Douglas Adams once said that secret to flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Thankfully, the secret to floating upside down is a LOT easier! Here are 6 FeetUp exercises to help take a hands-on approach with hands-free inversions. There are plenty of variations to explore, so take some time and play with your movement practice.
Tick Tock Legs
Start with bending one knee to draw a circle with your foot to move heel behind opposite leg: down, back and around. Switch from side to side before trying both legs at the same time. Gorgeous!
Tree Leg with Extension
With one leg extended upward, bend opposite knee outward while sliding heel towards pubic bone (Inverted Tree pose). Straighten bent leg to half straddle before bringing heels back together in FeetUp Asana. Alternate from side to side while maintaining an even breath.
Hip Twist Split
From FeetUp Asana, rotate hips to the right and open up to inverted split (left leg forward, right leg back). Return to center and try the other side (hips left, right leg forward, left leg back). Once comfortable, try extending opposite leg forward in the direction of your twist as you add a full rotation while unwinding to a wide straddle. Try this in both directions a few times before adding a leg split switch at the end of the rotation after the straddle. The slower you go, the smoother the flow!
Butterfly to Straddle with Wavy Legs
Take a few deep breaths in an inverted butterfly pose. Play with opening and closing your knees from this position before extending legs into wide straddle. From straddle, try bending and extending one knee at a time to create a wave-like movement.
Floating Straddle Balance w/ Toe Grab
It's time to explore a balanced inversion with only one hand to support! From inverted wide straddle, slowly reach one hand forward from frame towards your toes. Carefully work down the leg towards to build confidence before attempting both hands at once. Try sending the hips back to help counterbalance. Look mom, no hands!
Straddle Balance to Feetup Asana
Once you've made it this far, take a moment to congratulate yourself. GREAT JOB! Get ready for the ultimate challenge. Start by finding a hands-free floating straddle in which you don't need your hands but know exactly where they will be if/when the time comes. Keep core engaged with a consistent breath as you work towards extending your legs outward. and up to FeetUp Asana without using your hands. By this point, you should feel comfortable using your shoulders, hips, and legs to find balance while inverted. Not there yet? Go back and master the earlier variations. You got this!
When it comes to safety, focus on how things feel instead of how they look... especially with a hands-free inverted practice. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the ride!