By Michael Hayes - November 4th, 2009

I’m excited to announce that I have installed “The Great Yoga Wall” in my studio. After taking 2 teacher training program with Bryan Legere at the Ventura Yoga Center, I decided to incorporate “the wall” into my work as a Buddha Body Yoga instructor.

 

 

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“The Great Yoga Wall” is the evolution of the Iyengar yoga wall. The wall uses various types of adjustable straps, belts and bars to create traction, stability, awareness, anti-gravity assistance and more. It has great benefits for people with “buddha bodies” — the large, voluptuous, tall, muscular, or other non-stereotypical yoga body. 

 Parivrutha Thirikonasana with straps 

 
   

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Ardha chandrasana supported by straps

Using traction and support to find more space and release In my personal practice, working with the yoga wall has helped my postures and helped me to discover new things about my own body. For example, I found that a lot of my challenges which I had thought were coming from my legs and knees, were actually coming from my ribs and upper psoas tightness. By allowing my body to be supported in various ways by the straps while in postures (and using my breath), I was able to open up more of my ribs and feel more of my psoas in the upper quadrants. I believe it would have taken me a longer time to find these issues and get to this practice without the yoga wall. Another personal practice with the wall is hanging upside down, which I do on a daily basis. Hanging upside down in a supporting belt not only works to slow and reverse the aging process, but it also forces me to breath in my ribs, rather than my belly, which helps me open up my ribs, shoulders, and arms. 

   
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Working with my clients with the newly installed wall, I see the excitement that they get from being able to do the postures without struggling so much with their weight. After 5 minutes working with a pose with the wall, then they try the same posture without the ropes. They notice that they are able to settle into the postures with a new ability to distribute the weight of their bodies more evenly throughout the body which increases the stretch and the ease. This makes them more present within the posture. It’s like seeing a bell going off in their heads. And they are then drawn to the practice more.

The wall is great for assisting large bodies with supported backbending

 

A good example of that is practicing downward facing dog, which is for many big people a nemesis. Because they may have a lot of body weight, they are often either they are putting their weight too much in their hands or feet. When they come off of the yoga wall, they find that their downward facing dog is a lot easier; their weight is no longer too much on the hands or feet, but instead their body is elongated, and they are able to sustain the elongation through their pose. In this way the body is able to distribute weight so that the body is working efficiently and in a focused manner in each posture.
As well as teaching on my private yoga wall, Buddha Body Yoga will also be offering group classes on the Great Yoga Wall, location TBA. These classes will use a studio that has a wall for many people at once, but the classes will be specifically for large bodies. I’m not interested in working with small people.

 

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All my private yoga sessions are customized to the needs of the individual. The purpose of private sessions is to assist the client in developing a deeper exploration of their own bodies that is carried into their practice at home, and carried into the practice of moving through life. I find once you learn how to change the way you move in your process of yoga, you also change the patterns of thinking. 

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana - Revolved Side Angle assisted by 2 straps 

 

I look forward to seeing more people who have previously thought they can’t do the postures, move into the postures and know why they are practicing them, with the assistance of the wall and it’s offerings. Watching these new patterns of thinking and movement being carried into my clients’ daily life is a true pleasure.

 

© Michael Hayes, Buddha Body Yoga


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Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self realization. Yoga means union - the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions.
B.K.S. Iyengar