Written August 22, 2010
"When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life."
As I travel through Peru, I have experienced these words from Paulo Coelho from his book, "The Pilgrimage,"; I feel like the fetus in the womb dependent on the resources outside of me to survive. On my journey, I rely on our trip organizer as a local who speaks Spanish. I, however, do not speak Spanish and will turn to him when I need assistance. Likewise, I cannot rely on him entirely; I must also rely on myself.
So as not to be become overwhelmed with any uncomfortable feelings like fear, anxiety, or worry, I take a moment in stillness and silence to Breathe. In this process of breath work, I remind myself of inner calm, ease, strength, self reliance, confidence, and support. These internal resources help me in those periods of perceived difficult situations.
As a home yoga practice, you can strengthen those inner resources. Have you ever heard or used the term, "I've got your back?" It's a way of saying, "I will support you." Backbends in yoga are not only considered Heart Openers, but since they are backbends, they also strengthen your back. Think of your back as a friend, loved one, or community that supports you unconditionally.
Starting with a few Sun Salutations, with particular awareness on Upward Facing Dog (a backbend) include one or more of the following poses:
Hold your backbends for 5-20 breaths thinking of the strengthening you are providing to your physical body as well as the internal resource of support you are practicing. As you develop, enhance, and nurture this part of your Being, remember to rely on it in times of difficulty when outside resources are limited or nonexistent. You will find that you can fully support and rely on yourself as a means for survival and perseverance.