When the fitness studio I work at suggested a group outing to an aerial yoga class, I jumped at the opportunity to give this twist on yoga a try. Having seen photos of friends dangling from fabric on Facebook, I pictured myself twirling in the air and gracefully flipping around.
Well, I was pulled from that fantasy quite quickly at my first attempt to go upside-down. I don’t hesitate to describe my aerial yoga experience as a challenge, but it was also SO MUCH FUN!
After checking in and grabbing our rented mats (because we all forgot that you need a mat for yoga…), we stepped into the aerial yoga studio. Soft, crimson fabric flowed from various spots on the ceiling, and we were instructed to select a “hammock” suitable for our height. Once we were all situated, we chilled on our mats in child’s pose and moved through a couple of flows.
Then the fun began.
Our instructor demonstrated how to place our feet into the hammock, and once in the hammock, we used our arms to pull ourselves up to stand, and to squat back down. We were then shown how to thread our arms through the hammock. And then we were shown how to lean forward… and hang upside-down. Since everything had been smooth sailing up until this point, of course I was thinking “This is so cool, so fun, so easy!”.
I leaned slightly forward, and immediately began thinking many combinations of “uhhhhhh the ground is awfully close” “I am going to slam my head into the ground” “why am I here?” and “how do I get out of this?”. I looked around at my coworkers, who were at this point doing variations of hanging upside-down, some with their hands on the ground, some in prayer. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t quite get the hang of flipping over. The instructor offered to help guide us down, which I quickly took her up on. Surprisingly I did not smash my head into the ground.
We were more than halfway through class at this point, so our instructor offered up two options: we could all chill in savasana (the corpse pose you do at the end of class in which sometimes people fall asleep), or do some more flipping around. Both sounded equally intriguing to our group, so our instructor found a way to give us an option for both.
She started by having us sit in the hammock, which was a pretty awesome swing. If we wanted to move into savasana you could create this really awesome cocoon with the fabric. At this point, I was thinking “how can I get one of these in my house?!?”
We were then shown another way to hang upside down from the point of sitting down. We wrapped our legs into the fabric, leaned backwards, and dangled again. Going backwards was MUCH easier than leaning forward, much less of a “I’m going to bang my head into the floor” feeling. This wasn’t so bad! I gave it a try a couple of times, and then decided the cocoon was the way to go. Ah-mazing!
While this proved to be more challenging than anticipated, I am so glad I gave this a try! Some friends are interested in checking out aerial yoga now, so I’ll be giving it a go again. The hour long class flew by, and my muscles were certainly feeling it for a couple of days. Not many studios offer this in the Greater Boston area, but if you want to take a class try one at South Boston Yoga (http://www.southbostonyoga.net/).