Traditional yoga has been turned upside down and suspended by an aerial silk.
Aerial yoga consists of doing yoga poses while being suspended from the ceiling by aerial silks, said Diana Roehl, instructor and owner of Diana’s School of Yoga.
Aerial yoga adds to the increasing list of yoga trends, such as hot yoga, power yoga, wine and yoga and yoga fusion.
The tradition of using props to assist people to go deeper into poses, plus the influence of Cirque du Soleil, is how aerial yoga came to be, Roehl said.
The difference between traditional yoga and aerial yoga is that the body has more space to perform poses in the air versus the mat, Roehl said.
Nursing freshman Isela Andrade said she practiced yoga when she was a cheerleader in high school to improve flexibility, but back pain would likely prevent her from practicing aerial yoga.
Those bothered by back pain may be surprised to find they can do more than they thought, and risk-takers would enjoy challenging themselves with the more complex poses, Roehl said.
“By being able to hang upside down you’re able to decompress the spine, because you can lengthen it when you’re hanging. But it can’t do that when you’re not upside down.” Roehl said.
The silks also hit the body’s meridians, which are the areas that release tension and are commonly called acupuncture points, Roehl said.
Aerial yoga is a full-body workout, Roehl said. She said students will likely feel soreness in their whole body the next day. The main targets are going to be the core and flexibility in the hips. The silks both test and assist the body’s flexibility.
Roehl said many aerial yoga benefits are the same as in any yoga class, such as the opportunity to relieve stress and lower blood pressure and a feeling of euphoria that many experience at the end of a yoga class.
Aerial yoga is not the same as an aerial silk Cirque du Soleil class, Roehl said.
Roehl said the feet are close to the ground in an aerial yoga class. She said that at a proper yoga studio, the teacher keeps an eye on students and ensures that everyone’s swings are at the right level.
Psychology freshman Niki Davis said she enjoys the relaxing elements of yoga and the challenging aspects of silks, and she would be excited to try a combination of the two. Pictures in aerial silks often get a lot of Instagram likes, Davis said.
Roehl said she encourages students to come to relax, push their body to comfortable limits and hang out.