Yoga enthusiasts embark on theraputic aerial trend

Anusha Vadlamani | Staff Writer

Aerial yoga is flipping the world of relaxation completely upside down. 

 A style of yoga that had previously been exclusive to only bigger cities, aerial yoga made its way to Mason six years ago when yoga instructor Paula Bortolotto opened her studio, the Anahata Yoga Center.

The practice of aerial yoga involves performing traditional yoga poses while being suspended from the ceiling in a nylon hammock. Bortolotto said she wanted to provide a comfortable way to share the health benefits of being upside down with her students.

“I’ve always been an upside down junkie because being upside down has tremendous benefits for the body. I wanted an easy way for my students to access that,” Bortolotto said. “I started googling ways for people to go upside down and came across the hammock idea, and I’ve been offering the option at my studio from day one.”

For sophomore yoga fanatic Spandana Grandhi, finding the Anahata Yoga Center was an unexpected, but appreciated, discovery. 

“The Anahata Yoga studio was really nice,” Grandhi said. “It was small so there weren’t too many people in classes and there was a lot more attention given to each individual in the class.”

The idea of being able to explore a different branch of yoga appealed to Grandhi, who said that aerial yoga was unique because of how much more interactive the class was compared to a standard yoga class.

 “It still has all the benefits of yoga but it’s a way more interactive class,” Grandhi said. “It’s a lot of regular yoga poses, but instead of having your feet planted on the ground, they were up in the air. “The poses I did while I was upside down made me feel like I was floating in the air.”

Aerial yoga is a challenge compared to the traditional style of yoga that Grandhi is used to, but it is a challenge that she is willing to keep taking. 

“Aerial yoga requires a lot more movements and attention. You’re on the silks and it takes a lot more coordination and core strength because you have to keep your balance and still execute the poses in the air,” Grandhi said. “It’s hard to balance at the beginning, but you slowly start to learn to control yourself and after that, it’s a lot more enjoyable. It was a really  fun and new experience. It wasn’t as relaxing as regular yoga, but it was still really cool.”

 

Sophomore Spandana Grandhi performs traditional yoga poses while suspended from the ceiling in a nylon hammock at the Anahata Yoga Center in Mason.

 

According to Junior Kate MacLean, the intensity of an aerial yoga class is much higher than the intensity of standard yoga. 

It requires a lot more attention and energy, whereas a standard yoga class is about relaxation and breath control. Both forms of yoga, however, focus on promoting self-consciousness. MacLean said that she preferred the methods of aerial yoga because of how versatile it was. 

“We were on silks and it was just really different because there were a lot of new movements that we could do. We could wrap our legs on the silks and just hang in the air and it was so cool,” MacLean said. “There’s this different element of hanging versus being on the ground and it’s just a lot harder but a lot more fun. I would really recommend doing it.”

Bortolotto believes that anyone can access the benefits of aerial yoga, as long as they are willing to take on the challenge.

“All you need for aerial yoga is a willingness to try and a sense of adventure. The inversions have an effect on your mind,” Bortolotto said. “Literally, scientifically, they make you happy. When my students leave aerial yoga, it’s always with a smile on their face.”

 

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Photos by Anusha Vadlamani.

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