Tuesday, March 9, 2010

From Liz: Inspire-ation.

Since you've fled the Pittsburgh gloom for sunshine in Dominica, I'll just talk to myself for a while.

So what's on my practice plate this week? Back-bends and deep inhales. I found inspiration in Ursula's notes about focusing on the inhale, and letting the exhale just flow from there. It made me realize that I am kind of a tepid inhaler. But oh... It does make for some delicious pranayama if you really take a long, slow, deep sip of breath. It makes the practice meditative. And oxygenating. This morning I feel like I had a giant bowl of chlorophyll to start my day, I'm all zingy and bright fresh and green. (This could also have something to do with the springing of Spring, and the general optimism in the NYC air.)

Beyond that: with all of this forward bending in the Primary Series, I've found myself craving some back-bending. Does this also come with the start of Spring? The desire to throw your heart open and spin around like a Wonder wheel? Probably.

But I think it's also a product of my recent shoulder-blade work. In using them guide and support me, I'm naturally broadening across the chest and firing the pistons in my upper back. And so, as like wants like, I want more opening. It's a little adrenaline junkie-ish for a mature practitioner (which I am not, but do aspire to be). But I remember that in one of my Iyengar classes, the teacher kept insisting that we "find the back-bend within the forward bend." It sounds like having your cake and eating it, doesn't it? I think it's the key to a more complete practice, though.

How does this translate? In literal terms, it means, lengthening the spine and keeping the chest open, with shoulders looped and supporting the full expansion of the chest. In emotional terms: it's work. The focus required to keep from collapsing into myself in Paschimottanasana, etc, is dredging up some "stuff." I'm in the thick of it now, so I'll let it work through me, then report back.


  1. i've always loved that idea, finding the counter pose within the primary one, not as something to "do" later but as something to "be" in the moment... thanks liz... : )

  2. Hope it works for you! I guess as a non-dualist, I should have figured out a while ago that pose contains counter-pose (all is one, etc.) but sometimes it takes me a while to physicalize that kind of idea. A little slow on the uptake, sometimes... :)