“Hanging out” at Rope Play: Yoga Workshop

By Kate Vantucci

When you walked into YH2 for the first time you were no doubt a little blown away. It is vastly different from the original Haven in Tuckahoe: the fantastic light fixture in the middle of the room and the soothing color scheme. You meet your smiling teacher and walked through the frosted glass door and into the studio space. Wowza! All that space is a little intimidating at first, but you hear the low music (the same music you heard piped into the bathroom! My favorite feature), and you know you’re in for something great. A quick scan of the room unveils the rope wall. What the heck are all those ropes for? What on earth are we supposed to do with those? Good God, is this a new form of yogic torture? The jury is still out.

In Iyengar yoga, ropes are used to explore new ways to open, stretch and strengthen the body. Specific asana (yoga postures) are done, using the ropes for support, to access actions that are inaccessible on our own without the props. The workshop covers basic categories of asana: standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists, and inversions, done using the ropes for support.

A few months back, I had the luxury of attending a ropes class for teachers taught by Jill Ganassi. Now, if you’ve never taken a class or workshop with Jill, then you have robbed yourself of a singular experience. Seriously. I don’t get too many chances to go to workshops, but when I heard about this one, I made the commitment, brought a lunch (which I didn’t get the chance to eat) and got ready to throw down. Jill led us expertly through simple poses in which we could incorporate the ropes to push ourselves further. We were taught different ways to stretch and strengthen with the support of the wall. It was fantastic. To have a room full of teachers oohing and ahhing in chorus is no small feat. We opened and worked muscles I forgot (or didn’t even know) I had. At the end of all the stretchy loveliness, we were all fitted with a fantastically “stylin’ yoga blanket skirt” hitched on by a cinched strap and then climbed the wall to ecstasy. There we hung upside-down with the full and total support of those wonderful little ropes. I think she had to pry us all off the wall with a crowbar.

I went to the workshop hoping that I could use some of what she taught us in my own classes, but I was so absorbed in the experience that I completely forgot to take notes or even use my brain in it’s note taking capacity. Honestly, I was in such a heavenly stupor by the end that I’m not sure the workshop even happened at all. So, don’t quote me on any of this, just do yourself the favor of checking out the upcoming Rope Play workshop. Not just for the heavenly stupor it will bring down on you, or the acroyoga awesomeness of it, but for the pure genius that is Jill Ganassi.

The next Rope Play workshop with Jill Ganassi takes place on Sunday, 10/14/2012 from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Appropriate for seasoned beginners and up. No limiting injuries please. Fee: $45 **Early Bird Special: Register before October 7th, $40

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