I got your back, buddy! Learning to reach out, tingling spines and other stories


This week called for a reminder about support. Following the week that was, a challenging, pork sausage of a time, something had to give. And seemed the full moon rode right on in at the perfect time. Did you feel it?

The world around felt so impermanent, intimidating, and I was running on empty by the time the Easter hols rolled in, and many other folks I encountered were also ready for a little break. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, and when considering the turbulent time, an interesting pattern emerged. All of my simple daily rituals that keep me in check most days had been tossed aside with sniffy teenage abandon by yours truly. I knew they were good for me, offering structure, stability and well, sanity, yet I kept them far away. Out went the computer curfews and strict bedtimes, in came late night apathetic surfing with no goal. Cue: late rising times and an uncomfortable feeling of missing the day, snowballing into an unproductive beast of a broth, for example.

Then I observed my home yoga practice had been relegated to a few distracted minutes on the mat here, a half-hearted quarter of an hour there, lacking in consistency and consequently, not listening to what i really needed (no matter the length of time i was on the mat or not). I was gagging for some stillness but was still pushing myself. I was distracted from everything that mattered: supporting myself first and foremost.  I was distracted by the busy week of work, followed by a three day yoga workshop which in short, finished me off. Blah blah blah busy and not enough time for self care. Sound familiar?

Generally, if there is anything under the surface, it´s in no doubt going to show itself in some way, and sure enough in the days that followed I was questioning everything that ever was, in life, in my practice, on and off the mat.

This “crisis” was a good thing. Because it reminded me that i couldn´t do it all. And that i didn´t have to.

I´ll help you out buddy!

In times of despair, confusion and fear, as much as it is important to be with ourselves, flop the dark matter out on the table/mat and face it, it´s also vital to recognise the support around you that exists. In every moment.

To some, the spine represents all the things in our lives that are helping us and holding us up, which opens up a new perspective when dealing with this vital structure. At times, our thoughts might be a little blinkered, our perspective unrealistic, and opinions of ourselves wildly distorted, so recognising the support around us can be so liberating. But not always easy. In these times, my friends and family and trusty Skype are my pillars of strength, offering a new context, a good boot up the bottom or a simple hilarious anecdote which can pull me back to earth, give me hope and the ability to see clearly again. For this i´m hugely grateful. So, to the backbones of support, we celebrate, and we gave our lumbar some loving with some deliciously nourishing, space creating treats.

Classes were designed with a combination of stablising postures, hopefully enabling you to create ease if you suffer with back pain, as well as opening up space in this area for happier backs. Inspired by Felicia Tomasko and Tiffany Cruikshank as well as Osteopath Chris Swain, we explored this often hidden sense of support with emphasis on the erectors and the psoas.

Elena Brower offers that it is our ability to move through pain with grace that makes us stronger. Yes, it is all about you, but we can also learn a lot from accepting help from others, be that a prop in the form of a block during chaturanga practice, a listening ear, or even better, a giant bear hug.

Never be afraid to reach out, share and be supported.

Loving you long time, always.

Oh! And here’s the Spotify playlist! (contains swearing!)

Au Revoir Simone – Shadows – Jens Lekman Remix
Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
Blur – Tender
Midfield General – Reach Out
Drake – Take Care
Passenger – Things That Stop You Dreaming
Diana Ross – Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)
Bill Withers – Lean On Me – Single Version
Sia – Breathe Me
Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You
Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day (Album Version)
Otis Redding – Try A Little Tenderness
Amel Larrieux – Infinite Possibilities
East Forest – Hold On
Emiliana Torrini – Today Has Been OK

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