The Freedom in Flying

My dream of being a circus performer has finally arrived at my local yoga studios.  No, I’m not trying out trapeze classes (although it may be a fun adventure in the future); suspension or anti-gravity yoga has now arrived in Canada.  About 3 years ago, I wrote about a fascinating new trend in yoga termed Anti Gravity  yoga.

Whether you call it anti gravity, suspension or aerial yoga, the concept is still the same.  An entire yoga class is done while suspended in a swing like device.

Recently, I had the pleasure of trying my own flying and I’m now addicted.   New physical activities can be a bit of a challenge for me so I wasn’t sure if I could get the knack of this flying thing. But with a few helpful tips and some hands on help, I was flying with the rest of the class.

If you’re planning on trying flying , I recommend signing up for a beginner workshop.  These classes will go through the basics at a slower pace, demonstrating how to carefully put the sling fabric  on the large hook.  The Om Gym Suspension , one of the suspension kits available on the market, includes the hammock like sling made of 100% recycled nylon, a cushion and six handles.

If you are a newbie, the entire device can be very confusing.  I was completely baffled.  Luckily, Beatrix Monatille, owner and instructor at the Flying Yogi studio  was used to  individuals like me (you should see how long it takes for me to put up a tent) and walked the class through the entire system.

A typical beginner’s class  should  start very low to the ground.  My introduction class began with Monatille describing the history of aerial yoga and the benefits of this form of yoga.

The purpose of the first part of the workshop should be on getting students used to the nature of a sling. In a typical class, the sling should be used as an extension to our natural body. This tool allows our body to move, stretch and relax in ways that would be difficult to do on the ground.  One of the main focuses that Monatille worked on was how to maneuver our body through the sling while still in the air.     After a few tries, I was definitely getting a handle of the sling and having fun moving my body and the sling around.

This is one of the unique benefits of a beginner workshop.  Not only do you have the opportunity to understand how the sling works but you usually have some additional time to find your own groove.  Once I became confident with the sling, I loved lying on my stomach and allowing my body to naturally fly.  It was empowering and completely liberating.

The second half of the workshop ran like a typical yoga class.  Except for the minor detail that part of my body was suspended.    It was an absolutely amazing experience.  The sling enabled my body to move in ways that I had previously found challenging.   Balance was no longer an issue as the sling provided the natural support my body needed.

Some of the Benefits of aerial yoga include:

  • Reduced strain on your back and neck
  • Decompress tight joints
  • Relieve pressure in other areas of your body
  • Increased relaxation
  • Easily do inversions without placing strain on your body
  • Helps with insomnia
  • Stimulates creativity by moving your body and mind in a new and unique way

Aerial yoga is a completely new way of moving both your body and mind.  It is extremely relaxing and mentally stimulating at the same time.   I loved every moment of the class, and am continuing to practice at my local studio.   However, I have to admit that my favorite portion was at the end of the class with Savasana.   There is something incredibly beautiful with a roomful of students silently swinging themselves to sleep.

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