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    Bending Backward To Go Forward By Louise Applebome

    By Louise Applebome


    I knew that as 2022 neared its end and a new year arrived, it was time to spend extra time in yoga backends.


    Lest you get distracted by thinking backbends mean huge wheels and arcs, please be aware that there are many other gentler, beneficial options. The key is that, in a metaphorical sense, backbends open us up to the future. Backbends allow the front of the body to receive the possibilities and potential that await. Backbends help us to navigate our way into the future and to go forward.


    Bending backwards preps you for what’s in front. It makes us open to the light and the love that surrounds us and lies ahead. Bending backwards helps us cultivate the grit and fortitude necessary to venture out into the unknown and to cope with what shows up. We’re heading into uncharted territory. 


    Backbends also help us to expand the chest and increase mobility and freedom in the lungs and the ribs. The result is the potential for fuller and more nourishing breaths. This is particularly true of some of the supported backbends which can be sustained for a longer stretch of time. With the help of gravity and props, lying on the back with the torso supported helps eliminate restrictions and resistance associated with the lungs and the ribcage. Reclining Bound Angle Pose is a good example.

    Although not everyone has all the “official” yoga props often recommended for this pose, there are usually workarounds with other supplies commonly found in homes (i.e. cushions off the living room sofa or blankets, towels, and bedspreads). The key is to be super comfy once you settle into the pose and to avoid any stress or strain.  And, of course, always practice with caution.


    Paradoxically, perhaps, is that forward bends are all about the past, what’s behind you and what you’ve already experienced and already know. Forward bends are also useful as the new year begins to allow you to resolve unfinished leftover business; gain a deeper understanding of something from your past; and or cherish all that has come before. A Restorative Yoga child’s pose can be a good option for resting in a gentle, supported forward bend. It’s also important for this pose that you use appropriate props to avoid any stress or strain on your knees, for instance.


    It may be up to you to figure out if you need to spend more time parsing, contemplating, and examining your past, or more time surging ahead, sooner than later.


    In navigating life, and time on the yoga mat, it’s a challenge to achieve symmetry and balance.  The same applies to finding the balance that’s best for you between looking back in forward bends and opening up to the future in backbends.


    Perhaps setting aside some time to spend in supported, gentle versions of both types of poses can yield new clarity and purpose about where you’ve been and where you’re going. 


    Happy New Year and namasté!


    Louise Applebome, 69, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Dallas. After “retiring” from a vibrant and varied professional career, she became a yoga teacher. She teaches all her classes on Zoom right now and accepts students, young or older, from wherever they are, both geographically and in their pursuit of a yoga practice. Louise will help you stay fit and flexible, and release tension, aches & pains from the body…and the mind. Her yoga studio in Dallas is del norte yoga. You can reach out to her at