By Louise Applebome
Oh my…it’s 2022!
And, at the risk of sounding like a geezer, how is it that 2021 seems to have sped by and out of sight in a blink?
Rest assured, a thoughtful yoga practice, on your own terms, of course, can help you navigate the start of this New Year and keep up with a world churning all around you.
Consider this: Forward bends provide calm, quiet and an oasis in which to connect deeply with yourself. They’re a place to cool and slow down the nervous system. In our yoga parlance, it’s said that forward bends are about history, the past, and that which is familiar, tried, and true. Forward bends open and stretch the back of the body. Thus, they’re a connection to what is behind you and has come before.
Let me clarify: I’m not suggesting that because something has already occurred, its ramifications and impact are thoroughly understood. There may be more parsing, unpacking, and unraveling that still needs to be done on issues from the past.
But, when it’s time to “chill” during hectic times, remember you can find child’s pose and bigger/deeper forward bends provide relief and retreat.
It would only make sense, given that context, that back bends have the opposite effect. They open and stretch the front of the body and are connected to the future…the unknown…the “WHAT’S NEXT?!?!?”
Physiologically, back bends warm up and stimulate the mind and body. And, on that more existential level, they provide wherewithal and resources for forging ahead.
I like to think of them as an insurance policy for better preparedness and poise for managing whatever awaits.
If you sit or stand well, clasp your hands behind you and open your chest, you’re in a back bend. More advanced postures move you onto the floor or the yoga mat to create bigger arcs and bridges.
As with all of our visits “to the mat” or onto a chair for some movement and stretches and mindfulness, the spectrum of possibilities among back bends is enormous.
But, as we set out in this New Year and gird ourselves for the unpredictable (and seemingly more and more of the unexpected), it’s a great idea to incorporate back bends into our day.
Suggested activity: Set aside five minutes to center, breathe and find backbends that work for you. And, please notice that as the front body extends and expands, the muscles along the back of the body get to relax. Tension along the neck, shoulders, and back is so common these days. (Excess time on computers and other devices is, in large part, responsible for that.) Back bends can help some of that holding and tightness let go.
The New Year is upon us.
That much we do know.
Beyond that, it’s one big mystery. Lessen the potential shock and trauma of facing the unknown by making the time to back bend, however that manifests, consciously and safely for you, to give you just a bit more gumption to cope and to thrive in 2022.
Happy New Year & Happy back bending!
Louise Applebome, 67, 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 and you can reach out to her at [email protected].