Yoga classes can often incorporate the wall as a prop for certain poses – legs up the wall in a restorative class, for example, or using the wall as support when practicing inversions.
Wall yoga, however, is a whole other story! Inspired by the Iyengar tradition, wall yoga uses the wall as more than a prop- it is one of the most fundamental elements of the practice. Read on to discover the practice and its benefits!
What is wall yoga?
Wall Yoga is a series of Iyengar style postures practiced using a system of straps installed on a wall, an ancient practice originating in India. The idea behind Wall Yoga is to use ropes attached to hooks that work with gravity, allowing practitioners to experience vertical practice and explore asanas in a totally new way. With deeper stretching and more mobility and security in postures, students are able to move beyond their normal practice and receive the benefits of further opening and even poses they have never practiced before!
The rope wall was first developed and refined by B.K.S. Iyengar, who encouraged its use for students whose bodies were tighter and needed assistance coming into certain asanas on their own. The rope wall helps students to feel safer and supported in poses such as inversions, where practitioners might otherwise refrain and, therefore, not experience the benefit of the asana.
The straps help students become conscious of the alignment of their body, just as is fundamental in the principles of the Iyengar style of yoga. The practice emphasizes the correct orientation of the skeletal and muscular systems, allowing the student to experience safer movements while opening, strengthening, and toning their bodies.
Why Wall Yoga?
While the practice of wall yoga is well-known historically, it is still new and exciting for more modern yoga classes. Practicing with the wall system of ropes brings a different perspective on poses and alignment, while also allowing practitioners to reach deeper into their practice with the help of the wall’s resistance. Wall Yoga also allows students to feel supported in more challenging postures and encourages increased mobility of the joints and spine, bringing the body beyond its usual movements. This increased flexibility of the body even reaps benefits in the mind! Limits and restrictions are released as your body is challenged to reach new heights!
Where can you find Wall Yoga?
You can discover the practice of wall yoga all over the world! From New York City to Quebec, to Marrakech and Rishikesh, yoga studios, gyms, and wellness centers are hearing of the benefits of wall yoga poses on flexibility, mobility, and strength. Wall Yoga practices have their roots in ancient systems of India and are still making their way into the western world. The popularity of the practice, however, is spreading quickly, making wall yoga classes a regularly scheduled offering in many centers around the globe!
Lauren Marie Rose Nelson & Ashley David