Yes, you too can do an inversion during a Yoga Wall Therapy class at Yoga Public. Photo credit: Yoga Public.
Well, this week has just been gangbusters in terms of new material to write about for the blog! Now I remember why I started in the first place, to vary up my workouts (so they don’t get boring) by exploring the city. I went to four different classes this week, so I’ll space about posts about them out over the next few days.
The most recent class I took is the one I’m most excited to blog about. It was a “yoga wall therapy class” at Yoga Public. I took it over lunch hour while at work, not really knowing what to expect. I thought it might be the type of class where you use the straps on the wall to deepen a stretch.
Never in my wildest dreams did I feel like I would or could be able to do “Cirque du Soliel” type tricks. I know they aren’t actually tricks, but that’s what it felt like!
Basically you use a padded harness around your mid-section/thighs/bum (it slides around your body depending on your pose) to help you “climb” the wall, which is outfitted with several silver metal “hooks” called P1, P2, P3 etc. (the names indicate where they are on the wall.)
A lot of people in the class were new, so the instructor spent lots of time explaining the basics and did a great job demo’ing poses, explaining how to use the straps etc.
Warning to motion sensitive folks (such as myself), you spend a good chunk of this class with your head toward the ground. The teacher leads the class out of poses to offer some relief from the slightly dizzying sensation, and also provides tips on how to deal with it if is really bothering you.
There are a number of times where downward dog takes place (with heels on the wall, toes on the ground), which acts as a starting place to climb up the wall. I literally did some poses where my feet were planted on the wall and I shot out at 90 degrees, and then from there had to use my core to root up and out in cobra position. I felt like I was floating; it was so cool! At the same time, it was challenging as my feet were getting sweaty. I slipped off the wall (oops) but no harm done. I just got right back into it again.
The other highlight was my first-ever inversion. I always thought I’d NEVER be able to do one (I still find regular beginner yoga classes challenging) and then the next thing you know I’ve got my bum on the wall, legs in butterfly pose and head upside down, floating above the floor. It was comfier then I imagined as I hung out there for a couple of minutes. I let gravity do its thang as it str-e-e-e-tched out my poor compressed spine (from too much desk work). The class finished with a gentle neck stretch as the harness cradled my neck and lifted it just off the ground.
Word to the wise: drink lots of water before and after this workout. I felt a bit funny for a bit in the afternoon (again, I’m motion sickness sensitive) and the water seemed to help. Also, my hands and feet go surprisingly slippery and sweaty, so I’d recommend bringing a towel.
Aside from the uniqueness of this class, here is why I got REALLY excited. After only one 45-minute session, I noticed a significant difference in not only my flexibility but particularly in my lower back. Afterward, my back felt like jelly and so loose–I could lean back so much further and with ease as I’m sure my spine was lengthened from the stretches and inversion. It was so worth the strange dizzy feeling to feel that in my back. I can definitely see myself incorporating this into my workout routine at LEAST once a month for my lower back’s sake.
It is worth the $22 drop-in fee (and I know this is a budget fitness blog, but I’m looking at it as a cheaper version of a back massage!) My fiance wants to join me in the near future. Stay tuned!