A Real Swingin’ Time

By Bailey Swilley

This week, I tried out aerial yoga and…absolutely loved it! When I arrived to the Level 1 class at Om Factory, I stood in front of a large hanging piece of fabric and followed step-by-step stretches and instructions. And by the end of the class? I was wrapped up in the air.

Many moves consist of keeping your legs up in the fabric with your hands on the mat, which ends up working your abs. It didn’t feel like much to me in the moment, but my stomach was sore for at least four days after (in a good way).

It was so fun to lift myself up and swing in the fabric and for final savasana (or corpse pose), we got to lay in them like hammocks. And yes, it was as relaxing as it sounds.  

I was good at the leg stuff and kind of pitiful at the arm stuff, but honestly, it gave me motivation to come back again and again. This is something I’d really like to incorporate into my weekly routine and I encourage you to try it at a studio near you.

 

And now, the nitty gritty. Here are the answers to everything else you might want to know:

Where?
Om Factory in New York City

How long was the class?
75 minutes

What was the best part/worst part?
My favorite part was when we got up and swung in the fabric. My least favorite part was when we bent at the waist and hung over the fabric — it kind of pinched.

Did you get tired quickly?
No, not at all. It was a beginner class, so the pacing was just right. I will say that I did get lightheaded from hanging upside down. When that happened, I had to take a breather.

How many FitPoints® will I earn?
You could earn anywhere from 6 to 16 FitPoints depending on your weight and the duration.

What do I wear?
Clothes you can move in — running capris, yoga pants, leggings, and a shirt (tee, tank top). No shoes.

Om Factory’s Program Director, Kevin Bigger, also answered some questions for me.

Is there a weight limit?
No! The hammocks and rigging equipment at our studio are all graded to hold upwards of 2,000 pounds. Students of all shapes and sizes enjoy classes on a regular basis.

How much experience should someone have before trying it?
Aerial yoga builds strength and flexibility in many muscles that are hard to target in any other traditional form of exercise, so the best way to get experience with it is just to come to class! A little knowledge of traditional yoga is helpful, but not necessary.

If you know how to do Downward Facing Dog without a hammock, it makes a little more sense when you learn to do it with one. That being said, many of our students come to aerial yoga with absolutely no experience in either yoga or aerial arts and have a great time. It’s important to remember that, like all new skills, it takes some time to gain confidence, stamina, and strength in this practice. So when you are a beginner, embrace the fact that you are a beginner! It might be challenging or draw awareness to muscles you had no idea existed, but with a little dedication and commitment you’ll be shocked to see how fast your skills improve.

If I want to incorporate a regular yoga practice into my life, is aerial yoga enough? Or should I try to do a mix of different kinds of yoga for the best balance and results?
Every style of yoga prioritizes different groups of muscles.

For example: In vinyasa yoga on the ground, there tends to be a lot of push-ups, while in aerial yoga, we do a lot more pull-ups. These two exercises both strengthen the chest, arms, and shoulders in general, but do target different specific muscle groups. This basically means that there is a definite benefit to taking a mix of class styles in order to create balance. It’s important to remember, however, that if you are going to commit to a practice, it has to be something that you love. So if you love aerial yoga and really don’t like vinyasa yoga, go to aerial yoga!

In The Yoga Sutras, Sage Patanjali says that we are meant to immerse ourselves in a practice for a long time in all earnestness. He goes on to say that we all have to find our own way. What works for you, may not work for me. That’s why there are so many different styles of yoga out there. When you find something you really love, commit to it and you will see results.

And that’s all, folks. Until next time!

Keep up with me on Connect @heybailay.

–B

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