If you’re curious but nervous about aerial yoga, Om Factory has a great class for you. This level 1 basics class has very little inverting and lots of strengthening exercises to build up your confidence and get you ready for hanging upside down. This aerial class utilizes aerial fabrics so it’s not as harsh on the skin as say, a trapeze or aerial hoop.
Our instructor was Cassandra Joy, a perky and energetic yogini who was working with a wrist injury, had an assistant from the aerial yoga teacher training program to beautifully demonstrate the moves for her.
Om Factory is a brightly-colored studio perched on the seventeenth floor of a building in the Fashion District. The studio is known for its exciting variety of classes, including aerial and circus arts, as well as acroyoga, Budokon Yoga, Restorative and Yin Yoga, and regular vinyasa yoga. They also have a branch in Union Square (and Korea, if you’re traveling internationally).
I recommend getting to class early, as Cassandra needs to check and possibly adjust the height of your aerial fabric and make sure that it hangs at hip height. For those who are scared of heights, this takes that fear away, as in this aerial yoga class, you’re never too far away from the ground.
Cassandra asked us to say ‘hi” to our neighbors as we may accidentally come into contact with them during the packed class. She also asked us to be mindful during the swinging portions of the class, to try our best not to kick anybody.
Class started with some solid warm-ups, including warrior two, extended side angle and a twist using the aerial fabric. Warming up the arms, shoulder and core area, we also attempted hauling ourselves to standing from a kneeling position using the fabric several times. Staying grounded, we also came onto all fours, extended one leg back behind us and did a little ab work raising the leg on the floor up and down, until we eventually came into a full plank.
We also stood on the aerial silks and from there, transitioned into a tree pose, then took a kind of tilted warrior pose with one leg stretched out to the side and with the opposite hip sliding away from that leg. Other ground work included a few fun forward and back swings with the hammock strapped onto our backs like a backpack and a camel rock on our knees.
We spent a good 40 minutes of the class warming up on the ground before inverting. Our first inversion was a forward fold, known in aerial yoga circles as a hip hang, and from here, we were offered a number of variations with both feet and hands off the ground. Our second shot at inverting, involved tilting backwards in the hammock into an upside down upavistha konasana. Variations included an inverted supta baddha konasana, and a pigeon prep with the possibility of taking hold of the back foot. Inversions in aerial yoga are always a wonderful way to release and decompress the spine.
Our final relaxation involved savasana in the hammock. Always a favorite of mine, this variation of savasana allows the body to feel truly held. As it did with me, this aerial class should leave you feeling lighter, stronger, and longer.
Drop-in classes are $22.
—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth
Tuesday 7:15-8:30pm Beginner
Om Factory 265 W. 37 St., 17th Fl New York, NY 10018 212-616-8662