Nothing says change up your yoga routine like getting off your mat and into the air. I went to one class on a whim at the recommendation of a friend at Your Body Center and was hooked and bought myself a monthly membership. This studio is located on the first floor of a super unassuming office building at the corner of Heights Boulevard and I-10. Super centrally located spot–I’m amazing I haven’t stumbled upon it sooner!
Your Body Center offers a variety of classes that fall into the realm of aerial yoga–Aerial Mix, Aerial Yoga and TRX. I typically would go to which ever class fit my work schedule, so I got to try them all.
My first class was Aerial Mix and I was pretty awkward. I’m in shape so I have the strength to do most things, but there was definitely a learning curve for understanding what the instructor was saying and then translating that into movements. Luckily, every class I’ve been too has had beginners and first timers in it, so the instructor and assistant take the time to walk around and provide support and help people out.
First thing you do when you come to class is set up your swing. You connect the “basket” (aka the big thing that you swing in) to a pair of straps handing from the ceiling. The basket is made of some sort of durable silk. You also connect handles to the straps.
Class begins with a bit of warm ups. Depending on the instructor, this can range from stretching in Warrior pose with your foot in the swing to Bridge pose to lots (and lots) of planks. I found that most of the Aerial classes offered at Your Body Center, despite their titles, were basically the same class. The variety in the level of challenge came from the instructors. David’s classes are chill, while Ernesto’s are heart-pumping.
As with any yoga class, there’s levels of difficulty for each pose/exercise. So if you’re not feeling it and need to do some self-care, do the basic movement. If you’re down to clown upside down and want a challenge, the class offers advanced movements as well.
Aerial yoga definitely targets certain muscles that a typical yoga class doesn’t focus on as much. Pull-ups and planks are very important. Also having a firm grip with your hands. In all the classes I attended, there was a bit of overlap with TRX moves which are very athletic–like pushups, rows, triceps presses, etc.
The first half of the class at least one of your feet (or hands) is firmly on the ground for lunges, planks, pikes, etc. The second half you move the basket up higher and you get to play in the swing with inversions and fun tricks. Each class has a section where you spend three minutes upside down. For me, it was a bit intimidating and disorienting at first because you totally get a head rush when you come back up. But I gradually got used it. Inversions are really magical and restorative and especially good for combating stress, so I definitely began to look forward to this part of class.
Although its super bizarre to be upside down, tangled up in fabric, I never felt unsafe during one of the aerial yoga classes. The floor was never really far away, and the instructor gave good movement cues.
Each class ends with a few minutes of savasana hanging in the air inside the basket like a cocoon with the lights dimmed. Like all savasanas–especially those after a hard workout–I relax completely and never want to leave.
Some tips before you go:
- Arrive early! It takes a few minutes to set up your swing and make sure the height is right.
- No need to bring a mat. They have plenty of mats there (you have to double up anyways).
- Beginners should get a spot in the front–it’s much easier to watch the instructor and figure out what you need to do!
- When you come back up after you go upside down, tuck your chin to prevent a big head rush.
- If you go, say Anastasia Hansen sent you! There’s a $5 referral bonus 😉