YES it is GLOBAL Bowspring!

We are so GLOBAL!!!

Every time I peruse Instagram to entertain myself with images of the world I intentionally follow, I am not only hit with photos of food my friends adored, cuddly fluffy cats, and scenic van life and rock climbing imagery… but mostly these days my feed is overwhelmed by Bowspring practitioners from all over the world sharing their practice.

I love it! The growing community of Bowspringers world-wide is quickly on the rise due to John Friend and Desi Springer’s diligent commitment to sharing their methodology… and many other teachers who are spreading the love.

Since my global experiences of serving in the Peace Corps and having the great opportunity of meeting people world-wide in various environments, ANYTHING globally inspired excites me… and that John and Desi are driven to share their practice internationally only stoked my fire all the more!  Bowspring, as you’ll see, creates a space for empowered capacity in our back-sides…

The best representation of that growth is social media posts from Bowspringers world-wide. I’ve had the great opportunity to meet some of these students and teachers at international gatherings of Bowspringers… and now through social media YOU have a chance to meet them too! We’ll start with the founder… the amazing…

*** If I forgot to include you or a Bowspringer you follow, please let me know by emailing sarah@yogabow.com, and I will add you/them!!!

Desi Springer, Denver, Colorado (is where her garden grows… however she travels worldwide with John Friend to share Bowspring with the masses!)

Michelle Kathleen, Victoria, British Columbia

Christian Wimmer, Austria

Sara Verhelst, currently traveling globally to study and practice Bowspring

Christy Punnett, Barbados

Laura Mikkelsen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Montse Fernandez, Madrid, Spain

Alison Moore, Denver, Colorado

Charlotte Boyd, Louisville, Kentucky

Renata Ferrari, Viva Yoga Studio – Bowspring studio in Toledo, Spain

Ditte Bykærholm, Copenhagen, Denmark

Amanda, owner of AC Power Yoga, San Antonio, Texas

Maiko Nagata, Japan

John Friend, Denver, Colorado (and travels world-wide with Desi to share the beauty of the Bowspring!)

Rebecca (Becca) Rubinstein, San Diego, California

Marta Granat, Chicago, Illinois

Katie Ward, New York, NY

Saskia Griffiths, everywhere!!! (she’s pictured on the bottom left of the photo below, in “tummy time” pose)

Susan Schroeder, Denver, Colorado

Bridget Gross, Chigaco, Illinois

RoCío MeGíA, Madrid, Spain

Tara A, San Diego, California

Mindful Warrior Yoga, San Antonio, Texas

Annie K Schachtel, Stockholm, Sweden

Marie Louise Frederiksen, Nuuk, Greenland

Lindsey Andress, San Diego, California

Breath and Body Yoga, Austin, Texas

Elisha Jane, Victoria, British Columbia

Paris Latka, Denver, Colorado

Viva Yoga Bowspring, Madrid, Spain

Daura Afonso, Tenerife, Madrid

Gabriela Skerlj, Palma De Mallorca, Spain

Becky Sutter, San Diego, California

Chandra Bowspring, Granada, Spain

Michelle Davis, San Diego, California

Megan Panchinin, Denver, Colorado

Jonathan Boyd, Victoria, British Columbia

Zuzana Novotna, Marbella, Spain

Carla, location unknown

Lila Gonzales, Denver, Colorado

Sarah Haughton, San Diego, California, Founder of Yoga Bow (ME!!!)

Unlearning and Relearning – the crux of Bowspring

It is common that your first few Bowspring classes will be challenging, regardless of any previous yoga experience.

In fact, Bowspring is even more challenging for experienced yogis and yoga instructors.

You’re not only learning a new language, you’re learning a completely different movement pattern in your body. Additionally this movement pattern goes against what many of us have been taught is healthy or safe, and taught in Modern Postural Yoga classes throughout San Diego for many years.

For some, unlearning is not an option. After a scary and frustrating first class, some students never try Bowspring again. Typically these students are well practiced yogis who are highly attached to a linear model of movement. They also often feel frustrated by being a beginner again; generally accustomed to being able bodied, strong and knowledgable on their yoga mat, Bowspring can crush the expert yogi’s ego, which can be too much for the ego to bear or just generally frustrating.

