A couple friends and I decided to give a yoga wall class a whirl. Getting to hang upside down looked like fun, and the price was right. Never having used a yoga wall before, I came to class with my expectations pretty wide open.
Probably 2/3 of the class were all new to the wall, so we had more of a beginner’s session. The teacher instructed us on how to properly secure the straps. And then, the fun began!
We started with some basic “dangling” postures with feet against the wall and folding forward. The teacher warned us that we may feel bruised along the front of our hips where the strap hits. She wasn’t kidding. My hip bones were pretty sensitive the next day, although I didn’t see an actual bruise form on either side. She also warned us to slowly and carefully exit out of the pose and get our bearings straight. You can easily black out by standing up too fast.
We also did some “hopping” off the wall. If you can imagine lying on your belly in a playground swing doing Superman, then imagine having a wall to push off of. Voila! Yoga wall hopping.
Next, we got ourselves inverted for some restorative postures. Well, they were restorative to me. We played with some back bending and hand stands. This was probably my favorite part. The straps and wall really take that weight off of the wrists and lower back that would normally happen on the ground, so then you can focus more on the structure of the posture instead of fighting gravity and your own body weight.
We also attached a single looped strap and practiced Warrior 3 and Half Moon pose. I found this to be the most awkward. I was trying to lean into the strap instead of standing UP to balance. It did at least force me to keep my hips level – something I have a hard time doing while trying to keep my balance.
Just for fun, we worked on bakasana and a variation of pinchu mayarasana using the straps. For bakasana, we attached a second strap so that each foot had a place to go, and once we got our hands in place, we were instructed to “whip” the legs up onto our arms. Whip it! The straps definitely helped keep the legs almost weightless, but all the work is still in the arms and hands.
Overall, I had a blast playing around with variations of different inversions and letting the straps carry my weight. Like I said, my hips felt a bit bruised afterward, but a blanket for padding should help. I might try it a few more times in the future. Coupled with practice on the mat and strengthening muscles against the effects of gravity, I think a yoga wall class could be a great opportunity to really deepen poses.
Now for my next yoga adventure, I’m looking at tackling stand-up paddle board yoga (SUP yoga) and aerial yoga that uses aerial silks. All good blogging material. Stay tuned.