In Bikram Yoga, Rabbit Pose or Sasangasana is my least favorite and most challenging posture. In the series it follows Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, which is the deepest backbend. I LOVE Camel, but most people do not. This backbend it is a deep emotional release and a sense of vulnerability and letting go is experienced. I am an actor, of course I like to expose my emotions, and actually receive a bit of a high when I do so. But Rabbit pose, the deepest forward bend, usually makes me nauseous and dizzy. The physical benefits of Sasangasana, include:
Maximum stretch of the spine allowing nervous system to receive proper nutrition
Maintains mobility and elasticity of spine
Nurtures the nervous system, helps with depression
Helps cure sinus problems, colds and chronic tonsillitis
Strengthens and firms abdomen
Stretches back muscles
Removes tension from upper back and neck
Stimulates thymus gland, improving function of the immune system
As a therapist, I always am searching for the emotional benefits of a yoga pose. If Camel is a heart opener, perhaps Rabbit is a heart healer. In life, being open with one’s emotions is a huge risk. And if you are open and giving towards someone, but they are not open and have a wall around their heart, for protection, this love you are giving will not be received. I have always been frustrated when people don’t feel. In the therapy setting I work with people to help them let down these walls around their heart, and find ways to heal and trust. On stage, I long to work with actors that are fearless, vulnerable and open to anything, people that embrace risk.
I often feel rejected if someone is not able to open up to me. What I have been learning is it is not about me, but simply they are not ready. Or able to be open. It’s hard. It can hurt. Not everyone wants to take a risk.
Perhaps Rabbit pose can help cope with this irrational feeling of rejection, and literally look inside one’s own heart, and help it remain open. In the pose you are in a kneeling position, and tuck your head and roll it down to the floor to touch your forehead to your knees. You then roll your hips up to the ceiling with your knees remaining touching your forehead. Your eyes are looking at your heart. Perhaps looking into your heart, for patience, self love and courage to keep it open.
I still struggle with this pose, but I will continue the struggle. After all, Tennessee Williams said that life is a struggle, and you know for sure once you stop struggling, you are dead.
So find ways to take risks, open your heart and find the joy in the struggle, if anything, it will make you stronger.