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    Spine Is a Metaphor for Life

    December 6, 2017

    In the Ashtanga system of yoga as propounded by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, you practice backbending daily. In the closing series, you practice the Urdhva Dhanurasana followed by the Sarvangasana and Halasana.

    If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Facebook, you know that I’m focusing on my backbends a lot these days. Backbends have always been challenging for me, and for this reason I favor forward bends in my practice. It’s easier to do the stuff that comes naturally to you.  But doing that which you know you’re not good at, now that requires real discipline.

    I have forever intended to work on my backbends in my personal practice, but I never got around to it. But in Pune we devote an entire week of the month to backbends. So you see advanced practitioners doing the Urdhva Dhanurasana 108 times etc. There was one particular class that I feel changed my practice forever. My spine became accessible and I became open to the idea that I CAN do backbends in this lifetime. I resolved to continue the practice and I practice a back bending routine on most days. You can see a snapshot of a typical backbending practice in this video.

    I often see students lamenting their inability to bend backwards (I’ve been there myself).  Over the years I’ve learned that when it comes to bending back, more doesn’t always mean better.

    The flexibility of your spine can give you a clue about how you approach life.  Do you have a tendency to bend over backwards to accommodate people and situations ? Bending like you don’t have a spine can also be described as being ‘spineless’.  Conversely, are you unable to bend back at all?  Not able to be open to an uncomfortable situation or a different point of view?

    In terms of yogasanas, a certain amount of resistance is necessary to execute the full expression of the asana.  A body which can fold easily at every single joint has to work hard to provide the counterforce to hold an asana steady.  So we see the inability to gauge the centre in Sirsasana and Natrajasana.  We see an inability to hold Parsvakonasana.

    Being too flexible is not always a good thing.  Too flexible with your time, with your emotions, with your boundaries, with yourself…

  • Yoga

    Healthy Body, but Healthy Mind?

    With the ongoing focus on mental health have you gauged the state of your mental health? The only way yoga works for you on a physical level is by changing you at a mental…

    November 30, 2017
  • Food Yoga

    Those Sneaky Sniffles

    Towards the end of the year Bangalore is deliciously foggy and cold(ish).  Suddenly the filter coffee tastes better, and the post yoga breakfasts with the steaming sambhar are to die for.  Everyone is motivated…

    November 24, 2017
  • Yoga

    Three Surprising Facts About Pune

    By Pune I mean the Ramamani Memorial Iyengar Yoga Institute (RIMYI).  For Iyengar practitioners ‘Pune’ is synonymous with ‘RIMYI’.  After studying for five years under my primary teacher here in Bangalore, I started going to…

    November 17, 2017
  • Travel Yoga

    Why Do We Run/Practice Yoga?

    Over the weekends while everyone is asleep in their cosy beds, a few of us stumble out of bed at 5 am.  To meet and run.  Why do we run? Before my fitness journey…

    November 7, 2017
  • Yoga

    How to Manage Your Fears and Face Them Head On

    Halloween got me thinking about fear.  As a society we value fearlessness.  As people we take pride in saying, “I’m fearless.” But I’ve never met anyone who is fearless.  Some fear pain, some fear…

    November 2, 2017
  • Yoga

    Getting My Asanas Back

    I think just a little bit of effort towards health can ensure that we prevent most ailments.  But what do you do if you get attacked by a virus in those rare moments of…

    October 29, 2017
  • Yoga

    The Diwali Detox – What I Do

    I’m not one for crash dieting or diet fads.  And the buzzword right now is ‘post Diwali detox’.  Everyone is on one.  Except for those who are actually healthy. Fasting-feasting and binge eating does…

    October 23, 2017
  • Yoga

    Yoga is a light…A Yogi’s Diwali

    From ignorance, lead me to truth; From darkness, lead me to light; From death, lead me to immortality Om peace, peace, peace I learned the above shloka in the year 2009 when I went…

    October 19, 2017
  • Travel Yoga

    Dhanteras – Relevant to a Yogi

    A few years ago I spent three days in the Sivananda Ashram near Neyyar Dam (Kerala).  I found out later that the ashram is called ‘Dhanwantri’ Ashram.  And in passing someone told me Dhanwantri…

    October 17, 2017