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I've Got Your Back

Have you noticed pain or strain in your back lately? It might be from shoveling all that snow that came down last week, or from the stresses of walking & driving in the winter weather. It could also be from sitting, a position we tend to do too much with our modern lifestyle. It can also be from our emotional response to what is happening in our life & the world around us. For these reasons & more, the back is what can pay the price.

I teach classes focused specifically on a Healthy Back, but all yoga I teach helps us to find more flexibility & strength in the upper, mid & lower back. Finding more balance in the back body then helps the front of the body to be more open & strong as well. Taking some time to work out the back muscles with self massage is an important way to release our body. We can use massage balls, foam rollers or even one of my favourites tools the black strip, as designed by Gert van Leeuwen for a style of yoga called Critical Alignment of which I trained in early in my yoga career. Using these tools as part of our daily practice can help to release the held tension in the body, so we can effectively stretch & open the body, before we then strengthen the muscles used to support us.

I used the term, “I’ve got you back” in my classes this week. We’ve all heard this, & know when someone says this they mean they are there to support us, to help us when we need it. As applied to our own yoga practice, we see how we can use props & the support of the earth to feel supported as well. When we use props affectively, we don’t have to work to reach them, they should rise up to meet us. In other words, they literally “have your back”. In this way, we can help release the holding patterns in our body, so as we practice we can become more flexible & strong which makes us more stable. When we are stable, not only do we have our own back, we will then have the ability to help someone else if we wish.

Having each others backs is something we hope to do as a community, but many of us, find we barely have enough resources for ourselves. When we realize we do need help, we can be too proud or stubborn to ask for it. But I always like to think, when I have been able to help out someone that needed some support, it made me feel needed & happy that I could be there for them. So why don’t I think about that next time I need to ask for help. Not only will I benefit, but the person helping me may be getting something out of it as well. So instead can we start to look as those around us in our lives as our community, & how can we have each others backs.

I feel it is time we use our community as it is meant to be, to help each other out & to inspire each other, instead of feeling we need to go it alone. The climate of the world right now is showing our differences, but one definition of community: ” a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”, made me think. We could take this definition as a way to divide us, but if we instead looked at our similarities of our base needs, to belong, feel loved, safe & happy, we could see those that appear to be different, in a new way. These commonalities could make community out of people we wouldn’t normally see we have something in common with. That our base wants & needs are all the same, even if our outward way of being does not seem that way.

I have your back, can be seen as a physical awareness of our body & it’s needs, but can also be much more. From how we support ourselves & allow others to support us. To see others not as separate, but similar to ourselves. As we say in yoga, Namaste: may my Spirit & Light, acknowledge the Spirit & Light within you.

Here is an example of community in yoga & how that can help to make change.

As a way to build community, I’ve started a mini retreat series here in Cochrane, that some of you were able to attend on Feb 3.

Here is the next offering on March 3.


Anne Cox E-RYT 500


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