Paper, rock… heart

Generally, I prefer to be the rock, emotionally.

As it turns out, though, this business about thinking about whether I want to blow open the heart chakra seems to be out of my control.

Great practice this morning. No pain. At least, body-wise. My heart, on the other hand, was all scrunched up again with missing Scotty. He was my morning yoga buddy — not a participant, but always with one eye open as he watched from the top of the easy chair, or peered into the yoga room from the top of the couch. I really miss him.


The Cop and I are taking a vacation in mid-April. He has a notion to drive to Montana and look around.


Urdhva dhanurasana this morning. Duh! I realized I shouldn’t be cranking my neck to look at the ground. I guess there was some idea that the crank helped the curved of the upper spine, but that’s a dopey idea! All it did was push all the tension into my neck/traps.

So this morning, I tried it with my neck in neutral. Whoa! All of the stress/opening transferred right into my pecs. Which is what needs to open. Duh, again! And my arms can go straighter.

And it’s a hell of a lot more pleasurable to feel the stress in the pecs instead of having it explode my neck.

Still need to push more into the legs, but hey, one nice discovery per day is good by me.

So, check it out: Older picture, with cranked neck:


Today’s uncranked neck:



19 Responses

  1. As it is, your heart doesn’t seem constricted. “Opening” your heart chakra with backbends will probably be more like a gentle ‘pshttt’ like when you open a can of soda pop.

  2. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I come from people who rein their hearts in pretty good.

    Love your soda pop analogy. It makes it all seem much less earth-shattering. I’ll keep that in mind.

  3. Yes, your heart already seems open.

    In my case, repressed unfeeling corporate drone that I am, the opening of the heart chakra manifested itself in unbridled feelings of affection towards everyone. And I mean Everyone. Including Everyone in the office, shala, laundry, place of worship ,,,, which of course made up for the back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, etc.

    Sometimes these unbridled feelings bordered on the amorous, which was quite alarming but can nevertheless be amusing if observed with dispassion.

  4. Yeah, I go around with love for everyone, too! The Cop is kind of appalled by it. Oh, and I don’t mean because I’m amorous — he just doesn’t like the idea that “we are all One” includes, you know, other people.

  5. I honestly am not sure I see the diff in your neck. What I see is an every so gradual opening up of the armpits. I am working that as well. It is quite the process.

  6. Oh, and one other thing…from the photo, it looks like you shouldn’t be pushing INTO your legs but OUT from your feet and UP through your thighs. Maybe it is just a word thing. But if you pushed INTO your legs, it would seem to do the opposite of what you want to do, which would be to straighten your legs.

    Today Val, had my hands and feet further apart for the first one, and she had me straighten my legs completely…it was an ahhhhh moment of chest opening. You should try that…Take a photo and show us what it looks like!

  7. Aw, the photos are on my computer at home or else I’d mark ’em up a la John Madden. In the first, my eyes are aimed between my hands. In the second, I am looking at the wall. HUGE difference in how it feels!

  8. Not to be contrarian (is that even a word?) but the difference in her neck is quite significant. At least for my body, it’s the difference between jamming the back of the neck or not jamming it. I still do it in warrior I, and it will probably be light years before I can throw my head back while still elongating (to a certain point) my neck.

  9. I am very very very much a beginner at backbends, so i defer to Vanessa. I guess I really don’t understand the dynamics with the neck….I’ve been told to look up and then back down, but UP towards my nose. It’s very confusing.

  10. Oh, and what I meant in my original comment is that it is difficult for me to see how the neck creates a difference in the backbend as a whole. I can see that she is looking up versus looking down. I just can’t link it up to the rest of her backbend, which looks good in both pics.

  11. Oh…and one more thing…it LOOKS as if you could stand up from that backbend. Have you tried lately?

  12. Hi Karen
    The legs look really engaged on the second picture, like ready to bring you up.
    (Yippee! A one sentence comment.)

  13. Actually no, I don’t think the neck would make very difference to the backbend per se, just to the comfort in her shoulders/upper back. As far as I know (I heard this from H), Guruji seems to treat the neck as something that’s not part of the spine and does its own independent thing. I guess this would be an example?

  14. “Guruji seems to treat the neck as something thatโ€™s not part of the spine and does its own independent thing.” This is a really interesting comment, Vanessa!

    I do sometimes feel the upward pull of standing up, but I haven’t been concentrating on it. My chest still needs to open up more (and my psoai), so I’m not pushing it yet. Soon enough…

    Nice work, there, Arturo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. It is an interesting comment. Huh. I do notice that taking the neck out of the equation in twisting postures refocuses attention on where twisting is lest automatic (and heady) and more rewarding.

    Real difference in the two photos though. A handful of very well seasoned practitioners have experienced a sort of quantum shift when they took the backbending drsti from floor or back wall to tip of the nose.

  16. Hi Karen
    (0v0) is right. I remember KW saying that the dristhe is the nose (a.k.a. zazen gaze in Donuts-terms.)
    I wanted to leave a {{hug}} because this whole discussion about how second series makes you happy (and Rick and others) really warmed my heart this week. It makes me feel that way too. I also liked Armani’s comment that practicing daily is like taking a shower, it makes him feel good.
    cheers, Arturo

  17. Oh no, Ken Wilber is doing backbends…

  18. Thanks, Arturo! I just read you somewhere else out there in the blogosphere and you were saying you had to go give hugs to a couple of people who’d warmed your heart this week, and I thought how nice that was. So sweet that you meant me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And (0v0), you’re scaring me! Ken Wilber doing backbends??! LOL! His driste is not the floor or the back wall OR the tip of the nose. His driste is the camera. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. (lauging)

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