What is Aerial Yoga?
Most of us have attended a yoga class or three at some stage, and it undeniably is an uplifting means to nurture your body. Focussing on breathing, blocking out all the issues and pressures of the day, yoga certainly builds body awareness and a sense of feeling grounded. Aerial yoga creates that similar sense of self, but in addition there is the fun factor of swinging free in the air while comfortably close to the ground. In an aerial yoga class you are exercising while supported in soft fabric slings. At Miss Fit Dance Studio we use the Fly Gym slings which include a main body sling and loops for your legs, arms, shoulders and wrists. This creates the potential for a far more extensive array of exercises and the ability to increase the difficulty of each exercise – the fewer loops you use the harder it is.
The first thing we need to do is to trust the sling. The first question everyone asks is “Am I too heavy?” Fear not. The slings have been safety tested to up to 1000kg and in our studios they are suspended from solid metal beams. It’s very safe.
As there are so many ways to get in and out of the slings it takes a little practise till you feel comfortable with the various holds. However, that is part of the fun of learning a new skill. Our floors are carpeted so if you do exit your sling a little awkwardly it’s always a soft landing, and all the exercises are being performed close to the ground.
Once you do learn to trust the sling and to relax into the swinging motion, the whole experience is quite uplifting and very relaxing. Our students just will not leave their “cocoon” hammocks at the end of the class!
Unlike exercises performed on the floor, when you are suspended in the air it is much easier to take every joint through a 360 degree range of movement. There is no jumping or jarring so it is ideal for those with joint problems. The stretch that you feel using gravity is very natural and not as painful as forcing yourself against the floor, wall or stretching blocks. A huge range of exercises can be performed that will condition various parts of your body, either by resisting against gravity or against the fabric. One of my favourite exercises is to hang upside down for a fantastic back stretch. Allowing gravity to stretch out those tight muscles is as effective as any massage I’ve ever had (not to mention quicker and cheaper!)
While the Fly Gym exercises complement the exercises and goals of our pole dancing students, you do not need to be a pole dancer to benefit from it. It is a form of exercise that everyone can do – gentler on your body than pole dancing – and also suitable for those with joint problems who cannot partake in regular exercise classes. Fly Gym classes can be used as part of a rehabilitation programme following injury.
We wear track pants or yoga pants and a t shirt. It’s a very simple, low fuss class. The exercises are tailored according to your level of ability, but many are harder than they look. You’ll see why it’s called the “accidental workout”!
We offer Fly Gym classes on weekday mornings and Saturdays at our Castle Hill and Artarmon studios. Check it out – you won’t regret it!