Hanging around

Published in SixDegrees 22.5.2014

Aerial yoga is a new member of the growing yoga-inspired exercise family. What sets it apart from the more traditional types of yoga is doing exercise while you’re literally hanging up in the air, – not due to fierce meditation, but by a piece of material.

In short, doing aerial yoga involves stretching and muscle strengthening exercises while balancing on a fabric loop hanging from the ceiling. The first aerial yoga lessons were held in New York in 2006, and recently, the acrobatic yoga form arrived to Finland, too. The first place to offer aerial yoga lessons was Vertical Club in Helsinki.

“Aerial yoga suits active people who might find traditional yoga a bit too slow or boring. Those who look for more variety in yoga exercises usually find this suitable for them,” explains Vilja Eskelinen, an instructor at Vertical Club.

Aerial yoga combines traditional yoga with acrobatics and provides an efficient exercise for the whole body. An essential part of it is a fabric loop, a so-called hammock, that hangs from the ceiling supporting one’s weight and balance, enabling even an un-experienced beginner to try some pretty impressive tricks.

Aerial yoga offers a shortcut to the feeling of levitating. (Jukka Lintinen)

Aerial yoga offers a shortcut to the feeling of levitating. (Jukka Lintinen)

“Anyone is welcome to try, previous experience is not needed. Aerial yoga is a bit less demanding than traditional yoga in a sense. For example, those with problems with their balance or joints can do this as the hammock supports all the movements. We have pregnant customers, too, who adjust the exercises to suit their bodies.”

Vertical Club offers lessons of four different stages of aerial yoga: intro, soft, beginners and intermediate. Lessons of all the stages, apart from intro, are held several times a week.

“It’s a really good form of exercise, for the back specifically. It stretches out the vertebra on your back and strengthens the muscles, and therefore improves your posture,” Eskelinen adds.

“And it’s fun! As an instructor, it is really rewarding to see how surprised people get over what they are able to do with their bodies even as beginners.”

For those not interested in yoga, Vertical Club also offers other options to do exercise with the hammock: aerial stretching, aerial tricks, and as the latest addition, aerial dance.

See more on Vertical Club on their website http://www.verticalclub.fi.

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