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Hang out: Aerial yoga classes in Portland, Biddeford, Brewer & Bar Harbor

Hang out: Aerial yoga classes in Portland, Biddeford, Brewer & Bar Harbor

First came yoga on a mat. Then on a sail boat, on a paddleboard, and in a brewery hoop house.

Now there’s yoga in the air.

Aerial yoga (which is also sometimes called “anti-gravity yoga,” which sounds like something that requires a spacesuit and top secret security clearance at NASA) has found its way to a handful of studios around Maine in the last year or two. That means we get to do yoga and have the pleasure of hanging from the ceiling at the same time. Lucky us!

Just like mat-based yoga (pro-gravity yoga?!), aerial yoga helps improve flexibility and strength with a series of poses and breathwork. Except now there’s a silky-fabric hammock involved (or split silks that have been tied in a knot to form a sling).

Instructor Hannah, on left, leads an aerial yoga class in warrior pose at Evo Rock + Fitness in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo
Instructor Hannah, on left, leads an aerial yoga class in warrior pose at Evo Rock + Fitness in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo

The hammock does make some of the poses more challenging (for example, a plank is decidedly harder when your feet are held aloft by the fabric. And your Warrior 1 will feel notably less stable when your forward foot is wobbling in a stirrup made fabric, rather than firmly planted on the ground as it usually is).

But challenge is good! And in trade, aerial yoga offers perks that mat yoga just can’t compete with.

Like this:

Upside down! This pose looks beautiful and impressive - and it's easier to do than it looks! Shannon Bryan photo
Upside down! This pose looks beautiful and impressive – and it’s easier to do than it looks! Shannon Bryan photo
An intro to aerial yoga class at Equilibrium, Balancing Health in Biddeford. Shannon Bryan photo

 

Inversions! They’re a whole different story with aerial yoga. You’ll learn how to hang, float and relax upside down. And and while these poses may seem daunting, they’re easier than they look. With some guidance from the instructor, first-timers will find themselves bottoms up and rightfully proud. That said, going upside down can make you dizzy or even nauseated at first, so be aware.

You might take to it right away – you might not.

But depending on the class, you’ll still spend much of your time right-side-up.

Shannon Bryan photo
The first part of the class at Evo Rock + Fitness started on the mat, using the silks to deepen stretches. Shannon Bryan photo

The silks can help deepen a stretch, even when you’re feet are still on the ground. And because the fabric moves, your balance will be challenged, too.

There’s plenty of stretching and poses with your feet planted firmly on the ground at the intro class at Equilibrium in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo
Learning aerial yoga in Biddeford. Shannon Bryan photo

But if you want to get in the air, there will be plenty of opportunity for that, too.

Shannon Bryan photo
Instructor Hannah shows the class how to move into the next post during an aerial yoga class at Evo Rock + Fitness. Shannon Bryan photo
It feels soooo good to float! Shannon Bryan photo

You don’t need to have yoga experience to try aerial yoga. You don’t need hanging-from-the-rafters experience, either. An appreciation for levitation might help. And the openness to try something new that may feel awkward at first – or make your head rush – well, that’s a skill for life.

Check out the upcoming beginner workshops at venues in Portland, Biddeford and Brewer to get experience in the fundamentals before signing up for the regular class. (The beginner workshop is actually a requirement at a few places.) The workshops are open to all experience levels (and body types, too. The hammocks support weight up to 200-250 pounds, depending on the aparatus).

Shannon Bryan photos
At the end of class, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to spend some time cocooned in the silks or hammock. Shannon Bryan photos

Take an aerial yoga class at one of these Maine studios:

Equilibrium

40 Main St., Biddeford
www.equilibriummaine.com

Evo Rock + Fitness

65 Warren Ave., Portland
www.evorock.com

TULA Studios

146 Ocean St., South Portland. www.tulamaine.com

Scarborough Pilates

152 US Route 1, Suite 12, Scarborough
www.scarboroughpilates.com

OM Land Yoga

72 Center St., Brewer
www.omlandyoga.com


More Aerial: Beginner aerial silks class at Breakwater School in Portland


Shannon Bryan photo
Inverted. Shannon Bryan photo

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.

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