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August 12, 2019

How to go Upside-Down, Without Fear. {Partner}

“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” ~ John Wooden 

 

This article is written in partnership with FeetUp—they’re dedicated to making safe, joyful inversions possible for everyone, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.

 

I’m a mover, by all standards.

I majored in Dance in college, practiced yoga for years—and became a Registered Yoga Teacher in 2015. I’m a runner and a hiker.

So it’s slightly embarrassing to admit that until recently, I was terrified of inversions.

I remember trying to do handstands in high school, falling, splitting my lip, and declaring that it just “wasn’t for me.”

This fear carried through for years.

Even as my practice of yoga advanced, I would typically hide out in Child’s pose while other students explored a variety of upside-down positions.

When signing up for yoga teacher training, my greatest fear was the inevitable day when we would practice inversions. Eventually, that day came. I made as few attempts as I could get away with—and always up against a wall.

In the years since, there’s been some progress. I’ve pushed myself to keep moving through fear, continuing to try and balance upside down on the regular. Yet the terror still lingered. I got nervous every time. Still embarrassed around other yogis, one would often find me hiding out Child’s pose in the very public environment of a studio class. 

The game changer

A raised eyebrow is usually my only response to new tricks for nailing inversions from enthusiastic fellow yogis—’cause these “tricks” have never done the trick for me. 

Imagine my skepticism when I first heard about the FeetUp Trainer and its supposed superpower: getting anyone safely and comfortably up into inversions.

On the very day it arrived in the mail, I pulled it out of the box, assembled it, and put it in my living room. After a few minutes checking out the FeetUp pose guide, I thought, What the hell, positioned myself onto it, and then popped up into an inversion.

Just. Like. That. 

No big deal.

It was, without a doubt, the most effortless inversion I’ve ever done. So I did it again. And again…

A great prop is like a great teacher

Yoga can be hard, but it can also be simple. A great teacher and a great prop both help make accessible what once seemed out of reach, giving us the support we need to explore those scary, juicy places.

The FeetUp Trainer does this—allowing us to go upside down without the risk of slipping, or tipping over, and without any pressure on the neck and spine.

Enjoy all the benefits of inversions right away, go FeetUp >>

 

Inversions are now more a part of my daily life than they’ve ever been before. I’ll be drinking my morning coffee, glance at it sitting on my floor, and stroll over for a start-of-day upside down session. If it’s been a stressful work day, I’ll fall heart-over-head and spend a few minutes letting my reorientation do its magic.

Using my FeetUp Trainer reminds me of some of the movement concepts we studied over and over again in my dance and human movement courses in college.

My favorite professor shared a movement tenet that has stayed with me for years: We must have stability in order to find mobility.

In other words, stability and mobility is a necessary pair. Mobility simply cannot exist without stability. This becomes incredibly clear when we practice inversions.

The kind of yoga we can’t take a picture of

Inversions might help digestion, reverse the effects of aging, sharpen mental acuity, and bolster our immune system, but it’s not worth taking risks to achieve them.

Especially with the rise of Insta yoga, many of us have been sacrificing our physical safety and well-being for the sake of a striking pose. 

Finding freedom of movement only becomes possible when we access stability, security, safety. We must feel stable and grounded in order to play, to explore. It is only from a place of safety and groundedness that we can test our limits.

FeetUp gives us the chance to find stability. It offers a supportive, safe, accessible base for those of us who have inversion aversion to feel comfortable upside down. From this place of safety, we can play. We can practice. We can develop the muscle memory and strength that inversions require of us.

The FeetUp Trainer asks us to be kind to ourselves instead. It encourages us to stay in alignment. It offers us the physical support needed to take strain off the spine.

Yoga is never about how we look. It is about how we feel. It is about the sensation of inhale and exhale. The sensation of muscle moving across bone, of tendons stretching, of pulse quickening. Yoga is sensation, not sensational. It is one of the only practices in our lives that encourages us to dive inward rather than outward.

With the FeetUp Trainer, we have a means to pull away from the strenuous, Instagrammable poses and practice for our own selves—not for how a photo will turn out. It still makes a pretty cool photo, though.

As in yoga, so in life

There is no better teacher than experience—while inversions may be transformative and healing, not everybody is the same and the things that work for one person might not for another. 

Foundation before decoration. Slow before fast. Breath before movement. Stability before mobility. Awareness before, during, and after everything. 

In yoga, and in all things.

FeetUp® Trainer™

1. Master Inversions Safely & Easily, Within Minutes.

Fair, Vegan & Sustainable.
1/3
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "Good for chickens :)" Mindy on Jul 08, 2019: "I have been quite nervous doing headstands. I've been practicing with the Feetup trainer and am feeling quite successful! I found some Youtube videos also that I am doing with the trainer. I'm excited to get stronger and more proficient. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who feels like they need a boost."
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author: Kelsey Michal

Image: @helloanascanio on Instagram

Image: Author's own

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren