!) Yoga can offer us much much, more than just form. In practice seek compassion for your body, awareness, softness with strength etc etc, Allow you body to guide you into a deeper experience of your subtle self … you don’t need to push it into an experience that is beyond the natural and inherent movement that the body is designed for! leave that to the circus folk!
Take it from someone who knows! I have been there – full splits, leg behind the head postures, contortionistic twist yada yada yada. The Buddha was on to something when he spoke of the middle path – neither too tight nor too loose- it applies to all things in life
My partner has a lovely simple saying and one that always brings me back to a balanced and even approach.
DONT OVER DO IT!
Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana – Mandala
What to do with the old yoga photos of me doing all those crazy backbends? With people posting their asanas on every corner of the internet doing the same just isn’t so appealing! I enjoyed a bit of creativity in transforming this old photo of me in eka pada urdhva dhanurasana into an expression of geometry and a beautiful mandala.
Scarlett will be guiding advanced yoga practitioner/teachers during the next level 2 , 300 hr yoga teacher training programs in Goa and Austria to honour their limitations and practice in a sensitive way that allows the body to naturally release and open and connects the practitioner to the more subtle aspects of their Being.
‘Very often a gentle approach creates much deeper, sustainable and safe progress’