Every few months, I like to mix up my workouts to keep things interesting.
The aerial yoga at Webster Place Athletic Club had always piqued my interest, but since I’m extremely uncoordinated and a huge scaredy cat, I hadn’t given it a shot. So I asked a couple brave friends if they would join me in trying out a class.
To my surprise, I loved it! I cannot think of any other class that offers the opportunity to hang upside down or swing around like a carefree kid. And while you’re doing all this fun stuff, you’re stretching muscles you didn’t even know you had AND getting an amazing workout.
As I’ve tried out different classes and teachers, I realized how many false assumptions I had that had initially kept me away.
Myth #1: You Have to Be a Yogi
Simply put, I suck at yoga. And I don’t have the patience to “get good” at it. I can hardly touch my toes and even sitting crossed-legged is difficult.
Though yoga teachers are always patient and encouraging, it’s frustrating to be so far behind everyone else in a class. While there are always modifications, it’s embarrassing to be the person fumbling with the extra blocks, straps and props to try to get into a pose. And forget about flow. With my rudimentary yoga abilities, that’s just not gonna happen.
I found that in aerial yoga, it’s far easier for me to get into poses because I can use the silk as a prop. Plus, that prop is baked into the class format — it’s not “extra help” for “special people” (ie those like me who suck at yoga.) I really love the moves that help stretch out my hips or shoulders, which I never give enough stretching attention.
Despite the “Yoga” in the title of the class, I found that this was a really great class for me as someone who doesn’t do a ton of yoga.
Myth #2: You’re Gonna Fall
Hanging from the ceiling or flipping upside down definitely seems scary. Is it safe? What if you fall out of the thing?
I’ve found all the instructors to be very detailed in explaining exactly how to wrap the silk around your body in a way that makes it impossible to fall. The instructors keep a very close eye on everyone to ensure you’re doing things properly. And if you’re uncertain that you’re doing something properly, the instructor will be happy to come spot you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re usually pretty low to the ground. At their lowest point, the silks hang just a couple feet above the ground. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable or nervous, it’s super easy to put your feet or arms down to steady yourself.
Myth #3: You Have to Be Super Advanced
You know what the best part of class is? The very end when you wrap the whole silk around yourself and just hang and chill. Difficulty level? None.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not great at yoga. But even I could do a lot of the moves. The instructors often present different options so there’s always something within your ability level. You can also take breaks to catch your breath, which I do a lot. For example, I’m not used to hanging upside down, so after one of those upsidey-down moves, I usually take a minute or two standing until I feel grounded again.
That being said, the class can be as challenging as you want it to be. I’m gradually working my way up to more difficult moves and to being able to hold positions for longer than a few seconds.
Chose Your Own Aerial Adventure
Starting in January, two different formats will be offered in the aerial studio at Webster Place. Depending on the type of workout you want, you can do a more traditional yoga class or a bootcamp-type of class with more strength and cardio moves.
Aerial Yoga: Aerial Yoga is a fusion of several mind body disciplines including yoga, aerial arts, Pilates and dance, performed with silk hammocks. The classes are designed to strengthen and tone muscles. All levels welcome; no prior experience necessary.
Aerial Cardio + Strength: Do you want to get stronger without lifting weights? This class is a hard core workout to build core, arm and leg strength. This class uses your own body weight and the hammock to get you (or keep you) in top athletic shape. Join us for this creative and fun alternative for physical fitness. Anyone can do it and no experience is required.
Wanna hang out with me in aerial yoga? Check out the Webster Place January schedule to find a class. See you there!