Hey guys! I’m excited to present a new Mat Chat video presented by Dragonfly Yoga. We went to the first Aerial Yoga studio, Fighting Gravity Fitness Studio, in Virginia and learned some new tricks with Audrey Bonafé the owner.
Sky: Tell us, how did you get started with Aerial Yoga?
Audrey: First I started as a Zumba instructor and I was a Zumba instructor for about eight years and I also did a little too many Zumba classes and my body started aching and I tore a tendon in my ankle. So I decided I needed to find something that was a little kinder towards my body. [There was nothing] like this in Virginia when I started and I decided to find a studio that offered anti-gravity and I found one in Florida and the very first time I was in the hammock I fell in love.
S: So you were the first studio in Virginia?
A: Yes, I wanted to make sure I was the first one and hurry up to get the studio open and offer anti gravity because I knew everybody was going to love it.
S: If you were the first person in Virginia to open an anti-gravity studio, how did you hear about them in the first place? Why did you think that [aerial yoga] was a good idea?
A: I saw it [aerial yoga] on the cover of American Fitness Magazine and at that time my back was hurting and I was doing inversions on an inversion table, and when I saw this picture [the cover] it was somebody doing an inversion and I knew it was going to be great for the back.
S: That’s actually really interesting I just tried an inversion table for the first time; I have lower back issues… so anti-gravity yoga [or aerial yoga] is great then, for back issues?
A: The hammocks decompress the spine, it puts more fluid back into the portable disks and realigns the spine all at the same time. When we go into those inversions we have a gentle stretch and you feel wonderful.
S: I’m so relieved! I have something to do now to help me. Does your back start feeling better after one classes, two classes, etc.?
A: You’re going to feel it the very first time, a lot of people when they come for the first time the hard thing for them is to just relax, that’s the hardest thing [for people new to aerial yoga] is trusting the hammock. But once they trust the hammock and they let their body just relax they can feel that decompression in their spine and before they even walk out of the door they’re telling me how great they feel.
S: I can’t wait to try this. So who is aerial yoga for, specifically with people who have back issues or a wide range of people?
A: It’s good for anybody unless you have extremely high or low blood pressure of glaucoma, or if you’ve had recent surgeries… back, shoulder, wrist, elbow- things like that. Anyone else is able to do it and we’ve had a wide range of an age group. We have people in their twenties and we have people in their seventies doing it [aerial yoga.]
S: Would you say aerial yoga has more benefits for somebody than regular yoga or they’re both great for somebody, how would you classify it?
A: I think all types of yoga is great for anybody, but this hammock allows you to keep your balance and if you have a tendency to lose your balance you have the hammock there to support you also it allows you to go into a deeper stretch without any compression so you can go into a deeper stretch and the hammock is soft and you can just kind of cradle your body into the hammock.
S: I had no idea aerial yoga had so many benefits. So everything you’ve just described then inspired you then to make the move and transition into aerial yoga?
A: Absolutely, I love it. Christopher Harrison’s* guarantee is that you will leave every session happier, healthier and taller. We definitely can guarantee that.
*Christopher Harrison is the founder and creator of anti-gravity yoga.
To see Audrey show off some aerial moves and teach me a few tricks, head to our Dragonfly Youtube channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjsBgXYTF2H8KmIBicV3OFw
Sky Andersen holds down the role of blog writer at Yoga Accessories. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she writes for many different publications and is passionate about all things photography, travel and of course- yoga.