The thought of being suspended in mid-air can bring about all sorts of fears…which is why I approached my first suspension yoga class with both excitement and apprehension
High on Suspension Yoga
The studio was small and the 10 or so looming red hammocks were quite intimidating. But I was super excited to try suspension yoga. I had made a promise to myself that I will be more pro-active in trying new things, and I decided to stop allowing fear to hold me back!
So there I was. Ready to fly.
Plumlines, push grips and belt wraps
Before the class began, the hammocks were adjusted to fit each individual according to their height. Jénine was warm and professional and made us feel at ease. She ran us through the safety precautions and the equipment and terms that she would use, like plumlines, push grips and belt wraps…
Getting into the hammock can be a bit tricky if you don’t know how to do it. We were taken through the steps, one at a time, to ensure that we were able to mount safely.
Once we were sitting – quite comfortably – in our hammocks, Jénine invited us to swing…like children in a park.
I was surprised at how quickly I felt at ease with the hammock supporting my full weight. And, as she slowly talked us into each position, I began to trust not only the hammock, but my own body weight too.
Turning things upside-down
The first time I went upside down was exhilarating, and quite uncomfortable. But the longer I stayed there, the more I got used to it.
The instructors joke about the fabric’s intense grip on your skin being a “deep tissue massage”. It does actually hurt a bit because we are simply not used to having our body weight supported by an, albeit strong, simple piece of fabric. The good news is that it doesn’t hurt anymore and the bruising has subsided.
Is suspension yoga for you?
Suspension yoga is safe for beginners, but I felt more comfortable and safe knowing that I practice yoga regularly. Regular yoga practice encourages balance and strength throughout your body. For me, there is no greater high than during and immediately after my yoga practice, whether it be regular vinyasa or hatha yoga, or my new found love, suspension yoga, which I now affectionately refer to as upside-down yoga 🙂
Start out slowly with yoga and you will find that with regular practice, your body will start to relax and feel more at ease, and your mind will start to quieten down. Yoga for Healing by Tera Bucanas is a great yoga programme for you to try. She has detailed videos, tutorials and posture lists.
So sometimes it’s fun to try out some “tricks”. My favourite is the “spinning chandelier”. Check out my suspension yoga video below. Please note that this was performed under the supervision of a trained and certified suspension yoga instructor.
If you try one new thing in your regular yoga practice, make it suspension yoga. But don’t have any expectations. Go as far as you can and trust yourself, the hammock and your instructor. Most importantly though, always pay attention and follow exact instructions to avoid injury.