Aerial yoga brings element of play to workout

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Bibianna Green of Jasper does an inversion while suspended in a silk hammock during an aerial yoga class at Yes Power Yoga's new studio space in Huntingburg on Tuesday. Owner Erin Rauscher said she loves the variety of movement and playfulness that aerial yoga allows. "I love playing. It just brings out that light in people," Rauscher said.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Suspended about 2 feet above the ground, Erin Rauscher of Yes Power Yoga and her students flew through the air and hung upside down as a part of their yoga practice Tuesday morning.

The class — aerial yoga — is a new offering Rauscher added to Yes Power Yoga’s schedule this month. The practice requires participants to use a silk hammock as a prop as they move through yoga routines while hanging in the air.

“It feels nice to be weightless, doesn’t it?” Rauscher asked at the beginning of the class. “Nothing holding you down.”

Attendees were lying flat on their backs in the hammocks to get used to the weightless sensation that is a hallmark of aerial yoga.

As the 45-minute class went on, Rauscher led her students through movements that had them hanging upside down to lengthen the spine or wrapping themselves tightly in the silk to swing for a few moments. The scene looked more like play than a workout.

For the repeat attendees, the element of play is what keeps them coming to Rauscher’s aerial classes.

Owner of Yes Power Yoga, Erin Rauscher, center, leads an aerial yoga class at the studio in Huntingburg on Tuesday.

“It opens me up,” said Carol Stone of Petersburg. “It’s fun.”

Rauscher discovered aerial yoga at Elements Yoga & Wellness in Vincennes a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. She received her certification to teach it a year and a half ago, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work in her previous space on Fourth Street in Huntingburg. The rigging requires beams that can support multiple hammocks, which can support up to 2,000 pounds each. With the chandelier in the old space, Rauscher figured it wouldn’t work. But then a space opened up at 417 E. Fourth St. that Rauscher new was perfect for the class, so she moved her business and opened in the new location earlier this month.

It’s been worth the move. The aerial yoga classes fill up almost as soon as they’re posted on the website.

“There’s an element of challenge in it,” Rauscher said. “Learning to trust the silks; trusting that this thing is going to hold me. But that can be empowering outside of class, too.”

Other benefits of aerial yoga include spinal decompression similar to what is experienced on an inversion table, an elevated heart rate that is good for cardiovascular health and movement in the body’s lymphatic system.

For Stone, the best part of class is the inversions that decompress the spine. Although the movements look difficult, Stone said it’s actually easier to do the handstands in aerial yoga than it is in a regular class.

Miamour Meneilly-Horney, left, and Abby Wendholt, both of Huntingburg, end their aerial yoga practice at Yes Power Yoga in Huntingburg on Tuesday.

“You’re not really bearing a lot of the weight,” she said. “You feel supported during the class. You don’t feel like you’re going to fall.”

The feeling of weightlessness was Abby Wendholt’s favorite part of the class. Wendholt is an instructor at Yes Power Yoga, but Tuesday was her first aerial class.

“It’s fun,” she said. “It feels like play. You don’t feel like you’re working out.”

For Rauscher, aerial yoga is a chance to offer her clients another variety of workout that takes them out of their comfort zone and challenges them to do movements they wouldn’t think they could.

Aerial yoga classes are held at 9 a.m. Tuesdays and 4:30 p.m. Fridays. Sign-ups and a full schedule of Yes Power Yoga classes can be found online at www.ypoweryoga.com.




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