“Where did I get this weird bruise on my ankle?” I wondered. “Did I stumble against the dishwasher?”
The mystery was solved a little while later when I was hanging upside down at the Flight Room studio in Lynnwood. As I stretched my legs up the hammock in a rope wrap inversion, my weight anchored against with the fabric along my hips, I felt the sensitive spot on my ankle compress along the silk. That’s where the bruise had come from. It was a “silk kiss,” or accidental mark, that sometimes happen while doing aerial yoga.
Aerial yoga, or aerial fitness, is a combination of strength, yoga and acrobatics that happens off the ground using props. Sometimes you’ll see aerialists use separated silks and hoops that might even spin. But the studio I go to has anchored silk hammocks that are great for beginners. Locally owned and operated, Flight Room has studios in Ballard, Green Lake and the Central District. Their new Lynnwood location attracts students from as far away as Everett and Snohomish.
Level one classes are suitable for all fitness abilities and are a lot easier than you might think. The silks feel light as air but they can hold up to 2,000 pounds. People wear leggings, pants and shirts, but no jewelry or zippers because those can snag the fabric. The beginner classes involve stretching, deep breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as guidance into classic inverted (upside) poses like hip hang, rope wrap and shoulder stand.
Since I also do barre3, a full-body workout at a studio in Edmonds, I was able to quickly advance out of the Level 1 classes and into the Level 2 and 2.5 classes. The core strength I’ve developed from barre3 is exactly what I need to be able to climb up the silks into more difficult poses like cupid, goddess and scissors. One of the hardest parts for me is still grip strength. Some of the poses involve grabbing onto the silk like it’s a rope, and that challenges the tiny muscles in my hands.
The benefits of doing aerial have been profound. I started the year in physical therapy for a shoulder injury. By around March I was still doing PT but had also began taking classes at Flight Room. What I immediately noticed was that the upside down postures released pressure from my spine and eased tension in my shoulders and neck. The Level 2 classes are a workout like no other. They force you to uses muscles you didn’t know you had.
I don’t get silk kisses like the one on my ankle very often, but when I do, I figure they’re worth it. Finding ways to keep moving for as long as possible is one of my goals in life. Relaxing in a hammock for the last few minutes of class, is fun too.
Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at email@example.com.