Flying yoga (also known as anti-gravity yoga/aerial yoga) is a trendy style of yoga that until recently I had never attempted. Luckily though, while on vacation in the Philippines, I learned of a class happening at the Yoga Barn Panglao and excitedly signed up.
Fellow karabemisyoga blogger, Amy Steele, came along for the class and it ended up being just the two of us in the morning Flying Yoga class that as of then was not yet added to their regular class schedule. Our teacher that morning was Alex Kuznetsov from Russia. Alex was patient and attentive as a teacher and demoed the entire class so that we could follow along. He then adjusted if needed.
Here are my observations of my first flying yoga class:
- It’s difficult – I went into the class not really knowing what to expect, but the second we started using the hammock for our warm up sun salutes I felt the burn. Having an extremity, or limb, lifted off of the ground means using your core to balance and keep from falling over. The hammock also offered some resistance that doesn’t usually come with basic standing poses. I found that my muscles were shaking like jelly in poses that are usually very comfortable for me, like Virabhadrasana 2.
- It’s a prop – The hammock used in flying yoga is essentially a prop that switches up your regular yoga practice. At times the pressure of the hammock felt uncomfrtable against skin and bone, but Alex reassured us that that feeling was normal and would begin to fade away with more practice. I noticed as well that the hammock applied extra pressure that sometimes felt beneficial, such as in Vrksasana. I felt a strong pressure on the sole of my standing foot that felt similar to reflexology.
- It encourages engagement – The core is engaged for balance and deeper, more intrinsic muscles tighten up while pulling the legs together to stay upright. For example, in high lunge where the front knee is bent over the hammock, engaging my muscles a lot was necessary so that I could keep the form.
- It’s beautiful – Although I struggled to get into certain poses, once in them, I did truly feel like I was “flying.” Doing Badha Konasana, or any other pose, while floating two feet above the ground is invigorating. Of course there are plenty of opportunities to snap some instagram worthy pics.
- Relax in that hammock – It’s called a hammock because it’s a hammock, and we all know that hammocks beckon us over to have a doze. At the end of our class Alex guided us in relaxing, longer-held poses. The heat of the island and the sounds of nature could have easily lulled me to sleep in my big blue hammock, but I refrained from slumber.
Flying yoga is a fun supplement to a regular yoga practice. There are many benefits to this style of yoga and at the very least it will reinvigorate standard poses that may have lost their luster from years of practice.
Go to Yoga Barn Panglao’s website or their Facebook page to keep your eyes out for future Flying Yoga classes with Alex Kuznetsov.