What brought me to Bowspring
Three years ago I struggled with a painful and debilitating hip, hamstring and glute issue. Deep down, I knew the vinyassa flow style of yoga I loved practicing and teaching was no longer serving my body. What to do? How could I give up the style I’d been practicing for 13 years and teaching for 7?
First, I began rehabbing the area of pain with a Pilates instructor. Then I stepped away from studios where I was teaching vinyassa flow. This was difficult. My identity and ego was tied up in teaching this style of yoga.
I maintained my seated meditation practice, gym workouts and walks while rehabbing my injury with Pilates exercises. I shifted my teaching to a hatha/flow blend focusing on mindfulness and alignment so it was more true to what resonated with my body. Then I found Bowspring!
Bowspring was the answer I was seeking. Bowspring has challenged my mind to a new way of thinking and opened my body to a new way of being. My injury has healed, and my personal and professional practiced have blossomed. I am thrilled to share this life-enhancing modality with my students.
6 Reasons why I love Bowspring
1. Bowspring is fun, yet challenging
I love this practice. Why? It’s fun, light and challenges my body and way of thinking about movement and holding myself in space. It is based on functional postural alignment so what you practice on the mat is easily transferrable into daily life. I can take Bowspring principles and apply them when I’m walking, emptying the dishwasher, brushing my teeth, working out, etc…
2. The Bowspring pillars resonate with my approach to life
John Friend and Desi Springer have skillfully based this system of movement on mindfulness, compassion and accountability. This resonates with me. Regardless of what form of yoga I have practiced or taught in the past, the Bowspring principles are foundational for me. They are principles I have always integrated into classes and into daily life.
3. Bowspring has eliminated chronic pain for me
I have experienced chronic pain in my neck and jaw my entire life. I have had to get regular chiropractic adjustments to feel good and balanced, since I was 16 years old. I thought because “we have bad necks in our family”, that this was how it was always going to be for me. However, with work and refinement, using the Bowspring principles of alignment, I am strengthening this area and holding it with new awareness in daily activities. Bowspring has drastically changed how I feel day to day with my neck and I’m in a period where I have not needed chiropractic adjustments. Others have shared stories with me about how Bowspring has reduced chronic pain in other areas of their bodies.
4. Bowspring is a game changer when it comes to changing habits on and off the mat
In the traditional yoga I was practicing and teaching, I was accustomed to straight legs, long holds, drawing my tailbone down and strengthening my arms by weight bearing. Bowspring teaches me to maintain the functional curves of my spine at all times so my legs are bent, I am springy and I tone my arms without weight bearing. This practice on the mat has given me a template to use at all times during the day leading to freedom, mobility and vitality.
After changing habits on the mat, I’ve had the interest, strength and curiosity to change other habits including habits in how I run my business, parent and choose to spend my time.
How much of what you do is simply out of habit? How much of what you do, how you do it, when you do it and with whom you do it, is simply out of habit? What else is possible?
5. Bowspring has contributed to positive body changes
I’ve got a butt.
Seriously, yes, I’ve always had a butt, but now I have one that knows how to work for me. And it’s not only my butt, it’s the whole back line of my body down my hamstrings and through my calves. Bowspring practice will strengthen the backline of your body, balancing the dominant front side and decreasing the requirements of hip flexors. This leads to a more balanced body and a balanced body leads to a peaceful, happy mind.
At a party 6 months ago, a friend who hasn’t seen me in a while asked what was new. As we got talking, I shared excitement about a Bowspring workshop I had recently attended and she asked, “Is that why you’re taller?” Hmmm, yes, I think it is. In each practice, I am given the opportunity to decompress my spine from the waist up, to practice hopping, inversions and a way to position my body leading to a dynamic, open posture.
6. Bowspring benefits any body
Bowspring is accessible to any “body”-young or old (so ideal for tweens, teens and adults), appropriate if you are athletic or average and ideal for those experienced in yoga or trying yoga for the first time!
“In the Bowspring method, we use a disciplined practice of mindfulness with precise alignment to enjoy the freedom to move lightly and fluidly without over-effort. The uniform engagement of the Bowspring on all sides of the body brings increased mobility, agility, and power. Through the regular practice of the basic katas of the Bowspring, students experience freedom from chronic pain as old postural patterns are retrained. Furthermore, with less pain and more power to move efficiently through our day, we are freer to enjoy the natural and healthy flow of life force within our mind-bodies. The Bowspring practice becomes a path to long-lasting, sustainable freedom.”
- John Friend, Co-founder of Bowspring