Upside down with Tiffany Cruikshank

Clear, precise, and easy-to-apply explanations of the anatomical foundations of inversions, gave all us fellow yogis and yoginis who joined Tiffany Cruikshank today for some furtherYoga Medicine, a brand new insight into creating a stable base when upside down.

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Starting out with an exploration of shoulder stability, we learnt four tips to draw awareness to the different muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, so they can work together as a unit without having to allow the other ‘bouncer’ muscles (like the trapezius) to join the party when not required.  Fun and accessible, Tiffany has a way of breaking the body down into easier bite-size chunks which can be digested and applied; moving from more simple practices in headstand to the greater challenge provided by hand stand and forearm balances.

Working with partners gave us the chance to experience sensations and new postures (headstand variations which I never ever dreamt I would be able to approach), by applying often apparently contradictory tips, such as pushing down onto the head and lifting up into the heels in headstand to create more length in the lower back and space around the shoulders. The upside-down tadasana with different arm and hand variations….a real personal discovery for me that one!

Once again the idea of ‘less is more’ deeply resonated with me. Where the challenge is not so much to be met by muscling in hard and pushing to the limit, but a practice of greater delicacy and finesse. 10% of the effort, Tiffany reminded us, was the way to look for stimulating rather than tension-provoking after-sensations.

We were finally encouraged to leave the intellectual anatomical details to one side and to instead apply an easy visualisation.

How softly would we move so not to awaken an imaginary sleeping baby?

How quiet can we be on the mat? Can we move with the subtle delicate support of our belly, the stability of our pelvis and a grace of movement that can be thread into absolutely every yoga posture whether upside down, inside out or round and round?!

I’m certainly going to give it a try.

And to quote Guruji, Practice, practice, all is coming.

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