Hanging upside down can relieve back pain and pressure on the spine. Yoga Trapeze instructor Nikki Bowles demonstrates the move. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
Yoga Trapeze might look intimidating, but twisting into pretzel-shape poses while hanging from the ceiling in a cloth swing can actually be easier to do — and easier on the body — than poses on traditional floor mats.
Instructors April Welty and Nikki Bowles at Next Level Yoga in Marble Falls said Yoga Trapeze is great for relieving aches, pains, and other ailments while offering a great workout. They both learned from experience.
The two opened their studio at 1510 U.S. 281 South, Suite 205, last year when Welty, who was working next door at Balance Massage, saw clients suffering from long-term body aches. She already knew the benefits of Yoga Trapeze; she was able to heal her own shoulder thanks to her dedication to it.
Once she began telling people about the practice, they wanted to try it.
Bowles’ story was similar. She had a pain spot on her shoulder she couldn’t shake. She tried Yoga Trapeze with Welty and was thrilled with the results.
“In two weeks, I strengthened the muscles in that area and released the tension,” she said. “It’s the only thing I’ve been able to stick with for a couple of years. It’s a consistent tool that I’ve used for my shoulders, back pain, and neck pain.”
Unlike traditional mat yoga, Yoga Trapeze uses non-elastic strips of soft cloth and three sets of handles that are 2 feet apart on each side to create a “rig.” At Next Level Yoga, each of the eight rigs can hold up to 300 pounds in the sling, where the yoga student initially sits. The ropes can hold up to 325 pounds.
Participants use the rigs for different poses ranging from the familiar, such as sitting, to the challenging, such as hanging upside down using arms and legs to hold the body steady.
Each pose is designed to zero in on what the participant wants to heal — back, shoulder, or spine pain — or tone and strengthen the body’s core, arms, and legs. Yoga Trapeze can also help with high blood pressure and pregnancy pangs. Some people do it to increase flexibility so they can rise out of a chair or off the floor more easily.
“We’ve had lots of different ages and body types,” Welty said. “You can make it more assisted or more intense.”
Not every pose is with your foot off the ground. Welty and Bowles work with people who might not be strong enough to get in the sling but find pain relief simply by holding the top handles and lifting their arms as they walk forward. That move helps with shoulder pain.
“It’s low impact if you follow instructions,” Bowles said.
“It’s low impact and high output upper body-wise,” Welty added.
While Yoga Trapeze is good for the individual body, it’s also good for building team spirit. The two instructors have led classes of employees, friends, and even bridal showers.
“People ask, ‘Is this going to be for me?’” Welty said. “Come in. I’m a helper and a healer. I want to make people feel better. You can’t make people feel good if they’re straining.”
Cost to attend an open class is $10 a session. A beginner’s class, led by Bowles, costs $15. Sign up in advance at nextlevelyogamf.com or call 830-201-4630 for more information.