Let’s get a few things straight: I am in no way, shape, or form a diehard yoga-enthusiast. I’ve attended a few Moksha and Bikram classes here and there (and for those who don’t know the difference, you can check out Nicki’s article here). I’m not an avid goer, only because I get super intimidated by all the yogis who can stand upside down with one hand and can contort their bodies in ridiculous positions. So you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when my friend told me she signed us up for an aerial yoga class. Yes, aerial yoga – a class where I thought I’d be attempting to contort my body in positions unknown to mankind whilst hanging in the air and flying through the room as I watch my life flash before my eyes.
This, however (and to my delight), was not the case. In fact, I enjoyed the class so much that I attended another aerial yoga class at a different studio for a unique and new experience. This is where I learned that, like hot yoga, aerial yoga comes in two different styles: traditional aerial yoga and suspension yoga. If you’re looking to test out either, here’s a newbie’s experience of both so you can see which might be a better fit for you.
Studio: Cardio-Go on King West
Teacher to Student Ratio: 1:10
Apparatus: Hammock made from recycled parachute material; additional handles for your feet and hands
Sweat Factor: On a scale from one to beast mode, I was a solid 8. Beads of sweat were definitely flying off my face.
Workout Factor: During the class I felt my muscles were being pushed in terms of strength. The second day after my class I was sore. I felt like my biceps and triceps (which I didn’t know I had) were a heck more toned, thanks to all those pull-ups I attempted.
Traditional Aerial Yoga
Studio: Fly Studio on Queen West
Teacher to Student Ratio: 1:5
Apparatus: Silk hammock
Sweat Factor: On a scale from one to beast mode, I was a beast. I’m not sure if it was because my body was being stretched to the max or whether the room was a little warm thanks to the +32-degree weather we had that day. But it definitely felt good to sweat it all out.
Workout Factor: Unlike suspension yoga, where there was more of a strength and body conditioning element to the class, this aerial class was comprised of mostly Asana yoga and I felt my entire body was being used to its fullest. The second day after my class I wasn’t as sore, but I thought my body overall felt incredible.
Note: I’d like to note that the atmosphere here was a lot more comfortable and relaxing and the teacher made it a point to help out each of us to ensure we were correctly doing each pose.
Overall, I couldn’t tell you which of the two classes I preferred. Perhaps if I do more of both I’d be able to give you a more concrete preference. If you’re looking for more of a workout, suspension yoga is where it’s at. What I will say is that I definitely preferred the atmosphere at Fly Studio exponentially more than Cardio-Go; it has less of a corporate vibe and really made me feel like I fit in even though I was a complete newbie. If you’re looking for something that is more traditional in terms of yoga practices, aerial is your go-to. In both classes you’ll find yourself suspended in the air, floating through life, which is what I absolutely loved. It’s almost life-changing and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to bring some edge to their conservative workout routine. Both are extremely fun and make for great conversation starters and will make you feel like you can audition to be the next Cirque du Soleil superstar.
If you’ve tried both Aerial Yoga and Suspension Yoga, let us know which one you prefer in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.