Perfect for yoga students of any level, the Bowspring yoga method is a body-mind postural method and lifestyle practice.
As part of an emerging paradigm of alignment in functional movement practices, the method focuses on developing the natural curves of the body to increase agility and lightness, alleviating chronic pains. It encourages radiant health and well-being, through the cultivation of positive energy, expressed in the optimal Bowspring alignment.
"It’s a total postural revolution, that will give us dynamism and lightness and a capacity to increase our curves for more power in our daily lives…"
– Desi Springer
A Brief History of Bowspring Yoga
Desi Springer created the Bowspring yoga method when she started intuitively moving away from standard alignment models of modern postural yoga. She has been teaching modern postural yoga for over a decade, and is co-owner of the renowned Vital yoga studio, in Denver. Her life has been devoted to cultivating and sharing mindfulness, accountability and compassion, on a global scale.
In 2012, Desi Springer started to experiment in uncharted waters, moving away from the practice of ‘tucking’, and opening up a whole new postural form. The following year, she teamed up with fellow yogi John Friend. Founder of Anusara yoga in 1997, John has been a student of mind-body health, philosophy and physics for over four decades. Together, they both systematised the Bowspring yoga method – which has now grown into a global community of more than 120 teachers in over 17 countries.
So, What Is Bowspring Yoga?
The Bowspring yoga method incorporates mindful and exact movements in set sequences of postures, alongside therapeutic breathing exercises. The practice promotes the natural curves of our bodies, particularly in the geometric relationship between the heart, hips and head.
It essentially provides the foundations for optimal postural alignment. From there, the Elementals arise: set forms that are used in every Bowspring yoga pose. Within the Bowspring yoga method, movements such as kneeling, sitting down or standing up each have a set pattern composed of Elemental forms including Bow, Arch and Twist. As students master these base forms, they build an increasingly challenging, complex and enriching Bowspring yoga practice.
The Bowspring shape itself is a curvy posture, which involves a double-S curve down from the back of the head to the back of the hips. The neck is curved, lengthened and tilted back. The sides of the body curve inward so the proportion between bust, waist and hips form an hourglass shape. This directly contrasts the C-curve, which is the most common sedentary position. Millions around the world sit for over ten hours a day with their hips down, a short belly, their heads forward and tilted down. It’s our default posture while sitting and looking down at screens, and many of us relax in a C-curve sitting position.
It is only upon sleeping that many of us finally relax our backs… a very small portion of our day. This causes strain in multiple parts of the body. When one part of the body is overworking (or underworking), the functionality and health of other parts are inevitably affected. To address this, the Bowspring yoga method ensures each part of the body is collaborating optimally, to create a balanced, and harmonious function of the whole.
"The Bowspring is utilised as a template of alignment, and even internal alignment or attitude for walking, standing and sitting – the things that we already do every day."
– Desi Springer
Ten Areas of Focus in Bowspring Yoga
The Bowspring yoga method helps students awaken ten key areas of the body. These are: the ribcage, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, legs, feet, waist, neck, and head.
Once each of the ten key areas of the body can be isometrically engaged, students can fuse all parts by using a set sequence of alignments. These ten areas are then grouped into five subsystems: the Heart (ribcage), Wings (shoulders, arms and hands), Roots (hips, legs, and feet), Apple-cores (waist/lower back/belly, and neck/throat) and finally, Crown (head.) Closed postures are our unconscious default positions, for protection or rest. On the other hand, open postures mean movement and active functionality. The Bowspring yoga method aligns the body through open postures.
Benefits of Bowspring Yoga
This practice encourages the body into a position of readiness, lightness and fluidity. A natural curvy shape in the body, it creates a spring in your step, and uplifts your mood. Also in your yoga practice, Bowspring yoga can even help you improve your standing poses. Physically, benefits include a tapered waist, reduced pain, lightness and improved agility. The therapeutic benefits of balanced myofascial tonus apply to neuro-glandular imbalances, somatic holdings and muscular-skeletal injuries.
Bowspring yoga also encourages mental development. With practice, students develop concentrated awareness, focusing on key areas of the whole body simultaneously while rooting and rising with precise breathing.
Emotionally, like many other yoga practices, we see an increase in the capacity to respond mindfully instead of reacting unconsciously in harmful ways. Spiritually, students can notice an increase in energetic sensitivity – leading to an increased sense of connection.
Finally, by achieving a dynamically balanced posture with the Bowspring yoga method, the breath can move freely bringing a new level of vitality and energetic freedom for those practicing.
"It’s a posture that’s derived from an attitude, from a mindset, that is positive – an expansion from inside that brings curves to the body… It brings an openness to the mind and to the heart."
– John Friend
How Can I Practice Bowspring Yoga?
If this all sounds good to you, we have some more great news: Practicing Bowspring yoga online is now possible since TINT has joined forces with Desi Springer and John Friend to bring you the Bowspring Basic Training Course. The course covers detailed Bowspring alignment for each of the ten key areas of the body, which can be applied to everyday postures like sitting, standing and walking. It also includes therapeutic practices for the ten key areas – including shoulder injuries, hip pain and lower back issues.
Once you have mastered this, teachings are furthered in Desi Springer and John Friend’s Extension 1 and Extension 2 Bowspring yoga online courses, which will introduce you to the deeper aspects of Bowspring yoga practices.