This evening I experience my first aerial yoga class at Jala Studio in Winchester, Virginia. I loved it! As soon as I returned home I logged onto the Jala site and signed up for a 5-class pass.
The concept of aerial yoga initially caused me to think of the daring young man on the flying trapeze flying through the air with the greatest of ease! First I noticed there were numerous holes in the ceiling of the studio banded with metal rings. Next there were heavy-duty straps hanging from the ceiling like those used to tow a vehicle out of the mud. I envisioned the men’s gymnastics team struggling on the parallel rings. I knew I didn’t have the strength for that! There was talk of silks! Shorts worn by boxers? The shiny shirts worn by a Kentucky Derby jockey? Embroidery thread? Ropes that Cirque de Soleil contortionists use? Scarves used to bind ones wrist to the bed? I was incorrect with all preconceived notions.
During a yoga practice Tuesday after work I learned that the aerial classes had begin this week and that all classes the first week were free. Free is my second favorite four-letter word, which follows closely my favorite – wine. I decided to give it a try. I signed up for the Thursday evening class at 7:00pm. It was a commitment! The class is limited to 9 participants because there is limited rigging for the silks. A few brave souls who’d already given it a try raved about the benefits, the supported inversions, and the relaxation.
Tonight’s class was fabulous! The silks are actually long pieces of silk fabric that resemble extra wide curtain scarves, which are clasped to the straps hanging from the ceiling like a hammock or a swing. Silk is one of nature’s strongest fabrics, and these silks can support more than 1000 pounds. We were lead through a series of yoga poses using the scarves for support. I was surprised to discover how utilizing the silks seemed to mimic movement in water or in a weightless environment – providing excellent toning and strengthening without pressure on the joints. And it was fun! We had a full class and we laughed joyously like children. I actually felt like a child again hanging upside down, swinging to and fro, supported by the straps and silks. And the final relaxation or shivasana at the conclusion of the session was sublime!
Once again I’ve discovered how trying something new can breathe new life into my experienced body and soul. I feel invigorated, energized and thrilled that I’ve found another way to nurture my mind and body.
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