I did a proper inversion: with a little help

I am finally getting over the lurgae (bad cold) which was clearly helped by all my pills, Vicks and cough medicine (probably not but it made me feel more actively involved in my recovery). So finally I have had a go at my feet up trainer. This was bought by my sister for my birthday and its fair to say I was really chuffed and excited. I just wanted to get it built and get started. The cold held me back as my body wasn’t convinced that I could even screw the bits together never mind turn itself upside down. So I waited.

Yoga Inversions

These have eluded me so far. Clearly the photo on this blog isn’t me; Its what I would like to look like (and probably what I think I look like at times). Its not surprising though as I don’t have much core strength and am building this slowly through my practice. I have tried the dolphin to inversion on arms and with assistance from a very good and patient yoga teacher I got there. But not for long before my head decided it wanted to be touching the floor. My stomach also figured this was a good idea.

But there is something about inversions that makes me just want to do them. It is probably because they always were so achievable when we were children. So understanding why, as an adult (getting on a bit adult), my body doesn’t agree its a good idea is just confusing.

The Practice

They aren’t overly focused on in my yoga studio. There are workshops on arm balances which I have been too scared to try. I need to get stronger in my crow and my core to hold these things all together. Inversions, and particularly handstands, are not easy to do with control and in yoga it is about the movement, control and hold. So this is the difference with my childhood, where you would just go for it and the momentum would take you up. I can do a handstand at home against a door with this technique but its not what I am aiming for anymore.

How to get there? There are loads of different options. Check out Patrick Beach and sit back in amazement at what he can do. He, and loads of others do programmes which you can purchase and which do look amazing. If I am being honest though I think that will be a second stage for me. First stage is just being comfy in the position of being upside down and holding my stomach together long enough to start to feel supported. The alternative is a weird stomach wobble which is a clear indication that my legs should move towards the floor! So my first stage thinking meant that inversion chairs would be the best idea. I don’t want to do my inversions forever on them but I do want to start to use the muscles I will require for later attempts (free of props).

Inversion chairs

As I said, I was lucky enough to get a good one (Feet up trainer) from YogaMatters. There are loads of these on loads of different sites though (Amazon, Ebay etc.) at very different prices. A cheaper version can cost around the £60 and you can go up to the £180 or so. My one came in just under £120 and it looks like it has a bit of quality and I like the design of the legs and arms which allow you to hold on (hand placement). It has a facebook site and Utube videos galore for you to look at other newbies and experienced practitioners of inversions; so lots of great tips and advice to get you started. I think if you are going to use this go for something a bit more expensive (pounds per wear rules).

It is also worth getting a few books to start with (and then maybe going for the paid online courses at a later stage. I have the complete guide to yoga inversions (https://amzn.to/2KcBRqn) but there are loads to look at and they are useful in figuring out what the poses should be and what they should look like.

An upside down view

It is bloody brilliant! My first attempt took a bit of momentum and I did place it near to the wall – just in case i decided to inadvertently try a weird forward flip. But once up (or upside down) for the first time my first thoughts were ‘this is not as hard as I thought’. First small steps were to just hold and feel comfortable. I have also tried a few twists and leg drops / raises. This is probably where my practice will be focused as I do want to train and develop my core. I’m maybe not that graceful yet but I will get there. I probably need to do the whole video thing to record my development. Maybe not though. I prefer to write about it and consider myself as a graceful upside down person who looks like a yoga model. A video would shatter that view and deep down (deeper than my superficial vanity) I don’t really care – I just want to have fun doing my yoga. And my practice has just got a new toy to play with.