page contents

The initial stages of crawling (chest lifted, arms trying to press, back trying to bend, body trying to move) ask us to bend, prop up and do something we’ve never done before. Crawl, then eventually, walk.

I personally, never learned to crawl, but I spent 2 years in up dog trying and then one day, boom, off to the races. There I was walking to the edge of my grandpas fishing boat, scaring the crap out of my dad, leaning over the edge, mesmerized by the crashing of the waves into the boat. Taking my first steps without crawling at just over 2 years old. (Little late in the game) This evolution of movement happens again and again as we get older. The only difference is, as babies, it’s natural development. With adults, it’s natural resistance toward change, growth, and fear.

This year I completed my 5th year in education, teaching 450 kids per week, Yoga Movement Health and Wellness. Observing, documenting and analyzing behavior and academic data within these 5 years to understand and identify where and when is the best time to teach a student their body and minds are important This year, along with teaching during normal business hours, I started my own Morning Mysore program out of my classroom before school starts and began noticing similarities in my kindergarten yoga students as full blown adults.! The answer: Kindergarten.

Now, I can theorize that we all started with relatively equal bodies. Meaning every last one of us at some point had flexibility, had an open and peaceful mind, had ultimate happiness in day to day existence. I know, I know, I fricking know there are exceptions but roll with me on this one for a sec.

Back bending is Effortless in children until the body begins to recognize stressful situations, anxiety, pressure and any number of negative emotions that are left unprocessed and stored in the physical body. In my experience, this starts at age 8. After this age, the body becomes a little more rigid, the mind becomes less curious, less open and overall happiness, peace and joy begin to fade. I have to think these “symptoms” are closely related to lack of mindful movement. Some call it “growing up”…  I call it an international emergency!

When I talk about spinal health and back bending, I dub all backbends, beginning with up dog, “the medicine”.

We need this medicine to manage from day 1.  We take it without reminder until we “start growing up” and then comes a myriad of mind games and body related deficiency’s.

You do not need to practice Kapotasana 5 days a week to manage the mental circus going on upstairs.  We need Up Dog. Starts there. Continues there. Each time, with a new set of eyes.

Want to learn the method to safely access mobility in the back? Learn building blocks that can further any and all levels of yoga students in SAFE back bending? Curious about the connection of spinal health and mental health? Or are you an administrator looking for a special professional development for the fall? A teacher wanting to incorporate yoga movement and breathing to their classroom?

‘Sup, dog!

Join me for an all levels back bending workshop at Land Yoga!

  • June 23rd
  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • $35

Administrators and Educators

Contact me at to schedule an educational professional development or school-wide assembly to introduce spinal health and mindfulness to your environmental culture.


Shanna White
Burns Science and Technology Charter School
Oak Hill, FL 32759