When I am teaching yoga in a way that I feel keeps all of the participants safe in their bodies and safe from being triggered from traumatic experiences, I offer invitations rather than instructions.
[Trauma informed yoga has become quite a buzz word. Please read upcoming collaborative posts to elucidate what exactly that means.]
When I invite you to “take the bind” here is what I am offering:
Binding poses in yoga typically involve linking the hands and rotating the torso and shoulders. Twisting stimulates the abdominal organs, aiding in digestion. Binding also activates the lymph system to clear away toxins and excess fluids. On the energy plane they are cleansing our energy fields of outside influences and outmoded personal patterns. Consider it wringing out the fabric of our body, psyche, and aura. They require three things, strength, flexibility, and mental balance, which is to say, finding the middle ground between effort and ease.
Without some effort, we wont be able to achieve the posture. Over effort and struggle can lead to distress and injury. Taking the bind can cause intense emotions to surface. We may feel overwhelmed or even anxiety at the amount of sensation we are feeling. We have an opportunity to practice equanimity, to breathe into challenging positions on the mat so that when situations arise, we already know how to respond.
Binds offer another way to approach alignment by encouraging you to make self-adjustments, this encourages us to become our own teacher. Listening to our bodies to signal enough, or room for more allows us to do the same when listening to our subtle bodies, listening to our guides and increasing our trust in our own instincts.
Twists and binds can spark us into physical and spiritual epiphanies. Taking the bind challenges our sense of control as much as practicing inversions. We are accustomed to having our heads directly over our shoulders and over our hips, always facing forward from our first moment of waking to the moment we drift to sleep. A fixed perspective doesn’t allow us see in new and creative ways. Taking the twist or the bind and suddenly seeing the world over your shoulders, we realize there is more than one perspective for everything! This simple, powerful revelation can be exhilarating and may just open our eyes, and our bodies to new possibilities and to take a deeper breath.