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Stretch of the East

Backbends: you love them or hate them

Backbends: you love them or hate them. I don’t think I ever came across people who thought they were ‘just okay’. Either they don’t practice them or try to avoid them as much as possible or they just can’t get enough. I’m afraid I’m one of those first. Which isn’t to handy when you train a lot with Guerilla yoga’s Pleuni van Hulten, who just loves backbends.

So far she was taking my classes more than the other way around, simple because I almost always teach or give massages when she’s teaching. And the classes I took of her where always the gentle ones. May be one or two small backbends, like bridge or cobra; nothing more. But this time there was no escape: Pleuni was giving a backbend workshop – in my yoga shala – so if I liked it or not: I had to be there.

Now warming-up for backbends is something I really like. It simply means doing a lot of hip openers. He, I’m a guy, but they are open and opening them more even feels great. So lying there, opening those hip joints was easy and a good way to go over all the anatomy she just taught us and all the emotions connected to backbends. The rest of the warming-up was full on power yoga the heat to body up. Another big love of mine. But than…

Slowly we worked ourselves more and more in to deeper back bends with the help of props, with the help of all the cue’s Pleuni was throwing at us: sucking in our belly, engaging our inner thighs, squeezing the block. They all did ring a bell in the back of my mind form my teacher trainings, but Pleuni brought them back to the surface. The longer the workshop, the deeper the backbends. My back was still protesting, but not as painful as it used to. As in my days I was trying the intermediate series of Ashtanga. Didn’t like the back bends than, but they worked. And now I could feel they were working again. Opening my chest, opening my lower back.
After two hours I drifted away in savasana and realized I finally met somebody who thinks backbends are ‘just okay’: me.


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