We’ve seen this at Yoga Bow time and time again. Our retention rates show that individuals who either have less yoga experience or are more open-minded when they step onto their yoga mat are highly attracted to the Bowspring practice and receive deep healing, inner strength and mindfulness from their Bowspring practices. Individuals who come to class with an expectation of linear modeling or flowing at a vinyasa pace often have a negative experience and sadly rarely return.

This is the great thing about Bowspring: it is a weeding out of individuals to gather a like-minded, free-thinking and accountable community.

Bowspring is a practice for the bold, open-minded and cutting-edge movers and shakers of our world. Yoga Bow’s community is a quirky group of strong and courageous individuals who aren’t afraid to go against the masses. Although we at Yoga Bow strongly hope for a day where even the most experienced traditional yogis can come learn Bowspring with an open-heart to see its true value… where we all get to experience this bliss together in community. All are welcome to join us.

We challenge you to open your mind (and your belly) and join us for Bowspring class: www.yogabow.com/schedule.

 

 

Denver Spring-Loaded Bowspring Teacher Training: the report from our adventure!

Spring-Loaded Six! Plus Christian – an amazing Bowspring teacher & rock climber we had the great honor of meeting, from Austria!

The Bowspringing SIX!!!

Six Yoga Bow students & teachers took over the front row of John Friend and Desi Springer’s Spring-Loaded Yoga Teacher Training, held November 1-5, 2017 at Vital Bowspring in Denver, Colorado.

We left warm San Diego for a very chilly Denver, but were warmed to the core with our radiant hearts diving deep in to the ever evolving system of the Bowspring. The training was a global gathering of over 70 Bowspringers from all over the world including Japan,  Austria, Sweden, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Croatia, and Caribbean (Trinidad and Barbados) plus

With our hostess Jenny … thank you Jenny! You’re the best!

American Bowspring teachers from various States: OK, OR, CA, TX, NM, FL, LA, IL. Each day was packed full of Bowspring practice, breakout sessions, practice teaching, and so much more. We all felt so grateful to be invited and to participate in this special event.

I, Sarah, have been traveling to Vital Bowspring in Denver since the beginning of Bowspring (2012), and in fact nearly moved to Denver out of my love of this method. The opportunity to take my own students to the heart of this method was so exciting, such an honor, but also pretty intense. Fears arose in my heart… “will they enjoy this as much as I do?”… “what will they think??” You see Bowspring is intense. It is different. It requires steady, consistent and open-minded studentship to understand and grow in this method. It is a turning on of the mind, body and heart, not a numbing and turning off. I was so delighted to not only see my Bowspring students (soon to be Bowspring teachers) grow their Bowspring practices immensely, but also observed them falling in love with the home of the Bowspring too.

Resting in between sessions 🙂

We left Denver with a feeling of global support and community, with stronger deeper roots and stronger wider wings to take our Bowspring practice into our daily life and share it with our communities, AND we cannot wait for the 2018 gathering in Barbados!

Thank you Vital Bowspring staff & teachers, and of course John & Desi for your unwavering commitment to teaching the highest, to caring for our world, and sharing your hearts with us! It is powerful. Let’s keep Bowspringing together!

3 Bowspring Poses You Can Do Today

Unsure about the Bowspring alignment system? Tried it once and left the class confused and sore?

Practice these 3 simple Bowspring postures at home to build a stronger spine, longer & stronger core and lighter movement patterns into your posture:

1 – All 4’s

  • Start on your hands and knees, and place your knees slightly behind and wider than your hips, with an option blanket below your knees to support yourself.
  • Place your hands slightly wider and slightly forward from your shoulders, soften your fingers while doming at the center of your palm. Rotate your elbows outward.
  • Bow your head down and fill your upper back with breath, then protract (push out) your shoulder blades away from your spine and up towards your ears (visualize a “V” shape of the shoulder blades moving up and away from your middle back.
  • Keeping your back heart full, push the tops of your feet down (where your shoelaces go) and drag them towards your knees in order to tip your tailbone up and back. As you do this, press your groins back until they are hallow, and until your belly feels long, curvy, strong and supportive.
  • Lift your head until the curve you have created in your low back is similar to that of your neck. Eyes will look towards the front of your yoga mat.
  • Relax your jaw by slightly parting your teeth.
  • Press your pelvis back and tailbone up, keep the back heart full, and press the crown of your head forward and up. Pulse back and forth emphasizing heart, hips and head wide and moving directionally away from each other to elongate both the belly and the neck.

