I’m not going to lie: until a few months ago, I had never heard of Simon Park. When some of the women in my sangha mentioned that he was coming to a studio in Kansas City for a workshop, I didn’t think anything of it. Of course, I wanted to go because who doesn’t want to go away for a weekend of yoga with the girls? The name, however, held little power for me.
I started looking him up, doing some research, and found that Simon is known as The King of Handstands. Holy Granola, HANDSTANDS! In the middle of the room? What the what? Oy!
Our time with Simon was to begin Friday night, but his flight was delayed and he didn’t make it in until Saturday morning. I had taken the time to look at pics of Simon online, but nothing prepared me for his gentle smile, his kind eyes, or his infectious laugh! It’s safe to say that we all grew a crush on Mr. Park!
Starting off with some breath and then, without warning, we were dancing! Yes, dancing like wild, sweaty, crazed, happy yoga fools! Sweat was flinging in all directions, strangers were dancing with strangers, folks were singing and laughing and dancing and swaying and moving and grooving and then, without warning, we found ourselves doing Sun Salutations. Just like that. This set the tone for the whole weekend: one second you’re doing one thing and then suddenly, without warning or realizing it, you’ve moved onto bigger and better things.
We flowed and laughed and smiled and jumped and then we were floating! Simon is indeed the King of Handstands, and he is also the King of teaching handstands! I have always struggled with Pincha Mayurasana. I have wanted it for so long, but never really managed to get my arms in the right place or my head in the right place and, eventually, everything has always ended up in the decidedly wrong place! Somehow, however, through a series of dolphin poses and jump ups, I found myself listening to every word he said and without realizing it, I was upside down in Pincha! Again, what the what? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
It happened effortlessly. It happened as if I had wings. It happened and it was light and it was floaty and it was weightless. Now, in all honesty, I only held it for a couple of breaths each time, but I managed to get there time and time again in the middle of the room! Magic, I’m telling you. He’s magic.
After some partner yoga (handstands to backbends to handstands,) and some more gravity defying business, we slowed down a bit in his Artful Assists session. Some of it might have seemed elementary, but I really needed some clear guidance in assisting and adjusting students. We learned about using our body weight and laying on students, when and where to place the body to get the most out of a pose, how to encourage others to go a little bit further than they expect that they can, etc. I learned loads!
Sunday morning was graceful, gentle, restorative yoga. His words, his music, his asanas, his flows were like a balm to my soul. Can you tell I really dig this guy? EVERYONE really digs this guy. We ended the weekend in a circle, holding hands, feeling the love and the energy in the room. Blissful.
If you ever have a chance to study with Simon Park, DO IT. I don’t care what it takes, GET THERE. It will change your practice, I promise!
Simon’s Website (be sure to check out his Gurus!)