Backbending Pledge

pra1440.jpgBackbends and I have not had an easy relationship.
In Bow pose, my knees are unhappy, my
back unbending. In Camel … well, there is no “in Camel” for me.
I can lean back while on my knees, but my heels might as well be on
the east coast of Africa, they’re so far from my hopeful, flailing

And Wheel? I can raise myself from the
floor for five seconds, tops, at which point everything, my hips, my
left shoulder and ramrod spine lock up like it’s closing time at the local prison.

It isn’t just physical, either. As
soon as I arch my low back beyond its completely controlled range of
about four degrees, a panic begins, a defense mechanism that KNOWS
I’m safer closed than open, safer with the few things I know well
than with the million new things I might be stupidly bad at, safer saying
no than yes.

You know what they say: The way you do
your practice is the way you do everything, and
closed/no-chance/safety-first has been a default stance all my life.

It’s time for a change.

What has happened sometime over the
last two years of practice is that my hard “no way, no how” has
become a softer “what if?”

At first encounter with a difficult
pose, I can’t even think through it. Can’t visualize myself in
the same room with it.

Over time, resistance softens and my imagination begins to wrap itself around the pose, until I hear myself thinking, “Some day, some day I’ll get there.” That’s where I am with Camel, now.
This alone is a huge victory.

For the rest of the summer, I’m going to include backbends every
day. “Independence from my old resistance” is my summer mantra.

Is there a pose or a part of practice
that challenges you in the same way? Have you made breakthroughs?
I’d love to hear.

Thanks to yoga for teaching me that
challenges don’t end until I do.

Thanks to you for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the 
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