Precautions:

  • Due to many previously taught alignment systems that shorten the belly and pinch our shoulders back, this exercise will demand a lot of your focus, since you are basically doing the opposite of your pattern. Be sure to minimize distractions as you practice Bowspring and stay focused on the alignment system. Listen to your body while you practice, and if anything doesn’t feel right or is painful, back off accordingly until your body awareness increases and your movement patterns can be felt, observed, and re-patterned towards movement that is lighter and brighter!

Challenge Pose: Crouching Cat

  • Take it up a notch by lifting your knees while applying all the same principles above.

 


2 – Wide-legged Forward Bend

  • Stand with your feet wider than your yoga mat, or if you don’t have a mat, stand with your legs wide enough apart to open your pelvis while maintaining a sense of stability in your balance.
  • Bend your knees deeply.
  • Place your finger tips on the floor with ALL your knuckles bent, so that even your finger nails connect lightly with the earth. Dome the center of your palm to engage all of the muscles of your arms up into your shoulders.
  • Fill the back of your heart and broaden your shoulder girdle.
  • Similarly fill your pelvis by widening your hips, lift and mound your gluteal muscles up toward your sacrum, and tip your tailbone up and back.
  • Stretch your throat open by elongating your neck, pressing your crown forward and up.
  • Hold your front body open while your back body engages, using your fingers to intensify the stretch of your heart forward while pressing your hips backwards to deeply stretch your belly long and strong.

3 – Earth Pose

  • Stand with your feet as wide as your hips.
  • Bend your knees slightly.
  • Press your straight arms forward and press your elbows outward to fill the back of your heart with breath and space. This is called “Radiant Heart”: a heart that opens in all directions.
  • Press your groins back and down, mound your gluteal muscles up towards your sacrum and tip your tailbone up and back, while lifting your Radiant heart in opposition. This will stretch and lengthen your low back.
  • Lift your chin so the stretch in your belly is matched by the stretch in your throat.
  • Gaze at the horizon to calm your energy.
  • Press down with your big toes.
  • Optional challenge – lift your heels slightly off the floor to test your Bowspring integrity. This tests the efficacy of your ability to hold yourself steady in your back body while maintaining open and soft in the front.

Want more? Yeah you do!! Come take a “Bowspring Basics” class with us, and we’ll share with you this amazingly powerful method of movement on your yoga mat!

Our schedule is here: www.yogabow.com/schedule

10 Things to Expect in Your First Bowspring Class

1 – You will feel strange

Bowspring is meant for EVERYONE – it is a UNIVERSAL template of alignment. But initially, you might feel like Bowspring is not made for you and that your teacher is talking all sorts of cray-cray… put my groins where? Open what? Natural curves of my spine…?… but all my other teachers have told me to flatten my back!

The good news is you’re not alone, and your Bowspring teacher wants to help you. The bad news is the fitness and yoga dialogue abundant in our day and age is so opposite of what Bowspring teaches that you will feel very strange doing these movements. Open your heart and imagine a place where your body moves like the animal it is… where it can spring, jump, and bounce at any moment. That’s the Bowspring: a position of readiness, strength, healthy posture, and primordial in movement. Us Bowspringers go back to our roots as animals to re-discover our hidden movement patterns.

2 – You will feel your abdominal muscles lengthen and tone at the same time!

No it’s not a magic trick – Bowspring teaches us that our abs can be long and strong, and that doing crunches (shortening the abdominal wall) is not the only way to get core strength. Through various movements such as arcing the body, bouncing and twisting, you will realize that your abs have a lot to learn and can stretch farther than you ever imagined. Open and strong bellies for us all!

3 – You will cry and/or laugh (a lot!)

