08 Aug Flying into a Fourth Dimension at Flex
There’s a new face at Flex. Dani Bruns is an aerial specialist and will be introducing Aerial Yoga, Flying Arts and Flying Fitness into the adults and teens Flex schedule over the next few weeks. “These classes using hammocks offer a new and exciting challenge,” she says. “Now you have to think about moving in four dimensions, including up in the air! It can be so much fun and you’ll feel a fabulous sense of achievement learning tricks and performing inversions.” Here she tells us about the advantages of adding aerial practices to your yoga.
My background is in pole fitness and yoga became my counter balance to pole. Yoga helped my pole and pole helped my yoga. They share the same foundations of core stability, flexibility and breath. And once I was on the yoga journey I realised everything can be yoga.
The way I teach my Aerial Yoga class is very similar to a Hatha class on the mat. It starts and ends with chanting as it creates a beautiful opening and closing ritual. The class proper begins with a warm up, then standing postures moving into leg and arm exercises, then into inversions, some back opening and forward folds. I try to stay focused on the principles of yoga. And we always finish with shivasana.
It is during the Flying Arts and Fitness classes where I branch off the yoga moves and into tricks and conditioning.
Flying Arts will also have a warm up – it is so important for you body – and some core conditioning, but the main focus will be on building up a portfolio of moves that can link into a flowing routine. You’ll start to learn tricks from the first two classes and each class will finish with stretches.
The Flying Fitness class will include tricks but they won’t be the main focus. This class is a real workout. It will include core conditioning, strength building and stretches, with some of the bouncing moves that come from Barre. If you think about it a lot of the movements in the hammock can be similar to the TRX – you can use the hammock in so many ways. It’s a very versatile class and will change from day to day.
Getting you started
We will have an introductory class every month for those who haven’t tried aerial before. This class will work specifically on inversions to ease people into the feeling of an upside down world.
Why I love inversions
I love aerial as an addition to my practice on the mat. They both have advantages – some things that are challenging on the floor are easy on the mat and vice versa. Aerial brings a new challenge to your balance, and makes you aware of your body in a different way, and I just love the inversions.
Benefits of inversions include lengthening the spine, which is great if you spend much of your life sitting. You can feel how it opens you up. Plus you can hold inversions in the hammock far longer than you can on the mat. Headstands are often skipped in mat classes, but they are so important. They are called “Shirshasana”, the king of postures, for a reason. They increase the flow of blood to the brain, bring your focal point a new perspective and challenge your balance. Being able to do this with so little effort comparatively speaking in a hammock, means you can hold them for longer.
Inversions will feature in all the classes. They are fabulous for core conditioning when you can practice sit ups while inverted too.
Women at certain times of the month should take it easy with inversions. If you feel good and that they will be beneficial for you then go for it, but not for too long. You may feel more pressure build up in your head and experience more dizziness when you come out of the inversion. Those with high blood pressure should also be careful.
Aerial for everyone
With the teen summer camp I’ve taught at Flex, my students were already looking forward to the inversions and tricks after the first class. The moves also created a sense of community within the class as students helped each other perform the moves. These classes are for everyone – whether you are into dance, sports or yoga.
Check out the Flex One Island South and Central schedules for Dani’s new aerial classes. She will also be introducing new Ashtanga and Hatha classes. Her 6am Ashtanga classes will be including as much of the Primary Series as possible, without compromising on the warm up and shivasana. A powerful class, she brings blocks and belts in as props. “I think it is the perfect way to start the day,” she says.