Empowering the Back Body: Reimagining Massage with the Bowspring

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 | No Comments

Our bodies are instruments of exploration, the limitless channels through which we experience our lives, each other, and our planet–and yet we can live without fully experiencing our body’s natural lightness and playfulness. The Sridaiva, a dynamic movement practice similar to martial arts, felt like everything I was taught never to do as a vinyasa yoga student. And yet, it felt so intuitive and free. Through a Sridaiva practice, I began to open my belly, expand the curves of my spine, hover my heels and access the power of my glutes. The Bowspring, the shape we make with our bodies in Sridaiva, is similar to the stance you would make if you were going to jump or sprint. The Bowspring shifted my perception of the human body as a weight-bearing structure into the experience of my body as floating and light.

Most modern postural movement focuses on the front body. Contemporary exercise modalities like yoga and pilates emphasize core strength, teaching us to contract our front bodies, harden our bellies, and ultimately limit our space to breathe. By comparison, Sridaiva opens up and lengthens one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body, the underbelly. We redirect our focus to toning the back body, teaching the glutes to fire before the quads and the lower back. In a Sridaiva practice, we recruit the entire body to work for us, rather than relying on a select few muscles to do all of the work. When all parts of our bodies work together in harmony, we create a more sustainable posture and more sustainable way of living.

Sridaiva massage takes the cutting-edge alignment of a Sridaiva practice to a new level. By tonifying the back body and relaxing the overworked front body, Sridaiva massage repatterns forward-bending, downward-spiraling fascia, opening the whole body to new growth. To put it simply, a Sridaiva practice sculpts your body from the inside-out, while Sridaiva massage sculpts your body from the outside-in. Together, Sridaiva and bodywork put you in deeper connection with your body, the ways in which you hold yourself, the ways you interact with the world.

Co-written by yoga therapists Julia Traylor and Natasha Benton

Article Printed in Austin All Natural Magazine