Aerial yoga seemed to be the craze in fitness for a few months, but slowly died down. I'm still a huge fan and have been ever since I practiced aerial yoga at the beginning of the summer. I have little experience with basic yoga (what is "basic"?) so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. Classes at Gotta Yoga Studios are $15 and you pay online. I went with two of my friends to celebrate a friend's birthday and experience this new fitness craze. Although I'm sure aerial yoga has been around for awhile, it's pretty new to Charlotte, NC. I found out about aerial yoga at Gotta Yoga via a friend of mine after she posted a picture of her suspended from the hammock.
When entering the studios, I immediately felt at home and cozy. Gotta Yoga studio is very small, yet very inviting. There were no people in the studio (that I knew of) when I arrived, except for the both of my friends. We were immediately greeted by the receptionist/yoga instructor. Little did I know, she would be teaching the actual aerial yoga beginner's class. Because she was the receptionist and instructor, it made the entire experience more personal and relaxed. Fortunately, Gotta Yoga lets you rent yoga mats for no charge for your first experience. After the first experience, yoga mats are only $2 to rent and you can even buy one from the actual studio. I liked this aspect because I totally forgot a yoga mat - I don't have one - and $2 is a pretty decent price for renting for further classes. It also encourages me to go out and buy my own yoga mat, to cut down the costs of paying $2 every time.
Like mentioned before, I have basic knowledge with yoga. I'm not a professional or actually very skilled. I've taken about 5 yoga classes here and there in my entire life. I know basic poses like 'Downward Facing Dog' and 'Child's Pose' but that's the extent of that knowledge. The class began full force with a couple of mat exercises. We did a few positions on that mat, which was positioned right below the hammock. Believe it or not, I was sweating within 10 minutes of the class. The poses were hard, but I never felt like I couldn't do anything. The class was pretty small, which I liked, because it didn't feel like someone was constantly watching me or I was in anyone's way. After about 20-ish minutes of yoga on the mats, we hesitantly started to climb into the hammocks.
I did the Gotta Fly Basics, which is offered at Gotta Yoga. It's the very, very basics of aerial yoga practice, but still allows you to gain experience in the hammocks. We did a couple of stretches with the hammock fabric and soon practiced inversions or upside down poses. Within minutes, I was suspended into the air either facing upward or down. I was happy we got to do a few tricks with the hammocks, because time was running low and I was afraid all we were going to do was stretch with the hammocks and be done. We finished off the session with a hammock Shavasana. This was my FAVORITE part about the entire class (go figure). Shavasana comes from sanskrit and means "corpse", "seat" or "posture." We basically wrapped our entire bodies into the hammocks and hung, suspended into the air for a good 15 minutes, in Dead Man's pose. It was hard to resist falling asleep, because it was so peaceful.
After Shavasana, your yoga practice ends with Namaste. We released ourselves from the hammocks, returned our mats, gathered our belongings and exited feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and inspired. The exit was no rush and our instructor didn't hesitate to answer any of our questions upon exiting. As we were leaving an influx of people arrived at the studio. I realized that because the studio is so small, it's only open for people taking the one class that's offered at that time. Because our class was the only class in the studio, it was a peaceful and quiet atmosphere.
Well, I was definitely sore after aerial yoga and could definitely see myself doing it again. It was an amazing, challenging and new experience that I now tell everyone about it and try to coax them into trying a class out. Both of my guests seemed to really enjoy themselves as well. It was a lot more challenging than we thought it would be, but also very rewarding. We had a fun time, had a lot of laughs and even learned a new trick or two. I would definitely take another class and even think about trying an intermediate aerial yoga class. Head on over to Gotta Yoga to learn more about classes, schedules and locations!