I Tried Aerial Exercise. Here’s What Happened...
Did you ever go to the circus and watch aerialists soar through the air? What about the ones who seem to glide effortlessly using nothing but silk to hold up their bodies? I know I have, and for years, I wished I could be like them. They looked so graceful, so daring, and yet, so strong. They really are a sight to behold.
Being a fan of circus arts, I always wanted to try some form of aerial exercise. Finally, at 31 years old, I finally decided to take the leap. I booked an aerial yoga class at a local place called the Sukha Arts Center. They’ve been in business for 10 years and were doing aerial yoga for the majority of the time they were open.
The hardest part of the class is the start.
My instructor, Fernando, was quick to tell me that starting the class is usually the hardest part. The entire room was filled with silky hammocks that were suspended in air. My first task? Get in the hammock.
Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite.
I could blame it on my heavier build or just the fact that I’m not a jumper, but it took several attempts to get into the hammock. It still takes a while to get the hang of it, and to be honest, I will probably need more than one class to figure it out flawlessly. Once I was in, the class was about to start.
Warmups were really hot.
Warmups in aerial yoga are a little bit different than a normal class. They use a blend between yoga, stretches, and core exercises to get your body heated up. We learned to stand in the hammock so we can do squats, did some quick arm exercises, and also did a little bit of deeper stretched.
The most hardcore warmup we did was the camel pose, which involved bending backwards in the hammock and grabbing your feet. I’m not going to lie; I was terrified of actually falling off the silk and hitting my head. That being said, Fernando was always there and he helped me feel confident enough to get into position.
By the end of the warmups, I was in a full sweat. This class is no joke!
Thrills, chills, and no spills!
The main event was doing inversions and yoga poses using the hammock—and I’m not even going to lie, it’s a little scary at first. I mean, you’re literally suspended in midair, and you’re doing all these wild poses. It’s normal to be scared, right?
We used hammocks to do all of the typical standing poses you’d see in yoga, including Pyramid and Warrior. Then, Fernando challenged me to do a hanging lotus. If you haven’t seen it before, this is that upside-down hanging pose that makes you look like you’re meditating. Don’t ask me how, but I did it.
Once that was mastered, he challenged our class to do flips. Using our arms to wrap around the silks, we brought our knees to our chests and performed an assisted flip. Then, came running flips. I was able to stay still long enough for Fernando to get a shot of me mid-flip!
Surprisingly, I never fell out of the hammock. Being a klutz, that says something.
Cool downs got me feeling like I nama-slayed.
After doing a couple flips, I was very ready to cool down...and we did. Cooling down involved a lot of low-stress streches, leg stretches, and of course a nice quick relaxation time in the hammock.
To help us leave a bit zen, Fernando gave us a nice little inspirational quote as a parting gift: “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” If nothing else, Fernando and Sukha Arts really brought that lesson to life. For that, I’m grateful.
Cover image via BPC