I have been a bit of a yoga junkie for several years now. My initial encounters with yoga did not leave me very convinced though. The first classes that I tried were either just about stretching and breathing heavily or too challenging with crazy, advanced yoga positions like headstands and the likes. However, with the help of great yoga teachers I got totally hooked up in this practice. I realised that yoga is an excellent workout that can leave you breathless and aching with muscle pain but at the same time a way to achieve a perfect peace of mind and have more energy than you started off with.
Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga have been my favourite types of yoga for a while now but since starting Aerial or Antigravity yoga some weeks ago, I can tell you that I now have a new love affair. A former American gymnast, Christopher Harrison, has developed this yoga type which uses a silk hammock to perform traditional yoga poses mixed up with aerial arts and acrobatics. What I really loved about the first times of trialling Aerial yoga was the sense of being completely out of my comfort zone and needing to conquer some basic fears. The silk trapeze can be used to flip your body upside down with legs up in the ceiling and head hanging above the floor. It looks absolutely fabulous when somebody does it well but it is surprisingly terrifying at first. In later classes I recognised that Aerial is an excellent upper body workout that really challenges your arm muscles when you need to use only your arms and shoulders to keep your whole body floating in the air.
Aerial classes are a lot of fun. You get a sense of feeling weightless when you use the silk as a swing for “flying”. It was also very satisfying when I learned that I can use the hammock to get myself into yoga inversions that I have tried to practice for years but never really managed because of the compression they created on my wrists or neck. It is also wonderful exercise for meditation as you float in the hammock that becomes your own little cocoon.
I’m practicing Aerial yoga in Gymbox, which is my local gym, but I’m sure there are other dedicated yoga studios for Aerial around London and other big cities. It is one of the most fun new skills that I have learned in years, so I thoroughly recommend for everyone. In this desk-bound era that we live in, sometimes there’s nothing else that you need more than some time to let yourself fly high!
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