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Aerial yoga is a fun and fluid version of this discipline

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Just hanging out: Mid-air, with the body suspended from a 12-feet-long hammock, yoga becomes much more fun and fluid

Krrrk! Sounds like a puppy biting into a fresh potato chip? It is actually the sound my back makes when my yoga instructor tries to relieve the stiffness.

I am at an aerial yoga class at Sarva Yoga Studio in T Nagar. Well, how hard can it be? All one has to do is lie on a piece of suspended cloth, right?

Wrong. For starters, I am stuck at step 1: Bending forward from the waist with the back stretched out flat. “Your muscle is stiff,” says Basava, shaking his head, and adds, “Don’t worry! This form of yoga helps make the muscles flexible and strengthens the core. It is also good for toning.”

Positioning himself next to a deep purple sling (10 to 12 feet long), suspended from the ceiling, Basava asks me to follow his instructions and moves. To get me acquainted to the cloth, referred to as hammock or hook, he makes me sit on it, like one would on a chair. It feels like being on a swing. The fabric is stretchy, silk-like, and seems to handle my weight well (62 kilograms at the time of print). Before I get too comfortable, Basava asks me to stand up and straighten my spine. He artistically drapes his hands with the cloth and secures them. It works as a grip.

Warming up

We start with a few stretches, loosening exercises, joint rotation, Ardha Chandrasana (half moon posture), Vrikshasana (tree pose), followed by five rounds of Suryanamaskar. And now, time for Bhadrasana (the gracious pose). So, I hoist myself onto the solid hammock, one leg at a time, till I am sitting with my legs folded, feet facing each other and rested on the sling, while the rest of my body is mid-air. I am holding onto the hammock for support. Basava understands the importance of social media and offers to click a picture while I hold the “cool” posture; body quivering a wee bit but fake smile firmly intact.

Next, he instructs me to do a plank, but stretch my legs and cradle them on the hammock. All right, this is actually easy. Or did I speak too soon?

Apparently, yes. “Now we will try Natarajasana (dancer pose) in inversion,” announces Basava, looking delighted. Seeing the part-blank part-petrified look on my face he says, “We can easily try all advanced asanas here like Sirsasana and Chakrasana and then inversions.”

Fluid moves

Turns out, his definition of easier is a lot different from the layman’s. To prove how “easy” it is, he quickly climbs onto the hammock and his lithe body does a set of complex moves like the Bolshoi ballerinas. “It is very relaxing,” he says, as he casually hangs upside down like a bat. “This is Sirsasana,” he explains, moving on to Padmasana (mid air, mind you) and then finally, inverted Natarajasana.

At this point, he resembles a triskelion and looks much like the flag of Isle of Man. I clap encouragingly. Basava then descends and says, “Your turn.”

So, aided by Basava and his assistant, I climb onto the hammock. And then, all I remember are screams of protest amidst a lot of giggling. They finally give up.

“This is actually a fun class. My students enjoy themselves. Let’s try something more relaxing,” suggests Basava, as he opens out the hammock and folds it twice. It is almost as wide as a single bed sheet. And as I clamber in, it envelopes me. I comfortably lie on it on my belly and follow Basava’s hand gestures — first bird-like moves and then, swimming. “See? Fun!,” he calls out.

Sarva Yoga organises aerial yoga workshops twice a month. Each session is priced at ₹599. Though people of all age groups can participate, it should be avoided by those who have recently undergone a surgery or those with knee or abdomen injury and pregnant women. For details, call: 7397394911.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:50:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/hanging-upside-down-the-aerial-yoga-way/article30163287.ece

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