I know what you’re probably thinking.
When you first see photos of a Yoga Trapeze class, there are two likely reactions: 1. Whaaaaaa? No way, I could not do that. Or 2. Whaaaaaaa? Where do I sign up?
I was in the latter camp when I first found out about Nova Yoga Trapeze in Topsham. (No joke, I was scrolling through the ol’ Facebook, saw a photo of a few women suspended in the air, their arms stretched out, grins on their faces, and I knew I wanted to try it immediately.)
Nova Yoga Trapeze (It’s now called Hyper Fitness), located on Topsham Fair Mall Road, was opened by instructor Marcia Lajoie last year. Marcia is the only Yoga Trapeze instructor in the state, hence why most of us haven’t seen this kind of suspension yoga before. (Note: She originally opened at a location in Bath, and that’s where these photos were taken.)
It’s similar to aerial yoga, if you’ve tried that before. But the Yoga Trapeze has some differences. Rather than the stretchier nylon hammock often used in aerial yoga, a Yoga Trapeze is made from the same fabric as a parachute. It is mounted in two spots, so you can swing forward and back, but won’t spin, and there are also three set of handles, set at different lengths.
In a nutshell, the Yoga Trapeze helps you stretch your body – including stretches that keep one foot on the ground and stretches where you’re totally inverted, your body supported by the fabric and your head and arms dangling toward the floor.
Also: It’s a load of fun. Marcia teaches with a excellent balance of instruction and good humor. She’s welcoming to new students – as were a few regulars I met who have been going since Marcia started – and she walks around during class to help make sure you’re positioning is right or to help with modifications. This isn’t a silent meditation kind of class, but one where you’re free to laugh and enjoy the experience out loud.
It’s upbeat, but also challenging.
We spent some time doing core work – planks with our feet elevated in the fabric and crunches done while we were hanging upside down. And elevated pushups with our legs in the fabric and our hands on the lowest set of handles. Not easy stuff! My abs burned and my arms shook.
But the real treat of Yoga Trapeze is the dangling. The upside down. The inversions, if you prefer.
We spent a good deal of time up in the air – and many of the poses included quality time with our heads hanging towards the floor (if you struggle with being upside down for long, there’s no pressure to go there or stay there. I happen to love it immensely).
And for those who immediately thought, “Nah, I couldn’t,” know that these classes ARE beginner friendly (my friend Taylor had never done any kind of yoga before and she did perfectly well in this class. And while there may be some positions you don’t do or modify, on the whole it’s open to all levels. The Yoga Trapeze is weight tested to 450 pounds).
In those inverted positions, I let my body hang heavy. I could feel my spine lengthening – like there was space in it that wasn’t there before. It felt good to have gravity reversed, my face flushed red with the blood rushing to my head.
My muscles enjoyed the deep stretching (my hamstrings in particular got some much-needed attention). And it was awesome to spend time in the air, stretching out in positions like “Superman” and “Flying spider.”
And let’s not forget the best part of any yoga practice: savasana.
Nova Yoga Trapeze
65 Topsham Fair Mall Road, Suite 2, Topsham
$20. Registration recommended.
Fall/winter class times: Tuesday 6 a.m., Wednesday 6 p.m., Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. See the schedule to confirm class days and times. Private classes available for groups of 4 or more.
FMI: www.novayogatrapeze.com and www.facebook.com/novayogatrapeze
Bonus: Bath Brewing Co.
If you’re hungry or thirsty after your yoga trapezing, I highly recommend Bath Brewing Co. on Front Street. The food is excellent (amazing fries and I had a delicious roasted vegetable sandwich) and, oh yea, the BEERS! The space is pretty fantastic, too, and we saw lots of kids and families coming in a recent Sunday.