Aerial yoga isn’t at the top of many programming lists, but it’s worth considering if you’d like a unique fitness class that really grabs students’ attention. At the University of Florida, it’s called “flying yoga,” and has become a very popular small group training class in the Gators rec center.
Incorporating long silks into various yoga poses, flying yoga helps students get closer to their inner acrobat. And performing some complicated twists and turns while hanging from the silks can be a pretty intense workout.
For more insight on flying yoga, its benefits and some best practices for integration, Campus Rec spoke to Leah Shelley, Florida’s assistant director for fitness programs:
CR: What are the benefits of flying yoga for students?
LH: Flying yoga provides an opportunity for students to find themselves in more active and passive inversion poses — inversions include anything where the head is below the heart. The fullest expression of most inversions in a mat-based yoga class can require a special skill set in balance, strength and flexibility. However, in flying yoga, participants can find themselves benefitting from intense inversion postures they may not be able to get into in a mat-based class.
CR: How well has flying yoga been received by students?
LH: Our flying yoga classes tend to fill up quickly — students love how many cool pictures they can take on the silks. We even have participants seek out a flying yoga class for birthday parties and “girls night out” events.
CR: What logistical tips can you offer for implementing flying yoga?
LH: Make sure you find the correct elastic composition of the silks for what you plan on doing — aerial drops versus aerial yoga. This is very important. You will also need to purchase the carabiners and daisy chains separately, and you will need to know how to make the knots correctly.
When caring for the silks, washing and drying is very specific for this delicate fabric. Make sure you protect your investment by researching cleaning products and appropriate heat use.
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