Eternal Health Yoga will be turning things upside down with a monthly inversion workshop! I sat down (well, virtually, anyways) with D’Arci Freeland, EHY’s assistant director, to learn more about what inversions are and why they are important for yoga practitioners.
I should mention I am in headstand as I am writing this piece. Really? Not really. But after learning more about inversions from D’Arci, I’m beginning to wonder if I should be!
EHY: Inversions can be intimidating, both to practice and to teach. How did you develop the confidence to practice and teach them?
D.F.: I developed the confidence to practice inversions through a consistent yoga practice and within that practice, working each inversion in steps. Consistently practicing, studying yoga, and incorporating the inversions into my regular classes all helped to develop the confidence I have in teaching these poses.
EHY: How do yoga teachers define inverted postures? Why are they important?
D.F.: I define inverted postures as one where the heart is higher than or above the head. Inverted postures offer a variety of benefits for the mind and the body. They offer a new perspective for the practitioner. It is a rare opportunity for us to see and experience our surroundings upside down. Inversions are energizing. They allow the blood to flow quickly to the brain and in turn they give you a boost. They help build confidence. Inversions, especially the advanced inversions (i.e. headstand, handstand) can be intimidating and often create fear; however, there is nothing like the surge of confidence you feel when you turn upside down the first time. Inversions help develop strength and balance in the body. These are just a few of the benefits.
EHY: If a yoga student wanted to add an inverted pose to their practice, which one would you suggest and why?
D.F.: If a student wanted to add an inverted pose to their practice, and they were fairly new to yoga, I would suggest downward facing dog. This pose can be less intimidating than more advanced inversions because the feet and hands are supporting the body while still allowing for the head to reach towards the earth. It also develops strength in the upper body which in turn will prepare the student for more advanced inversions like headstand.
EHY: What is it like writing and presenting a workshop?
D.F.: Writing a workshop has been an interesting experience. There is a lot of planning! I tend to think of 1001 things I would like to cover and then realize I will not have enough time to cover everything! It has been a practice in narrowing down what I feel is most beneficial for our students to know when approaching inversions so they feel safe, confident, and have fun.
EHY: You recently completed EHY 300-hour teacher training program…How is that changing the way you teach yoga?
D.F.: Eternal Health Yoga’s 300-hour teacher training program allowed me to reflect on my teaching. I’ve been teaching for almost 10 years and this was an opportunity for me to really delve in and explore how I can better serve students and their practice, as well as serve myself as a teacher and a student. I see connections more readily between the yoga practice and my surroundings, which in turn influence my teaching.
EHY: Have you thought about what you would like to do next?
D.F.: I would like to continue developing my monthly inversion workshops but looking forward to adding other workshops in the future. I am playing around with an arm balance workshop, so we will see!
EHY: Do you mind sharing a fun piece of trivia about yourself?
D.F.: I played soccer in high school and was offered athletic scholarships to a few schools, all of which I turned down.
D’Arci Freeland is an E-RYT 500 with the Yoga Alliance. She regularly teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin styles of yoga at Eternal Health Yoga. She will be hosting monthly inversion workshops. These workshops will focus on two inverted asanas (poses). This month’s asanas will be Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (Feather of the Peacock). Join her on Saturday, March 25th from 2-3:30pm!