Posts tagged #backbending

Kapotasana, death, God, and letting go

If Yoga practice is a microcosm of life, then Kapotasana is a microcosm of death. And I am not talking about that Kapotasana where you plop to the floor and never bind. That doesn't count. I am talking about the real Kapotasana where you have to fight the floor to be able to open your heart, and then you take your shoulder to the limit by trying to reach your heels. You may not bind, but I am talking about the struggle that takes you to the limit. That Kapotasana. The one that leaves you breathless fighting your own body to be able to grasp a little bit of air.

Kapotasana is for me such a deep pose that when I started practicing it, it created anxiety before I even set foot into the studio. That is why I equate it to death practice. Because death creates anxiety. Have you ever been in a situation where you are having a great day and then you have a sudden realization that you are going to die one day and everything will be over? Then a bout of anxiety sets in... That is pretty much how Kapotasana makes you feel once it enters your daily practice. 

I started getting anxious about Kapotasana the night before when I went to bed. I would think to myself: "Oh my, I have to do Kapotasana tomorrow morning....". Usually a mini panic attack ensued and I had to do breathing exercises to sleep. When I woke up, another wave of anxiety would come over me with a tiny panic attack when I remembered that I had to do Kapotasana in a few hours. Once I got to the studio, my panic grew and when it was actually time to drop back into Kapo, I was usually trembling. It must seem crazy to you that I put myself through this everyday, but what I have learned through these daily forages into Kapotasana is truly priceless.

Having so much anxiety build over doing a pose, forced me to forget obsessing over accomplishing the pose and going on to the next one. It didn't matter anymore if I bound or not. Instead, I had to focus on the present to be able to just get through my practice without starting a panic attack. So rather than watching every youtube video and reading every article about Kapotasana, I started focusing on every little aspect of my practice. And instead of worrying about what was coming next or when I was getting the next pose, I started letting go and focusing on the now.

Kapotasana forced my focus out of my physical body and onto the celestial one. My anxiety about this pose was so much that I turned my eye completely to God and let Him guide my practice. In fact, when I drop down to Kapotasana I reach to the sky and say a brief prayer before I drop back. Little by little kapotasana got easier, and the anxiety became less overwhelming. God reminded me that after death, the most important encounter of our life happens with Him. I was reminded of John 11:25-26:

25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

I did believe it. So I let go, my trembling subsided, my grasps for air became longer. My focus was on God. 

What happened after conquering Kapotasana was magical. My practice unfolded effortlessly. My youtube video obsession vanished and getting into new poses was more about unlocking the potential that was already there.  Kapotasana forced me to focus on what mattered: God and the present moment. 

 

Holy Yoga for Advent: Week 2

Today is our second week preparing for Advent. We will work on opening our hearts to the love of Christ so that we can celebrate his birth with the right mindset. We will do that through an intense class focusing on twists and backbending poses. The twists allow us to go deeper into backbends. And the backbends allow us to symbolically and physically open our hearts and make space for our Savior.  Although we seem to only physically open our hearts, make no mistake... Human bodies are symbiotically connected and opening our hearts physically creates a psychological response. Body psychotherapy is a field of Psychology that has studied this body-mind connection for many years. 

My hope is that this class will open your hearts so that you may know the hope to which Jesus has called you - his inheritance - as we are children of God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell. He wants you to experience his love and connect to his full Glory and Grace. 

God Bless you!