Aerial yoga is for really advanced practitioners of yoga, right? And even if I dared try it one day, I'd never be able to get 'airborne' in my first session, right? Wrong and wrong.
Within the first 30 minutes in my first aerial yoga trial, I was able to get into several inversion poses — that’s a fancy way of saying I hung upside down while clinging with my feet, and sometimes my butt, to a hammock. An easy-ish one to do was something that looked like an upside-down star, where the straps of the hammock are somehow hanging off your hips/butt while you spread out your arms and legs like a star. It sounds slightly death-defying, and I totally had my misgivings when Dawn Sim, founder and head teacher at Trium Fitness, urged me to go for it. “But, but, but… I’ll fall…” I whimpered, clinging with my hands to the hammock for dear life. “You won’t fall, just let go,” says Dawn reassuringly. So I did. And it was magic. My waist, hips and butt combined with the hammock to hold me up in the air while I floated a few inches above the ground. Liberating. After that, anything was possible.
Aerial lunges? Piece of cake. Upside-down hanging one-legged King Pigeon pose? Bring it. Full disclosure: I do practise yoga, not religiously or even regularly, but I have some background. But Dawn says you can be a complete beginner and do aerial yoga. “Many people think that aerial yoga is only for the young and fit, but the height of the hammock can be adjusted to make it accessible even for the elderly and children. Aerial yoga is for everyone no matter what your fitness level or age is. I practice aerial yoga with my four children aged 1 to 11, and at the studio, our oldest aerial yoga student is 62 years old!”
Inspired yet? You’ll be even more swayed (pardon the pun) when you realise that aerial yoga has several benefits over regular yoga. During a yoga practice on the mat, one places their joints under pressure against the ground or mat. But with your body suspended in the air, you can experience full decompression of the joints. With less strain on your back, this is a good exercise for those with back problems, as it eases tension in the spinal cord and hip joint. Another fab benefit: Firmer facial muscles. The inversions in aerial yoga allow gravity to pull blood flow into the neck, stimulating the thyroid gland and parathyroid. It also increases the circulation of blood to the face, bringing nutrients and oxygen to rejuvenate and detox the tissue there. The result? Firmer facial muscles which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Woohoo!
I don’t think I look that much younger after my one aerial yoga session, but I feel great. Must be all the blood rushing to the head.
Aerial yoga is available at Trium Fitness, 12 Kallang Ave, Aperia Mall #03-01/02, Tel: 8782-8633; http://trium.fitness.