I sometimes wonder if yoga teachers work from the same playbook when deciding which themes or asanas to focus on in their classes. Over the past week or two I’ve practiced with several teachers. Curiously, each teacher has chosen backbends as her “theme pose” for the day, with the class intention of “opening the heart.”
Why is that? Is there some kind of synchronicity that permeates the yoga community? Do teachers’ hearts all beat to the same yogic cadence? Do they respond similarly to a common source of inspiration?
Using Yoga to Prepare for Thanksgiving
Today’s teacher talked about the many joys, but also the stresses associated with the major holidays we’ll celebrate over the next month or so. She talked about the need to open our hearts, prepare to bear more weight on our shoulders, carry more of a loving burden over the next few weeks. (Backbends are a way to build up our strength and flexibility while putting those ideas into practice, it seems…)
It’s an interesting perspective to have about Thanksgiving — and yet, there’s no doubt holiday feasts entail a lot of preparation and work for both hosts and guests.
Not to mention the relationship strains that can emerge when people who haven’t seen each other for months, or maybe even years, come together to feast at a time of heightened expectations. These issues can be aggravated when the host family has self-esteem issues over their cooking skills, menu planning or timing — lots of things can go awry when you’re not practiced at putting on complex meals.
I remember Thanksgiving meals that faced unexpected challenges due to snowstorms, people getting lost en route, delayed flights, and so on… It’s complicated.
My husband and I are blessed to come from families that don’t erupt into fights or reignite long-simmering hostilities over the holidays. We look forward to holiday meals, whether they are shared with friends and/or family.
Whatever the reason that inspires these Seattle area yoga teachers, I’m grateful to their coaching on backbends, as these poses are never easy.
Everyone can use encouragement and helpful guidance when it comes to opening the heart. Whatever the season.