By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
As I sit down to write this article, Valentine’s Day is only a handful of days away. This annual celebration of romantic love can be quite ebullient if you are in a loving partnership. However, if you are “in between relationships,” or you have just broken up with somebody, the crush of heartbreak is often accentuated by all of the romantic gifts that are so prominently displayed during the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Although this holiday is a celebration of love in its many forms, it is usually thought of as an occasion to honor romantic love.
As the fanfare around romantic love escalates daily just prior to Valentine’s Day, many Yoga practitioners find that their own sense of heartbreak and loss increases if they have experienced a recent breakup or are dealing with the grief over having lost a loved one in the past. The heartbreak that many of us experience from time to time during our lives can have a lingering effect on our emotional and physical well being. If we are stuck in an emotional space of betrayal, loss or devaluation, our vital life force energy may become diminished to the point where we have difficulty sleeping, exercising, and even getting through our daily tasks.
As a certified Yoga teacher, you have many methods in your pedagogical toolbox to help your students dispel the physical contraction of grief and loss in the heart area. One of the primary physical ways of dispelling heartbreak and grief is through the practice of back bending postures. Back bending Yoga poses help to elongate the entire front of the body, as well as expand the heart and throat chakra areas, which often become closed down when we experience loss, betrayal and grief. Some of the most accessible back bending poses are Cobra Pose, Ustrasana, Bow Pose, and Silver Surfer.
* Silver Surfer Pose
Silver Surfer Pose is essentially a modified version of Warrior II Pose. One of the best times during class to teach this energizing and heart-opening standing Yoga pose is during a flowing series of Sun Salutations. After you have commenced your class with setting an intention for the practice and some gentle warm-up poses, such as Extended Child’s Pose and Cat-Cow Pose, begin to guide your students through a series of Sun Salutations. You can find detailed information about how to teach the Sun Salutations at Aura Wellness Center's YouTube channel.
After you guide your Yoga students through a few repetitions of the Sun Salutation, you can begin to offer some modifications to the traditional postures of the series. One such modification is known in contemporary parlance as: “Silver Surfer Pose.” This pose incorporates a strong back bending component to Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II Pose. By releasing the constriction around the heart and throat areas through the practice of back bending postures, you will help your Yoga students to physically release heartbreak.
When your students are adequately warmed up and ready to practice Silver Surfer, guide them through the initial poses of the Sun Salutation. As they complete their practice of Warrior II, with their next inhale, instruct them to clasp their hands behind their back and gaze up towards the heavens. In order to increase the intensity of the back bending component of this posture, suggest to your students that they gently elevate their hands a few inches, while expanding the front of their chest cavity with each successive inhalation.
When your Yoga students have held the back bending portion of Silver Surfer Pose for three to five breaths, ask them to shift their weight forward and bend over their front leg, while still maintaining the clasp of their hands. Hold the forward bending portion of Silver Surfer for three to five complete breaths, and then ask your students to release the pose and return to Tadasana at the top of their Yoga mats. Please note: if any of your students have a shoulder injury, they can practice a modified version of Silver Surfer by grasping the elbows, instead of clasping their hands. This modification will alleviate some of the pressure on the rotator cuffs in the shoulder joints.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: email@example.com.
© Copyright 2016 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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