Serene. Mindful. Peaceful. Aware. When I’m hanging upside from an aerial yoga hammock (that’s me, in the gray shirt on the right), I could groove in that state of bliss for hours on end. It’s an incredibly peaceful experience. I attended a workshop with Aviana Aerial Yoga at the Abhyaasa Yoga Studioin Naperville, IL. What a lovely studio. My quest for the upside down started last year, January 2015. I just suddenly decided that I need to learn how to do a headstand. From there, it went to arm balances, and handstand practice. Of course, there are still lots of things I have to learn. There are tons of people more skilled than I am. To dwell on that would cause me to miss the point of the experience. What I loved was the rush I got from an incredible sense of accomplishment and confidence that I couldn’t get from anything else. I loved how I felt, and I wanted more! I was excited to try aerial yoga because I was intrigued by the hammock. I really had no idea what to expect other than to have some fun. What I learned was so much different from what I had anticipated. Surrender to serenity In aerial yoga, one learns connection with the self. For me, it was a process of surrender. I’ve been supporting myself and two kids on my own for the past 20 years without a break. Being strong meant to keep going, keep pushing through each day, working, going to school, getting my career, keeping up the house, taking care of the kids, the dog, and so on. I can’t tell you how many times I wished for someone to carry me for a while, to take care of me so that I could curl up into a little ball, and get some rest. Awareness of bliss During the aerial yoga practice, I let go of supporting myself and I learned to trust the hammock to support me. Body awareness, breath, and deliberate movements instill confidence in the physical self that translate into the mind, emotions, and thoughts. I learned that I was safe to let go, both literally and figuratively, and just allow myself to be supported. To hang upside down, fully supported, and just let go of the world around me was one of the most blissful experiences I had ever known. Yes you can Many people look at aerial yoga, see the hammock, and think it is inaccessible to them because they do not have the supposed strength or skills to participate. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are things you can accomplish more easily because of the hammock. You can let go of your worries and just be at one with the hammock. You can enjoy all the different ways to explore your mind, body, and shifts in energy. Who knows? I would encourage you to take an aerial yoga class, and open the door to your own peaceful, fun, uplifting experience. Think of how that can translate into how you handle the hassles of daily living. Perhaps you’ll learn to slow down. Perhaps you’ll say yes when someone offers you help. Perhaps you’ll find that the space in your chest that lets you breathe more easily also helps you be more patient with your loved ones. Who knows? There’s only one way to find out! Namaste Diana
by Diana Zilly, MS, MA, LCPC. Diana is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Hypnotherapist, Life Coach and Educator, and former Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Joliet Junior College.
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