Monika Sch­narre tries an in­ver­sion ex­er­cise that’s great for bad backs

Monika goes head over heels for an in­ver­sion pro­gram that helps with back is­sues

North York Post - - Contents - MONIKA SCH­NARRE Monika Sch­narre is a model, ac­tress, en­tre­pre­neur and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity. She has ap­peared in over 50 tele­vi­sion shows and films and on over 100 mag­a­zine cov­ers.

Sarah Birks’ in­ver­sion work­shop, called Head Over Heels, is an in­tense and ex­cit­ing take on more tra­di­tional yoga classes. It al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to come out, ex­plore, play and re­fine these most chal­leng­ing pos­tures. Although in­ver­sions are of­fered in most class set­tings, if you haven’t mas­tered any, try­ing them in a class set­ting can be in­tim­i­dat­ing.

“This work­shop al­lows in­di­vid­u­als many dif­fer­ent ways to ex­plore in­ver­sions, pro­vid­ing op­tions and as­sis­tance for students and a step-by-step, safe way into them,” Birks says.

WARM­ING UP

We be­gin by tak­ing a few mo­ments of still­ness. We then move through some breath work fol­lowed by shoul­der open­ers and flow move­ment to pre­pare and warm the body and get blood flow­ing in the arms and shoul­ders. Core sta­bil­ity is very im­por­tant for in­ver­sions.

GO­ING UP­SIDE DOWN

We start with some eas­ier in­ver­sions like the sup­ported head­stand (where you cup your hands around your head with your fore­arms and el­bows on the ground) with Birks spot­ting me. We also work on my hand­stand against the wall and then away from the wall. It’s an ex­cit­ing mo­ment when you’re able to hold the pos­ture on your own!

THE TOUGH PART

This is an in­tense work­shop that chal­lenges the mind (get­ting over your fear) and your bal­ance. It is ex­tremely tough, but like any other yoga practice, you move at your own pace. Birks con­fides that it took her weeks work­ing in a door­way at home to mas­ter her head­stand. The pos­tures with your head on the ground can take some get­ting used to. I pre­ferred the hand­stands, and oth­ers like the dol­phin pose (a variation of down­ward dog with fore­arms down).

COOL­ING DOWN

This is my favourite part — I am an ex­pert at shavasana (corpse pose).

THE BENEFITS

Truth be told, the idea of spend­ing an hour up­side down is not my idea of a good time. How­ever, this work­shop is ex­hil­a­rat­ing, and the health benefits are many. Much like in­ver­sion ther­apy, yoga in­ver­sions help re­verse harm­ful ef­fects of grav­ity and, in do­ing so, are an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for back is­sues, re­duc­ing men­tal stress and strength­en­ing the im­mune sys­tem.

THE NEXT DAY

I felt great the fol­low­ing day. My back prob­lems seemed to im­prove and so did my at­ti­tude about be­ing up­side down.

Monika in the ut­thita pada sir­sasana pose

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