As simple as it may sound, one of the most challenging parts of an inversion practice is getting used to being upside down! Let's have a talk about how one can safely explore how to spend more time upside with comfort, control, and ease. First things first:
WHAT EXACTlY IS AN INVERSION?
An inverted pose is any physical shape where the head is positioned lower than the heart, regardless of your feet being on or off the ground! Common poses include headstands, handstands, downward facing dog, and standing forward folds. There are many reasons why people enjoy practicing inversions on a regular basis. It’s important to remember that individual results may vary and what works for one person may not work for another.
HOW DOES THE FEETUP TRAINER HELP INVERSIONS?
While inversions with the FeetUp Trainer may look very similar to those done without one, you’ll quickly find it supports your practice in two very distinct ways:
A) There is no compression on your head or neck! Thanks to a very comfortable cushion, bodyweight is evenly distributed across the shoulders.
B) You will have much more stability and control once you’re upside down. The sturdy wooden frame is incredibly stable, allowing for you to have more leverage and control to easily move through your inversion practice.
HOW DO I DO MY FIRST INVERSION ON THE FEETUP TRAINER?
HOW DO I INCREASE MY TOLERANCE FOR BEING UPSIDE DOWN?
Just because the FeetUp Trainer makes inversions easier does not mean your body (or mind) will be immediately ready to do them. Much like riding a bike or learning to drive, there is a learning curve when first starting to use the FeetUp Trainer. Some are more naturally able to invert faster than others. The best way to build a long-lasting practice of rewarding inversions is to GO SLOW as you learn to listen to your body.
WHAT IS A GOOD BEGINNER TRAINING ROUTINE FOR BUILDING A SOLID INVERSION PRACTICE USING THE FEETUP TRAINER?
The following routine can be done alongside any other practice you do with your FeetUp Trainer. The point is not to rush through the exercises in order to invert faster, but slow your practice down enough to do three things:
- Build strength and awareness while moving into each posture.
- Learn to maintain shape with smooth breath through the entire time you’re in the pose
- Maintain that control and awareness as you slowly exit the pose.
ROUND 1: FOUNDATION
Grounded inversions will help to develop awareness in your mind as the body acclimates to spending long periods of time upside down. Become familiar with the following basic postures and practice them twice daily (ex. AM and PM) until you can comfortably hold each one for 10 long, slow, and deep breaths for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT*:
- Supported Child’s Pose (rest pose from a kneeling dismount)
- Supported Forward Fold (rest pose from a standing dismount)
- Extended Downward Facing Dog (focus on comfortably pouring weight into the trainer through the arms)
- Supported Downward Facing Dog (allowing your shoulders to melt into the cushion while maintaining a neutral neck and proper hand placement)
*Individual results may vary! You might want to spend more time in each pose or need to modify to meet your current level. It’s all good! There is no rush.
ROUND 2: TRANSITION
Learning how to practice Safe Standing Dismounts helps your body safely return to the typical non-inverted position (head above heart). In both cases— be it standing or grounded— the head is the last part of your body to exit the inversion.
- Slow transition from Standing Forward Fold into Supported Down Dog (5 breaths)
- Safe Kneeling Dismount from Supported Down Dog to Child’s Pose (5 breaths)
- Safe Standing Dismount from Supported Down Dog through Supported Forward Fold (5 breaths)
Move with your breath— not against it. Keep your face relaxed and body fluid while remaining engaged throughout each movement. Don’t hold your breath! Enjoy it.
Continue practicing everything (including these extra exercises) twice daily for a minimum of three more days before moving on to the next step. Just like before, go at your own pace and take as long as you need to soak everything in!
ROUND 3: ELEVATION
Let's take our feet off the ground! You may enjoy putting your FeetUp Trainer against the wall for added support and confidence as you begin to explore fully inverted shapes. This round adds one more pose with two variations:
- Supported DownDog Single Leg Lifts (think 3 legged dog)
- Floating Tuck (aka The Gift), dismount to kneeling
- Floating Tuck, dismount to standing.
By now, you have probably spent enough focused time inverted to know how long is long enough. Keep your breaths even and long. Continue practicing all three rounds twice a day for at least another three days before progressing forward.
FINAL ROUND 4: EXPLORATION
It’s time to finally extend our legs upward. You should still do at least 2 full breaths in Floating Tuck before fully extending the legs upward for the following additions:
- FeetUp Asana (supported tripod / shoulder stand), dismount to kneeling
- FeetUp Asana, dismount to standing.
Don’t worry about how your inversions look. Bring awareness to how your body and mind feel while inverted. Each pose will make more sense the longer you spend in them.
The entire routine by this point:
- Supported Child’s Pose
- Supported Forward Fold
- Extended Downward Facing Dog
- Supported Downward Facing Dog
- Slow Mount from Standing Forward Fold into Supported Down Dog
- Safe Kneeling Dismount from Supported Down Dog to Child’s Pose
- Safe Standing Dismount from Supported Down Dog
- Supported DownDog Single Leg Lifts
- Floating Tuck, dismount to kneeling
- Floating Tuck, dismount to standing
- FeetUp Asana, dismount to kneeling
- FeetUp Asana, dismount to standing
OTHER QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
More or a size requirement, actually! If your shoulders can comfortably fit across the cushions, you’re good to go. Keep in mind that it’s less about age and more about the capacity for responsible use. Many of our users are in their teens or younger. We recommend adult supervision for anyone under the age of 18. For those who are young at heart but more experienced of age, we encourage you to check in with two people before starting any sort of new workout: your primary care physician and your self.
The FeetUp Trainer has been lab tested to hold weight up to 2000 lbs / 900kg before showing any sign of structural distress. We wrote an entire article about this!