Tonight I had my first experience with inversion yoga. I thought I knew what this was before hand but quickly realized I actually had no idea.
Inversion yoga or ropes yoga is the practice of suspending yourself in various positions, usually completely upside down, in order to allow the body to open, expand and heal.
I was interested in this because I could imagine how good this would be for your back. Inverting your body allows your spine to decompress and reverses the cumaltive effects of gravity on your body. It also increases blood flow to the head, nourishing your mind and face with oxygen rich nutrients.
Once I saw that we would be walking up a wall barefoot I started to get nervous. I had no idea this involved a wall at all - I thought it was ropes hanging from the cieling. But in fact, you use the ropes and your body weight to suspend yourself, walk up the wall, and then use different positions in order to hang.
As I wondered if I had enough upper body strength to do this I began to sweat. I was worried about slipping and falling onto my head or slamming against the wall (which made me sweat more). I wanted to run out and abandon the class all together, but I had already paid so I stuck around.
My first thought as I stepped up to the wall was, 'Trust yourself.' I could feel that's what it all boiled down to. I had to trust I could do this. I had to trust I would know when to stop if it was too much. I had to trust I was stronger than I believed. I had to trust I was more capable than I realized.
Trust yourself. You're stronger than you know. You're more capable than you know. Trust yourself.
As I went up my sweaty feet held strong. My arms also held strong, but at the same time, they let me know they could be so much stronger with proper effort. This feeling, that I am both strong and full of untapped potential, kept me going in pose after pose.
There were several different stages to the ropes class. Eventually we changed to using a swing, which I enjoyed a lot more. This involved us sitting in the seat, walking up, pressing our knees against the wall and then... leaning back. A lot more trust was needed here, but at this point I was much less nervous.
Each time we went upside down my body automatically went into some deep breathing. I don't know if the inversion did this or it was me trying to calm myself down. Either way, I felt incredible by the end of class.
Afterwards I could feel I had truly challenged not only my body, but my sense of self-limitation.
I had torn down what I thought I could do and opened to what I truly can do. It's not a class I would do every week. However, it is one I'm glad I showed up for and one I would certainly like to try again.
Below is a brief video of a man moving into a position on the yoga ropes wall. Do you have any experience with yoga ropes? What did you learn from it? Would you recommend it to others?