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February 2020
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Trampoline Yoga with Bill Hedberg
Shen Tao
303 Park Avenue, Suite 312
New York, NY 10010

Fri, 6:00 PM To 7:00 PM

Sleuth was beside herself with excitement when she found out about the existence of trampoline yoga (mostly influenced by Kundalini) and eagerly made her way to Park Avenue with another curious Kundalini friend. Shen Tao is Bill Hedberg's studio. A knowledgable and chatty teacher, Bill has an extensive dance and movement background and his studio was abundantly equipped with special Shen Tao ladders, self bodywork tools and, of course, trampolines.

I commented on the Alex Gray posters on the wall and Bill explained that, "they inform how I think about the body. I like to think about what's going on deep beneath the surface of the skin." Indeed, throughout class Bill would encourage us to imagine what was going on underneath the surface: how this movement might be transforming our fascia, bones, organs, nerves and other subtle levels.

Bill began by asking us both about our backgrounds and injuries, if any, and told us he was the kind of teacher who liked to "color outside the lines." He said, "Since you're both yogis, even though this is a new approach, a lot of this will be familiar to you."

Seated in Siddhasana on the trampoline we began warming up our spines with hip circles, then commenced bouncing up and down (still seated) with our fingertips touching. Bill advised us to exhale every time we bounced back down and although he didn't call it as such, this created a natural breath of fire. He also told us to blink rapidly as we bounced.

Moving into a kind of Ardha Matseyandrasana, we did some side stretches, holding onto the sides of the trampoline to increase the intensity of the stretch. This evolved into a flowing movement stretching our arms overhead and to the side and then down and back again. Bill told us to let our arms be loose. As he talked he said, "Don't let the poetry of my words ever stop you from moving."

We then held a longer stretch to the side, letting our arms come to the floor in a movement Bill called "Drunk Worm."
Coming back, still seated we wiggled our hips in a move hilariously called "Dog in the grass."

Taking our knees wide and out to the side, hanging over the edge of the trampoline we began spinal undulations followed by hip circles. We then moved our spines up, down and around.

"Allow your head to be loose and flowing. Let your hair be like maiden's hair," Sleuth was smiling and laughing. "Yes! Yes! Be playful," he said, enthusiastically. It's rare that Sleuth receives a compliment in yoga class for being playful and I wish it would happen more often.

Coming to standing we held Uttanasana by bringing hands to the edge of the trampoline and then rolled out our ankles. This prepared us for the moment we'd been waiting for. The standing bounce! Bill advised us to keep our feet turned out, our knees lifted and together and our gaze ahead.

"That is some of the most serious bouncing I've ever seen," Bill teased after we'd stopped bouncing. My friend and I cracked up laughing, realizing that both of us had been childishly excited before class, but when the moment had come, we had ended up concentrating a little too hard. I vowed next time to have a little more fun.

Coming back down to sitting we held Navasana and added a little bounce to the ab work making it the most fun Navasana I've ever been in.

Bill then invited us to try some stretches on the Shen Tao ladder. We came into a Downward Dog folding over the padded rung of the ladder, then hooking our feet up and around so we could just hang. A little like Sirsasana with the ropes, this gave me an excellent spinal adjustment. We turned around and used the rungs to get a deeper back bend eventually getting the padded rung close to the sacrum and going deep into Urdhva Dhanurasana.

Leaving class, Sleuth felt both centered and joyful. I was going to have to color outside the lines more often.

$15 per class.

—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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