Work Out with Monika: Turn your workout upside down

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


Published:

Monika Schnarre tries upside-down yoga

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.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Monika Schnarre is a model, actor, entrepreneur and television personality. She has appeared in over 50 television shows and films and on over 100 magazine covers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Erica Godfrey’s brainchild raises millions for Baycrest

Erica Godfrey’s brainchild raises millions for Baycrest

Godfrey sits on the board at Baycrest Health Sciences and came up with the idea for the Brain Project fundraiser after she was inspired by New York’s Fabergé Big Egg Hunt in 2014 — similar to Mel Lastman’s Moose in the City. It was launched for the second year at Nathan Phillips Square in July and consists of 100 large-scale sculptures of the human brain, designed by a multitude of artists, scattered across the city.
Posted 20 hours ago
Outdoor flick fest features Born Ruffians rocker making film debut

Outdoor flick fest features Born Ruffians rocker making film debut

Luke Lalonde, lead singer of Canadian indie band the Born Ruffians, can now count acting as one of his many talents. Lalonde stars in the new movie Sundowners and will be performing prior to a screening of the film on Aug. 29 as part of Toronto’s Open Roof Festival.
Posted 21 hours ago
Work Out with Monika: Monika learns to play bike  polo, a sport where women rule

Work Out with Monika: Monika learns to play bike polo, a sport where women rule

Polo on bicycles has been around for more than 100 years. Hard court bike polo (on cement) gained popularity around 2007 as a pastime for bicycle messengers in Seattle between deliveries. Alex Lyon from Toronto Bike Polo taught me in the ins and outs of the hard court version on the hockey rink at Dufferin Grove Park.
Posted 21 hours ago
McKenzie House a rare historical gem in rapidly developing North York

McKenzie House a rare historical gem in rapidly developing North York

McKenzie House was built in 1913, by John and Eva McKenzie. The property was once a 144-acre farm owned by Phillip McKenzie that stretched from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue, and from Norton Avenue to Parkview Avenue.
Posted 2 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module