on the mat: Vinyasa Jungle at Evolution Yoga School & Practice Space

Congrats to  Michelle G. AKA @tinktastic - entry #179 – the winner of the November 23rd Compassion From Fashion ticket giveaway. Click on this post for more information to purchase tickets.

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It’s safe to say I’ve taken hundreds - maybe over a thousand?? - yoga classes since I regularly started practicing in 2010.  Of all those classes, the most unique - and freeing – experiences I’ve had took place in the past few weeks at the new location of Evolution Yoga in Warrensville Heights.

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I made it Facebook // Twitter // Instagram official a few weeks back, but not blog official:   I joined the teaching staff at Evolution last month and a’m having a ball teaching the Sweet Heat Flows on Fridays at 5:30PM and Sundays at 8:30AM. There are some 45 classes each week from you to choose from – full schedule listing is here.

But maybe the most exciting feature of the new space is the addition of the Vinyasa Jungle classes. From the studio’s website, here’s a bit more about the sessions:

You’ll learn to align, lengthen, and release unwanted tension and pain with the help of our rope wall, folding chairs, bolsters, blankets, blocks, pallet bands, rubber balls, foam rollers and more.

Safely invert on the rope wall and experience amazing supported postures to soothe the nervous system.

In the “Vinyasa Jungle ~ ROPES” classes, these classes are an extended version, at 1.5 hours in length, and have more emphasis on learning & practicing rope wall work.

ROPES? Yes, you read right. They are tied to the walls to allow you to hang and stretch all over in different yoga positions. As the rope wall and its components are utilized to deepen poses by creating space in your body, Sandy drew me in by sharing just how much this type of practice has helped her. Why not give it a shot?

Rooted in BKS Iyengar’s alignment tactics, we warmed up using familiar vinyasa sequences on our mats, but quickly found ourselves on the wall to try out some down dogs, standing forward folds and warriors – all using the ropes with our feet on the ground.

We then set up the ropes and took our feet up the wall slowly to build awareness in our bodies while moving in a unnatural direction.  When Sandy said we would be next setting up for camel pose, I knew I wouldn’t want to come down:

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Backbending junkie + gravity = one happy yogi.

Realizing that I was pretty comfortable there, Sandy guided me into an upward salute (Urdhva Hastasana):

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What a crazy feeling to be fully standing yet not upright!

To settle down a bit, a child’s pose was needed:

EY childs pose

While adjusting to having my head lower than my heart and believing that I was truly secure being held in by just a three ropes and a blanket, I continued to play.  Setting myself up for futher inversions, I let the crown of my head fall down while playing with the positions of my legs – opting for “frog in headstand” and a reclined cobbler’s pose. From there, Sandy grabbed another prop – a plank of wood essentially – sticking it between my legs in the ropes, locking me in. My legs then worked to the inside of the ropes and I found myself in a wall handstand.

EY headstand

I was shocked at how unafraid I was – the entire length of the classes I took.  Settling into this pose especially was extremely freeing as I could feel my body lengthening, getting into new spaces that were previously unreached.  In the days after class, I noticed light soreness in muscles I didn’t even know I had. What a way to build awareness in your body!

LONG STORY SHORT:  While first a bit hesitant (Lord knows I love a solid vinyasa flow class), I find myself hooked and wanting more. I joking told Sandy that she might find me hanging out in camel on random, non-class occurrences. Now only if I could figure out how to rig a Macbook up on the wall – I would never have to leave!

Follow Evolution Yoga on Facebook and on Twitter at @EvoYogaCLE. Visit the studio’s website to learn more or check out its MINDBODY page to see the schedule of classes.

Have you ever been on the ropes? If given the chance, would you?

Disclosure: I work at Evolution Yoga as a yoga teacher. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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