Bowspring invites us to hallow certain places of our bodies that require a certain degree of vulnerability and TRUST in your teacher. Hallowing your groins back (booty open) means opening your hips and pelvis deeply and feeling the deep sensations that occur. Hallowing your neck (chin up a little until your eyes are one the horizon) means opening your throat and being proud of who you are. Let it FLOW – these bodies we have are meant to be energized, used and felt all around! Bowspring teaches us how to light up the deepest and sleepiest muscles and tissues inside.

4 – You will doubt the validity of the method

As previously stated, you will hear your Bowspring teacher ask you to move your body in ways that you have never heard before. Stay calm and give it a try. Experiencing Bowspring is the only way to learn – reading this and watching videos will only get you so far. Go to class, and go again and again. You just might realize why so many people all over the WORLD are falling in love with Bowspring.

TRUST yourSELF. You’ve got your own back! Listen to your intuition and see where it takes you. Ask yourself: is this making me feel stronger? healthier? happier? Am I healing myself or harming myself? What is the true purpose of moving my body in these ways?

I’ve recently been working hard on cleaning out my home – getting rid of things I don’t need or don’t love. It’s a difficult process, where I find myself fearing… “what if down the road I need this again?? Even though I haven’t used/touched this item in (fill in the blank, long period of time here)… what if I suddenly really need it?” Items AND ideas of the past served us for a purpose at that time. But they can also hold us back if we stick to them like glue, even if we don’t need it any more. As you practice any type of yoga I encourage you ask yourself if the idea or alignment your sticking to is actually something you need and love. Or is it only taking up space and you like to keep it around because it’s comforting? Be honest with yourself, and you will grow.

5 – Your lower back muscles might get tired/sore from using them in a new way

This is unavoidable, and I think the most challenging dilemma of sharing Bowspring. Us sitting, sleeping, slouching humans don’t use our butt muscles or lower back muscles as much as we’d like to think. In fact, the way that we use our front body more abundantly than our back body in our day to day life is reflective of our psyche as a species (I’ll let you think about that for a bit on your own).

Test your own body – what is buffer/stronger – your quadriceps (front thigh) or your hamstrings (back thigh)? What is buffer/stronger – your biceps (front arm) or your triceps (back arm)? Unless you’re an extreme body-builder, you’ll likely agree that your front body overall carries more strength and power than your back body.

That’s where Bowspring comes in. Throughout the practice, we work on strengthening the backside like no other. You will most likely be sore (like I was) for your first few practices. Pay attention to the sensation of sore – you might fear that you are hurting your back which is very important to listen to. Don’t hurt yourself. If you experience a crunching or pinching sensation in your spine, you are not doing the Bowspring. Go ask your Bowspring teacher for some help. If you experience muscle soreness in your low back (the kind of feeling you get when doing any type of workout on a muscle you haven’t focused on in a while), that’s quite normal. Take time off as needed, let your muscles recover, and then get back on your Bowspring mat… your back body is calling to you!

6 – You will feel lighter in your body than ever before!

Seriously – I can’t emphasize enough how I never was able to hold a handstand or forearm stand until I learned Bowspring alignment. The usage of the back body to its full extent (explained above in #5) is exactly what allows for this light feeling. You gotta have it!

7 – You might even identify more deeply with your spirit animal

My spirit animal is an Elephant – I always identified with their heaviness and commitment. However elephants too can be light and lift right up onto their hind legs for food, or even run at 15mph!

In Bowspring, we look at the hands and feet as paws. We lift, move and engage the outer limbs in a similar way to the animals we observe. This allows us to gain a unique impression on our bodies of the full functionality of our musculature and ability to create lightness and freedom in our forms.

8 – The details could overwhelm you

Bowspring comes with a lot of new information. This is a rigid pill to swallow for highly body aware yogis who come to a Bowspring class or workshop. Beginners mind is your friend, as does patience that this Bowspring method takes time to learn. Bowspring is not as straight forward as simply stacking the body from feet to head. It is a very complicated system of curves, spirals, spools, arcs, hallows and mounds. Be patient, keep attending classes/workshops, and allow yourself to be a beginner again to something ground breaking and new.

