In the last post, we learned a lot about the characteristics of the heart chakra. Today we learn how to deepen your student’s connection between their life off the mat and on the mat.
Backbends are super energizing so if you are teaching a backbend focused class at night, make sure you have lots of time to neutralize the backbends. You netutralize backbends with twists and forward folds. First twists, then forward folds.
Some peak poses- the “big deal” poses that you build up to and that the preliminary poses lead towards and systematically warm up the other body parts for- that are great to focus on for backbends are:
-bow pose, using dancer as a standing pose to compliment
-wheel, use two straps to support students- one under the sacrum and one under the shoulderblades to help students experience the opening of the front of the body even without the arm strength or shoulder flexibility
-camel- stretching the quads and hip flexors to prepare the body for backbends
While students are resting, ask them to look at the connections in their lives. Are they able to give love and do they feel worthy of receiving love? Do they accept themselves as they are or are they waiting for the magic xyz to happen to accept themselves? Are they critical of others? Are they a people pleaser?
Ask them how that relates to their practice on the mat…. are they always trying to please the teacher by pushing too far in a pose or trying an advanced variation for which they are not ready in order to gain attention? Are they critical of the teacher or of other students? Will they allow themselves to be happy when their hamstrings are not so tight? Try to shed a light on those things that they may be saying to themselves in the course of a class.
Heart openers, backbends lift energy and mood and are wonderful for depression. So often we hunch forward at the computer or as we are carrying our babies or driving our cars. Backbends can help to lengthen the deltoids and pectoralis major and minor that have shortened through repeated hunching. Our upper back muscles, especially the rhomboids, get weaker as we hunch. Backbends strengthen back muscles and lengthen the chest muscles.
I would love to hear from you- what fourth chakra practices, series of poses, questions and ideas do you weave into your classes? I am always ready to learn from you, my friends.
Blessings of love and light,