Last night I decided to check out the Inversion Workshop with Corey Loftus at Yoga Agora , which was a lot of fun! Corey makes going upside down look super easy, but he did a great job of breaking down the practice into a warm-up, strength training and partner practice in order to help everyone achieve their own level of success.
We began with sun salutations: first a round of traditional sun A’s, and then we moved into rolling sun salutations in which you have to squat down and roll on your back then roll up into each pose (chair and high lunge on each side). They were pretty challenging at first, but then I found myself getting into a rhythm and had a lot of fun with it. Really great for balance and engaging core muscles. Then we moved into some strengthening poses with partners in order to activate our core muscles, which is crucial for going upside down (and staying there!). My favorite was what I might call a hanging vinyasa, in which you begin in plank with your partner holding your ankles. Then you proceed to flow from chaturanga into upward dog, and on your way to downward dog your partner lifts your legs up so you end up in an “L” shaped handstand. I’ve practiced these before on a wall, but not having anything to press into except your hands really forces you to rely on your core muscles to maintain balance.
After we were warmed up, it was time to fly! Corey had us work on headstand and handstand, and then showed us a great partner pose to relax the neck and spine. We worked in groups of three, as one person was needed to be a spotter and the third person would lend a hand (or rather, a shoulder) if the “flier” or person going upside down needed help getting there. It was actually a really great excercise in team work and trust; many of us there last night had come alone and did not know people there. It’s a lot to ask of someone to entrust a stranger with their safety. However, since everyone was in the same boat and Corey and Francesca were really wonderful teachers and demonstrated everything really clearly, the trust was there and everyone was willing to try whatever they put in front of us. The hour and a half flew by and I left with a lot of great tips to improve my handstand practice. Thanks Corey and Francesca!