Backbends offer a physical opening of the chest, fronts of the shoulders and front of the torso, down to the hip flexors and quadriceps. Energetically speaking, they open the heart energy center, which encompasses our openness to connect with the world around us with love, as The (Deepak) Chopra Center article elaborates here.
Discover more about backbends and heart-openers in Eckhart Yoga's article, “All About Backbends.”
In exploring heart wisdom, experiencing life openheartedly is being open to the full range of our human condition, both joys and sorrows. Rather than the common tendency to avoid unpleasant feelings, allowing ourselves to completely be present with all that is empowers our capacity for compassion and two important virtues of yoga--equanimity, which is a mindset of non-attachment, and santosha, or Sanskrit for a pervading sense of contentment. A wonderful read exploring this concept further is Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Cornfield. (For more practice in living with an open heart, take a peek at Freedom to Flow, our upcoming yoga retreat in Costa Rica.)
Diving into yoga philosophy, here's a yoga sutra that complements the study of expanding your experience of the world, beyond the mind's eye, as extracted from Yoga International:
Yoga Sutra 1.3 - Tada drashtuh svarupe'vasthanam means:
Once the mind is crystal-clear, we begin to perceive the objects of the world the way they are; our perception is no longer distorted. We come to see that material objects are neither good nor bad, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but neutral. It is our attitude toward them that makes them appear either positive or negative. Once this realization dawns, the mind finds no reason to be agitated. The charms and temptations of the world no longer affect it. Even while it is active in the world, the mind remains still.
In yoga that stillness is known as samadhi—a state in which the mind is free from all disturbances. Yoga likens this state to a perfectly clear crystal that poses no obstruction to light. In this state, truth is known in its fullness. That is called enlightenment or self-realization.
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REviews of Root 2 Rise Yoga:
Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
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