Yesterday I attended Barbara Benagh’s 3-hour Flipping Your Dog workshop. It was wonderful. She describes the action of starting in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) and then flipping yourself over into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel or Upward Bow Pose) as a vinyasa sequence: “a series of movements consciously connected by breath. It is a wonderful example of how a sense of dance can be preserved in yoga” And it was! Downward facing dog pose is a wonderful pose. It combines three very important elements: It is an inversion pose, a hip flexibility pose and a strength pose. When you add the flip, you get a great twist. You get to hang in the twist and then end up in a back bend and then you have to rewind the sequence to get out of it. We practised for about 2 hours before we even approached the vinyasa.
She started by leading us through a few lying twists. I have to note that this morning, my mystery hand pain seems to be gone and I think that is directly related too these two twists. I got such a great shoulder stretch. I will definitely add these to my morning practise.
We then placed a block under the base of our neck, behind the shoulder blades, brought our hands together and cradled our head and then brought our elbows together as close as possible. After a time, we let our elbows slowly open up consciously keeping our shoulder blades open against the block.
We did two different low lunges. The first we let the bent knee pass over the foot and raised one arm (same arm as the foot on the floor) and if we could, without bending sideways, touched the floor with the other hand right by the side of the body. The raised arm, we let reach back and created a back bend. The second pose, we kept the knee directly over the foot, bent our back leg and held the inside of the foot with the same hand, and then raised the other arm to create a back bend.
Next was the straight legged version of Dying Warrior.
Then a crazy twist that she calls Eric’s Twist, where you sit on your heels and grab the heel of one foot with he same side hand and then bring yourself down to the floor, onto your shoulder.
We did 3 series of Dog-in-Prayer-2 to Cat to Cobra.
Then Pasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend), where we put more weight beind us and then stretched our arms out forward on the floor, creating a dual direction tug. Then we just hung out in the pose.
We did two Virabhadrasana I series(Warrior I). The first was Dancing Warrior into Virabhadrasana II. The second ended in Parsvottanasa, relaxing over the leg.
Next we did a series of Hand Stands against the wall.
We then used a block as a bolster, laying it right at the edge of our shoulder blades.
Then came about 40 minutes of flipping our dogs. We started with regular wheels to warm ourselves up. I had great success and was even able to give a good assist to the woman on the mat next too me. My wheel felt wonderful and light. I was even able to imagine myself standing up from a back bend (by going onto my finger tips in the pose)and one day know I will be able to stand up.
We ended class with Baddha Konasana, Janu Sirsasana, Headstand and Savasana.