Inversions Three Ways
Amy Apgar loves sweaty vinyasa classes and great music. A native Ohioan, she learned to love dance and movement as a "wee babe." She lives in Harlem with her boyfriend and two kitties. Obviously a cat lover, she teaches at yoga at the Meow Parlor, New York's first feline cafe. You can also find her at Y7 Studio. Here she talks to YogaCity NYC about restorative inversions, encompassing her latest interests in yin-ing and yawning:
Yogacity NYC: What pose did you chose and why do you like it?
Amy Apgar: I chose restorative inversions, because I love that these options are great ways to get upside down in a way that calms the nervous system.
YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.
AA: In the first pose, legs up the wall (or viparita karani) there actually should be no muscular engagement. You can prop your legs in such a way that you expend no effort to rest them on the wall and the effect is incredibly relaxing. I prefer doing this pose with a block under my sacrum to elevate my hips slightly, and to spread my arms wide, palms up, to open up the heartspace.
YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?
AA: In shoulder stand, you are using quite a bit of leg strength to extend all the way from hips to toes and to keep too much pressure from pooling in the neck area. There's also a lot of muscular engagement in the arms to press your chest toward your face resulting in a lovely opening of the shoulders. This pose adds the element of stimulation in the 5th chakra (throat chakra) as well as the thyroid gland and lymphatic system, aiding your digestion and immune system.
YogaCity NYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose [and mind]?
AA: In a traditional headstand, sirsasana, you are entirely stacked, as opposed to the previous versions. There is much more muscular engagement, overall, everything is working most notably arms, legs, back, and abdominals. This pose is incredibly rejuvenating and calms the mind through the amount of focus it takes to maintain the breath while standing on your head. After flipping my perspective and reversing my energy for a good minute or so, I feel both calmer and more energized at the same time.
To learn more about Amy, visit her at amyyogini.com or follow her on Instagram at @amy_yogini.