Swinging from the ceiling… this is Aerial Yoga

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to hang completely supported from the rafters by nothing but a recycled parachute sling?

I have!! And lucky for me, I have the ability to do so at my local studio. It’s called Aerial Yoga. Have you heard of it? I’d say it’s fairly new to mainstream yoga, but the concept has been around for quite some time.  About 5,000 years or so to be more specific.

  reclined

Today, I have a little treat for you! I recently attended my second Aerial Yoga workshop with a great friend of mine. I had originally the brilliant idea of making a video of my experience, but we got so wrapped up in the moment we forgot to hit record, haha! So, Angela and I took a couple pictures after class and did a little interview. I’ll start off by saying that Angela has to be one of my most favouritest (yes, that is a word!) people on the planet. I’ve known Angela for a few years now. I work pretty closely with her within my Usana biz  and in the last year we have also started travelling together, again for our Usana business, which has been UBER fun!!

Now, seeing as I am NOT the expert on this style of yoga, I have enlisted Angela to go over some of the more commonly asked questions (that people may be afraid to ask) as well as one I snuck in that may be not quite as common, but we know has crossed everyone’s mind at least once (hint… it has to do with the bedroom!).

Angela, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today. I have a couple quick questions for you in regards to you, your background and your journey into aerial yoga.

First of all, can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your yoga journey and what brought you to Aerial yoga?

My yoga journey began when I was in my late teens. My body had various injuries from sports, manual labour, etc. One injury was so bad it removed me from my favourite sport, figure skating, entirely. I discovered a yoga class offered at the University I attended and fell in love with its immediate effects. Yoga became a weekly body maintenance routine that prevented pain and discomfort. Then over the next four years a bi and triweekly exercise program.  I enrolled in a yoga  teacher training which continued to deepen my body awareness and love for yoga. After completing that training I dove into two more trainings, one of which was aerial. Now I teach several times a week (various styled classes) and practice at least once a day.

Amazing! I just love hearing people’s journey into yoga.

The OmGym is so cool!! Can you go over the concept of why it’s so amazing and maybe what makes it stand apart from other systems of similar nature?

half bow

Sitting, standing, and laying down, our bodies are limited in its daily range of motions but, they are designed for so much more including inversions and backbends. Aerial yoga and the OmGym allow a safe and supported practice that can incorporate these needed postures into a daily routine. OmGym differs in the features of more support, cushioning, and adjustments. This allows the spine to concave naturally and helps the body maximize its range of motions, which can allow the body to experience new dimensions of movement.

Danurasana (Bow Pose)

There are many benefits to a regular yoga practice such as toning the body, lengthening your muscles, body awareness and mindfulness. What makes Aerial Yoga different, besides the obvious aspect of hanging from the ceiling?

The benefits are many, this is true. With a continuous practice you can improve your balance, decompress your spine, improve your quality of sleep, regulate your digestive track, reduce fine lines, improve brain activity, and provide oxygen and space throughout the body. These qualities you can experience in a yoga practice however, in suspension you can get these effects all in one. Aerial movements allow the body to free itself from gravity which will help to lengthen, deepen, and strengthen the entire body of a variety of levels.

fairy

So, truly a FULL body practice! Thinking more specifically, what kind of benefits can you expect from practising this type of yoga on a regular basis?

With a continuous practice you will notice a huge difference in your daily living as well as improvements in your traditional yoga practice. The legs will feel light, energy levels will excel, sleep quality will improve, hormones will regulate, and the body will feel over all open, yet strong.

What about people with injuries?

Aerial yoga is appropriate for all ages, sexes, bodies, and sizes. The key is to establish with your teacher what injuries you may be dealing with so that one can be modified and monitored until the injury heals and acquires strength to self-maintain and function optimally.

Who should NOT practice suspension yoga? Why?

If you have had a recent fracture or surgery it is always best to speak to your family practitioner about what types of physical exercise you should engage in. It is always better to be safe then sorry. Also, if one suffers from epilepsy,  brain injury or brain tumour it is safe to practice inversions but the length of time and difficulty level would be adjusted for an individual’s needs.

Ok,  so make sure you check with your doctor if you are unsure of how inversions and back bends will work with the current conditions you have.

full inversion

Now this is all fine and dandy, but what about the peeps that don’t have a studio in their area that offers this style of class. What other options do they have?

I would say strongly consider taking a traditional yoga class. If not yoga aquatics or a gymnastic class would be good alternatives to get many of the same benefits aerial yoga offers. Purchasing an OmGym system would be another way to have aerial in your life. However, it is still best to study the basics of the system with a trained professional before practicing alone.

And finally, the question that is on everyone’s mind (well, maybe not EVERYone’s mind, but surely a few of you are thinking it)… the OmGym has some similar qualities to some pretty crazy sex slings! What can the OmGym or suspension yoga do for your sex life?

OmGym is not recommended as a sex sling since it is advised to only hold 300 lbs of weight in it at a time. Aerial practice itself allows for hormonal regulation and increased brain activity. Not only does this mean one’s memory and emotions get regulated but, the hypothalamus (pleasure centre in the brain) gets stimulated. This area is responsible for food, drink, and sexual appetite. If one is lacking water or food intake or sexual activity, the body will crave it.

Ok, no sex IN the sling, haha, but seriously a regular practice of not only aerial yoga, but traditional yoga can help your sex drive, libido, body awareness and confidence – all of which will eventually result in better sex! So if that’s not enough to get your butt into class, I don’t know what is.

Amazing!!  Angela, thank you so much for sharing all this wicked info!  I, for one, can’t wait until I can get back in that sling! I just love the feeling of weightlessness and freedom.

Folks, if you are now convinced that you MUST try Aerial Yoga, do it! For my local peeps, come on out and visit Angela at Yoga by Sarah in St. Catharines.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience with this style of yoga. Have you tried it, did you enjoy it, what were your favourite aspects/poses within the class, what kind of benefits have you noticed. You can leave your details in the comment section below, send me a message or leave a post on my Facebook page (which you can access by clicking the little F to the right).

baddha konasana (kobbler's pose)

You can find Angela T. teaching a variety of classes at Yoga by Sarah (www.yogabysarah.com) in St. Catharines.

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