Ever since circus fitness became mainstream, I’ve kept my ears open for an opportunity to give some aspect of it a try. Silks, in particular, captured my imagination and last December, I saw a live silks routine at my company’s Christmas party that arranged for Zero Gravity to perform. Then at Christmas dinner, one cousin told us about a cool gig she got serving drinks at a party… upside down! She was wrapped in silks. In response, another cousin told us he was dating someone who dabbled in silks. Everyone’s doing it!
The most viable way for me to try this out was to catch a Groupon/LivingSocial/WagJag and it was a WagJag from Cardio-Go offering four or eight aerial yoga classes ($44 for the latter) that came along first. NPY was worried for me and I wonder if within the waiver I signed I didn’t sign something specifically waiving their liability if I set up my yoga swing improperly.
From the gym’s ceiling, heavy-duty straps hang from the ceiling with tens of options of loops to hang your OmGym yoga swing that comes in vibrant colours. Mine was teal but looks boring blue photographed in dim light. Hanging up my swing was dead easy with large S hooks that were sturdy.
We started with a warm-up and familiarizing ourselves with basic uses of a swing like using it to help extend our legs (similar to using a towel in regular yoga) and the multiple (3) handles. The 100% recycled nylon parachute material was smooth and strong.
First, we did some balance poses and I tend to love those best which means I tend to show off. That although I routinely skip stretching, am thirty-x years old and usually forget to maintain my flexibility, that I’m more flexible than most people. In the balance sequence, we hooked one foot into the sling, extended it forward and parallel to the floor and allowed ourselves to get into monkey pose (looks like full splits). Then we did dancer pose and tree pose. I totally cheated in tree pose with the aid of the swing.
Then we did some core exercises and planks are difficult for me (where my slacker-ness really shows through) and the instructor told us the swing made the side planks harder than normally.
We adjusted where our swings were hung so they would be lower to the ground to do inversions close to the ground like shoulder stand but I felt like I had adjusted my swing too low.
Then we were onto being upside down and inversions further off the ground from which the additional challenge was to open your chest or get into the Superman “I’m Flying!” pose. I didn’t uncurl my legs from inversion and thought I was breaking my back trying to do Superman. That was enough inversion and we stood up on the longest handles and I could do the suspended splits. I know, I show off.
Now, when people joke about corpse pose (savasana) being their favourite pose in yoga, I cringe at the hackneyed joke. I don’t particularly look forward to savasana–lying on a thin yoga mag on a hard floor–but how would they end aerial yoga? In a cocoon pose! We crawled into the hammock and lay in there for several minutes in a somewhat creepy and vulnerable fashion.
While I treat yoga classes as that long-denied stretching session and a tune-up on my flexibility, there are whole-body benefits and aerial yoga is no different. It purports to decompress tight joints, relieve pressure while aligning the vertebrae and create better body awareness while increasing overall agility. And for some poses, it is really beautiful. I am looking forward to my remaining classes to practice a variety of new aerial poses.
Edit: I brought Lil Sis along with me to a class on 25 August and she had never done a yoga class. Good thing for her the regular instructor was back and we did a core and upper body intensive class with so many planks and crunches and the neatest thing that I could almost do was a handstand push-up. The one yoga pose we did was an inverted warrior and another reason I brought Lil Sis along was so she could take a photograph!
On this day..
- more on l.a. - 2005