On vacation I tried aerial yoga. Which is also known as trapeze yoga, flying yoga or “OMG, I’m going to die yoga!”
It’s a modern style of yoga that incorporates a low-hanging soft fabric hammock as well as a mat. Moves are done on a combination of mat and hammock or just hammock.
There was only four of us in the class. My partner, who is a yoga teacher, a German girl who is a yoga teacher and the yoga teacher. I’m not a yoga teacher, I’m not even a particularly good yoga student. I realized I was more out of my depth than a dolphin summiting Mount Everest.
The teacher asked me to test the aerial hammock by sitting in it and then spinning round 360 degrees in the air so he could see if my head touched the ground as I spin past the floor. This didn’t seem the most safety conscious method of testing a hammock. It’s like testing a gun by pointing it at my head and asking if I see a bullet comes out when the trigger is pulled.
I spin 360 degrees in the hammock. My head flew past the mat. My hair nearly touched the mat. The teacher said “you need a higher hammock!”
He adjusted the height higher to remove the risk of decapitation but kept it low enough that there was still a chance of serious head trauma.
We started with some sun salutations. Some moves were done with the hammock i.e. leaning on it, or putting a leg up to it. This meant the moves were harder and more intense than a normal sun salutation.
“Good. Now you are warmed up we can start the class.” The teacher said.
I thought that was the start! I looked at the clock to see how long I had to wait until I could escape my aerial deathtrap. Those salutations better count towards my time.
“We will do some inversions. Sit in the hammock. Put your hands like this.” He demonstrated a way to wrap the hands round the hammock. I copied him.
“Now spin round. Don’t worry, you won’t fall out”
I wasn’t worrying about falling out. I was too busy concentrating on my hands but, now that he’s mentioned falling out, that was all I can think of!
I tried to spin. I failed miserably. I can’t get my legs over my head. The instructor came over. He watched as I feebly tried to do it again. When I failed he grabbed my legs and before I could say “NO! I DON’T WANT TO DIE” he’s spun me 360 degrees!
“Excellent,” he looks pleased. “Now do it by yourself”
He went to help someone else. I tried to spin. I failed. So instead I stomped my foot loudly on the ground. He assumed the noise came from me stopping after doing a spin. “Did you succeed?”
I looked him straight in the eye and told him the truth “Yes – all the way round. I did it twice just to make sure”
“Great. Do it again so I can see.”
“Umm. I’m tired now….ummm…I’ll show you next time.”
The others stare at me knowing that I cheated.
The teacher heads back to the front of the class. “Lets do some High Intensity Interval Training….”
“Let’s not,” I think.
He demonstrated an upside down hanging in the air stomach crunch.
“Do it 20 times!!!”
I successfully crunch zero times.
Whilst hanging upside down trying to crunch I notice a man staring into the studio. I imagine he’s saying.
“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – its Superman….sorry. No. On second glance it’s not superman, it’s Iain. It looks like he’s hanging from the ceiling in a hammock. He doesn’t look well. His face has turned a funny color of red…”
At the end of the class the teacher asks “how are you all doing for time?” He doesn’t wait for an answer “Great. Lets continue!”
After another ten minutes of “flying” we get to leave. As I head my partner asks if my stomach muscles hurt after doing the HIIT crunches. I say “No – they feel fine!”
They did feel fine….until the next day when I feel like I’ve been used as a punchbag by Anthony Joshua.