At first appearance, a trapeze class and a yoga class may seem to have nothing in common. But after recently taking a trapeze class for the first time myself, this yogi has found many great correlations between the trapeze experience and the experience of practicing yoga.
1. Lengthening the Body
The practice of yoga asanas is all about strengthening the musculature while stretching and lengthening the body. In many ways, the trapeze class provides the same experience.
When swinging on a trapeze – either by your arms or swinging by your legs – the momentum of the movement, along with the force of gravity, works to deeply stretch and lengthen your body, providing a feeling of balance at the end of the session.
2. Being Present
In yoga classes, we often work to stay connected with the present moment through conscious breathing, that is united with the movement and transitions between the yoga postures. During a trapeze class, the action of swinging in the air is like a surreal experience of flying, and the breathing pattern during the action of swinging seems to align with the movement in a way that is similar to yoga.
On the backswing of the trapeze, I seemed to take a natural deep inhale and on the forward swing, a natural exhale. The experience, overall, seems to inspire an automatic "presence of mind, body and breath."
3. Feeling Invigorated
Just like inverted yoga poses make a yoga practitioner feel invigorated and alert, the trapeze experience provides a similar sensation. The rush of swinging from the bar provides a heightened sense of awareness and alertness. And transitioning to inverted positions on the trapeze bar, as well as engaging in partner catches, can truly rev up the endorphins and feelings of euphoria during the class.
Trying a trapeze class is not necessarily for everyone (and certain factors including fear of heights may make the experience unsuitable for some). However, yogis who get the bug to try a trapeze class might find that they can transition naturally into the "zen" of trapeze and find the awareness of the present moment that they experience on the mat.