Supple bodies in aerial silks.
Back pain, muscular tension and tightness are common ailments in the modern world. But what we don’t often consider is the relationship between these symptoms and gravity.
According to one of Air Yoga’s founders, Trevor Aung Than, a former physiotherapist with Cirque du Soleil, many of these ailments are the result of gravity and compression onto our spine, starting with the weight of our heads and moving down our bodies, nestling into the spine, joints and muscles, creating discomfort and pain.
Air yoga. The practice where participants are invited to suspend themselves, stretching and swinging in circus silks, using acrobatics, inversion and gravity to create looser, toned and more supple frames. The ‘anti-gravity’ nature of the practice enables bodily compression to be released in a fun and supportive way. Through inversions, the spine is decompressed and the body is loosened out. The reference to yoga gives newcomers an easily identifiable practice to relate to, and while traditional yoga poses are not the focus of the classes offered, well-known sequences such as the sun salutation are mimicked in the air.
Learning to manoeuvre the silks is taught in a safe and supportive environment, with instructors talking participants through the techniques, before assisting individuals if needed. Trusting that gravity and the uniquely acrobatic way that the silk will hold a person in place while suspended upside down is made easier through the guidance and support of the instructor. Rigorous pre-class checks are made to each of the silks and their support frames, which are designed to hold up to two tonnes of weight.
The fluidity of the silks, as they’re twisted and turned around participants’ bodies, lend themselves to elegant movements, visible even in beginner-level classes. The softness and flexibility of the fabric, combined with its cocoon-like qualities, is perfect for poses like ‘the vampire’, for stretching taught muscles, testing core strength and for moving through the air like an acrobat.
While having ‘yoga’ in the title may be a little deceiving, the practice does share some foundational principles with it – including movement focused on awareness of the body, stretching, building core strength and relaxation. The hammocks provide a gentle casing for participants, as the forgiving nature of the material supports them through the poses.
Air Yoga classes run throughout the week via two different locations in Perth, catering to all levels and focusing on a variety of techniques. There are classes tailored to physical rehabilitation, those offering a core strength focus and also those which look at mastering handstands! Single and multi-class passes are available.
By Hana Jestribek
Air Yoga w: http://www.airyogaperth.com.au/ t: 0478 618 147 a: 1) The AirSpace, 626 Newcastle Street, Leederville WA. 2) Bayswater Martial Arts and Yoga Centre, 91 Whatley Crescent (corner of King William st), Bayswater WA.