You go to yoga classes for a number of reasons, one being that the teacher will give you feedback and support in how to do the various postures in the best way for your body. A wall can also be another way to gain some feedback, support, and alignment in various poses. In a lot of poses the wall is helpful for letting you know what the back of your body is doing. The wall can also be a help in poses to get more opening or be more supported. Here are some photos of poses from one of our recent classes where we used the wall:
- Sitting at the wall. I will use this about once a month during meditation practice to help identify how best to support your body in keeping the spine lengthened when sitting cross-legged. You should be able to feel the base of your body, shoulders, and back of the head lightly touching the wall. If that is not the case for you, use height under the pelvis to elevate your hips. You may also then want a blanket or block under each knee to aid your hip opening in this position.
- Down Dog at the wall. There are a number of ways to use the wall to help your body go into this position. In previous columns, you have seen photos of students with hands at or above hip height to help get a better elongation of the low back. Here you see students with their heels on the bricks at the wall. This can help anyone with tight hamstrings move the tops of the thighs back more into the hip socket and reach weight down into the heels.
- Triangle, Warrior II, and Extended Side Angle at the wall. Although you can do these poses in sequence with the back of your body at the wall (particularly useful if you tend to over arch your low back in these poses), here you see a photo of students planting the back heel against the wall. This helps keep the anchoring of these three poses in the outer edge of your back foot, and aids that leg in maintaining its muscular engagement and hip opening.
- Tree pose at the wall. Here you see the students placing the lifted leg knee into the wall. Working this way can aid your balance and the hip opening on the lifted leg side.
- Legs up the wall. A wonderful pose for restoring yourself at the end of a long day, relaxing the legs at the end of your practice, and supporting your back and legs. Consider this pose the “reset” button for your nervous system.
Have fun using the wall as your teacher!