Imagine being enveloped in a silky hammock, completely weightless, as you float off to your happy place.
This is how I eased into the aerial yoga class at Coco Club in Hammersmith. I’d completely forgotten that I’d turned up late and flustered.
We started off with womb pose (great name). While sat in the hammock like a swing, you have to cock your leg over one strand so that you’re straddling it. You then stretch the silk out over your legs and bring your feet up in front so that your soles are touching. Like being sat on the floor, but in mid air.
By now you’re completely covered and supported by the fabric. Ridiculously cosy. Hence, womb.
I didn’t want to leave the womb.
As we went through a series of poses, I soon realised that aerial yoga requires core strength, coordination…and courage. More intense than classic yoga, the hammock helps you stretch further, and there’s simply more room to manoeuvre when you’re in the air.
Take bow pose. In yoga you lie on your front, reach back to grasp your ankles, and lift off. But with a hammock in the mix, you can hang upside down in the same position and let gravity pull you deeper into the stretch.
There was a lot of dangling upside down. Terrifying to begin with, but once I learnt to trust the hammock, it was so much fun.
We did reclining bound angle (see below), one-legged king pigeon (another brilliant name), queen bee and chandelier (my favourites). Definitely had Sia’s famous track in my head as we did that last one.
The only problem I had was making sure I had the hammock in the right place and spread out enough so that it didn’t dig into my waist (and boy does that hurt). After all you’re entire body weight is literally hanging by a thread.
I also had a bit of trouble getting my head around some of the poses – which limb to put where and so on. And being inverted adds an extra challenge to that.
The teacher was great though and explained exactly how to achieve each pose, or came over to help. Quite a few others were trying it for the first time too.
We ended in the best pose. Savasana. You literally COCOON yourself in the hammock whilst lying flat on your back. You can even have a gentle swing if you want. Total relaxtion.
It was such a good lesson, that I’ve been back several times since. It’s a very decent price at £15, so I treat myself every month. Proof that if you step out of your comfort zone (or ‘the womb’), you might find something you love.
“I’m gunna swing from the chandelier…I’m gunna fly like a bird through the night.” That’s going to be in my head all day.
Advice I wish I’d been given
- Don’t turn up late: It’s not like yoga where you can turn up, grab a mat and go. The teacher has to get the step ladder out and adjust your hammock to your height. So best to be there 15 minutes before the class starts.
- Prepare to spend a lot of time upside down: Which means all the blood will rush to your head and you’ll feel a bit funny after a while. But if you can manage to stay inverted, it’s so good for you. Do make sure you recover afterwards.
- Pay attention to instructions: It’s so important to know exactly what you’re doing. So don’t rush ahead with a pose. Watch the teacher demonstrate first and take it slowly. You wouldn’t want to land on your head.
In next week’s ‘Yoga Panther Tries’ I try my hand at bouldering…
Yoga Panther x