Anatomy of a Backbend: Going Backwards to Move Forward

When I wrote about my yoga postures in July ( I didn’t take a picture of the backbend portion of half-moon pose (arda chandrasana). I’m not sure why, but if I recall correctly my body didn’t go too far in the backbend portion of the pose as I was working on my arms.

I’ve been thinking about this pose a lot lately. I’m not really sure why, but I have. I want to go deeper in the pose, to bend as far back as I can. I’m trying to prove a point to myself: that by going backward I can actually move forward.

But I don’t want to do this “willy nilly”. I aim to deepen the posture correctly, without harm to my body.

In trying to figure out my obsession with this pose I started doing some Internet research on the benefits of ardha chandrasana. Basically, I found the same information that is given in the “hot room”: improves flexibility in the spine, improves respiratory system, corrects posture, promotes proper kidney function, and the list goes on ad infinitum. All of this is so important to the pose, but, for me, it’s secondary.

When I’m in that pose, when I’m feeling my body, when I’m paying attention to the form of my legs, my hips, my abdomen, I’m not just in my body, I’m in the NOW. I’m where I am at that exact moment. I’m at my best. I’m not thinking about tomorrow or five minutes ago. I’m in the room, in the moment.

Those NOW moments bring me to a greater awareness of SELF. I’m not quite sure how that all works but it does. I’m an emotionally reactive person who has tended to base my perceptions of SELF on the thoughts and opinions of others. In the past, and sometimes in the now, I allow how others treat me to affect and impact my mood. More and more often, though, I catch myself in the moment, in the NOW, and I realize that I’m okay. I’m not dependent on others. I’m responsible for myself, my moods, my thoughts, my SELF.

I smile at this realization. It’s not perfection. It’s not always there. And I sure have to work at it, but it’s like being in the backbend portion of half-moon: the more deeply and GENTLY I go into the pose, the more I realize life has no limitations. I just have to keep believing and BEING………………

(FYI: the picture of me in the backbend may not reflect how deeply I go in an actual Bikram class—or maybe it does! I was limited by working with a 10 second timer on my camera!)



It’s Never Enough: reflections on 48 hours without technology

It seemed simple enough at first: 48 hours without technology (without fb, iphone, computer, Internet, etc.); 48 hours to sit with my grief. I thought I was ready. Well, really I was.

Before I my 48 hours began I went to the store. After all I had to buy food as I was preparing for Armageddon. Walking around the store I found myself searching for chocolate: candy bars, cookies, sugary junk. I specifically wanted two of the jumbo m and m cookies Vons usually carries, but they didn’t have any in the two-pack for sale. That’s when thoughts of candy cr*p started swirling about in my head.

But the longer I walked around the store, the more I realized that none of it would make me feel better. None of that food would fill the hole in my heart. It would and never could be enough to really make me feel better, to make my sadness go away.

Sadness that had more to do than with my dad. Sure that’s a huge part of my right now, but the rest of it: at my core I have difficulty realizing I’m worthy of love, that I can be loved. I’m sorry if that makes any of you feel uncomfortable, but that’s a huge part of my truth, and a significant driving force in my desire to improve my life: I’m working on showing my Self that I am worthy just the way I am.

That’s really what I’d be sitting with; that’s really what scares(d) me. No technology, no sugar, just me.

I didn’t know what I was in for.

I thought maybe I’d have some HUGE revelation, some massively profound breakthrough, but, as the hours passed, I found myself craving escape from myself, wanting to go so far with out that I’d never see within. I spent so many hours in bed, but not asleep; rather, in a state of melancholy. Then I started looking through pics and found so many of me as a child, with the same smile I have now. And my dad—so many pics of him, yet not enough. Seeing those pics brought sad and joyful tears to my eyes.

There’s so much about him that I just miss. His voice. His laugh. All the times he’d tell me he loved me. A random memory of a time as a young girl when we watched a movie holding hands. I don’t remember which movie, but when I close my eyes I can still feel his hand in mine……..and I can feel the moment when our hands let go……………a little girl and her father, a precious moment in time.

Those memories and new ones yet to be created will be the only way to really fill the hole in my heart.

And at the end of the 48 hours without external technological influences that’s the revelation I’m left with: allow the loving memories of the past to shape the beautiful potential of the future that is this moment………………….