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August 25, 2014

From the Couch to the Mat. ~ Erica Gottlieb

Backbend Yoga

To drop-back into Urdhva Dhanurasana (back bend) requires an enormous amount of trust, openness and exposure.

One of my favorite yoga teachers says that, “before you spend time on the mat as a yoga teacher you must spend some time on the couch.”

I have no qualms with going to therapy.

In fact, it is a part of my weekly routine. The time I set aside for therapy enables me to focus solely on my thoughts, beliefs and emotions in a constructive way. In that space, I dissect my personal paradigms on life without judgments, and come to some sort of understanding of them. It is a method that helps me to find and use my voice.

Therapy takes a lot of bravery.

Every authentic word that I speak from my seat on the couch is an act of bravery. I have said things and unburdened my soul in ways I never imagined I could. Speaking those thoughts, beliefs and emotionally charged words requires a willingness to be vulnerable and represents an act of trust.

Attempting a drop-back warrants the same vulnerability, willingness, trust and bravery.

The nature of being a student is to expose vulnerabilities and trust that the teacher’s words will guide the way. The prospect of teaching drop-backs requires an authentic voice and faith in my ability to guide another human being’s body into a vulnerable shape.

The student depends on the voice of the teacher. Getting to know my voice has taken many hours on the couch and I have no plans to stop speaking from that seat. Those hours and the awareness gained during them will assist me in using my voice as an effective teacher.

Therapy is the biggest heart opener for any yogini.

What happens on the mat translates to what happens in life and what happens in life translates to what happens on the mat. An open heart on the couch assists with having an open-heart on the mat.

Happy back-bending!

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Chris Mare/Pixoto

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Erica Gottlieb