9 – You will not know how to align in your next ‘regular’ yoga class

Once you begin to get a feel for the Bowspring, you might have difficulty attending other yoga classes. This is because many of the alignment cues in traditional yoga classes are different from what Bowspring asks of you. I think it’s best to attend any class with an open mind and follow the cues of the instructor to the best of your ability, while simultaneously allowing your body to play in Bowspring when you see fit. The comparison is mind-blowing when you give it a try, and you’ll learn a lot about your body if you creatively explore, rather than allowing it to get you frustrated. Rather than there being a ‘right’ way or a ‘wrong’ way to align for yoga practice, think about what could be the most optimal and informative for my movement practice here and now?

10 – Your heart will be so radiant and light, you’ll have to go out and share your Bowspring with your friends!

Bowspring is contagious, as is being proven by how it is spreading globally right now. It’s not quite as easy to share as your favorite pizza, but way more valuable for your friends. Once you’ve fallen in love with the practice, don’t be afraid to share it with the people you care about, your students, your teachers and anyone on the street! We’re in this together, and the only way out is to hold hands and close our eyes. Open your heart radiantly to the world you are in, share who you are with everyone you meet even if it scares you a little bit, take chances, listen to your dreams and someday you just might realize you got where you wanted to be without even realizing it.

This is Why Sarah Teaches Bowspring

Sarah has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and teaching for 11 years. She has practiced almost every style of yoga out there, and gained so much from every class, training, and workshop, no matter the style of yoga.

Now it’s time to get a little personal…

A few years ago Sarah’s full time yoga teaching schedule started to take a toll on her body. Her low-back and left hip were in excruciating pain, so much that she eventually was using a cane to walk. This was not due to any specific injury or fall. It was the result of slight imbalances from childhood injuries from athletics, years of aligning her body into yoga postures, and the overall misalignment and compensations they were causing. Physical therapy, chiropractics, acupuncture and massage helped to reduce her pain temporarily, but nothing was working to get fully rid of the pain and align Sarah’s body appropriately from all of these many compensations. Sarah was spending a lot of her income on healing treatments, yet she could still barely walk one block without debilitating hip and back pain. She would wake up every morning barely able to walk to the bathroom… it was more of a old lady crouching wobble! This was the life of a dedicated yoga teacher? Something wasn’t right. 

Although Sarah could perform advanced yoga asana, just walking was still causing her so much pain. Photo taken in Sequoia, 2012

The problem was not that her physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists weren’t doing their job correctly. The problem was that even though these healers would help Sarah, her fascia (connective tissues) and her trained yogi mind would push her back into yoga-informed movement patterns, despite her deepest desire to be pain free. Basically, despite everyone’s best efforts, Sarah’s imprinted movement habits from committed study of traditional forms of yoga for so many years were working against her.

The sad part is, Sarah isn’t alone. There are many yoga teachers who are in pain. What’s worse, is as a yoga teacher, when your income relies on your ability to teach and to keep a healthy and strong reputation, many yoga teachers keep their pain to themselves, so as not to destroy their careers or loose their students’ respect. Sarah’s tipping point was when all her doctors and physical therapists could offer her anymore were steroid injections into her hip/buttock area to see if that would help to reduce her pain. She even had the appointment scheduled to go through with the procedure, but fear, and a little practice called Bowspring, got Sarah to think there might be another way.

Sarah with John and Desi at their workshops in Los Angeles, 2013

Sarah has beed studying the Bowspring since it was first formed in 2012 with Desi Springer and John Friend. She has followed them to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver to take Bowspring workshops and trainings. She also hosted John & Desi in San Diego twice, in 2012 and 2013, for a weekend of workshops, with the hope of getting others as excited as she was about this new practice. In 2012, the Bowspring was taught as a very active, challenging practice called the Roots. As John & Desi have worked tirelessly to refine their method, the Bowspring practice is now taught at a much slower pace, and is having much more success with students understanding the specificity of the practice before moving to more advanced Bowspring practices, like the Roots.

John & Desi’s first Bowspring weekend in Encinitas, 2012.

NOTE: This is important! If you tried Bowspring when it first began in those earlier years, and had a bad taste in your mouth (or lower back) afterward, I HIGHLY encourage you to try it again – it has shifted so much, and is much more comprehensive, safe, do-able and REAL than ever before. It has evolved so much more… they’ve really nailed it down!

