New Things: Aerial Yoga

When you go into an aerial yoga class, you really think you’re going to look like this...

So when I wanted into MyHotYoga a couple of months ago, I had a pretty inflated sense of my abilities.  I’ve been doing yoga on and off for years, and was a pretty bendy movey little gymnast for the majority of my childhood.  I definitely had this right?

 For the first half hour, I looked more like this...


 Here’s what you need to know about taking an aerial yoga class.

 1.       If you get motion sick from looking at a swingset, this might not be your bag.  You move around. A lot.  You hang upside down while your instructor teaches you to contort yourself into positions you’ve only seen in the kama sutra. I have a friend who has to take a Dramamine just to get through the class. (But when she does, she’s a-okay.  So there are solutions.)

 2.       It’s all about trust.  At my studio the instructors always make sure to inform new students that the slings are designed to hold up to 5000 lbs.  You will not believe her.  But it’s totally true.  I’m not saying you can’t fall out, (I totally did,) but as long as you’re trusting yourself and the sling (I wasn’t) the movements are designed to catch you before you faceplant into the floor. Also, and this is huge, you have to trust yourself to know your own abilities.  I have teensy handy and very short t-rex arms.  There are moves that I simply can’t do, or things I have to modify in order to complete. For example: the straps have foam handles to grip when you’re doing dismounts and inversions but my teensy child size hands can’t get the proper grip to sufficiently hold myself.  So I have to move the grips and just hold the sling.  My hands do get a little more friction (they look like this now.) 

 3.       You’re going to use muscles that you didn’t even know existed in the human body.  It’s pretty easy to assume you’re going to need some upper arm strength for this, but I’ve been amazed at how much it works out my core and back as well.  It’s a super great workout without feeling like you’re over-taxing your body AND the extension you get in your back from inverting will literally change your world. 

4.       You don’t have to be teensy. One of the things I love most about my classes is that there are so many different body types together.  Because it’s all about making your practice work for you, there is no pre-conceived ideas that you need to be incredibly fit or teeny tiny.

5.       It’s SO fun. There are times I love a very quiet, meditative yoga practice, but most of the time I want to be able to talk, giggle, and listen to fun music.  This is totally the class for that.  While your shivasana is still a more quiet reflective time, the rest of the class is generally me laughing out loud or grunting from the exertion to get myself into that dang superman. 

 6.       On that note… wear tighter fitting clothing, and just expect a little rubbing.  I’m partial to wearing below the knee yoga pants (less rubbing on my thighs, like in the picture of my girl Rachel below,) and a tank top, because c’mon y’all, you’re hanging upside down! 
 All in all I’m a complete and total aerial ADDICT.  It’s one of those workout that you definitely can feel, but you’re having so much fun you don’t even mind.  I’m always challenging myself to new moves and every week I get a little closer to feeling like a total badass.

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