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February 2020
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Take Flight with Angelina Borodiansky
Om Factory
873 Broadway, Suite 202
New York, NY 10003

Wed, 12:00 PM To 1:15 PM

After watching Pink perform at the Grammys, Yoga Sleuth felt the pull to try aerial silks. It seemed like both a wonderful way to move the body, and a fun fusion practice of yoga. With the many offerings of aerial yoga classes at Om Factory, Angelina Borodianskly's Aerial 1/2 seemed like a great place to begin.

As I entered the yoga studio, I was greeted by a lovely visual -- the vibrant combo of orange and purple silk hammocks draping from the ceiling. Angelina was already at work, helping others prepare for class. She handled the basic rig job required to align the hammocks into their proper setting.

When she got to my spot, she asked if I'd ever taken aerial yoga. After I said no, she explained, “ I move a little faster in this class as compared to a foundations class. But feel free to ask me to slow down, if necessary.”

We began lying on our yoga mats (placed directly under the hammock) with our legs extended, heels resting in the silk fabric. Angelina brought awareness to our breath by comparing it to a cleansing sensation that enabled us to let go of all we don’t need. She then asked us to focus on the parts of the body that feel good because “we don't often don't focus on what feels wonderful within.”

From here we lifted our pelvis up towards the ceiling into an Aerial Bridge. Like traditional yoga, aerial yoga uses variations, and because of the hammock, many have a restorative quality. In Bridge, with the hammock holding our weight, gravity allowed our bodies to find a deeper release. This was similar to holding Bridge in traditional yoga with a block underneath the sacrum. 

After relaxing in Bridge for a few breaths we went into sit-ups. With legs outstretched in the hammock, arms behind our head, we lifted our shoulders off the mat to awaken our core. 

Eventually we made our way to sit for one Om. Angelina then said "get comfortable moving something outside yourself while letting it move you."

Rather than just standing up, we were invited to grab onto the silks to pull ourselves off the ground, and lift our knees into the chest. We did this many more times throughout class which called on the core strength needed to work in proper alignment.

We then began our vinyasa (a Sun Salutation variation) using the fabric. When we got to High Lunge with our arms holding the hammock in front, I noticed an ease to each movement. Rather than stepping back to Downward Dog, I caught air before literally landing into the pose. There was a buoyancy to this jump back that I had never experienced.

Unfamiliar with many of the aerial poses, I looked at Angelina who was doing them in the front. For the trickier variations, she walked around the room giving hands-on instruction to everybody. The more challenging variations included flips and inversions.

Working with the silks was a test of balance. The hammock rocked, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I needed to rely on my core strength to hold it in place, and there were plenty of less than graceful moments as I tried to steady the silk with one leg extended and only one arm holding on.

We played with traditional yoga balance poses Tree (standing on the fabric), Warrior 3 (back foot in the fabric) and Half Moon (though one hand held the silk rather than the floor).

Trust also played a big role in the class. When Angelina helped another with the somersault I heard her tell the woman that she had the strength, but she needed to trust. I felt this when the fabric was draped across my hips, and then I had to lift my legs off the ground to fly back and forth. I definitely had a moment of thinking, what's going to happen when I take my feet of the ground?

Swinging on the hammock and flying through the poses was fun! With the hammock supporting my body weight, I felt an overall lightness which conserved energy.

Inversions came with legs wrapped around the hammock while our hands rested face up so we didn’t "rely on them to work."  In one inversion, Angelina told us to let go, then mindfully added, “actually don't let go of your legs...just your thoughts. “

At the end of class we went inside the hammock to create a cocoon like experience for our closing poses. Here we took Seated Forward Bend, Plow, Shoulderstand and Savasana.

As I laid inside the cocoon for Final Rest, I felt a gentle rocking, similar to a baby in the cradle. I closed my eyes, and for a few moments imagined myself in a hammock, palm trees overhead with the ocean breeze on my skin.

When it was time to come out of the cocoon, I joined the class for a final Om.

Drop–in classes are $20. New student specials available.

-Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth

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