October 7, 2012

Yoga Journal Estes: Bo Forbes—Opening the Outer Seams of the Body. ~ Jennifer Spesia

Softening our Armor: Opening the Outer Seams of the Body

I took a variety of classes at the Yoga Journal Conference because it was my first time going and I wanted to try out as many teachers and classes as I could. I signed up for Jedi Training, yoga trance dance, and several other “fun” classes.

I then signed up for Bo Forbes‘ class because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to take a class from someone who is doing what I hope to be doing soon as well. In addition to being an exceptional yoga teacher, Bo is also a Psychologist and a Yoga Therapist.

Photo: BetacommandBot

So, even though the rock climbing/yoga class sounded super fun, I live in Colorado and can rock climb any time. Taking a class with Bo is not something I can do all the time, so…Bo’s class it is! Side note: I’m usually not one to boast about all the good decisions I make (ha! far from it!), but this time, I nailed it. This was the best choice I made all week.

Bo is incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in yoga, Psychology, and anatomy and I learned more in her class than I have in any other yoga class ever. She began the class with an in-depth explanation of the fascial web, or the web of connective tissue covering our entire bodies, and its significance.

Bo also explained how the fascial web connects every cell in our bodies and contains ten times more sensory nerves than muscle does! Bo further explained, the fascial web is sentient and intelligent, because it is connected to the nervous system, which connects to the brain; and each part of the web communicates with all the others.

Bo told us early on, “The outer seams are the body’s armor”, and the outer seams focal point for the class were the side ribs, obliques, the QL (quadratus lumborum), IT band, and the outer hip flexors. We continually use our bodies in ways that establish and deepen patterns of movement. When we change patterns of movement and retrain our fascial web we can let go of the physical pattern as well as anything emotional being held onto as well.

So, we spent a large portion of the class learning different poses and techniques corresponding to each area of the outer seam often found to be the most challenging. I’ll be honest, some of it did not feel good, at all. The grunts, groans, and profanities emanating from the gentleman on the mat next to me confirmed this truth for all of us.

We dug into some serious nooks and crannies that desperately needed attention and by the end of the class every one of us was high stepping it around the room. Our hip flexors were opened wide up; our side seams were incredibly expansive; it felt absolutely amazing!

I am filled with immense gratitude for Bo Forbes and her brilliant and graceful integration of yoga, Psychology, and science. Being a skilled yoga teacher is one thing, but truly understanding the anatomy, physiology, Psychology and mind-body connection is invaluable to all of her students, and in turn, their students.

The knowledge I gained from Bo’s class will undoubtedly be of benefit to me for the rest of my life, but just as important, I now have these amazing and transformative tools to pass on to my students as well.


Jennifer Spesia is completing her PhD in Psychology in 2013 and currently works with individuals, couples, families, and groups in her psychotherapy practice in the beautiful state of Colorado. Jennifer is a long-time student of Eastern spiritual traditions, a meditator, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa), a yoga-teacher-in-training, a human companion to three amazing dogs, a world traveler, a philosopher, a seeker, and an eternal student.

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JenniferS. Oct 25, 2012 8:14pm

Bo taught us a number of ways to work with loosening up the fascia and especially challenging areas, like the IT band. She demonstrated a number of therapeutic sun salutation poses, as well as exercises using yoga blocks as a sort of muscle-massage prop. I've never done work like this but I'm totally hooked now. It hurts like hell at first, but it's that good hurt.

greateacher Oct 7, 2012 6:59pm

Thank you so much. I am very curious what poses and stretches you did!!!!!!!!!

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