PART IV: Back Bendson the Yoga Trapeze®
by Lucas Rockwood
The yoga trapeze is an amazing and powerful at-home inversion therapy tool. It allows you to use gravity and your own body weight to improve upper body strength, core strength, flexibility and much more. This month, we continue with our step-by-step tutorials focusing now on back bending.
Whether you love or hate backbends we all need to do more of them! Below you’ll learn some variations on classic yoga backbends that will give you a totally different stretching experience and hopefully allow you to go deeper than you thought possible.
Hangman Pose with the yoga trapeze provides a really deep shoulder stretch and backbend. Stress and tension tend to accumulate around the neck and shoulder area—especially if you have job where you spend all day at the computer (which is most of us!). This posture is great for an intense upper back and shoulders stretch.
How to Practice
Start by kneeling down in front of the trapeze. Reach out and grab both handles.
Carefully, lower down onto your belly and spread your arms wide as shown in the photo.
Wiggle your belly forward to make the stretch deeper, back to lessen the stretch.
Drop your head completely, melt your chest between your shoulders, and breathes here.
The last step is optional. You can bend your elbow to 90-degrees and drop down deeper with your head relaxed.
To come out of the pose, take the arms apart and slowly and release one arm at time down onto the floor.
CAUTION: Hangman is an intense stretch. To make sure you’re ready, try Hangman at the wall first (as shown) for 2-3 minutes before progressing to Hangman on the trapeze.
Ferris wheel is a deep stretch for the entire front of your body—not just your back. It stretches the abdominals, the chest and intercostals, the arms, and the muscles on the tops of the legs. The trapeze is a great tool to practice back bending because you do it passively, without any muscular energy. You may feel very different here than you would on your yoga mat—and that’s normal. Remember, Ferris Wheel is essentially floor bow upside down with the trapeze providing the support that would normally be provided by your arms and legs.
Lift up and sit in the trapeze sling. You want the fabric to cover just your bum—not down your legs or up your back. Wiggle and adjust the fabric to make a small seat.
Bend your knees deeply and spread your legs wide to provide a counterbalance for your upper body.
Slowly, grab the long handles and lower yourself down as far as you feel comfortable. While it can feel scary at first, your job is to relax completely and breathe gently.
With your hands, you can leave them outstretched, or you can clasp your elbows above your head.
If you feel comfortable and relaxed here, you can go deeper by bending your knees more and clasping the ankles with your hands.
Come out of the pose the same way you went in. Take hold of the long handles, and slowly pull your upper body up. Keep your knees bent and legs spread apart as your rise to stay balanced and safe.
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