Lie Back and Come Home

By Rodney Yee, April, 2013

Spring comes back to us, and lies down in the bed of winter. There are still flurries of snow in mid-March, but the promise of warm days are airborne. The children come home for their spring break, reminding us that they still long for their original nest; but we also see the independence that is broad across their back. The migration to the East End stretches weekends into months in our reach into the Hamptons’ summer.

In yoga, our front body is open and vulnerable like the coming spring, and it projects the pouring of light and sound into the amphitheater of our back body. We use backbends like flowers use the earth: we root into the ground with our back body—down into our tailbone, and then down into our heels—as we open up the petals of our heart and lungs. The front of our chest is a greenhouse window that magnifies the light of the sun and bakes the magic of the universe into the stem of our body, our sushumna nadi.

The naming of backbends is elusive, because the real direction of movement is down and up. For example, in upward-bow pose we root straight down with our feet and our hands as our sacrum and our shoulder blades rise up. Our front body continues to relax onto our broad, lifted, and supported back body: it remains open and receptive. This is more than a gymnastic, architectural shape; it is a psychological willingness to meet life full on, a receptivity to the song of now and all that now has to deliver, whether or not it agrees with us. It is a willingness to open the iron curtain that fictitiously protects our hearts and minds from the dangers of the outside world.

Like flowers, we are the rain and the sun, and we can lie back into the earth, our original nest, and spring forth with our innate spirit, full of beauty and magnificence. As we meet spring, we can root into our center and anchor into the essence of our “beingness.”

May coming home to Yoga Shanti be a celebration of the art of being, through the tools of yoga: asana, pranayama, and meditation. See you soon.

Rodney Yee

Rodney is a world-renowned yoga teacher who started practicing yoga in 1980. He has been in over thirty yoga videos, and is the author of two books, including Moving Toward Balance. Along with his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee, he is the co-director of Heath and Wellness Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan’s project to change the healthcare paradigm to include complementary healthcare practices. He has been teaching at Colleen's studio, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor, for several years, and is one of the founding members of Yoga Shanti New York.

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