Backbending, heart opening and a lesson or two learned

Yesterday, I officially got my arse whipped by Kathryn Budig, a world-renowned yoga teacher who travels the world teaching, inspiring and generally whipping women and men into a place so far deep inside themselves, they’re almost turned inside out.

It was intense, to say the least, especially considering it was 3 hours of backbending and heart opening, and I don’t particularly like backbends or heart openers. In fact, I hate them. Perhaps it has something to do with my heart, chest and shoulders being so tight they feel like they’re full of cement, or maybe it’s a case of what you need more than anything is often the hardest thing to enjoy.

Either way, I endured and embraced and enjoyed this class more than words can actually articulate. You see, Happies, for all you yogies out there, you will know that your heart is where you store your emotions regarding your family, friends and community. It is a sacred place, and one that often conjures up feelings of being vulnerable and exposed when pushed and prodded enough. And, as Kathryn explained, if you’ve ever had your heart broken, backbending and heart opening is the safest way to start to restore it. Much safer than trying to restore it on another human because gosh, we all know where that leads. Rebound, anyone? Clearly, it felt amazing to clear out all this emotional shit, shifting years of stale old emotions that I don’t really care to carry around anymore.

Like any good yoga teacher, Kathryn recognised the importance of sprinkling the true meaning of yoga throughout the practice. It isn’t just about movement, Happies, in fact, the more you practice yoga, the less it becomes about movement and the more it becomes a journey inside yourself. Sounds weird if you’re not there, I know, but just go with it.

Anyhoo, it was these sprinkles of goodness throughout Kathryn’s class that I truly latched onto and want to share with you today. They make sense to anyone, whether you’re a yogi or not, and can be applied to any situation or circumstance in life. And for that, they’re happiness gold.

1. Comparing yourself to others is OK, as long as you remember that you’re awesome too.

We all compare ourselves to other people. It’s human nature and while we try our hardest to not do such things, there are times when it’s going to happen. Don’t stress over it, it’s OK. But here’s something you should most definitely practice – The art of remembering that for every moment that you’re looking at someone wishing you were more like them, there’s someone looking at YOU thinking exactly the same thing.

So, next time you’re wishing you had Kim Kardashian’s money, or the flexibility of the girl next to you, or the face of the chick opposite you, remember that there’s someone wishing they had something of yours and remind yourself that hey, you’re pretty damn awesome, too.

2. It takes time to get good at things. A really long time.

I’ve never been one for patience. My mum always jokes that I was desperate to walk before I could crawl, and the second I could walk, I wanted to run. As a result, I sometimes feel like I need to be good at everything I ever do straight away, and get frustrated with myself if I’m not and move onto the next thing. But as Kathryn reminded me yesterday, it takes a really long time to be good at things. Life is a work in progress and I have to try to care far less about the destination, and far more about the journey.

For example, she said that instead of wanting to master every yoga pose in one year, it’s best to only focus on one or two and put your heart and soul into it. This, of course, can be used in any aspect of life, Happies. If you want to be good at something, or change the course of where you’re heading, focus on that one thing and put every ounce of energy you have into making that dream a reality. It works, I can tell you that.

Even if you’re not a yoga fan, Happies, I’m pretty sure these are two little lessons you can happily take away with you and remember in the moments that you need them. And, if you ever get the opportunity to wake up your senses with a little backbending and heart opening at the same time, all the more power to you.

Tell me Happies…

Do you compare yourself to others?

What about patience? Are you lacking it also?

How do you feel about backbending and heart opening?



  1. Peta · April 11, 2011

    I’ve only been doing yoga for a month but I can so relate to this. I want to be good at it RIGHT THIS SECOND THANKS. And I’m not good…at all. 😛 Guess I’ll just try and enjoy the newness of it for now. 🙂

  2. Julie · April 11, 2011

    I was so hoping you would post on this. I found out too late it was going on. I have been focusing on Bikram weekly for the past 18 months and only now I find I have these revelations pop into my head in sabhasnas probably because I’ve stopped thinking so much about the moves. It’s amazing it’s not even thoughts but clear answers and reasons to things I have not thought about for years. It amazes me!!

  3. Kaz · April 12, 2011

    Unfortunately, everyone at one stage of their life will compare themselves to another person and I have done this myself many times, especially if I want to check if I’m doing the right thing (i.e. yoga postures). I am a bit like you Yaz, in that I want to be able to master something straight away and I get angry at myself if I can’t. Some things I have patience in but other things I do not. But they say patience is a virtue. I think I have to get back into yoga again it has definitely been too long.

  4. Kay · April 13, 2011

    I really need some backbending and heart opening.
    Starting a 30day yoga challenge this friday.
    Should try not comparing myself to others for 30days too.
    happydays x

  5. happydancecat · April 15, 2011

    What a fantastic blog! Really so interesting and relevant because each post you are looking at universal issues but in such a personal and original way. Lovely. And with yummy recipes too!

  6. Annette @ Wellnesss WA · April 18, 2011

    Hi Yaz,

    Kathryn looks great, her website is beautiful and it sounds like you had an intense experience.

    Yoga is just so wonderful, continue reminding us and letting the non-converted know about it, it’s too good not to! xo

  7. Skye · April 26, 2011

    Kathryn, I also loved the workshops. Fantastic. I loved your classes in LA and do enjoyed seeing you again in my hometown…my back felt FAnTASTIC on the Monday. Best ever!!!

    Loving as well. Feels great to @tap back in” to you from my living room.

    Thanks again. Skye xx

  8. Pingback: Happy Moments: An Interview with Kathryn Budig | The Happiness Cocktail

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