Fly yoga!

That’s right, I went to Chicago with my friend Stephanie this weekend and took a fly yoga class! I know you’re all excited to hear about it, so I’ll get down to business.

We arrived at the gym early, so the guy at the front desk encouraged me to pick out a hammock. Stephanie and I went up to the studio and got to play around for a bit before class. Here are some pictures before I really knew what I was doing.

As people started showing up, I got a bit nervous! The class was full, and about half of us were newbies. The instructor, Brent, started with the stats about how safe we were. The hammocks are connected to the ceiling with climbing equipment (“it’s what rock climbers use to keep them from falling off a mountain”), and is tested to hold up to 1000 pounds. The hammocks themselves are made of the same fabric that the Cirque de Soleil silk dancers use, and also rated for 1000 pounds. Then he customized the height of everyone’s hammock. When you pull down on the bottom of it, it should just reach your hip creases, so some needed to be raised or lowered.

We began in savasana…inside the hammock. To get in it, you pull down and jump in with your butt first. We floated on our backs and tried to relax and breathe. Then we did some simple leg stretches and sat up. We started with some stretches and forward folds using the hammocks as leverage, then moved to  jumps that looked like this:

He had us jump ten times, and then hold for 5 counts. My arms were not quite up to the challenge, but it was still fun. Some of the veterans could jump up and flip over backwards!

We did a standing series with the hammock under the front knee in warriors, then we used it around our bent leg in a standing tree and pigeon. We did some gentle inversions, then he led us into a backflip from plow pose. You go into plow with the hammock, then let your feet drop back over your head, onto the floor.

At the end I did (believe it or not) my FIRST EVER handstand. There is a very precise process to get into an anti-gravity handstand, which I try to demonstrate here in the pictures:

Mainly, you have to start with bent elbows and bent knees, and straighten them both at exactly the same time. You can also do a no-hands handstand

or play around and do something silly like this

All in all, I thought fly yoga was incredible. The hand stand was my favorite part, but I also liked the warriors and the plow flip. I would have liked to take more pictures afterwards to show you what pigeon, tree, etc looked like with the hammock, but to be honest, I was exhausted after class! The room is not air conditioned and the fan was turned off, I guess so we could burn more calories, but I deeply regretted the pants and was thinking longingly of my capris. The holds in the first picture took an incredible amount of arm strength that I don’t exactly have, so my arms were really tired and felt like jelly afterwards! I got a lot of great pictures (thanks Stephanie!) and then I was ready to find air conditioning, peel off my tank top, and wash my face before we spent the day sightseeing.

This kind of class would never replace my yoga practice, but it would be a fun way to supplement it with added strength training. Unfortunately for me, this gym is the only one in the midwest that offers suspension yoga and it’s a bit far (2 1/2 hours ish) to do regularly. Not to mention, the drop in rate for the class is $24!

I hope I answered all of your questions about fly yoga! If you ever get the opportunity to take a class, I’d encourage you to go for it.

Other highlights of our trip to Chicago:

Tribune Tower at night

view from the John Hancock observatory (that's the Sears Tower in the far back)

Millennium Park at night (the bean)

view of the skyline from Lake Michigan

Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park

Highlights not pictured: our hotel room on the 27th floor, two glasses of sangria and yummy pad thai at the Big Bowl, watching a drunk guy get kicked out of the Big Bowl (but not before he hit on Stephanie and me), the night life on Rush street, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, breakfast at a cute diner in Lincoln Park, unintentionally driving the Magnificent Mile.

Namaste,
Jamie

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9 responses to “Fly yoga!

  1. AWESOME POST! I’m so glad you liked fly yoga! I totally agree with you that it’s a killer workout for arm strength, but still tons of fun :D

    Also, you inspired me to write a confessions of a yogini post the other day, so I linked you (and Izzy, I think?) on my blog:
    http://smileoutloud.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/confessions-of-a-21-day-old-yogini/

    I hope that’s cool with you :D

  2. WOW that looks so fun!!! If I ever get the chance I will totally be trying that. Yay!

  3. Fly yoga looks like so much fun! I would love to try, but I doubt I’ll find a class in Belgium :-/

  4. Sounds like an amazing trip!

  5. Ohmigosh! What a fun trip! I love the photos!

  6. So, I had a dream last night that I was at some huge yoga festival… and you were there, telling me about Fly Yoga! LOL. The mind works in mysterious ways…

    • I would love nothing better than to be at a huge yoga festival, especially with you! Once I had a dream that I flew to Cambridge to take a class with Rachel at Suburban Yogini! Haha.

  7. what a fun post! thanks for sharing. I googled fly yoga in Toronto but didn’t find anything… I’ll have to keep searching!!

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