I recently discovered the art of flying and it wasn't in a plane. In fact, it was in a small cool room wrapped in silk. This may be an odd image to decipher, so let me explain. My boyfriend recently found a class in Lawton that taught aerial yoga. Aerial yoga is a mix between aerial arts – you know the beautiful bodies at the circus who twirl and flirl and jump and dive around the air in between long sheets of silk cloth – and traditional yoga. The result is an amazingly effective stretch and strengthen session that leaves you both wonderfully exhausted and refreshed all at the same time.
The class began by telling us everything that could potentially go wrong. I'll admit, I wasn't nervous at all until I heard that the pressure of the cloth can be hard on brittle bones, pregnant women and people who suffer from vertigo. Being the motion-sickness queen I did have a twinge of anxiety pass through me when I heard that last one. Still, I was beyond excited to try this new experience and so I continued to listen as the instructor told us all the benefits of aerial yoga. Things like increased flexibility, strength and balance seemed like good advantages to me. I also loved the idea of flying and doing flips on little pieces of cloth – I mean, can it get any cooler??
After the necessities had been discussed, the class began to take action. There were five us of who all introduced ourselves to one another. As it turns out everyone in the room was military except me and I was dating one so I felt pretty much included.
We began by placing the silk firmly around our lower hips while we bent over into downward facing dog. First came massive stretching – the weight of my body forced me into a deeper stretch than floor-work alone could have achieved. Next came time to lift up our feet and feel the first sensation of “flying”, and I kid you not, as soon as I lifted my feet and arms off the ground, I felt like a full-fledged Superman, flying high above the skylines. I squealed with delight as I felt the freedom pass through my bones. I stretched and elongated just to try and feel every inch of space my body was using. It was all in the air! I loved it!
After exhausting my Superman powers, we went on to do several other poses that involved bending over backwards, upside down and ultimately we flipped all the way around into a one-legged pike. The stretching sensation was phenomenal, as was the exhilaration of the act.
The entire workshop lasted for two hours. The last fifteen minutes we were instructed to first lay inside our silks as if in a hammock, then cover ourselves up as if it were our own personal cocoon. The instructor came around with lavender-infused cloths and gently covered our faces with them. As if the scent alone weren't relaxing enough, we sat in our cocoons alone in the dark for several minutes. The only sound was that of very slow, meditative music. I relaxed fully into myself as my muscles let go of all the hard work they had completed.
When the light came back on I could not identify the refreshingly exhausted phenomenon I was feeling. I looked at Tyler and in unison we asked, “Where should we go eat?”