I’d been curious about Aerial yoga for a while having seen it advertised at the Four Seasons. Unfortunately at a million pounds for a one hour class (well 55 bd) i’d been priced out of the experience until I saw that the yoga centre in Boudaiya, Namaste, was offering the same. After calling up to enquire, at a very reasonable 8bd I signed up straight away for the Saturday evening session.
Arriving on my tod, I was the first there so I set about getting my hammock organised, the instructor Weam checked that it was the right height for me which involved pulling it down so it sits just below your hip bones at the top of your legs then downward dogging with your arms and legs stretching out as far as they can go until you feel your legs being lifted up slightly. As the class began to fill up, it dawned on me that it might’ve been wise to do a bit of research beforehand so I had even the briefest idea of what i’d be doing for the next 90 minutes, as it was, flying blind and going with the vinyasa flow wasn’t a bad approach.
We began by sitting on the hammock and lying back, pulling the top of the hammock over our heads in a cocoon-like fashion. I wasn’t quite at one with my swing yet so had trouble with this basic manoeuvre as some of the material had gathered at my leg end, there was a good bit of shifting and adjusting to pull it up over me.
As much as i’m all for body positivity, the hammock was made from a very thin silky fabric which didn’t exactly instil the greatest confidence; I kept having images of hearing a great rip from above and my solid frame thudding mortifyingly to the ground whilst the pro-yogis, effortlessly suspended by only their little toe, tried not to let my behaviour affect their drishtis. Thankfully the hammock held up and i’ve since read that the high-density material is supposed to hold up to 2,000lbs so if it does rip, a little embarrassment will be the least of my problems.
Anyway, once i’d mastered the cocoon, I could’ve stayed like this the whole class but the instructor had more strenuous plans. The next hour and a bit involved a variety of poses, turning me backwards, forwards, upside down and everything in between; judging by the way I feel three days later, every muscle in my body was worked intensively. The benefits of Antigravity yoga are that with the support of the hammock, you’re able to move more deeply into asanas and stretches, aiding and improving flexibility gainz more so than in static poses, you’ll also have to work harder to achieve focus and stability in the poses which greatly improves concentration and core strength. It also helped my confidence hanging upside down doing handstand practice, not something I have a natural aptitude for and it was nice to play about without the fear of crashing to the ground, it might not have been quite float like a butterfly, more watching a baby deer trying to abseil but it was great to try something new in the Kingdom and i’ll definitely be returning for some more hammock time (once everything stops hurting).