Ah, the weekend. Every Friday evening it brings the promise of rest, relaxation and of course – fun! I originally had some major touristy things planned, like ice skating and viewing the Rockefeller Christmas Tree… but unfortunately the weather had other things in mind. Which is why, when I awoke to icy rain and slushy snow this Saturday, I booked an Aerial Yoga class at Studio Anya instead. I mean, “flying into the weekend” sounded almost as fun as skating into it.
Located on the 8th floor of a building in Flatiron, the bright and warm studio was the perfect escape from the dreary, cold weather. The room itself is very spacious with a dozen or so grey, turquoise and lilac silk hammocks hanging from the ceiling and a generous amount of greenery decorating the windows. After hanging up my coat, I found an open hammock near the mirror and waited for it to be adjusted by the instructor, Sunny.
Once everyone had their hammocks adjusted for their height, the class began. We soared, stretched, flipped, and inverted ourselves into various positions for about an hour before ending in a really cozy, suspended Savasana. Not only was it a great workout but it was also SO much fun!
For those of you who are hesitant to try Aerial Yoga (sometimes referred to as Anti-Gravity Yoga) here are a few reasons why taking your practice off your mat might just be the best thing you’ll ever do.
Flying Is Fun
Seriously, this is the #1 reason why you should try it. I even dragged my boyfriend, Bay, to an Aerial Yoga class a few months ago and despite his usual disdain for yoga – he had a blast. There’s something almost childlike about spinning and flipping yourself upside down in the air. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll laugh, and even if you don’t nail every pose, you’ll have a good time!
You’ll Discover How Flexible You Can Be
I’ve reiterated my lack of natural flexibility countless times (just read my flexibility post HERE) and yet when I was suspended in the air I found that the full range of motion helped me stretch further than I typically can on the ground. The hammocks help you focus on proper alignment and gravity really plays a role in deepening each of your stretches. It’s a great way to get better at poses that you’ve been incorporating into your regular practice.
Spinal Decompression Feels Amazing
If you sit at a computer desk all day like myself or if you’re simply suffering from lower back pain, Aerial Yoga is perfect for you. When you are suspended upside down, your spine is slowly able to decompress as space is found in between each disk and your vertebrae reverts to it’s correct alignment. You may even feel your back crack a few times during class!
It Builds Upper Body & Core Strength
Hello abs! Instead of relying on your legs, Aerial Yoga requires you to pull your body into various poses using your arms and core alone. It’s a great way to intensify your strength training and build the power needed to eventually do handstands or arm balances on the ground.
Inversions Are Super Easy
Ha – that’s probably the first time I’ve ever written that sentence before. If any of you have tried headstands, handstands, or forearmstands before you’ll know they are far from “easy.” Yes, after a lot of practice you’ll eventually feel confident in inversions, but this can take years and years of training. That’s because when you practice inversions on your mat you’re fighting against gravity, whereas in Aerial Yoga you are working with gravity. Hanging out upside down becomes comforting and can be done safely, without any risk of falling flat on your face!
Are you ready to take your practice into the air? Here are a few tips that’ll help you get through your first class:
- Eat a healthy meal 2 hours before to prevent getting sick
- Avoid wearing any jewelry or leggings that have zippers
- Make sure you’re properly hydrated and bring some water in case you start to feel lightheaded
- Put your hair in a bun or ponytail
- Wear a top with sleeves to ease the discomfort of having the silk hammocks under your armpits
- Bring a friend who can snap a photo of you when you’re done!
Just a note of warning – you may experience some dizziness and discomfort during class. There are a few poses where the silk hammocks press into your pressure points, which can feel a bit unpleasant. Remember to honor your body and choose to opt out of a pose if it feels painful. Since you’ll be upside down for a very long time, a little dizziness is completely normal and the more you practice being inverted, the less lightheaded you’ll feel.
I truly loved my Aerial Yoga experience and can’t wait to get back in the hammocks. I’m going to do my best to attend a class once a week – so for those of you who have ClassPass and want to join me just give me a shout! I love meeting up with new fittie friends.