BERLIN — It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s aerial yoga. And instructors at Berlin’s month-old Zenna Wellness Studio promise that the workout, which takes participants off the ground, is not only fun and safe, but accessible for all skill levels.
“It’s great for beginners. Anyone can do it as long as they leave their ego at the door,” said instructor Cameron Janighan.
Janighan explained that in aerial yoga, each participant uses an “aerial silk,” a hammock-like ribbon of fabric that, while pretty to look at, is also able to support up to 1,000 pounds.
“You have that extra support … where you can kind of surrender into the pose,” she said.
The additional support makes even more complicated traditional yoga moves possible, according to Janighan.
“Everybody is going to reach their edge,” she said.
Janighan admitted that the hammocks can appear intimidating to anyone unfamiliar with aerial yoga but are 100 percent safe and require no prior experience before getting into the air.
Carolyn DiMetrious, a 64-year-old member of Janighan’s class, pointed out that the floating style of yoga also lets users take advantage of natural forces to perform otherwise difficult poses.
“And you have gravity, too,” she said. “This is enabling me to do more.”
DiMetrious has been attending aerial yoga at Zenna since the studio opened its doors early last month. Despite her age, Janighan said DiMetrious is easily able to keep up in class, a feat even more impressive considering DiMetrious is a cancer survivor.
“I just finished treatment for breast cancer,” she said during a session on Tuesday.
Even during treatment, DiMetrious said she was able to do aerial yoga through most of the process. While the physical aspect helped keep her conditioned, she asserted that the mental calming and relaxation of performing yoga with a silk was even more beneficial.
“This is peaceful for my spirit,” she said.
According to Janighan, that kind of reaction is typical for most people who train in aerial yoga.
“It has the benefits of release and a workout without the tear on your body,” she said.
Besides laymen, Janighan asserted that aerial yoga yields rewards for students experienced in traditional yoga.
“It’s great for advanced yogis to deepen their practice,” she said.
Jesse Martin, an instructor and co-owner of Zenna, agreed.
“Most people will hit a wall,” she said. “They’ll hit a point where they can’t go any further [with traditional yoga].”
But with the support and flexibility of a silk, Martin pointed out that complex moves can by mastered in the air and subsequently transferred to the floor.
“There are certain key things to go through,” added Janighan. “You have to listen to your body.”
Aerial yoga is at Zenna by appointment only or on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. For more information, call 443-373-7069.