Trying to be graceful at aerial yoga.
SINGAPORE Ask me how I usually spend my Saturday afternoons and for sure I’ll tell you that it involves something to do with Netflix and nothing related to working out.
For quite some time, I’ve been toying with the idea of aerial yoga, which is also known as anti-gravity yoga. I kept putting it off for fear that my natural clumsiness would have me face-planting the floor instead of soaring like a bird.
After weeks of procrastination, I finally signed up for my first class. On the day of “flying,” I arrived at the studio early, cracking awkward jokes to ease my nervousness.
Aerial yoga is a combination of acrobatic arts and yoga exercises that you practice with a fabric hammock. Made out of a stretchable silk-cotton material, each hammock supports weight of up to 1,000 kilograms and is held up by carabineers, chains and straps.
The instructor first helped us adjust the height of our hammocks and then we were off to very simple stretching exercises. Before long, we were going into full inversions which were surprisingly easy.
What I found most challenging while hanging upside down was staying in position for an extended period. At one point, I fell out of the pose when I lost focus, but was quick to recover with the help of the instructor.
For a fair-weather yoga practitioner, I found it easier to get into difficult poses while doing aerial with the hammock’s support than with regular mat-work yoga. I’m serious when I say I’m really inflexible and can’t manage a forward roll to save my life.
I also have a nagging back injury that has kept me away from full-blown workouts in the past year. From what I’ve heard from aerial yoga converts, the practice has myriad physical benefits such as spinal decompression, pain- and stress-relief and core muscle strengthening.
What I enjoyed most about aerial yoga is the liberating feeling I got when I put my trust in the hammock to fully support me. In fact, I had so much fun that I stopped thinking about what a klutz I was and fully immersed myself in the experience.
By the end of the 60-minute session, I hardly broke a sweat, which meant I was able to leave the studio looking fresh as a daisy without a shower.
That night, I slept like a baby and although I woke up to aching muscles the next day, it was a good kind of ache I was experiencing.
While I might not be the most graceful person, the rush I got from aerial yoga, made me feel like I had the world at my feet. And that feeling my friends, is addictive.
So yeah, ask me again what I’ll be doing this Saturday and the one after. My answer is: aerial yoga.