Become an “aerhead” for health

Become an “aerhead” for health

In a recent post, In my solitude, I wrote about an Aerial Yoga class that I attended at Aerial FitĀ® in Charleston, SC. In that post, I described how Yoga poses are done using silk fabric that is suspended from the ceiling. At the end of the class, participants take rest in Savasana inside the fabric. This, by far, is arguably the best and most anticipated portion of the class.

Savasana during an Aerial Yoga class
Savasana during an Aerial Yoga class at Aerial Fit

Given the perceived health benefits of inversions and Yoga poses, I think there is much more to say here about this form of Yoga that is proliferating the fitness industry. What’s the hype, and why is it becoming more popular?

To get an insightful perspective about this form of airlifted exercise, I consulted with Jordan Anderson, expert Yoga instructor, performer of Aerial arts, and owner of Aerial Fit. Here’s what Jordan had to say…


The inversions in Aerial Yoga provide a change of perspective, a relief from fear, a building of trust, and a lengthening of the spine.


B: What are the benefits of Aerial Yoga?

J: Aerial Yoga has benefits for those who already practice yoga and for those who don’t. For those new to Yoga, the Aerial Yoga sling teaches perfect alignment from day 1. Placing the sling teaches us where to fold in a forward fold, how to create space in the body and how to breathe into that space, and how to relax with intense sensation. For those with a regular Yoga practice, Aerial Yoga provides a new perspective on familiar poses. It enhances alignment, allows us to feel the [postures], and provides a great balance to the floor practice. On a physical level, all of the pulling that we do in Aerial Yoga is a great balance to all of the pushing in a ground Yoga practice, and it can help prevent shoulder injuries that are common in Yoga by balancing the musculature and teaching us how to stabilize the joint. The inversions in Aerial Yoga provide a change of perspective, a relief from fear, a building of trust, and a lengthening of the spine. Aerial Yoga inversions are practiced with zero pressure on the neck, shoulders, or back, so they are safe for people who might not be able to access inversions without the use of the sling.

downwardDog
Downward dog supported by the sling

…physical and emotional affects can be magnified, which is why you can feel very grounded after an Aerial Yoga class.


B: During Aerial Yoga, I felt weightless and no longer bound by gravity, which ironically created the space that I needed at that time to feel more grounded and stable. Is this reaction typical, and if so, why is it that being lifted can help participants feel more grounded, both physically and emotionally?

J: I love this question because this reaction is exactly what we are trying to achieve from practicing Aerial Yoga! Many people are surprised that Aerial Yoga is a very grounding practice. Because you feel the pull of gravity so intensely when using the sling, you feel very connected through the Earth. Aerial Yoga utilizes both the air and the ground, and when it is sequenced well, we do feel more grounded as a result. Because our physical posture affects our emotions, this effect can be felt on a physical and emotional level. Because the pull of gravity is so strong, and the adjustments provided from hanging in the sling can be so intense, the physical and emotional affects can be magnified, which is why you can feel very grounded after an Aerial Yoga class.

upside_down
Back extension in Aerial Yoga

I have a fear of heights, and being afraid but learning to let the emotion of fear go and focus instead on each little step of keeping myself safe is empowering.


B: What about Aerial Arts has changed you personally, and why do you stick with it?

J: Aerial arts is an empowering practice that has carried through into all aspects of my life. I have a fear of heights, and being afraid but learning to let the emotion of fear go and focus instead on each little step of keeping myself safe is empowering. It has enhanced my concentration, because when you are up in the air your mind cannot be anyplace else other than completely present with what you are doing. Aerial is a methodical art form, and if you skip any of the steps you will be in trouble. I love the combination of technique and expression that are required when off the ground. Performing has given me a better sense of self-awareness, and taught me to be more expressive. Aerial arts builds strength like nothing else, and I’m now, at 40, capable of doing things I never was able to do in my twenties or even in my thirties. It also feeds my creative needs, and makes me feel both strong and elegant. I feel that practicing, teaching, and performing Aerial arts keeps me challenged and keeps me young.


Visit Jordan and her crew at the Circus Building, a playful little world that is west of the Ashley River and inhabited by performance, fitness, and art.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherPosted on: March 21, 2015bgpilates@gmail.com

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