I have been a yoga fan for several years now, but I had never tried aerial yoga before. Being a bit of a Groupon junkie, I saw a deal to attend any three anti-gravity classes at the London Dance Academy. Curious as to what anti-gravity yoga might be about, plus a willingness to try something new, I clicked ‘purchase now’ and bought the deal!
Once I applied my voucher to the website, I was able to view the schedule and see how many places were available for each class. It was then easy to book into any anti-gravity class that I wanted to try. The website offers many different classes, so be sure to read the synopsis of each class before you book. There are several studios, in different locations, so be sure to check where your class is, before you set off!
I arrived early to the Old Street studio for my first class, anti-gravity fitness with Samantha. The studios are downstairs in what looks like an office building, but the space is large and well lit. They have a small changing area where you can leave your bags and they even sell water here too, if you have forgotten to bring some. The waiting area is quite cramped and I felt a little awkward here as a pole dancing class was underway in the studio next to the yoga class and the door had been left open. The scantily clad dancers with their legs akimbo left me feeling uncomfortable, but less so for me and more so for the dancers. If I were participating in this class, I would be mortified if people could see me like this. I think more attention and care should be paid to the entrance of the classrooms, such as an extra curtain or screen on the interior of the doorway. A thick curtain might also help dull down the loud chit-chat that was clearly audible during the mediation section of another yoga class that I later attended!
Once invited into the yoga studio, Samantha introduced herself to the class and adjusted each silk to the correct height and showed us how to safely get into the silk. Her class was focused on strength and balance using the silks to engage the core with a long-term aim focused on flexibility and body conditioning. The silks were a fun and novel way to do this, certainly a break from the normal workout routines, but I didn’t feel that this was a particularly challenging fitness class. I’m not quite sure what one would gain from attending this class, even on a regular basis. I even went to a second anti-gravity fitness class and found it to be fun, but not a class that would help me lose weight. The silks did hurt a little under my arms and on my lower back, so this has encouraged me to lose weight, but by running on the treadmill and not by attending this class.
On my next visit, I signed-up for the aerial yoga class, led by Antoniya, which focuses on relaxation as well as mobility, balance and alignment, amongst other things. The silks used for this class were softer and bigger and the movements were more fluid. This class wasn’t particularly difficult either, but it was focused on relaxation which was calming and fun and did seem to relax me. Hanging upside down is a great stimulant to pump blood and oxygen around the body and this felt good. Aerial yoga was fun and I did like the feeling of swinging and being upside down, but I’m not convinced that it was any more beneficial than a relaxing mainstreem yoga class.
Another class I attended was aerial deep stretch, led by Emily; a petite girl with incredible flexibility. With her impressive poses and svelte figure, she looks like she’s a member of the cirque du soleil troupe. This class was my favourite as I found it beneficial for flexibilty, yet challenging enough to make me want to work harder and improve. Using the silks as a resistance, this class teaches you how to open your body and breathe, whilst also working your core strength and alignment. The silks help to deepen a stretch and prove to be an effective way to improve your flexibility: allowing gravity to aid your stretch. Emily was attentive; she frequently observed the pupils’ positions and adjusted where necessary, whilst always encouraging you to stretch safely. I found this class beneficial for me and booked another class; I would go back again.
Pros: A fun and novel way to workout. Something fun to do with friends or as a hen-do event. The aerial deep stretch class with the silks was a good way to improve flexibility and stretch which is necessary as part of a healthy exercise program.
Cons: There were a few teething problems, such as an email from the company displaying the wrong phone number that led me to wonder how many people, like myself, who had called to book a class at the local bodega! On a separate occasion, a girl arrived at the old street studio for a class only to be told that her class had moved to another studio, in a different location. Silks are not washed frequently, so they do smell. Very cliquey group of avid goers that appear to sneer upon new participants. They often rush in at the start of class, claim their territory, promptly start twisting into positions that seem to show off, rather than warm-up or stretch. Feels awkward a little embarrassing… for them!
Will I go back? The jury is still out on this one as it was fun, but I’m not sure what the long-term advantage is of this type of yoga.
If you do decide to give it a whirl, be sure to take a bottle of water and to wear the right clothing. A long sleeved tight top will protect your underarms against the pinch of the silks and leggings that are fitted won’t flap about you as you move positions.
Who should try it: Those who are keen to explore a different style of yoga.
How much? From £15, but the price varies on what type of membership you need.
Where to find it: ?London Dance Academy,? The Basement,? 49-51 Central Street,? London, EC1V 8AB.
Find out more: London Dance Academy Website
*Health Advice: Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.