I am a natural forwad bender. I just got that set of genes in the lottery. Forwards, I am circus-monkey flexible. My head touches the ground in downward dog.
On a bad day in paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) I can bind my wrists.
On a good day, I can hold onto an elbow. It’s freaky, man.
The backbending? Not so much. All that forward bending, combined with non-backbending genes and sitting at a desk all day had led to a weak back that didn’t like arching. I’ve talked about the physical structures that influence what we can do before, and also about my journey into backbending.
As Kerry and I have been doing the preparation for our Unstuck Workshops (which are both sold out!!!), I’ve been thinking a great deal about how much emotional blockage I always had against doing backbends. Because I wasn’t good at them.
And this brings up a whole lot of stuff for me. I am competitive. Unhealthily so. I HATED being second in my year at school. I wanted to be the smartest kid. Nothing else would do. I refused to play Monopoly because I detested losing. I just didn’t compete in things I wasn’t good at.
Yes, I know. Not pretty. Not pretty at all. So, physical limitations aside, I spent a lot of time getting Very Good at the Ashtanga Primary Series. I could do some seriously flashy shit. But I still had a weak back because I still wasn’t doing those poses that would strenghten my back but that I wasn’t good at. Baby cobra, for example. Locust. Bridge.
Then I hurt my SI joints (the joints where your spine connects to your pelvis) and those poses were just about all I could do. I had to face up to my deep belief that if I wasn’t the best at something, I wasn’t good enough. Well, well, well.
No wonder I didn’t want to bend backwards. It brought me up against myself, and forced me to look. It was uncomfortable but I’m glad I did, even though it was only because I was FORCED to. I have a strong back now. Funnily enough, I don’t do as much flashy yoga, on account of it dislocates my SI Joints.
I am still not the best at backbends. But now I don’t care. I like them! They open my chest and make me feel strong. I’ve come a long way, baby.
I would really, really like to know if you have had a similar experience: not with a pose that is physically inappropriate for you, but with one you didn’t like for other reasons. Did you work through those blocks? Are you still battling? What emotional stuff does it bring up for you?
If you don’t want to comment in public, I would love an email: nadine(at)nadinefawell(dot)net.
- SI Joint Pain and Yoga (yogawithnadine.com)
- Does doing flashy sh*t give the wrong impression? (yogawithnadine.com)
- My body doesn’t bend right for yoga (recovering yogi.com)