January 2013

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live on the move Flying High With Aerial Yoga Where to Go: Kula Yoga & By Ann Imig Wellness, a studio specializing in aerial yoga, ���Remember hanging upsideopened just weeks ago and down from the monkey bars���10 classes have been packed. feet off the ground with only Make a reservation in advance by visiting concrete below you, and not a care ��� in the world? You���re only 12 inch- es from your yoga mat,��� Instructor Megan Miller at Kula Yoga & Wellness in Cottage Grove says, trying to allay the anxiety palpable among our class of aerial yoga beginners. We were preparing to hang from the ceiling by mere fabric. Before trying aerial yoga, I���d seen only contortionists, dancers and silkworms do as much. I approached Kula���s Aerial Basics class with equal parts giddiness and I���ll never get this tin man of a body up in that hammock trepidation. Miller and Owner Becky Petersen, who co-teach the class, began by custom fitting everyone to their silk���adjusting the height of the circular gauzy fabric as necessary. They explained the benefits of Unaata yoga (the Sanskrit word for elevated) beyond the thrill of reconnecting with our inner, brave and playful child: The hammock supports the body, allowing for further release and extension than traditional yoga, therefore creating the potential for increased ���exibility and strength. Additional benefits include spinal decompression and a killer ab-workout. Seriously. Oof. After a brief ���terrestrial��� (as in earthbound) traditional yoga warm up, Miller guided us step-by-step through four basic aerial poses and Peterson assisted each student individually, helping us access the poses comfortably and safely. With each new pose, our confidence increased as did the smiles and audible sounds of delight. Soon we were all upside-down and hands free���a class of apprehensive grown-ups morphed into a playground of wide-eyed, giggling children. I���ve never experienced anything like it (especially not the time several years ago when I actually did ���ing myself over a bar on the playground and gave myself what felt like an aneurism-lite). And no one can describe the peaceful feeling of dangling in your very own shivasana cocoon, resting at the end of class. You have to try it for yourself. Miller told me they have a 77-year-old regular student, and the hammocks hold up to 1,000 pounds���so you have no excuse not to give it a whirl. Go on and let your kid-within ���y, and strengthen your body in the process. Win-win-wheeeee! Who will love it: Experienced yogis will appreciate how some poses become easier and others more challenging with the support of the silk, while everyone will love how the workout reunites them with their playful, swinging, upside down inner-child. 14 BRAVA Magazine Who should take caution: If you have medical issues that prevent you from inverting (glaucoma, heart condition, etc.) or putting pressure on your skin, or if you have a spinal injury, check with your doctor before doing aerial yoga. January 2013 What to wear: Tight-fitting clothing that won���t get tangled in the silks. Kula requests you wear a shirt with sleeves to keep the silks clean and help your skin avoid friction. Sorry, fancy gals: Leave jewelry and hairclips at home. A word to the wise: Coming to class overly hungry can cause lightheadedness, but you also want to make sure any food you���ve eaten is thoroughly digested before class. Photo by Katie Killebrew The Dish on Aerial Yoga

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