In accordance with my summer of trying new things, I took an Aerial Yoga Class for Spark Yoga with a friend. I did feel like, even though it is a specialized class and it was worth the money, $30 was a little pricey. It's cheaper if you become a member, but I wasn't able to do that since it's such a long drive for me. The class was, however, worth every penny and all 75 minutes that it lasted. Despite the fact that, as hard as I've tried, I have never been able to accomplish a handstand, this class made me feel like I was finally capable. In my first class, we went from doing aerial lunges (putting the hammock under the knee and lunging without your foot on the ground, sidebar this REALLY stretches everything) to executing flips, handstands and all kinds of inverted poses. I realized that letting gravity do the work was much more simple than trying to force myself into positions in regular yoga. In fact, some businesses refer to Aerial Yoga as Anti-Gravity Yoga, which is very accurate. Inverting yourself seems scary at first, and somewhat uncomfortable, and as a result many of my classmates and I were extremely hesitant, but after deciding to trust my hammock and my body, I noticed Aerial Yoga relieves a lot of physical tension in my body, my neck and back especially, and I felt altogether amazing afterwards, although I did have a slight headache from spending so much time upside down (*Disclaimer I'm very prone to headaches, so it might just be a me thing*). This is just one of those activities that would be great for improving flexibility, as you can see in my right-most picture below, I do not have nearly the amount of flexibility that I'd like. My friend, a lifelong dancer, was able to touch her foot to her head in the same pose. That would take a LOT of practice for me, but maybe someday...maybe...very unlikely though.
My instructor claimed that he owned a personal hammock in his home, which is not altogether uncommon. On my venture to purchase my own hammock, I've found many for sale online, (though it seems to me many companies are overcharging). In my mind, all you really need is a certain amount of fabric (from what I've seen many use silk or tricotton blends). I feel that DIY-ing an Aerial Yoga setup would be pretty straightforward, however, the problem is that rigging a hammock in your home can be dangerous. Keep in mind that when you move on the hammock, you are generating more force than just your body weight. Therefore the hammock requires very intricate installation, and many sources I've read recommend hiring a professional, even one that specializes in aerial installation. Also you need a certain amount of height, and despite the beauty of the outdoors, most specialists warn against rigging a hammock on a tree due to the unpredictability. Therefore, if your ceilings are short like mine are, there is just not a foolproof way to go about installing a hammock.
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