I had my first big back bending practicing last night. It felt so good. I've been easing my way back into deeper practices after taking a week off over the holidays. My back was stiff. It took ages to warm up. I kept pushing and kept going deeper when I thought I had hit my edge.
So much of my healing comes through back bending. My hip flexors are the tightest area of my body and it feels so good to open them up and release my lower back.
I remember Dharma saying in one of our trainings that, "Three is the absolute minimum you should do when it comes to backbends, seven is better, and ten is the best, if you have the time."
I did nine rounds of the Upward Bow last night, one of the poses I've been focusing on the last few months, after a number of other backbends to warm up. I usually shoot for ten but I was exhausted after the ninth one and my inner voice was telling me that was enough. It took the first five rounds to just start to get things open.
Getting to know my body over the past 15 yrs has taught me that my body is slow to open in some poses. I can sustain high levels of intensity. I like long holds. I usually hold my backbends about 2-3 mins. I don't usually plan it or set a timer or anything like that. It usually takes that long to really get the juice out of it. I am working, concentrating, breathing, trying to surrender and open, trying to relax, feeling the intensity, looking for where I am holding on, and trying to let go.
I was talking in class this week about how we have to stand our ground. In the middle of the fire. Stand. Hold. Don't let your mind disturb you. Let go of your fear. Let go of your resistance. Get to the suffering as quickly as you can. Let go and process your grief. On the other side is bliss. It is through your suffering that you will see the Light. On the other side of the fire is peace.
The journey to peace of mind is through the fire. The pain is healing you. The pain is the feeling of disconnected parts of you reconnecting. The pain is you letting go of an illusion, that, while comforting, is no longer serving you.