Aerial Yoga

Croton Yoga instructor Elisha Fernandes Simpson writes about her aerial yoga experience.

Last week, I let go of one of my many fears by attending an aerial yoga class.  Aerial yoga is a unique combination of circus art form of Tissu/Silks and yoga postures.

I am afraid of heights, and I do not like the playground swings.  They make me sick. But this class was a whole new way to look at yoga, and a way to let myself TRULY feel like a kid again.

Emily in Upavistha (in the air) Konasana

I entered the studio and my eyes opened wide as I saw huge, billowing, red pieces of silk material hanging from the ceiling - fabric trapezees. I felt as if I entered a circus tent.  The instructor, Emily, entered hugging her regular, familiar students. She had broad shoulders and a strong little body, a wide smile and lots of energy.  After her intimate greetings, she flitted around the room and jumped up to release some of the knotted silk swags from the ceiling as she warmly greeted the rest of the class.  She opened class with detailed instructions on how to safely use the silk swags in the aerial yoga postures.  Class began withe the basics: entering, moving your body around, and stretches in the cocoon-like silk.

Unnata -the Sanskrit word for elevated- in both spirit and physically - was how I felt for the rest of the class. We began with simple one legged stretches using the fabric trapezee, challenging my balance while simultaneously releasing deep muscles. Then we moved into balances on the arch of one foot, standing on the fabric trapeze, and moving into Warrior postures, backbends, and other heart opening poses.

Then the fun began - inversions.  As my bodyweight was completely supported on the swing, I flowed with proper alignment into an inverted Baddha Konasana, Natarajasana and Handstands (or no hands!) Each pose was so much easier to achieve, as I was moving without as much effort or strain, in relaxation. Once in the postures, I felt more relaxed and peaceful.

My back could lengthen easily, my shoulders didn't feel the stress, but my core-oh boy-did THAT feel the work. Strengthening the core without compressing the spine...not a bad idea.

Now, if I can just figure out how to do this in Croton.......

inverted Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose)


By the way, if you didn't catch this last week, a few days after my post  there was a follow up interview with Glenn Black in the Huffington Post in regards to his comments included in the New York Times article .

Elisha Fernandes Simpson CKYT, RYT, aka laughing hearts yoga  teaches prenatal, mommy and me, kids (ages 7 -18) yoga and organizes free bi-weekly yoga classes for people with breast cancer. Become a friend on Facebook's laughing hearts yoga page.

New classes: 7 – 12 years begins on Jan 18th at Josie’s dance.  Teens begins Feb 6th at Hudson Yoga Contact Elisha/laughing hearts yoga at info@laughingheartsyoga.com or 914 319 4010 for suggestions about her blog

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Liz Giegerich January 18, 2012 at 03:06 PM
If you organize a class, let me know. I would love to try this out! Carlo, thanks for letting us know about Sweeney.
Ann January 21, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Riverstone Yoga located at Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown next to the Metro North train station is going to offer aerial yoga classes (not silks but hammocks) They are not open yet, but finally received their building permit so check in out in a month or so.


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