Yoga classes sometimes incorporate the wall as a prop of sorts—legs up against the wall in a yin class, for instance, or using the wall to deepen a hamstring stretch.
But wall yoga is different. In wall yoga, the wall is more than just a prop. It’s just as important as the studio floor—if not more. To find out what we mean, read on.
The idea behind wall yoga is to use straps attached to hooks on a wall to assist students with their yoga practice. The use of the straps, combined with gravity, allows yogis to experience a truly vertical practice (think flipping your practice by 90 degrees). This allows students to experience near-weightlessness as they explore postures in totally new ways.
If you’re wondering what, exactly, is to be gained from practicing yoga dangling from ropes, here are some of the answers: wall yoga allows you to hold poses longer (remember, the feeling of weightlessness!), to increase your strength, to strengthen different muscle groups that are typically used, and to improve flexibility (thanks to the use of props).
Go Ahead—Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Perhaps you’ve stretched out into downward dog thousands of times before. Just like a new teacher can offer new insight into old familiar poses, so too can straps dangling from the wall. Imagine practicing downward dog with a strap around your pelvis, gently holding your hips up and back with minimal effort—just think of all the different aspects of the pose this little bit of help would allow you to explore! It’s music to the ears of yogi looking to refresh their practice.
Where in the World…
From Austria to Australia, from Texas to Quebec, there are many international studios that offer wall yoga, but it’s still a relatively niche practice. In the United States, California and New York are the most popular places for wall yoga—and don’t forget about the studio in Austin, Texas!
Yep, Savasana, Too!
It’s hard to picture corpse pose—an asana that traditionally involves lying still on the ground—as a ‘vertical’ pose. Wall yoga offers a new way of experiencing savasana: straps hold you against the wall, allowing you to experience savasana upside down. Just when you thought you had heard it all.
As you might imagine, wall yoga involves some specialized knowledge, namely the ability to operate and navigate the straps so that they help, not hinder, your practice. Teachers should be specially trained in wall yoga before showing students the ropes.
Not Just Yoga
Wall yoga systems can also be used for Pilates, general fitness training, and physical therapy—which will appeal to studios that offer a range of classes and activities.