If you practice yoga, then you've probably had that experience where you're in class, and you're attempting to lunge, or balance in warrior two, but instead of feeling like a graceful, confident yogi, you feel more like a weak, watery piece of spaghetti. For me personally, there have been countless moments in yoga class when all I wanted to do was stretch against the wall or hold onto something for support, sheerly because I just didn't feel like I could comfortably find my center. Well, apparently I'm in luck, because that's exactly what wall yoga is all about. It's a type of yoga practice that involves specialized straps, harnesses, and a wall — which, TBH, sounds like it would feel amazing, not to mention it might help bring a little of that much-needed flexibility into some of those trickier poses.
According to Abdelhak Chegri, who works as a fitness trainer at the Well & Being Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a wall yoga class is basically like any other yoga class, except it involves a wall, harnesses, and straps to help you discover new muscles and achieve deeper stretches during your practice. "With specialized straps and a harness, inversions are supported and comfortable, while the wall provides extra support and space," Chegri tells Elite Daily in an email.
Wall yoga provides unique benefits not found in many other versions of yoga, says Chegri. For instance, he explains, wall yoga can help you focus more on your body's alignment, enhance the standing poses in your practice (think chair pose, eagle pose, triangle pose, etc.), and it can safely prepare you for inversions like headstand, shoulder-stand, and more.
Now, if you think wall yoga sounds like it's an "easier" form of the practice because you're technically up against a wall the whole time and supported by straps and a harness, Chegri assures me that's not the case. See, according to the fitness trainer, the wall is there to provide a supportive surface and help you refine the alignment of your poses, so that "everything in the body is stacked properly from the bottom up." Moreover, Chegri explains, this added support allows you to build your practice in a safe way. "It also gives the participant the confidence to explore poses that require balance by having contact with the wall and using it for support," he tells Elite Daily.
Oftentimes, the trainer explains, inversions like shoulder-stand are practiced solely on the mat, and in that case, it's up to the yogi themselves to build strength over time to reach their goals. But it's not just physically challenging to master these types of poses; as Chegri points out, the mind can become a barrier in and of itself as you begin to attempt these more intimidating poses. In other words, it can be all too easy to psych yourself out when you're this close to nailing your first headstand.
And that's the real beauty of wall yoga, says Chegri. The wall and straps allow for breakthroughs in your practice that you may not have even thought were possible. "Working with the harnesses and straps during a wall yoga session also allows yogis to move deeper into poses, allowing them to achieve a more intense level of stretch that can’t be achieved in a regular yoga class," the trainer tells Elite Daily.
What's more, Chegri adds, there's a strong meditation element to wall yoga as well. "The wall provides an opportunity for the participant to have a grounding support that enhances the quality of the yoga poses," he tells Elite Daily. "This sensation is unique to wall yoga and gives the participant time to explore [the many benefits of] being suspended upside down." Who knows — once you're upside down, you might just see things from a brand new perspective, both literally and figuratively.
BTW, in case you're reading this and thinking, "Uh, this is way too advanced for me," think again. According to Chegri, wall yoga is "beneficial to everyone interested in yoga," and the practice can easily be customized to all levels. In other words, no previous yoga experience is necessary to try wall yoga, says Chegri.
Wall yoga classes are offered at the Well & Being Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, so if you live in the area, be sure to check it out so you can take your yoga practice to new heights. Pro tip: "Iyengar yoga" is similar to wall yoga, and you might have an easier time finding an Iyengar class near you.
If you can't find either of these classes in your area, don't worry — Chegri says it's definitely possible to recreate some of the poses in this practice at home. "You simply need a few feet of open wall space to give you a vertical supporting surface that the body can lean against for contact and to correct misalignment," he tells Elite Daily.
However, he adds, some critical poses like inversions, backbends, and other deep stretches require the specialized straps and harness designed for wall yoga, so for that, you might just have to travel to Arizona for Chegri's class. Hey, Scottsdale is a beautiful city — why not?