Release the past with floor backbending

Break the hold of the past
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on May 3, 2016


Nicole Traum of Yoga Bird, Fort Myers, FL

It’s hard to be in the Now when the past clings to our feet.

Can we be more flexible with the things we carry?  Can we cherish our hardships that cultivate our compassion and wisdom?

Are we ready to embrace the future with an open heart, activated energy and optimism that welcome all possibility?  Do we feel the rush of creativity, will and heart that pushes us to our purpose, our light?

If our answers are no to these questions, we know the past has us in its grip.

Given that time talk is tricky, we commonly refer to the past as being “behind” us while the future is “in front” of us.

In the spirit of B.K.S. Iyengar, take this spatial metaphor to the body.  The back is your relationship to the past and your front body is how you approach the future.  Use the Backbending Flow, a moving meditation to embrace a new suppleness with the past as we activate an empowered and fearless drive forward.

Backbending Flow

Starting position: Lie on your belly on top of a mat or blanket.  Drop your forehead to the floor with your legs either parallel or pressed together.  Point your toes.

Begin with Baby Cobra

Nicole Traum in Baby Cobra

Place your palms on the floor in alignment with your heart. On the inhale, press into the floor, lift your face, shoulders and heart.  Keep your elbows comfortably bent. Don’t throw back your head; keep it in alignment with your spine. Press your pubic bone into the floor.

Hold for ten breaths, and use the strength of your arms to lower yourself to the floor.

Move into modified Locust

Nicole Traum in modified Locust

From starting position, interlace your fingers behind your back, and straighten your arms.  On the inhale, lift your head, shoulders and heart off the floor.  Keep your head in alignment with your spine.  Push your pubic bone into the floor, and hold your arms parallel to the floor behind you.  Hold for ten breaths.

Full Cobra

Nicole Traum in Cobra

From starting position, place your hands on the floor in alignment with your heart.  On the inhale, lift your head, shoulders and heart by straightening your arms. As your hands push into the floor, feel your shoulders pull away from your ears. Your hips are pressed into the floor.  As you hold for ten breaths, be careful to avoid clenching your buttocks so you don’t add pressure to your lower back.

Hold for ten breaths, and then move into Upward-Facing Dog.

Upward-Facing Dog

Nicole Traum in Upward-Facing Dog

From Full Cobra, lift your hips so only your hands and the tops of your feet are touching the floor.

Focus on opening your heart by pulling your shoulder blades down and back.  Hold for ten breaths.

Drop your hips and use your arms to lower your torso to the floor.

Rest by turning one cheek to the floor and then the other.

Full Locust

Nicole Traum in Full Locust

For this deepest expression, return to starting position, lying on the floor with your forehead down.

Bend your legs and pull your heels toward the buttocks.  Reach behind you and grab your ankles with your hands, either simultaneously or one at a time.  Try not to let your knees spread; keep your thighs parallel.

When you have a solid grip, flex your feet and pull your heels away from your buttocks.  The movement will pull your head, shoulders and heart off the floor.  You’ll be in a full backbend, balancing on your belly.  Rock forward and back for ten breaths.

As we pull ourselves from the past’s grip and open ourselves to the future, we can live in the perfect state of balance, that slice called Now.


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