We’re thrilled to partner with our friends at YogaWorks to bring you the YogaWorks Teacher Training Tip of the Week. Each week, our friends from YogaWorks TT will break down some of the most challenging poses, as well as shed light on the basics, for all of us to enjoy. Like what you see? Click here for more info on YogaWorks’ Teacher Training programs.
Inversions such as Tripod Headstand (Sirsasana 2)–featured in this week’s video–literally turn our frame of reference on its head, forcing us to develop a reliable internal compass to orient ourselves. Tackling this challenging pose can be invigorating–heating up the body and strengthening our resolve–as it dramatically shifts our flow of energy, relieving the downward pressure on the spine and feet from being upright most of the day.
A typical YogaWorks Teacher Training highlights the benefits of numerous yoga postures, coaxing our trainees to explore the myriad levels at which asana can be helpful, even transformative. Tripod headstand, for example, requires a strong, stable shoulder girdle, and evenly engaged core muscles to energize the central plumb line of the body. Approaching this strong pose requires a clearly delineated foundation, another key concept in our Trainings. Starting from the energetic foundation of breath, we build every posture from the ground up, underscoring the fact that any physical structure, no matter how lofty, must be grounded securely to the earth.
Applying this foundational concept more broadly, YogaWorks equips its trainees with both the analytic and experiential tools to develop sequences that intelligently prepare students for challenging poses, such as Tripod Headstand, while keeping a clear eye toward potential risks. For example, any posture that places weight specifically on the neck requires a basic understanding of the spinal curves, and our Anatomy modules address exactly what needs to be safeguarded in the physical body. Our Subtle-Body sessions address some risks that extend beyond the physical—such as fear or other emotional blockages.
Ultimately, YogaWorks trainees learn to link postures in a methodical, step-like fashion—a Vinyasa Krama—creating sequences that flow organically, without ever feeling uprooted.
Yoga came to me only when I was ready to receive it. As a New York journalist fresh out of Brown University, I dabbled in a few yoga classes, and continued to do so after moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. But the yoga didn’t take hold right away. As time passed, the movie business slowly dimmed my creative spark, and daily gym workouts had forged a muscular armor, stunting my freedom to move and breathe. I felt stuck. Something needed to shift, and I approached an Ashtanga-based yoga class at my gym with new eagerness. It was a revelation! The deliberate breathing and foreign-sounding postures slowly pried open my body, releasing years of unconscious tension and stress. When tears welled up in my eyes during a seated hip opener, it dawned on me: yoga went far beyond the body—it connected to my emotions, my intellect, even a long-buried sense of Spirit. Focusing heavily on asana, I pushed my physical practice to its limit, tearing my knee cartilage, thanks to over-ambition and sloppy alignment. Good timing led me to the YogaWorks Teacher Training, taught by Lisa Walford and Annie Carpenter, my soon-to-be mentors. Their depth of knowledge and life experience redefined my practice, literally from the ground up. The philosophy and meditative practices spoke to my innate beliefs about a true Self—or universal Consciousness—that exists beyond our narrow ego identities. I began to view yoga as a lifetime practice, one that transcends fitness or postures. Visit my website here.