This practice begins with variations of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and standing poses with shoulder opening. Abdominal work, Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance) continue the practice before backbends.
As the name implies, this 90-minute audio class includes a little bit of everything, from standing postures to inversions to backbends. Instructor Matt Harris teaches at an intermediate level, using Sanskrit names for many of the postures (although he alternates with English as well). Prior to beginning, he recommends having props on hand; those needed for this class include a block, a belt, and a chair. There is a definite flow nature to this practice, with Harris leading his students through various vinyasa sequences. He has the participants start in child’s pose and then move to hands and knees for cat/cow. Continuing the process of warming up, Harris brings the students through down dog to standing for flows between forward bend/flat back and forward bend/chair. Next comes the first transition through plank, chaturanga, and cobra (Harris offers variations on this sequence between each standing series). The opening standing series follows, which includes warrior 1 with cow-face arms, warrior 2 with eagle arms, and what Harris calls “warrior 1 ½,” a warrior pose with a forward fold (I’ve also seen this posture referred to as “humble warrior”). After another cobra transition (this one with one-legged chaturanga), Harris cues a second sequence which begins with full or modified side plank and then continues into side angle pose, triangle, and half-moon. The last standing flow starts from a high lunge position, moves into pyramid pose, standing splits, revolved triangle, and finishes with wide-legged forward bend.At this point (about 35 minutes into the practice), Harris has his students go to the wall for the practice of inversions. All three main inversions are performed—i.e., handstand, forearm balance, and headstand, in that order—but Harris offers the class the opportunity to modify with the half-version (feet on the wall) for each. Following the inversions sequence, the participants return to their mats for a lunge series which focuses on moving towards splits. The class remains on the floor for a lengthy segment involving working in bridge with a high block placed under their sacrums; this section includes various postures such as one-legged reclined hero and upward bow. Harris concludes briefly here with hand-to-big-toe pose using the belt. Finally, Harris announces that the finishing postures for today’s class will be shoulderstand and plow. He instructs each student to obtain three blankets and a chair, and he provides detailed instructions on the exact setup for shoulderstand, suggesting some slightly atypical form guidelines for this pose. This is also an extended sequence, with long holds in each of these postures and the option of finishing with knees-to-ears pose. With about five minutes left in the class, Harris cues the group to continue laying over their blankets for about two minutes and then to move into savasana for the remaining time (the audio is cut off during the relaxation).For intermediate and above students wanting a well-rounded class which provides standing postures, inversions, and backbends, this practice is likely to be a good option.