Monika Sch­narre finds her bal­ance at cou­ples yoga

This Valentine’s Day, con­nect with a cou­ples yoga class

Richmond Hill 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.

Cou­ples yoga — or more ac­cu­rately, acro yoga — prom­ises to el­e­vate the con­nec­tion be­tween you and oth­ers through move­ment, con­nec­tion and play. My big­gest fear was that my poor hus­band, Storey Bad­ger, would have to lift me. You see, I’m not a “pe­tite” woman. And all my fears were jus­ti­fied.

“Acro” in Greek means “high” or “el­e­vated.” “Yoga” in San­skrit com­monly trans­lates to no­tions of “union” or “join­ing.” Our in­struc­tor, Amanda O’Mal­ley, is con­fi­dent that we can man­age these pos­tures. With Valentine’s Day com­ing up, what bet­ter way to en­gage in a trust- and in­ti­macy-build­ing ex­er­cise with your part­ner?

GET­TING STARTED

Most acro poses are based on tra­di­tional yoga poses. So we start off by go­ing over the setup and build of the poses in­di­vid­u­ally be­fore work­ing to­gether as a pair.

THE POSES

We start with a coun­ter­bal­ance in tree pose as part of the warm-up. Then we work on ski presses to bird presses to learn how to trans­fer body weight into the base (Storey) and to lift the flyer (me). We be­gin the lifts start­ing with front plank to bird pose, and then into bow pose, where I am in a back bend while grab­bing my an­kles. The last pose is the high fly­ing whale where Storey has his feet on the bot­tom of my shoul­der blades while his hands hold my feet.

WHAT MAKES IT DIF­FER­ENT

The dy­nam­ics of an acro class are com­pletely dif­fer­ent from a tra­di­tional yoga class. The class in­volves speak­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each other, mak­ing it louder than the av­er­age yoga class. An­other key com­po­nent is spot­ting your part­ner to en­sure all poses are done safely.

THE BEST PART

It was nice to con­nect with Storey away from our daily dis­trac­tions. I think all cou­ples tend to lose sight of each other un­der the daily pres­sures of work and child rear­ing. The one, un­in­ter­rupted hour of con­cen­trat­ing on only each other was very nice.

LEVEL OF DIF­FI­CULTY

This is not a re­lax­ing or restora­tive class. It is chal­leng­ing on so many lev­els — bal­ance, trust, flex­i­bil­ity and strength.

THE COOL DOWN

In a group class, the in­struc­tors will fin­ish off the class with group pyra­mids. Storey and I have a pri­vate ses­sion, so we fin­ish the class with some light stretch­ing and re­lax­ation poses.

THE DAY AF­TER

Storey def­i­nitely took the brunt of the lift­ing and felt it the next day, pre­dom­i­nantly in his legs.

WHERE TO TRY IT

Drop-in classes are on Thurs­day nights at the Vaughan lo­ca­tion. O’Mal­ley is hold­ing work­shops at the mid­town and down­town lo­ca­tions on Feb. 11 as well.

Monika and her hus­band, Storey Bad­ger, try a lift pose Stu­dio: Yoga Tree Ad­dress: 40 Eglin­ton Ave. E. Price: $25/class

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