Although Sarah really enjoyed the curvy, light, bouncy nature of the practice, (and for the first time in her yoga career was finally able to hold inversions without the use of a wall!!!) she was still a little unsure about it. It was so radically different than her many years of rigorous training of hatha, vinyasa, and Anusara yoga. And it was difficult. There were times that her lower back would be tender after a Bowspring class due to its constant demand on waking up her weak low back muscles. She was being asked to move her body in such a different way, and it was scary. It contradicted what she had been teaching for many years. But there was something about it that made her feel so good – not just in clearing her chronic hip and back pain when she really committed to the practice, but also the mental aspect of living with a radiant heart, lightness in the body, full on all sides. It calmed her anxious energy, soothed her worrying mind, and gave her the chance to really feel powerful in her body again without pain.

Sarah’s first month-long visit to study Bowspring in Denver, November 2013.

Sarah continued to love studying and practicing the Bowspring in Denver as much as she could get away, but would come home to San Diego feeling very alone, since she is the only teacher of the practice in Southern California. Her yoga classes at various studios in the community shifted – she would sprinkle in Bowspring postures such as frog handstand into a regular vinyasa class. This is very challenging and can be confusing for a student – to hear one alignment cue and then to be told to do something very differently a moment later. To tuck the tailbone or not tuck?? She was even sadly let go from a studio where she had worked very hard to care for her students, where they required her to instruct students to tuck their tailbone, which she refused.

Sarah thrived at studios where students were open to Bowspring method, where she happily sprinkled in bits and pieces of Bowspring into her vinyasa yoga classes. However, despite some effort, was unable to get the names of her classes changed in an effort to more accurately reflect the Bowspring. This was surprising to her, as outside of her regular weekly yoga classes, she was teaching very successful Bowspring workshops all over San Diego, creating a solid Bowspring student following. One of her students even moved to Denver from San Diego to be able to study directly at Vital Bowspring with John & Desi, because she had found so much healing and strength from Sarah’s Bowspring workshops and classes in San Diego. This student had walked into Sarah’s class barely able to walk and move, in pain from a terrible accident. And now is completely pain free, living in Denver, has taken both of John & Desi’s Deep Dive Teacher Trainings at Vital, and is continuing to grow and strengthen in her practice and life every day.

Sarah attributes this push back from the San Diego yoga community on Bowspring to two main reasons: fear of doing something different than the norm (evolution of yoga???), and the not so pleasant reputation and history of one of Bowspring’s co-creators (get over it already, he’s apologized, he’s changed, move on with your life, because he sure has).

This summer Sarah is so excited to open her very own studio: Yoga Bow, with the amazingly strong emotional support of her teachers and students. Sarah visualizes Yoga Bow to be a space where people from any background enjoy the benefits of yoga and Bowspring. Yoga Bow is not exclusively a Bowspring studio. There are many great teachers at Yoga Bow from all backgrounds of yoga styles who will be sharing their gifts. However, Sarah hopes to educate more like-minded and open-minded teachers of how the Bowspring can be so beneficial to us all, and train more and more Bowspring teachers for our region! With Yoga Bow’s teacher training coming up this fall, Sarah is excited to not only train teachers in traditional yoga, but also share the powerful beauty of the Bowspring.

Sarah doing frog handstand with one foot on the wall at Vital in Denver, Spring 2017.

The Bowspring has taught Sarah how to move her body pain free in all sorts of activities, from rock climbing to hiking to her yoga practice, in a safe and sustainable manner that leaves her pain free and stronger than ever at 35. Sarah understands the sadness and frustration that chronic pain can cause, and the emotional toll it can take. She loves working with her students to help them move out of old posture habits that harm to Bowspring movement patterns that heal! She has seen Bowspring not only help her directly, but also her Bowspring students. She is extremely grateful for the teachings of Bowspring, the creators of Bowspring, and the growing global community of Bowspringers!

