By Ashlee Green
Twee Merrigan's afternoon class, "Rock on Hanuman: One Giant Leap into Handstands," held on an outdoor platform in the middle of Stratton Mountain, was an invocation for students to one another and to Hanuman, the Hindu "Monkey God," a representation of physical strength and receptivity.
Following a warmup sequence of playful hopping lunges, Merrigan instructed us to split the class down the middle, with the left side taking Uttanasana—Standing Forward Bend—and the right, Tadasana—Mountain Pose—with hands flexed and raised towards the sky. The goal of the left side, she said, was to see the right in handstand, upside down, giving the class positive reinforcement that we all have the potential within ourselves and within our body mechanics to eventually perform the pose.
Framing the class as a "battleground," Merrigan guided students to face one another in a "combat" of mirrored jumping lunges. She paused us every few repetitions for a Hanuman mudra meditation, where partners stared into each other's eyes, giving homage to one another and demonstrating peace as the ultimate champion.
We then paired up to hone our handstands and spotting techniques and closed with an active, seated "savasana." Supplemented with world music including L.A.-based hip hop and Australian didgeridoo, Merrigan's "Rock on Hanuman" left students with a balance of humble groundedness and radical, new height.