By Dorsey Standish, Yoga Teacher at Yoga Chikitsa
I am always looking for new ways to bring yoga to people who think they aren’t capable of the physical asana practice. I signed up for Yoga Wall training at Yoga Chikitsa expecting to add a new tool to my yoga teaching practice. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the physical opening I experienced in my own body after a weekend practicing at the Yoga Wall.
Recently, seven Yoga Chikitsa teachers and I had the pleasure of training with the creator of The Great Yoga Wall, Bryan Legere. Bryan, founder of YogaWall.com, has been teaching Iyengar Yoga for over thirty years. He traveled from his home studio in Oregon to spend a weekend of exploration with us as we learned to use the newly installed Yoga Wall at the Yoga Chikitsa studio.
Throughout the nearly 20-hour training, we explored ways to use fastened Wall belts, pelvic swings, and straps to support yoga poses like Half Moon, Triangle, and Hand to Big Toe pose. We also practiced supported inversions like Headstand and Legs Up the Wall. By the third day of methodical, balanced practice, every teacher felt physically open and newly balanced.
The owner of Yoga Chikitsa, Katherine Galligan, now uses the Wall regularly for her personal practice. She also finds the Yoga Wall invaluable for working with clients with physical disabilities. The studio name, “Yoga Chikitsa,” translates roughly to “Yoga Therapy.” The studio’s mission is to provide physical and emotional healing to its clients.
Since the installation of the Yoga Wall, it has already made yoga more accessible for students with chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, and Polio. In this way, the installation of the Yoga Wall aligns with the healing mission of the studio itself.
Since the training, the teachers who trained at the Yoga Wall have been meeting regularly to practice what we learned. The Yoga Wall has helped us physically, but it has also brought us closer together as teachers of healing yoga. We plan to co-teach Yoga Wall classes as often as possible to support one another and optimize the experience of each student.
Yoga Chikitsa teacher Sandi Tindall already offers a dedicated Yoga Wall class on Monday evenings at 6pm. Beginning in March, the studio plans to add a Saturday afternoon Yoga Wall class that will be co-taught by Ariel Gunn and me.
If your News Year’s Resolutions include feeling better in your body, you have to experience practicing on the Yoga Wall. Come join us for a therapeutic and supportive practice! Wall classes fill up quickly, so register for one of the 12 spots ahead of time. Many of the Wall teachers also offer private lessons for maximum attention and healing.