“I wear a necklace, cause I wanna know when I’m upside down.”
– Mitch Hedberg
Before I tell you about the amazing arm balance workshop I took at Dou Yoga (with Annaliese Godderz), there are 2 things you must know.
A couple of months ago, my roommate Alex and I set our minds on perfecting our handstands.
Like a couple of 5th grade girls, we tirelessly (just kidding. We do them until we’re exhausted every time) began practicing every day. Making breakfast? Quick! A couple of handstands while those eggs cook. Watching Game of Thrones? One second! Let me bang out a quick handstand first!
We’d never had any formal instruction so we based our training off photos of pros (why am I not @kinoyoga) + trial and error. Despite the fact that our apartment door is now scuffed up from our sneakers hitting the wall, we’ve made lots of progress on the handstand front.
That being said, there seemed to be a method to the madness that we had yet to perfect. Plus, tons of other arm balances that we either hadn’t learned yet or that could definitely use some love.
The second thing to note, is that 5 years and another lifetime ago I took a trip to Lake Como, Italy to bask in the beauty and to try to spot George Clooney in his natural habitat.
Though the lake itself is 56 square miles, there is only one hostel around the entire permitter. AKA there was only one place that I could afford to stay at the time. (It’s actually an amazing hostel with awesome activities, great food, and an ability to cultivate a community that lasts long after your stay. Check it out here and put it on your bucket list.)
During that fateful weekend, another American girl found herself in the same place at the same time, and thus I met Annaliese Godderz.
Thanks to Facebook & fate, we were able to watch each other’s lives unfold. 5 years later, not only had we both moved to NYC, but we had both fallen in love with yoga and seemed to have pretty similar outlooks on the pursuit of a happy healthy life.
While my journey with yoga only truly began this year, Annaliese has taken her relationship to the next level and now teaches in Brooklyn. I saw that she was teaching an arm balance workshop and decided that I was done admiring her instagram and commenting on her Facebook posts. It was time to move our friendship offline and upside down.
Reunited after 5 years… to the day believe it or not!
First off, lets talk about Dou Yoga!
What a beautiful, sunny, peaceful space. The second I walked in, the women were abuzz and the sense of community was palpable. Since the workshop was 2 hours (and that is a LONG time to be using your arm strength) we took our time to get to know one another and settle in to class. (This proved useful later when I was doing upside down partner activities with a brand new friend.)
Annaliese was incredible. She is graceful and caring and certainly exuded what she preaches on her website.
“I seek to inspire, support and challenge my students based on their bodies at that time, that day.”
She warmed us up with music driven flows, got us sweating as she picked up the pace, and eased us in to arm balances starting with our own personal comfort level and moving on from there.
I learned strength excercises, new techniques on keeping that core firm, and FINALLY nailed eka pada koundinyasana II. (Still working on how to spell it though…)
Taking the workshop not only taught me new shapes, but also gave me the tools I need to strengthen my body and balance myself to be able to invert like a pro.
I will definitely keep my eyes out for more workshops like this and absolutely need to practice at Dou again. Worth checking out FO SHO.