How Do I Prepare for a Trapeze Yoga Class?
What to Wear – Do’s and Don’ts
Please do not wear jewelry, belts, or clothing with grommets, gems, or anything that could potentially snag the fabric. Also trim your fingers and toenails. Avoid loose or short shorts or very baggy clothing. Sports bras are highly recommended for women. Make sure your leggings are opaque. Really thin ones will show more than you want. Layering stretchy shorts on top is another option if your tights are thin.Tights Capri length or full length are recommended for most classes. Compression shorts or dancer briefs for men will be needed.
Do not use hand lotion or sunscreen before class. You can bring a yoga mat to class, but it is not necessary. Eating or drinking is never recommended before yoga, but it is particularly important with Trapeze Yoga. If you need a snack 1/2 apple or banana should be fine. Some people enjoy ginger tea or ginger candy about an hour before class if they are prone to dizziness for the first couple of classes.
What Happens In a Typical Class?
While practicing Trapeze Yoga you will move through the same basic elements of a floor practice except that they are elevated in the fabric or using the fabric for alignment for the entire class. Some postures will involve only partial support from the sling, while others will require complete trust in the
fabric as it supports 100% of the body weight.
Please talk to the instructor before attending class if you have any medical issues that prevent you from inverting (glaucoma, heart condition, high blood pressure, detached retina, suffer from vertigo, pregnant) or putting pressure on your skin. If you have a spinal injury or medical condition, check with your doctor first.
How is the Yoga Trapeze different from mat yoga?
While many of the yoga poses we do on the Yoga Trapeze look very similar to their mat-based counterparts, the dynamics are unique. The Yoga Trapeze demands a great deal of upper body and core strength for even the most basic movements, such as getting in and out of the sling. It adds in the missing ‘pull’ motion lacking in mat-based classes.
The next big difference is the passive nature of many of the poses, particularly the backbends and shoulder stretches. Using the Yoga Trapeze, you’re able to assume extremely deep backbends in a passive way, allowing you to safely hold poses for long periods of time.
Key Yoga Trapeze differences:
- Demands a great deal of upper body strength
- Requires functional core strength for dozens of postures
- Builds grip strength
- Allows for passive backbends and spine decompression
- Increases space between lower vertebrae
Benefits of the Yoga Trapeze
Inversion therapy and its benefits have been studied in clinical trials, primarily with inversion tables and inversion chairs. We assume that the data translates into inversion therapy using the Yoga Trapeze, but there are surely some differences we’ve yet to discover. With that in mind, look at the research and draw your own conclusions with practice.
Regularly reported benefits:
- Instant traction on the spine (within two to three minutes)
- Relief of back pain and possibly sciatica
- Core strength development
- Deeper backbends and more open shoulders
- Functional upper body and full body strength development
What inversion therapy can do:
- Increase range of motion, particularly in flexion and extension
- Reduce herniated disk pain for injuries that are slight to mild (stage 1)
- Add 1-2 mm of space between L4/L5 and L5/S1 vertebrae
- Alleviate lordosis
- Reduce or calm activity in spinal muscles (measured in EMG (Electromyography)
What inversion therapy does not do:
- Remedy all pains, illnesses, and difficulties
- Flush your brain with blood
- Alter your blood-oxygen content
- Take it easy on you (it’s fairly aggressive)
Who should not do inversion therapy?
- Pregnant women
- People with stage 2+ herniated discs
- People with cardiovascular disease
- People with hypertension
- People with glaucoma
NOTE: Some students with cardiac disease or hypertension issues might actually benefit more from gentle inversion mat yoga rather than the Yoga Trapeze.
Daily practice is recommended as a supplement to any fitness routine. You’ll learn to love dozens of poses, but if you have to choose just a handful to incorporate into your daily routine, negative pull-ups, static hangs, Hangman, and Traction Jackson are the most effective. If you have the time and ability, our shorter flows (20-40 minutes) or full class flows (60 minutes) are a great full body workout and can be done in lieu of a traditional yoga class or other fitness routine. Students have to find what works for them, but most people quickly realize that the Yoga Trapeze can add something unique to everyday life.
The story of the Yoga Trapeze
Inversion devices in various forms have been used in yoga studios for decades, so the exact origins of the practice are unclear and are rarely agreed upon. While there were surely yogis hanging upside down from ropes attached to trees thousands of years ago, most people credit the late yoga master BKS Iyengar with popularizing and systematizing the practice.
In his studio in Pune, India, Iyengar introduced his yoga students (who came from all over the world) to many different yoga props that are now commonplace: blocks, straps, ropes, yoga chairs, and improvised yoga inversion slings. Iyengar himself appears in some of the earliest photos documenting inversion sling yoga practice. In the photos, he is using a thick rope and a stack of rolled up mats to practice passive backbends in his studio.
YOGABODY founder, Lucas Rockwood, first discovered inverted slings in 2004 while living in Thailand. Frustrated by the design and durability of early models, Lucas spent three years in development and eventually created a studio-quality device now known as the Yoga Trapeze. Today, it is used in homes, studios, and fitness centers in 81 countries around the world. While modern yoga props have improved in quality and comfort for inversion sling yoga, the fundamental concept is the same. These simple devices allow you to practice new and different poses in ways that can transform your practice, and in particular, your spinal health and core and upper body strength.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: The Yoga Trapeze is designed for daily use for students weighing up to 300 pounds. While it can certainly support more, we do not recommend it.
A: This is a common reaction for new students, and for no explainable reason, it seems to pass after two to five sessions. Do make sure you start slowly, with an empty stomach, and avoid caffeine. More than anything, it’s just a matter of practice.
A: You need to adjust the seat of the trapeze so it cradles your bum like a swing at the park (not like a hammock). This is a simple fix, but sometimes it can take some practice to shimmy the fabric out from under your legs and down your back.
A: There are many different inversion devices out there—some used in fitness settings, some used in performance and dance. The Yoga Trapeze is unique in that it has both a sling and handles, and it’s very accessible to beginners. There are other great styles of inversion yoga, but many are extremely advanced and the number of poses a beginning student can do is limited. The Yoga Trapeze can be used as a suspension trainer, and when the main sling is removed, it’s nearly identical in its function.
A: Yes, absolutely. You need to be extremely careful. Inversion therapy is very aggressive. This makes it effective, but also risky. Treat it with respect, err on the side of caution, and take it slowly.
A: Yes, it has happened but is surprisingly rare. As long as you follow instructions for going back and coming up, the Yoga Trapeze is very safe and stable. Also, when installed properly, you’re rarely more than an arm’s distance from the floor.
A: Clinical trials of inversion therapy usually vary from two to seven minutes. For spinal traction, there doesn’t appear to be more benefits with more time, so it’s more a question of you, your comfort, and your practice.
A: There are hundreds of medical doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors using the Yoga Trapeze personally and professionally, but personal opinions vary when it comes to treatment of back pain and physical fitness. Like anything, it really depends on the individual.