On my first full day in Calgary I was lucky enough to take my first ever Aerial Yoga class with the ladies of InFlight Fitness. Being able to stay active while on this trip has been so great, and stepping out of the gym to try new forms of exercise has broadened my horizons as well! I had been anxious to try an Aerial Yoga class for forever, and when given the chance to try it in the beautiful city of Calgary I jumped at the opportunity!
Aerial Yoga was created by a man named Christopher Harrison, an avid yogi and gymnast who found a way to combine the two forms or exercise into a unique effective workout using the patented Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock. The goal is to provide a low-impact cardiovascular workout that helps to decompress the spine and strengthen your musculoskeletal system. It is a perfect blend of gymnastics, dance, pilates, calisthenics and yoga, not to mention an absolute blast! Harrison formed the technique as a way to prepare his acrobatic performance team for competitions and performances, but modified and enhanced it to cater to the everyday athlete!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first stepped into InFlight, but I immediately felt welcome. It can be scary attending a new class in a new place, but everyone here made me feel so at home. Our class was led by Minh, who was such a positive energy and made everyone feel comfortable, confident and safe. The hammocks were hung across the studio on wooden beams, and while she promised that they were engineered to hold over one thousand pounds it can still be scary putting your trust into a piece of silk! The first time hopping up into the hammock and letting your feet come up off the floor was an amazing feeling that I soon became addicted to. My dreams of flight came true!
The first part of the class was spent explaining how to properly get in and out of your hammock, as well as the many benefits that inversions can provide for the body. Some of the most noteworthy were hydration of the vertebral discs of the spinal column, enhanced complexion from the fresh blood provided to the capillaries (who doesn’t want that?), refreshing the endocrine, lymphatic, digestive and circulatory systems, increasing the neuroplasticity of the brain (the ability to learn!) by creating new synaptic connections and neural pathways, and best of all releasing all of your happy hormones—serotonin, endorphins, endophalins, endocaniboids and dopamine!
The hammock serves as a fascial massage by placing direct pressure on muscles like your hip flexors, IT bands, and shoulders. Simply put, it hurts!!! The inversions are all held anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, which is more than enough time for the blood to rush straight to your head. It can be a weird sensation at first, but what they say is true—it releases all of your happy hormones and leaves you feeling absolutely AMAZING by the time you walk out. Not to mention the pride you feel after trying something new and challenging! My favorite poses included the Superman (esencially fulfilling your dreams of being able to fly), Bat, Extended Bat, Vampire, and ending in Cocoon (the aerial yoga equivalent to corpse pose)!
InFlight Fitness’ Calgary location was absolutely beautiful and the staff were incredibly kind. I would recommend this experience to anyone who is looking to switch up their fitness routine and try something new and challenging. The best part for me was just how quickly I could feel the effects and benefits starting to take place, and I was on a high for hours after the class ended! It was so much fun, and I am tempted to buy my own hammock to put in my home so I can practice regularly on my own—no joke it was that amazing! Thank you to everyone in Calgary for making it an experience I’ll never forget.
I was a guest of InFlight Fitness, as always all opinions are my own!