I’ll admit, I was a bit bashful to try a new yoga class, let alone one called yoga wall that involved straps and harnesses. With a dose of courage, I gave it a try and was reminded – yet again – of the many reasons I love our yoga practice. Here are five lessons I learned.
Increased Mindfulness – When trying a new yoga pose or class (or really any new habit), it’s near impossible to be successful through autopilot. Because we don’t know what postures are coming next or how to safely transition in and out of them, we must give the practice our entire attention, which ultimately helps us remain in the present moment.
A Push Outside the Comfort Zone – For better or worse, I prefer consistency, the predictable parts of life. I even prefer to attend the same classes, taught by the same teachers. With wall classes, simply showing up for class demonstrates tremendous willingness to embark upon the new- new postures and an innovative way of approaching yoga outside of our comfort zones. And it’s when we step beyond our comfort that we find growth.
The Yin Quality – It’s hard to replicate the relaxation and focus we find in a traditional yin yoga class, although in my experience, yoga wall comes close. By holding static postures founded on correct Iyengar alignment, we enter that sacred yin space, of stillness, of breath, of just being, even when we want to squirm out.
It Feels Good – A yoga wall class simply feels good in our bodies. Suspended upside down, held safely by a harness, our spine lengthens, crackles and spreads even more, and it feels delicious.
They Build Trust – In most yoga classes, we come to know and trust ourselves better, if not on a deeper level, and yoga wall classes do the same with greater tenacity. Because we hold postures longer, we learn to not only test our physical strength, but to trust it, to lean into it. And hanging onto straps and harnesses, we cultivate trust first in the teacher guiding the class, but also in our bodies. We experience a strange combination of holding on and letting go in these classes, which serves us both on and off our mats.
By Erin Walton