We are all impressed by the acrobatics in Cirque du Soleil. But most of us belong to the category “the rest of us.” We may struggle through yoga postures or have trouble touching our toes. We’re hardly trapeze artists.
Or are we?
Aerial yoga (literally) turns the word never on its head. Using a fabric hammock, it helps students to achieve the traditional yoga postures. Here’s what you need to know before you try this new trend, which is popping up in cities all over Canada:
1. Dress the part
This is still yoga, so wear fitted comfortable clothing and bring a mat. Even though at some points you’ll be lifted off the ground, at times you may need a mat to stabilize a part of your body. This is not the time to wear skimpy outfits as skimpy gets shocking once upside down.
2. Don’t be afraid
The maximum load for the hammock is 1,000 pounds. Once you’re secured in the silk, it will be very difficult for you to fall. However, how you position yourself is up to you, so if you don’t feel safe, call over your instructor before trying an inversion or an asana that makes you nervous.
Even though the poses may be familiar, the method is new. If you’re an experienced yogi, try to utilize beginner’s mind to feel the poses in a new way. For example, shoulder stand can involve you upside down in the hammock with your shoulders digging into the silk. Once you are upside down, it is common to be uncertain of what is right and what is left. It’s not important to be perfect. It is important to play.
4. Remember to breathe
As you learn how to balance yourself in the silk, it may be more natural to hold the breath. As you attempt new poses, try to breathe slowly and deliberately. The nice thing about aerial yoga is that with the support, it may make some poses easier for you.
5. Have fun!
That is the point. Don’t take it too seriously – this is essentially monkey bars for grown-ups, with yoga theory mixed in. Try what makes you comfortable and listen to your body.
You may be ready for Cirque du Soleil in no time. (Or at least closer than you’ve ever been before).