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Inversions Abound, Vinyasa Yoga Jan 19, 2012

January 20, 2012

Every once in a while, as a yoga teacher, you hold a class where you can literally see the lightbulbs go on over your students’ heads. And it’s the coolest thing in the world. It reminds me of why I started on this teaching journey in the first place. When it’s a student’s first time, it’s like my first time!

Inversions, the mysterious beasts they are, took us up to the walls yesterday. All this semester we’re working on getting upside down, demystifying the heart-over-head poses and facing fears despite our self-doubt and confusion.

And yesterday, some incredible stuff happened. “I’ve NEVER felt that before!” said Jo as she popped easily up to the wall in a modified forearm-stand, pincha mayurasana. “Oh! I didn’t know I was that close to the wall!” said Chelsy as she realized suddenly the journey across that bridge was a lot shorter than expected. “I’m still confused about how to actually get UP into headstand” astutely commented Michele. And this insightful comment sparked an important reminder: you should be confused – until you’re not. One day, after practicing many methods, strengthening, and learning little tricks, your body will suddenly make sense of it all, and there you’ll be, floating free, upside down.

Well I’m proud to say, that EVERYONE practice some form of headstand/fore-armstand last night and I think learned that they are a lot stronger, braver, and capable then they’d imagined.

Here’s how we did it. Inspiration comes from everywhere, even the Athleta catalogue đŸ™‚

Having a fellow yogi can be a huge help.
1. Come into a modified clasped-fist dolphin pose facing the wall. Make sure you have at least 6-10 between your fists and the wall.
2. Widen the stance between your feet, taking them wider than the mat.
3. Welcome your assistant (the blonde here in the photo) to sit in staff pose between your feet.
4. Take your dominant leg up off the floor at about hip height.
5. Have your assistant raise her arm and hold your shin or ankle.
6. Press your elevated leg DOWN into her hand as you slowly lift your OPPOSITE leg to the wall.
7. Slowly lift your other leg to the wall and VOILA!

This can also work for handstand assists, as pictured here.

I can’t wait to see what everyone is getting UP to by the end of this semester. I’ve promised all Cobras and Lotus members they will be in a headstand by April 1st. Game on!

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