If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that for the past month or so I’ve been trying to practice yoga. As a self-proclaimed balance-challenged individual, and as someone who has a really, really hard time “finding her inner calm,” yoga was never exactly my cup of tea. I looked at yogis the same way I looked (ok, still look) at runners: good for them, not for me. But as I started practicing at home (another shout-out to Yogi Adrienne) I was feeling more confident in my yoga abilities, my mind was calmer, and the thought of taking my skills into a public class seemed less scary. Enter Aerial Yoga.
It all started when a coworker (and friend) was in-town last week. She mentioned how stiff she was feeling after her long flight to NYC from LA, and threw out the idea of taking an aerial yoga class to stretch out a bit. My ears perked up. “Aerial yoga?” I said “that could be interesting…” Still off the booze and eager for a non-bar related activity, I quickly told her I’d join, and we invited another coworker/friend along for the ride (the same friend who got me into Yoga with Adrienne!) $25 and a walk across the street from our office to Om Factory, and we were ready for our Aerial Yoga class.
For those of you who have been wondering “WTF is she talking about, what is aerial yoga?” in short, aerial yoga is where a large, silk hammock hangs from the ceiling of a yoga studio (our class had about 15 hammocks), that are suspended so the bottoms are a few inches from the ground. A yoga mat rests underneath, and props such as a blanket and yoga blocks were nearby. The practice boasts increased flexibility and relaxation, and offers a fun twist on classic yoga. Depending on the class, various yoga poses are performed, including inversions, where part or all of your body may be suspended in the air. Talk about a head rush! Our particular class was a “restorative” 75 minute session, where no pose was too extreme, but was held for 3 to 5 minutes.
I really wish I had been able to take photos of myself and friends while we were suspended in positions that made me think I was at my gynecologist's office. We started off slow, but quickly switched to what seemed to be never-ending hip openers, where our thighs were spread-eagle in the air, while our hips were (somewhat uncomfortably) being held up by the silk hammock digging/resting on my skin while my head and shoulders plunged into the earth below me. As I deeply questioned whether or not my hammock could hold me, or if I’d be the first one ever to break through the silk (it’s weighted up to 2000 lbs–clearly we are all fine), it was a bit tricky to “find my focus.” There were stretches with the silk that allowed for further movement than normal, but I have a hard time relaxing with such slow movements (other aerial yoga classes offer a faster-paced yoga style). The last move involved “cocooning” ourselves; where our entire body is enveloped in the silk hammock, your body is outstretched, and you gently sway side to side. As my body gently rocked, I was slowly able to tune out the sounds of midtown, embrace the weird, and start to relax. And then the class was over.
Overall, I’d say aerial yoga was a positive experience, if for no other reason than I got to see my friends in ridiculous positions (did I mention I couldn’t stop laughing?). My inner thighs have NEVER felt so stretched out, and I did enjoy the vibe of it all (fancy yoga classes are niceeeee). I think I’d certainly try it again, but opt for a more classic-yoga style class, instead of something slower paced. Have any of you out there tried aerial yoga? What was your experience like?
Let me know what I should try next in the comments below!