A few questions:
1. Is your body worn out from walking up the Hill every morning just to sit in that extremely uncomfortable desk in Cherry Hall?
2. Do you love the thought of exercising but want to cry tears of boredom after two minutes on the elliptical?
3. Were you that kid who passionately chose the ability to fly as your superpower whenever the discussion arose on the playground?
You may think these questions are weird and completely unrelated, and normally, they would be. But not today!
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then I want to let you in on my recent workout discovery that may change your life.* If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you are probably just trying to be cool. And honestly, you’d probably still like this discovery anyway.
What could this new fitness exploration be, you ask? Well, it’s definitely not the elliptical. This new-to-Bowling Green activity involves a little bit of yoga, Pilates and some silky hammock-like strands which hang from the ceiling. Its called Aerial 326, and I think it is super fun.
The Spot, located on East Main Street, just down the street from Fountain Square Park, is a fitness boutique that offers yoga, Pilates and aerial classes. When I found out about this, I had to try it for myself.
I walked into the warm, brick-lined studio. It smelled of lavender oils and held a dimly-lit charm. Glistening silks hung silent and still from the ceiling. I was instructed to pick a silk which, when slightly stretched, reached below my hips. I found a lovely black silk on the right side of the room, and I unrolled my yoga mat to begin.
As instructors Loryn Stanley and Loralee Stephens took the class through a warm-up and eventually into the tougher exercises, we learned to target different muscles in our forearms and backs. The silks supported the majority of our weight so that our spines could decompress and stretch to a new potential.
“Your body can be at its tallest possible height after taking an aerial class,” Stanley said.
In the middle of class, we began to try more difficult positions, like inversions. An inversion occurs when you turn upside down with the silk supporting your body. Yes, it is as fun as it sounds, and it made me feel as if I had never sat in all those evil Cherry Hall desks.
The aerial class ends similarly to a typical yoga class. The participants lie flat on their backs in corpse pose. However, the difference is that each person is fully engulfed in the smooth fabric of their silks as they hang, seemingly weightless, about three feet above the ground.
The instructor turned off the lights and the room grew silent. My goal became to clear my mind and focus solely on how my body felt after contorting and twisting in so many new ways.
Both my mind and body were refreshed after the class, and I kind of got the chance to fly, connected to the aerial silk, of course. I felt as if, for that hour and a half, I had travelled to a different world far away from essays and textbooks. It was magical.
As the owner and an instructor, Stephens recommends the class for anyone and everyone who is interested in a new, exciting form of fitness. There is no age or weight limit for Aerial326 classes, and the only requirement is that participants must learn to trust that their silk will hold them.
“You just have to be okay with what’s happening,” Stephens said. “Anyone can physically do the class, but it’s just a matter of them getting out of their brains enough to actually do what we’re asking and just let go.”
Throughout the month of October, The Spot has increased its student discount from 20 to 30 percent off in celebration of the first anniversary of its new space. Stephens and Stanley said they hope to see new faces and bodies taking advantage of the fitness opportunities they offer.
As for me, I’ll definitely be back to do some more flying, learn some cool new tricks and strengthen my mind and body.
*Results may vary. I cannot guarantee that you will find an aerial class as exciting, relaxing and as downright awesome I did.