Yoga Trapeze – Adding Another Dimension to Your Yoga Practice – By Angela Whimpenny – as published in the April 2022 issue of the YOGA Magazine

When I first set eyes on a yoga inversion sling I just knew I’d love it. Being upside down has been something I’ve enjoyed and explored ever since I can remember and I still take every opportunity to do headstands, handstands, cartwheels or simply hang on pretty much anything I come across. I always joke that my fondness for being inverted comes from being a breech baby!

It was my love of inversions and expression of myself through movement that first led me to begin practising yoga in early adulthood and I quickly discovered there was so much more to these postures and the many and varied benefits they bring. This in turn drew me to study yoga in more depth.

Fast forward more than thirty years and as a qualified yoga teacher I decided to broaden my teaching skills. The yoga inversion sling or Yoga Trapeze was the obvious choice.

The Yoga Trapeze is a fun and effective way to build strength, flexibility, balance and stamina. It combines inverted poses in an anti-gravity class using the floor, handles and a suspended material sling. It also incorporates a child- like element of play. All this allows an increased range of movement and access to many postures such as deeper backbends, shoulder openers and inversions that may not be as achievable on the ground for many people, even the most seasoned yogi such as myself.

There are a wide range of benefits: building strength throughout the whole body with a particular focus on the core, upper body, back and supporting muscles; improving the circulation of blood and lymphatic drainage as well as lowering the heart rate; relaxing the nervous system, relieving stress and boosting the immune system; improving focus; energising the body, boosting confidence and patience.

Yoga Trapeze can relieve back pain by reversing the compression of gravity, decreasing pressure on the discs and increasing the space between vertebrae acting as a kind of traction. In our everyday life we sit, stand and bend all of which puts pressure on the discs in the spine. This can cause backpain. Stretching out the spine can alleviate these symptoms. Regular practice also improves grip strength. There is a considerable body of research which suggest that grip strength can predict our overall health. A strong grip is important for our mobility but is also an indicator of endurance and general strength.

There are, of course, some people who should avoid inversion therapy such as pregnant women, those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease and it’s always advisable to seek medical advice if in any doubt before embarking on a new activity of this nature. Check that any equipment you use has been safety tested and the instructor is suitably qualified.

If you’ve never tried a yoga inversion sling then maybe it’s something you could explore. There are a wide range of poses to be mastered as well as the inversions and the suspended cocoon relaxation is simply bliss. So why not give yourself a new challenge and have a whole lot of fun along the way?

Angela has a deep passion for yoga and had an extensive personal practice before completing her teacher training with Yoga Life Eastbourne. She has since continued her learning journey to include amongst others Yin Yoga and Yoga Trapeze.

You will find her teaching at various venues in and around Eastbourne including studios, leisure centres, private clubs and outdoor locations. Anj offers Yoga Trapeze classes and workshops in the Yoga Life Studio, Eastbourne and also privately.

Find her on Facebook – ‘Yoga Anj’ and Instagram – @anj.whimpenny

Photos by @sarahcarmodyphotographyuk

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