This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the upside down enthusiast, Daniel Cordua. This Friday night, 9/9, Daniel will be leading a two hour workshop focusing on arm balances, inversions and transitions between the two classes of poses. Daniel will break down the foundation of each pose as well how to stay safely aligned. When I asked Daniel if there were any requirements for this workshop he smiled and told me "You need an open relationship with your chaturunga!". That is not only good advice for this workshop but in life in general. This workshop is not to be missed with this bright, sported and talented teacher.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your yoga journey?
I started yoga a bit later in life - at the age of almost 30. I was never particularly strong, flexible or athletic. To my amazement, dedicating myself to yoga changed all that. Not only have I improved my physical strength and flexibility to a point I never would have imagined, but that same strength & flexibility has also moved into the arenas of my mind & spirit. Moving more subtlety into the fabric of my being, the practice has changed the entire course of my life - or, some would say, brought me back to the real course within that I had somehow lost or forgotten. A big part of this course has become yoga’s connection to personal development and spirituality.
What are you working on in your personal practice?
I am always working on backbends and opening my upper and middle back body. For me, this area is particularly stubborn and tight. Not only do I have to work on it, but I have to work on working on it. I practice a lot of preliminary stretches and heart-opening warm ups throughout the day and attempt to consistently practice rounds of urdhva dhanurasana and forearm scorpion daily. To compliment this, I add in lots of core & upper body strengthening, side body opening, and hip stretches. I am a naturally tight yogi, so I need to consistently soften, stretch and work hard to stay open.In addition to these physical concerns & perhaps more importantly, I have a devotional meditation practice that I work on each & every day.
Why do you love Arm Balances and Inversions?
Oh what’s not to love!!??! Most importantly, the psychological process of attempting arm balances & inversions is very important. Fighting fear, finding inner as well as outer strength, creating groundedness & balance while in precarious positions, and bring flexibility into form - these are all lessons to learn while trying these type of poses. More importantly, they are lessons to learn in LIFE! Oh, and by the way, these poses are often very FUN and super empowering.
Favorite poses/ transitions you will be teaching in this workshop?
There will be so many! I will offer an array of possibilities for different body types and for all levels of practitioners. “Flying vinyasas” will be introduced. These can
give any yogi a sense or feel of going upside down while moving through a vinyasa. A variety of crows will make an appearance. Building from crow and side crow (two of the more accessible arm balances) we will build into eka pada koundinyasa variations and one of my favorites - and deceptively challenging poses: eka pada bakasana. We will work sweet transitions from all types of basic poses: standing split, twisted lunge, and garudasana to name a few.
What is something that you want your students to take away from attending Armed to Balance?
More than anything. I’d like students to feel both empowered and challenged in this practice. With hard work & understanding of alignment, this is the beauty of yoga asana: it always gives these two equal parts - success and the push to keep improving. Additionally, the mood of this workshop will be one of fun, something that maybe sounds frivolous but is super super important to harness as a true yogi. Lightness, laughter and the ability to let go & not be attached to the poses of yoga or “the poses of life” while working hard is one of yoga’s key lessons!