Throughout January I worked with my clients and classes on the theme of finding focus and intention to see us strongly into the New Year with a clear idea of what we wanted more (and less) of. This involved a lot of introspective work based around discovering and actioning our individual sankalpa resolutions. Now, as we move in to February and edge tentatively towards spring, the focus of our practice is shifting towards tentatively opening ourselves and our new found resolutions, wants, and needs up to the universe and our communities. The time we spend on the mat working on ourselves is so necessary, and so valuable, but the benefits cannot be kept to just ourselves. The practice becomes truly powerful only when we dedicate it to others; offer the gifts up and out, so that we might continue to show up for those around us as the best possible version of ourselves.
This is best expressed in our physical practice through the heart opening backbend poses. Backbends require not only a quiet confidence, but also a willingness to be vulnerable, to unfurl the front body that we often close down in a reaction to hurt or fear. The back bending series encapsulates the idea of trust, and the willingness to step into the unknown and surrender yourself fully and without fear of failure or rejection.
Wild Thing, Camatkarasana, is one of these heart-opening poses. I have chosen this over a more classical and deeper backbend such as Full Wheel, as it involves a gradual rotation of the heart centre up towards the sky and out to the world.
Warm up with several rounds of sun salutations before you begin.
1. Come in to Plank pose (looks like the top of a push up)
2. Step your right hand just a couple of inches forward
3. Roll the weight into the right hand and outside edge of the right foot and drop the left toes down behind the right leg.
4. Take a breath and then, staying engaged in the right arm, leg and side waist, begin to unfurl yourself until the chest and the hips face up.
5. Let the left arm drape near the ear or hold the left hand over the heart.
6. Breathe deeply here for 5-10 breaths. Feel the chest open and the hips lift, and then return mindfully and do the other side
By Jasmine Pradhan from stretchandthecity.co.uk Jasmine teaches Hatha yoga (sometimes dynamic, sometimes slower) with an open heart and an open mind. She believes that every individual already has the tools they need to achieve true happiness and wellbeing, and that sometimes they just need a little help discovering them. She truly believes that a dedicated yoga practice can be the key to that toolbox, and aims to facilitate that discovery for her students. Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any new physical activity. Always practice under the supervision of a qualified teacher.