Liv Hilde, Upside Down
Since lectures started up a the beginning of January I’ve been mostly held to one yoga class a week, with the rare free weekend for some yin/yin:yang or something. Instead of something soft and easy to get me through the crush of the days, I went for the hardcore to really wring out the nasty vibes. I’ve been taking Liv’s classes since the summer sometime, and everything from hatha to YRide was in the books.
Out of curiosity, I just had to look up the origins of her last name. Apparently, Hilde carries a meaning like “ready for battle” or “woman of battle”. In this case the meaning is extremely apt, but don’t let her cheery demeanor fool you. In the last 5 months since I’ve started taking Liv’s Power Upside Down classes, I’ve only missed one due to a sore throat. Every Wednesday at 6:30pm I haul myself to her classes knowing I’m going to be fighting myself the whole way through. Yes, the male ego and pride still kicks around and lingers, pushing me to make every posture in the class.
Liv Hilde is absolutely ridiculous, and her strength is astonishing. I’ve also noticed that she really treats every class like a how a 5 year old would treat a day at the beach: with wild exuberance and unabashed enthusiasm. As such her classes don’t get too heavy with philosophy and wisdom either, sticking to lighter fare like odd happenstances in her life or poke around the lives of the yogis in class. She also has a penchant for making funny groans and grunts during tough poses, and has even called me a “ninja” for how I windmill into Warrior II.
Oh, and I should’ve mentioned that she’s been under the tutelage of Ana Forrest. Anyone else shakin’ on their mats?
Her Power Upside Down class is a very fast vinyasa affair with minimal rest. The inversions are placed near the end of the class when the body is all worked up, but it presents a problem because she trashes almost everyone. We’re all way too tired at the end to give the inversions a solid go, though we don’t slack off on purpose or anything. I repeat: she’s not malicious.
The classes are getting harder and harder, mostly because everyone in the class is a regular. I think a weekly class such as this with such a consistent group of followers speaks volumes to her magnetism. She makes everything look so easy, that it’s just within reach, that everyone just goes for it; caution is thrown to the wind and injury seems impossible. For the record, I’ve taken my fair share of tumbles (with everyone watching, even).
The YRide classes she used to teach at the downtown Flow studio were equally exhausting. I wrote a piece about YRide a few months back and one can get a gist of it with a decent glance through it. She’s a pure taskmaster alright, but with a heart of gold. The journey she drags you on is perilous to both mind and body; it’s that challenging when she’s on her game. All she asks for is a good effort and she’ll be there to prop you up the entire way.
I attribute my being able to get into Forearm Stands and Headstands largely to Liv’s influence. She’ll help work all the proper muscle groups, warming them all up, while encouraging…well, courage to go beyond. Before her classes I wouldn’t even dare prop myself against a wall. Today I’m comfortable with two freestanding inversions and a slew of arm balances. Never would I have imagined myself doing anything like them, and Liv and her instructor compatriots are to thank.
Oh, and if you haven’t done inversions yet but wish to try it, I’ll say that you’re brain will love it. Guaranteed.