Have you ever wanted to fly through the air? After viewing numerous photos on Instagram of aerial yoga, this fitness act became a dream of mine. Aerial yoga seemed so delicate, whimsical even. When Jacqueline and I heard about the Aerial Yoga Boerne opening, we immediately signed up for a class. Before taking flight, we sat down with aerial yoga instructor, Anne McCarthy, to find out more about this whimsical practice.
Twenty Something SA: How was Aerial Yoga Boerne established?
Anne McCarthy: It was the end of March 2015 when someone told us a yoga studio was being sold in Boerne and I thought to myself, I think it would be a good place to install an aerial rig. Three weeks later, my business partner, Desiree Whitney, and I made an offer and it took until May to close out buying the business and we took it over the first of July. Then we started working with an engineer to create the design of the rig and a company called SRO that creates theater sets and all kinds of sets for different performances and it took them about a week working with the steel and two full days installing the rig and painting. All together, it took us a solid month to get everything ready.
20SA: How long have you been practicing aerial yoga?
AM: I’ve been teaching aerial yoga since May 2014 and I started studying aerial performance in 2012. I’ve also been practicing yoga since 2002 and I am a certified yoga instructor. When I was working with the silks and studying yoga, I decided to put the two together.
20SA: What is the main difference between yoga and aerial yoga – besides being in the air?
AM: In a lot of ways it’s very similar because we use the same poses, the same techniques, but the thing is, we take the aerial yoga hammock as a prop. It changes your dynamic because in regular yoga, you might be able to “fake” the pose a little bit, but with the aerial hammock, it causes you to activate all of those muscles or else gravity is going to cause the fabric to slip away from you. It really brings awareness to different muscles that you might never notice on a regular basis. Another thing is that in yoga, inversions are the king of all poses, so the reason we go upside down is because life is always throwing us upside down with crazy different things happening and so we practice going upside down and being disoriented and getting used to that sensation in life. Off course, aerial yoga also has amazing circulatory and health benefits. The amazing thing is that these hammocks hold you so everyone is able to get upside down every single class. Also, it’s just a lot of fun – you get to swing and laugh!
20SA: What would you say to beginners who are hesitant to try aerial yoga?
AM: Number one is safety is the key. We built this rig so that every single component of it can withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure; swinging, dropping pressure. It’s made to a standard that we could lift several cars. The fabric will not rip until over 2,000 pounds is put on it. Every single element we use is held to that capacity so it can hold anyone and it’s safe for them. Also, it’s good to get outside of your comfort zone because that’s when learning really happens. It’s neat to push yourself to try it and you always have the power in class to say no that’s not for me today, but at the same time, it pushes you to grow and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.
After speaking with Anne, Jacqueline and I participated in our first aerial class. The entire practice is difficult to describe. While the class was whimsical in every way, it also taught me how to let go and exactly how powerful your mind is. Anne said something during the class that really stuck with me. She said, “Aerial yoga makes you honest and vulnerable,” and that is 100% true. During some points of being upside down, my thoughts got the best of me and I flipped right back up, caught my breath, and flipped back down again. It was a beautiful process and unlike any other work out.
Aerial Yoga Boerne is having an amazing special for the month of August – unlimited classes for only $50! For a list of classes, rates and descriptions, please click here.
Have you, or would you, try aerial yoga? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments!