The very first instruction of the Bowspring practice is to create a Radiant Heart. Sound a little “woo-woo?” It’s not. It’s practical and absolutely critical.
Our society sits. We sit when we eat, when we work, when we drive, when we binge on Netflix — we sit so much it affects our posture, our strength, and even our mood. The Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Huffington Post have all declared: Sitting is the new smoking.
This sedentary lifestyle doesn’t just lead to poor fitness, heart weakness and obesity – if that wasn’t enough – it also hurts. It encourages upper back to round and collapse, shoulders to hunch and curl forward, and the head to hang heavy on top of the neck. Physically, this posture contributes to headaches, jaw clicking and soreness, neck and shoulder pain. The head exerts progressively more pressure on the spine (an extra 10 pound force for every inch forward) making back and shoulder pain worse — and tragically this shape impedes the muscles that support the head.
So if you have headaches, shoulder aches, neck pain, or TMJ, get serious about your sitting habit.
And it gets worse.
The physical pain and soreness are a problem. The health impact is an epidemic. The emotional and spiritual impact are devastating.
This is a dejected posture of depression and sadness. Our head hangs down, our heart heavy. These phrases are idiomatic for a reason — ours is a posture of rejection. It’s the shape we make when our boss yells at us in the staff meeting. It’s the protection our body takes when we finally muster the courage to ask that cute guy out… and he says no. It’s a primal posture that says “Don’t mind me — I’m trying to disappear.”
The tragic irony of this should not be lost on us: our sedentary lifestyle reinforces the creeping feeling that we don’t matter. We could just disappear, and maybe we should.
Just as that feeling creates this posture, the posture reinforces the feelings of rejection, collapse, worthlessness. And to avoid the pain of those feelings, we eat (sitting at a table), drink (sitting at a bar), and scarf down 13 hours of Orange is the New Black — stuffed as far back into our sofas as we can possibly get.
What if creating a feeling of worthiness was as simple as changing the way you stand?
Bowspring teaches us to fill ourselves up from the inside – not from the outside. We learn to fill up from the center of us – from the place in us that’s always there, the place yogis have called on for millennia. You may have heard “namaste” translated as “The light in me sees the light in you.” That’s a poetic translation, but the message is clear: don’t forget the light that lives inside you. I don’t forget it. And in remembering your lightness, I remember my own.
That light radiates into the Radiant Heart. When you fill your ribcage, you remind yourself physically and experientially: I’m bigger than this. I have enough. I’m brave enough to take up space.
I’m full enough to share, to help, and make new space.
You take a stand and say: I am worthy.
Come learn Bowspring with me in five playful mornings starting August 29 at Wild Lotus Yoga.