The Best Kind of Yoga for Guys Who Don’t Like Yoga
As you may already know by now, Shelby recently completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. This was an amazing process for her and one that will no doubt enable her to further her career in the health and wellness space.
Although her practice was clearly enhanced during our time in Bali, it’s safe to say that mine was fairly stagnant. In fact, I’ve only been to 2 classes during our first 30 days in Bali. Believe it or not, these numbers are probably right on par, if not slightly above average, from my typical yoga schedule back home. So despite the fact that Shelby is coming from the perspective of a certified yogi, I feel pretty comfortable claiming that even if you don’t enjoy yoga, or you haven’t tried it but are convinced you wouldn’t enjoy it, there’s still a good chance that you’ll enjoy aerial yoga.
If you haven’t heard of it before, aerial yoga, sometimes referred to as sky yoga or anti-gravity yoga, is a form of yoga that combines traditional yoga poses with dance, pilates and wait for it… hammocks! Still a little confused? Understandable. Let’s try this again. Think yoga combined with Cirque du Soleil aerial silk/ribbon dancing. If that doesn’t sound fun to you, then you probably need to try it more than anyone else. If you’re a little intimidated by the sound of that or hesitant about trying it, I promise you can manage at least one class.
Yesterday morning we went to a sky yoga power core class at the Radiantly Alive yoga studio in Ubud (From a non yogi’s perspective, I personally enjoyed the overall vibe and the seemingly less pretentious attitudes of the people practicing here more than at Yoga Barn, although both are very professional environments). Apart from being an incredibly interesting and playful class, I think it’s also a great option for inexperienced yogis because of the intensity, or lack there of, when it comes to strict yoga movements.
This was the second aerial class I’ve taken and both times I never felt like any of poses were so far out of my wheelhouse that I was super uncomfortable or completely contorting my body. Could this have been because neither of these classes were my first ever yoga classes? Possibly. But I think it’s attributed more to the fact that none of the poses rely solely on your body.
Outside of child’s pose (a rest pose), all of your movements are assisted by the hammock. Furthermore, many of your movements are hardly yoga poses at all. In yesterday’s class, we used our hammocks as swing sets and to do a set of pull-ups. The teacher actually needed to do assisted jump pull-ups, which was really interesting and potentially comforting for newer members since this could be a movement that they were better at than the teacher (not something that happens too often for beginners in yoga classes). For a lot of guys (and girls) who prefer lifting weights over yoga, pilates and other group fitness classes, these kinds of movements also help bridge that gap and break up the class so that it’s not continuous yoga for an hour or hour and a half.
As I mentioned before, these kinds of yoga classes are also really fun. Not like the I enjoy working out and being active kind of “fun”, but the oh we’re hanging upside down and swinging back and forth like ninjas kind of fun. The classes really live up to the names aerial, sky and anti-gravity yoga. At the very least, they’re completely different than any other kind of fitness I’ve ever seen.
Last but not least, my favorite part about aerial yoga is the Savasana (the final rest pose). In a typical yoga class, you finish your practice laying on your back in a relaxing rest pose with your eyes closed. While this is incredibly rejuvenating and meditative at times, laying on your thin mat doesn’t quite stack up to collapsing into a hammock cocoon. So at the very least, I recommend trying and aerial yoga class to experience the sensation of almost dozing off into a hammock nap after some light exercise while some super zen musics plays in the background.
If you’ve already tried or regularly practice aerial yoga, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why it is (or isn’t) a good option for beginners.