In more ways than one, it was a wall that saved Amanda Neufeld’s life.
A car accident in 2009 led her to a point where she simply existed in excruciating pain. “I could barely stand or sit,” she said. “I was doing yoga, but only barely.”
That’s when she heard about the yoga wall and its supposed healing benefits. At the end of her rope, she decided to make the arduous journey to learn about it, thinking she’d simply watch and learn. However, the instructor got her involved and she ended up practicing for four hours. Then they broke for lunch and Neufeld was shocked. “I was walking. I had zero pain, which I had not experienced in four years,” she said.
So, Neufeld brought it into her home and then her studio, Yoga Studio Satya in Colorado Springs, Colorado. An entire room is dedicated for the yoga wall, which is used via ropes connected by ball and socket to the wall. The straps are adjustable, allowing the user to support his or her body in various postures.
Neufeld said about 70 percent of the yoga wall students use the class as a way to deepen their alignment, bettering their practice on the mat. “It’s a way of educating their body so they’re moving from understanding their own anatomy,” she said.
About 30 percent of the yoga wall users come to that class alone. Neufeld said they are usually students who have tried other forms of yoga and felt pain afterward.
In fact, many of Neufeld’s most inspiring stories come from the yoga wall classes. A client of hers is a plane crash survivor who suffered a severe brain injury; doctors told him he would never walk unassisted again. He’s been using the yoga wall for 4.5 years. “He now can do his own downward facing dog,” said Neufeld. “He walks in here, twirling his cane; he barely uses his cane anymore.”
And the best part? Late last year, Neufeld got him to fly on the wall for the first time. The client hasn’t had both feet off the ground since the plane crash. She said the wall is able to bring normality to students’ lives.
The use of the yoga wall can vary. Neufeld said a class might focus on a specific area, like legs or core; or it might be all-encompassing. Neufeld shared how she trained another yoga studio owner in a city nearby on how to use the wall. The studio has a lot of competitive athletes. “The cool thing about the wall is they also have resistance bands you can plug in, so you can get a full on strength training workout,” she said.
Offering features like the yoga wall at your studio can make yoga a more accessible form of fitness for all bodies, no matter limitations.