When Jo Anne Rickard-Barnosky, 46, first saw videos of a yoga class suspended in the air, she knew she had to learn how to bring it to Howard County.
She had had chronic back pain for several years and thought that the inverted movements could stretch her back muscles – and offer a unique way to strengthen them.
“I kept seeing this advertisement on Facebook about how great inversions were for people with back pain, and I thought I should give it a try,” says Rickard-Barnosky, who has been working as a massage therapist for almost 18 years.
Two weeks after trying out her new Yoga Trapeze at home, she trained with YogaBody in Barcelona, Spain, in September. When she came back with her certification, she started teaching under the name Yoga Trapeze Baltimore at the Yoga Love studio in Highland.
“I knew that I wanted to teach at Yoga Love not only because the people are fantastic but also because I knew that they already had the hooks in the ceiling,” she said.
A Yoga Trapeze has three sets of handles on each side that help build functional strength through pushing, holding and pulling. The trapeze can help users to relieve back pain through core and upper-body strength development. It can also help to improve and allow for deeper backbends.
“I’m not very flexible but I was able to do everything that she wanted me to do,” says Michelle Zinnert, who takes the class on Saturdays with Rickard-Barnosky. “I think that there’s something to be said about using gravity and going upside down. It really does help you reach deeper and more effective stretches.”
For Karyn Dulaney, a physical therapist from Columbia, Yoga Trapeze is a new challenge.
“I wasn’t so sure about going upside down, but after I tried it I realized that it adds a totally different stretch to your workout,” she says. “We did some eccentric pushups by lowering and controlling ourselves. You can move and shift your body to create the extension that you want. I think it gives a lot of adaptability for people of all abilities.”
Rickard-Barnosky wants to expand the program to include a class for children and offer more class times.
“I want to continue to build these classes and to get the word out about Yoga Trapeze as much as possible,” she says. “I don’t think people know that you can hang it from trees and use it so many different ways to help strengthen your body.”