And that is why, against all odds, Sarah continues to teach the Bowspring. She really hopes you come give it try 😉

Meet A Few Bowspringers… tales from Sarah’s visit to Denver

The last few days in Denver, CO practicing Bowspring multiple times a day have been mind-blowing and extremely therapeutic for my chronic low back hip, knee and ankle pain. I have been learning and doing the Bowspring since the beginning (about five years ago or so), but without any other teachers in my San Diego area, I get lazy and lost. Although GlobalBowspring.com is a comprehensive website that keeps me in the know of what is going on, there is nothing quite like coming to practice at Vital Bowspring with an amazing community and strong staff of teachers. I am so grateful for these two weeks of learning and growth, and so looking forward to sharing this with my community back in San Diego at Yoga Bow.

During this visit I got to see some familiar faces that I have seen on my many previous trips here, and a few new ones. I thought you might like to get a bigger picture of the Bowspring community here in Denver. The benefits of this practice are far reaching – from young to old, healthy to recovering… people from all walks of life are flocking to Vital Bowspring, reshaping their bodies and minds toward a greater (and more pain free) life.


Meet Joel G

“I have always been a multi sport athlete and have considered myself to have a great mind and body connection… However this was about to change. About three years ago I started to follow a practice called Bowspring. This practice has opened my eyes to a whole new world. My neuromuscular connectivity has improved drastically, my posture has improved immensely, and I have far greater control over my body. I am now more flexible, I walk lighter on my feet and because of this practice and how intensely I have pursued it, I am a far better weightlifter than I was before. Every facet of my life has improved as this practice not only teaches you about a new world inside your body, it teaches you a new way of thinking as it opens your life up. This will be a practice I continue to follow and pursue with great intent for the remainder of my life as it is the one true lifelong practice I believe every human should follow.” – Joel


Meet Mary & Glen

“Bowspring has completely changed my body and my life and I am in love.  Chronic pain no longer dominates my day.  I move with grace and freedom like I never have before.  Any fears or worries are replaced by an incredible internal sense of lightness and joy when I practice.  This is the most integrative and supportive movement practice I have ever encountered.” – Mary (observing as John Friend assists Glen)

“Bowspring has been a huge influence in my life.  I had trouble with my hips and knees and through movement and patience I have been able to overcome pain.  Also I have been able to let go of fear as an obstacle and try movements that I never thought possible like going upside down and doing handstands.   Also it has opened my heart up to deeper compassion for myself and others.  And the community rocks like no other.” – Glen (red shirt, one legged backbend practice with John Friend assistance) 


 Meet Steve

Steve is 64 years old, and has been loving the Bowspring practice at Vital for a couple of years. He loves the open hearted quality that the practice creates, the expression of happiness and openness. He also has benefited greatly from the physical therapeutics of the practice – recovering from bone density issues and multiple joint surgeries. He has gained much more freedom, strength and openness in his body. Steve is a sweet bright light, and a committed student at Vital Bowspring.


Meet Ranee

“When asked to share my story about the BowSpring practice … it’s hard to pick just one as there are many and all are connected. Starting each day From when I first wake up and roll out of bed, to the way I sit, I stand, I walk, drive my car, speak and in the way I train my clients…everything. I have been a multi sport athlete since I was a kid, I have been 5 9 since the 6th grade, my back pain started at the age of 12 from improper form kicking a soccer ball. At the age of 15 my lower back really started to become a concern and would cause such severe pain in certain positions, that my knees would buckle and I would fall to the ground. This started to diminish what self-confidence I had, as I had no one to talk to about anything which I am sure was an open door invitation for bulimia. I realize now I had been dealing with ‘ adult matters’  unequipped and basically surviving. In my early 20s I had a break thru and realized that staying physically fit, put my bulimia in time out, by the grace of God… This freedom opened many doors for me. I started competing in bodybuilding at the age of 35. In 2014’s at Masters Nationals I became an IFBB Pro, receiving my pro cards in both Figure and Women’s Physique. I share, talk and teach Bowspring with everyone, including those don’t even know! You can catch me in the grocery store or bookstore, talking to anyone that will listen. This practice I will carry with me for the rest of my life… It allows me to have the best life available to me… Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. You can’t ask for anything better than that!” – Ranee


