Anatomy of a Backbend: Going Backwards to Move Forward

When I wrote about my yoga postures in July (https://confessionsofahawaiianprincess.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/how-i-do-it-in-twenty-six-positions-a-not-so-objective-analysis-of-my-bikram-yoga-postures/) 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!)

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3 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Backbend: Going Backwards to Move Forward

  1. I’m so happy for you, Princess! That is one of the things I like best from when I do yoga — the focus and centering and quiet of my mind and body on the NOW…my breathing, the stretch (and challenge) of my muscles…the focus on balance, on stretch, on pull, on push, on breathing…on THE NOW. 🙂

  2. Nice pose Nancy! It looks to me like you are doing an excellent job in that pose. I’m glad you are taking time to live in the NOW. Many people live for the past or the future – not taking the time to live in the moment – Think about all of those lost moments that people can never get back. You never fail to astonish me with your self realizations. You move forward every day and I’m so proud of you for it! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  3. Great job! I’ve been doing yoga since the summer, but just took my first actual Bikram yoga class last week. I can feel a difference in my aching back already. I am always scared to go too far back in the back bend poses including camel. Hopefully with practice, I will be able to. But, you’re right–the whole point is to connect with the body and live in the present. Look forward to continuing to follow your amazing journey! 🙂

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