After our energising and spine-bending Bowspring yoga class we caught up with teacher Jennifer Metzger to find out more about the innovative new yoga technique…
USC: How did you first discover yoga?
I practiced Hatha Yoga for nearly twenty years alongside Tai Chi and Qi Gong. To practice these arts you need a lot of time, space and passion. I learnt the art of Qi Gong in Thailand where I practised 200 hours over 2 months.
Qi Gong and yoga are all about mind control and patience. When I came back to Germany my family didn’t recognise me. I was much more quiet because I was at such peace with myself. It changed me in a very positive way.
I started yoga teacher training and have completed over 1000 hours in Munich and Italy. I’m trained in Hatha, Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar and other yoga styles.
For 2 years I’ve studied 200 hours with Desi Springer and John Friend – the founders of the Bowspring Method.
USC: What appealed to you about Bowspring?
I tried many different types of yoga. Meditation taught me how to be patient, which is very hard for us German’s. Everything has to be perfect and in a straight line – even in traditional yoga – and it was an amazing feeling to let this go.
I did a Bowspring workshop in Marbella and after each session I felt incredible. I had much more energy and felt so much better within myself. I felt light, free and happy. It opened all my joints which is so important for us as we sit down at computers all day.
So after this workshop I practiced the movements for 20 minutes every day in between my normal yoga teaching. After 8 weeks of practising Bowspring the hip pain that I’d suffered for 20 years was completely gone. I couldn’t believe it.
USC: When was Bowspring invented?
Bowspring is only five years old and was invented by Desi Springer and John Friend in Denver, Colorado. Desi felt that always standing and moving in a straight line wasn’t good for her back and hips. She felt much better and had more power and hold when she moved in a way that suited the curvature of her spine and challenged her core strength. So that’s how the practice began.
John Friend has taught yoga for 38 years, presenting more than 800 yoga seminars in over 30 countries to tens of thousands of students. He founded Anusara yoga in 1997, and then co-created the Bowspring Method with Desi Springer in 2013.
USC: In our class you instructed us to hold our heads and open our teeth. What’s the significance of these movements?
The jaw muscle is the strongest muscle in our bodies. We’re always clenching it when we’re stressed – even when we read emails or look at our phones. This gives us migraines and drains our energy.
When you open your teeth you relax your jaw muscle and open the front of your neck, which is good for your fascial tissue. You can breath better and get more energy.
The same for your head – massaging and relaxing the fascia of your head is very important for your body and overall wellbeing.
USC: What health and fitness advice do you have for USC members?
My key health advice is to eat naturally. Eat natural food that you can buy at the market like fresh vegetables. Drink a lot of bottled water. And if you eat meat make sure you know where it comes from.
And my fitness advice – integrate Bowspring into your everyday life. While you’re ironing your clothes, chopping vegetables, vacuuming your house or walking to the bus stop. Do it with Bowspring movements!
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