PART II: The Yoga TrapezeLet’s Get Inverted!
by Lucas Rockwood
Inverted poses are some of the most fun, challenging and beneficial in yoga. For newer students, inversions can also be quite intimidating. One of the great things about The Yoga Trapeze is that it allows anyone to safely and easily experiment with these exciting postures.
In the last issue, you learned the basics of “upside down yoga.” You learned how to get in and out of The Yoga Trapeze, and how to do some basic postures. Today, let’s take your practice deeper.
Going upside down is great for relieving tension on your spine, increasing circulation, and boosting your energy. So try this foundational upside down sequence to help improve your inversion practice on the mat, and to simply feel great.
This is a popular posture with the trapeze because it allows you to get traction on your spine in a way that would otherwise be impossible.
#1 Start out by sitting comfortably in the trapeze. Grab onto the longest fabric handles on either side, spread your legs wide, and lean back slowly until your arms are straight.
#2 With your legs spread wide like a letter “V”, look at your toes and lean all the way back.
#3 Still looking at your toes, hook your feet around the trapeze fabric and lock them in place. Release your upper body and grab elbows above your head. Relax and hang here for up to 7 minutes!
This is a classic Yoga Trapeze pose as it lengthens the spine naturally and safely, using gravity.
Banana man is a variation of Traction Jackson. The pose is great because it’s a supported inversion and gives the “feel” of handstand while keeping you safe and supported the entire time. You can also use this posture to open your shoulders and back.
To do Banana Man properly, you need to make sure the trapeze is adjusted to the correct height. If the bottom of the sling is at belt-level on your waist (while standing), that’s the correct height for this pose.
#1 Sit in the Trapeze just like in the previous pose, open your legs in a wide “V” shape, and lean back just like before—remember to look at your toes. With your legs spread wide like a letter “V”, look at your toes and lean all the way back.
#2 This time, instead of holding onto your elbows, release your hands down and place your palms flat on the floor.
#3 Spread your fingers out and press firmly down. Feel your body weight moving into your hands, but keep your legs firmly locked on the trapeze fabric above.
#4 From here, press your arms fully straight and sink into your shoulders so your body bows like a banana. This is Banana Man!
The key to staying safe while you’re inverted is moving slowly. Resist the urge to come up or go back quickly. Instead, take your time and be mindful of what you are doing. Remember that when you’re upside down, it can be disorienting and easy to mistake your right and left legs, and up from down.
A simple trick is to always look at your feet before you move them. When you’re looking at your feet, it’s obvious where they need to go—even when you’re upside down.
So as you’re lowering back or coming up, be sure to look at your toes the entire time. Once you’ve got your feet firmly locked in place around the fabric, then you can look anywhere you like and move freely knowing that you’re stabilized.
Benefits of Inversions
The Yoga Trapeze is probably best-known as a spinal traction device. In our normal lives, gravity is pushing our spine together, compressing it and reducing the space between our vertebra. By hanging freely upside down from your hips, you reverse that process and allow your spine to lengthen and release. For anyone who suffers from back pain, tension or imbalances, this practice can feel like a miracle.
When you go upside down, it changes the blood pressure in your body and increases your circulation. This gives you a rush of energy and is believed to boost your immune system by stimulating your lymphatic system.
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