Some say that is was developed in January of 2006, although the date and place of its birth are hard to pinpoint after a quick internet research. In the typical Aerial Yoga class you will use such props as a fabric hammock and ribbon handles. The hammock and handles are hung from the ceiling and can be adjusted according to your height. The hammock will be able to support your entire body weight and it will help yoga students perform traditional yoga postures that many find challenging. From inversions to deep back bends anyone, and I really mean anyone, can do them in Aerial Yoga without strain or much effort. The purpose behind Aerial Yoga though is not only to be able to do challenging inversions it is said that the props used in Aerial Yoga allow your muscles to release, therefore giving you a better stretch without the risk of over stretching.
Armed with this knowledge I went to my first Aerial Yoga class at ReFlex Arts Dance and Yoga Studio in Sarasota Florida. I took the introduction class and I discovered that yes indeed inversions are really, really easy in Aerial Yoga if you can let your mind go and truly believe that the hammock will hold all your weight and not let you go crashing down to the floor beneath you. I had a lot of trouble if that. Even though I was unable to truly trust the props I was able to accomplish a few inversions. I was afraid to let my feet leave the floor and when they did I was afraid to let go of the handles. It is very disorienting feeling to know that you are not supporting your body. In my yoga practice I have come to trust that I can support myself and if not then I can catch myself. In Aerial Yoga I felt like I gave over that control completely to a piece of fabric.
Another thing that keeps many students from doing Aerial Yoga is the seasickness many of them will experience from the swaying of the fabric. Since we live on a sailboat I did not have that feeling, it was mainly the inability to give up control of my body to the hammock that kept me from truly enjoying “hanging” there.
Aerial Yoga is a neat thing to try and I recommend all those interested in yoga to try it at least once. Personally my enjoyment in yoga can be found on my mat using as little props as possible. I want to feel each one of my muscles working and watch my form and make the corrections mindfully to fully come into a pose. But since I have issues with letting go I will more than likely attend a few more Aerial yoga classes if for nothing else but learning to deal with fear and letting it go so I can trust something outside myself.
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