God Damn You, Backbends.

Via elephant journal
on May 1, 2012
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“Lift your arms up, swan dive forward.”

“Hmm—we are moving on to the floor now. I bet we are”, my calculating little mind thinks.

“Yes, mind, yes we are. And I am more than happy about that. It is about 100 degrees in here, I look like I have escaped from a shower and on to my mat. I am thirsty, sweat is in my eyes and it stingsso hello floor, good to see you.”

“Down dog. Now say ‘jump through to seated’, come on and say it, or I will take ‘lie down on your back’; it is not my first choice, but whatever.”

“Come forward into plank and lower down on to your belly.”

“F*ck Off.”

Seriously, that is what pops into my head. I know, it is non-yogic, and I am a terrible person, but I do not want to do the spine strengthening series today!(And if you think I sound like a five year old having a tantrum, then you are right, and I actually had that thought about myself as well.)

“Let us start with cobra.”

Again, a somewhat vicious slur of obscenitiesdirected towards my teacher, yoga and, more specifically, the spine strengthening seriescomes into my head. I give her an evil little death glare out of my sweat-stung eyes. I can only assume she chooses not to notice.

I halfheartedly slog through cobra, half locust, full locust and upward bow, each time collapsing back onto my mat just as the teacher says ‘a few more breaths.’ As I lay in my face down savasana, I want to cry. Why am I being such a vile brat? Where is the animosity coming from? Why does my body feel like lead doing backbends today? And why am I so against doing them? I actually like backbends.

My mind interjects, “Really? You are not acting like it; in fact, you are kind of acting like a douchebag.” “Yes, thank you mind, I am aware of that.”

Backbends are meant to open the heart chakra, increase stamina and build courage.

Now the stamina and courage I can get on board with, so I do not think my recalcitrance is because of those benefits. Therefore, it has got to be the heart chakra. My heart is a clam, in a safe, in a vault, at the bottom of the ocean, and I sense it does not want to open and address whatever issues I may have nested away there over the years.

As I lay in a sweaty little heap on my mat, I think about how many times I have loved backbends, when my spine has felt all buttery and happily slipped into Urdhva Dhanurasana or Kapotasana. I think about the two years it took for my hamstrings to fully open so that it would not be ‘palms to the floor’ one day and ‘fingertips grazing shins’ the next. I need to stop whining, and accept how my body feels today.

Peaks and troughs baby…peaks and troughs.

Read more: Self-practice.

Rose Wyatt  is an avid runner, mountain biker, skier, swimmer…basically anything sporting, so yoga was not something that she was initially drawn to. However, Ashtanga resonated with her, and since she started a little over a year ago, she has made it her mission to learn how to integrate yoga into all her other sporting endeavours. She is a 500 hour RYT and teaching is something that she is passionate about, hoping that her dynamic classes will resonate with athletes and help bring more of them into the world of yoga. Along with yoga and sports, travel, writing, cooking, reading and music are all things that she loves to do. Being 24, and having only discovered yoga about 18 months ago, she knows that she still has a lot to learn, but fortunately that just makes her happy!


Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Edited by Tanya L. Markul

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4 Responses to “God Damn You, Backbends.”

  1. […] God Damn You, Backbends. ~ Morven Watt (elephantjournal.com) Like this:LikeOne blogger likes this post. Published: May 1, 2012 Filed Under: writing Tags: Elephant Journal : yoga : Yoga Journal Conference […]

  2. Little Orphan says:

    Awesome. I had to read this because back bends are my favorite, but dang, they're a effort sometimes! I love the "vile brat" and the resistance to this practice we love, and I totally relate. Thanks for this, as a writer and a teacher. We're just not Buddha-esque every single second! 🙂

  3. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  4. […] teachers possible that feed their hearts and sharpen their bodies? Yes, please! Do they need to do urdhva dhanurasana with straight arms? […]