I’ve been coming to the ranch for almost a year now and surprisingly I have never taken one of Hazel’s classes before. Not because I didn’t want to, but we always seem to be here on different days. Anyway, I need to get with be program because she was great!
The class was more of a workshop on yoga backbends, something that I’ve been struggling with (we’ll get to that later), but it surprised me in many different ways. First I’ve always thought of backbends as the wheel pose, but actually there are a lot of many gentle ways to stretch the back.
With the help of the blocks there are options for those of us that may not have flexibility on our side. For example the “supported fish” where you place one block under your upper back and another under your head and let your arms flow back which is an amazing stretch. The next was the “supported backbend” with the block under your sacrum (between your tailbone and waist) which felt equally amazing (“like heaven” is what one person said in class). You can build up the intensity by adding another block to add more height.
Lastly, it was time for the wheel pose. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about it. I’ve attempted doing it before but number one it scares me and number two, I always feel like it hurts the middle of my back. Well, I learned a big lesson from Hazel. If you’re having any sort of pain in your back while you’re doing it, don’t push yourself. Focus on the beginner steps of squeezing your legs together as if there is a block in between them. You will also need to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms which I think is my problem. Without the flexibility, it’s really hard for your arms to be able to support your upper body. So now I know why I’ve always had trouble with backbends! But my goal is to do it, so I’m currently working on creating more flexibility in my shoulders. I’ll keep you all posted on when I finally get it down!