There wasn't a lot of wellness going on at Miraval when The Real Housewives of Orange County ladies first arrived in Arizona at the inclusive destination resort. However, the ladies turned a corner when they attended an aerial yoga class the following morning.
Emily Simpson and Kelly Dodd were first to arrive, followed by Tamra Judge, who made it in time for the first silk position. The ladies placed the silk at the top of their thighs and bent their knee into it. Kelly Dodd nailed it and was even able to suspend her left foot in the air too. From there, the instructor pivoted into inversions, prompting Emily to whisper, “I just want down” because “that hurts my back.” She also confessed that her hip hurt, too, and she would have preferred to use the silk “as a hammock" and have someone bring her snacks.
And while that might not have been a rave review, I still was curious to try this type of class, so I went to 6th Sense Fitness to see what aerial yoga was really like!
The instructor, Tracey Thompson, explained that some of the benefits of aerial yoga include increased balance, stability, coordination, and flexibility. The environment of the class was friendly, supportive, and intimate. There was only one other person taking the class with me, so Tracey was able to give both of us plenty of individual attention. She helped adjust each of us as needed for every new pose we tried, to ensure we were positioned correctly and to make sure we didn't strain ourselves.
At first, I was intimidated when Tracey showed us what we would be trying, but I was able to do all of them with her guidance.
The class used two different height levels for the silk — one that was closer to the ground and one that was higher up/ waist level. We started in “low silk” to warm up, before moving to the “high silk” positions and incorporating traditional yoga poses that blended with the silk. These included a version of suspended child’s pose, butterfly stretch, stag pose, supported plank, and downward dog. Using the silk adds an extra level of upper body and core work and offers a true expansion of the spine.
One thing that surprised me was that the positions that required inversions were a bit painful. Even though the silk is soft, when you are leaning your full body weight on it for support, it ends up feeling like a pinching sensation. I was assured it was normal for it to hurt a little the first time trying it and that it goes away when your body gets used to it, though. By the end of the class I felt better about it, so I can definitely see it not being an issue if you practice regularly.
Hanging upside-down was also an adrenaline rush that I've never really experienced in a regular yoga class.
Overall, I really enjoyed the class and I found it way more challenging than a traditional yoga class. I totally understand why Emily's hips hurt and I could have probably used a little more stretching (and snacks) beforehand myself — but my core was activated way more than it has been in months and my abdominal muscles were so sore the next day, so it was a successful workout.
Scroll down to see some of my favorite positions.
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