Meet Saskia

“I love the growing Bowspring family. I love connecting with people from all over the world who are open to exploring new ways of moving and being. The practice teaches grace, but it takes grit to get there. A new way of moving and being, brings up old patterns. This family is strong and inspiring and I’m grateful to be a part of it. The Bowspring has gifted me a body that for the first time, is a delight to be in. I hope many more of us get to enjoy a fulfilling and joyous embodiment of life. Working with John and Desi is growing me in ways that feel like quantum leaps.” – Saskia


Meet Dana

“The Bowspring was the first form of exercise that I actually loved! Even though I was always healthy and active, I never felt like “working out” or “going to the gym.” Thus I never considered myself to be FIT and certainly not an ATHLETE. The Bowspring changed all of that! Now I look forward to my practice and feel so happy, healthy and athletic as I carry this shape with me everywhere I go.

As a teacher, I am enthusiastic about sharing this method in an approachable way. We all tend to overwork and make things hard on ourselves. I want people to have the light, lifted and ecstatic experience that is attainable in this method. Everything can be light, and it all starts with our attitude. The mental practice is as important (if not more so) as the physical practice – we can truly be light-hearted, light on our feet, and light and bright in our minds. Let’s get sprung!” – Dana

Construction of Yoga Bow is almost complete!

I’m currently in Denver for two weeks enjoying a deep study of the Bowspring with my teachers John, Desi and all the amazing teachers at Vital Bowspring. I am so grateful for this amazing and cutting-edge studio that pushes me to my limits, teaches me so many things about my body.

Today, while rock climbing outside with friends in between Bowspring classes, I received a delightful text from Yoga Bow’s property manager, Ed. Construction is nearing completion, and the floor trim has been installed. All that is left is to install our shiny, new, sound-proof windows. Did you know that Ed went the extra mile to sound-proof our entire studio? From new layers on the wall to fancy windows, we will find peace and quiet in the middle of Miramar.

Take a look, and feel free to comment on your excitement below! I cannot wait to share this beautiful space with you all.

It’s alive!

Just a quick post to update you on the space – the walls are being painting today, and it’s popping! I feel that these photos don’t do the beautiful colors justice, as there was a lot of light coming in from the windows… the watery cool walls compliment the fiery cayenne lobby area, I am in love! What do you think?

The Complexity of the Unknown – and what we can gain from it

Every time I enter this beautiful space… this soon to be Yoga Bow… I am mixed with such complex feelings of excitement, gratitude and fear.

This space was meant for yoga, movement and community… and it thrived as Four Seasons Yoga for years before shutting down due to mis-management.

I can feel the history in the space, the good vibes all around, even as the construction workers tear apart the old to build us something fresh and new.

I liken this experience to my own body and my own yoga practice. Sometimes my old ways don’t work anymore. Perhaps I need to take a step into excitement, gratitude and fear to discover what is possible in my future.

The last few years of teaching yoga in various studios all over San Diego has been one of much happiness and heaviness. The pros of teaching yoga all over town are endless, but the cons were getting to me: not remembering students names nor making deep connections with them due to so many different people/places, lots of time and energy spent driving from studio to studio every day, disconnection from other yoga teachers because I rarely had the time to stick around and take their classes, and an overall frustration with not feeling like I was growing as an instructor, but rather just going through the motions to follow the yoga rules and keep people happy.

I couldn’t help but take this opportunity when it arose – I almost felt like I wasn’t even deciding… it was more like I was being pushed by the ‘universe’ even though I was (and still am) very scared and worried about the whole damn thing.

So what keeps me going?

1 – My yoga students and their excitement they share when I tell them that I am opening Yoga Bow. (It surprises me every time – I honestly expect people to say “what… you?… naw…. that’s a bad idea…” but not one person has said that to me yet! That must be a good sign.)

2 – My support network of family and friends (you know who you are).

3 – My yoga practice and passion for being the best teacher around that I can be for my students (no ego!).

4 – The possibility that the scary unknown could be absolutely amazing.

Something I’ve learned trying to be decent at rock climbing over the years is that going into the unknown is scary, especially when your lead climbing and you can’t see where you’re supposed to go to get to safety… and yet somehow I always have. Either my intuition or a friend yelling beta at me will help me find my way. And the reward is complete ecstasy… to know that I went into a dark, scary and unknown place to see what might take place on the other side.

I hope you’ll join me.

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