Yoga near Vail: Aerial yoga classes offered in Minturn | VailDaily.com

Yoga near Vail: Aerial yoga classes offered in Minturn

Laura Ball
Special to the Daily

Looking for an uplifting yoga experience? Peace, Love Aerial Yoga in Minturn lives up to its name.

Tracy Long opened her low-flying yoga studio, which also offers traditional yoga and various forms of barre, earlier this year. Although it is in a industrial park, the studio is a burst of color with a rainbow of hammocks, yoga mats and freshly-painted walls — one adorned with a butterfly symbolizing the grace of the aerial yoga.

The actual yoga practice takes place in a silk hammock, attached to a single pivot point which can support up to 2,000 pounds. Students stand next to their hammock and Long, or fellow instructor Leisha Knight, adjusts the hammock to the students' height.

"We spend a lot of time making sure the equipment is safe and we tell people we will help and spot them," Knight said. "It's something they haven't done before and it is going to be a great time."

Students are coached into the proper way to ascend into the hammock and then the fun begins.

Yogis from ages 9 to people in their mid-70s are enjoying this form of yoga, which Long said cultivates extraordinary awareness.

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"There are 37 accepted definitions of the word yoga. This (aerial yoga) keeps your attention. You can't start planning dinner in your head or think about your day at work when you are in the hammock. It captures your attention fully and keeps you focused," she said.

"This is a correlation of traditional yoga," said Knight, who performed with The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas for eight years before becoming an instructor. "The fact that you have removed the element of gravity to a certain extent allows the body to stretch without being grounded. Yoga means connection and you are connecting to different types of movement."

Great core workout

"It is challenging in a way that other workouts are not. It's a great core workout and good for stability. It opens the hips. Aerial yoga lengthens the spine so you feel a nice stretch in the back," Knight said.

It's all about the stretch for frequent student Elena Jones.

"The support of the hammock alleviates a lot of pressure," Jones said.

It allows her to do various poses that would be more stressful on a traditional yoga mat.

Her daughter Caroline joins her in the classes because "they are fun and you laugh the whole time."

Long said that everyone feels better after they have taken the class and indeed there are a lot of smiles when class concludes.

"They do things they didn't know they were capable of. As grown ups, we don't have as much fun and freedom, and this gives you that for an hour," Long said.

A yoga instructor for several years, Long had never taken or experienced aerial yoga when she heard of a local teaching and training opportunity.

"It's something I wanted to do for fun," she said, and she became a certified AIReal yoga instructor.

There are many inversions in which students literally hang upside-down in the hammock. With the assist of the hammock, these poses are surprisingly easy to achieve. And for those who do not wish to hang weightless, there are dozens of other yoga options.

"I like to think of the hammock as a powerful prop. There are many props in yoga, such as blocks or blankets. The hammock supports you, elevates you, challenges you and allows you to orient differently than you can in your regular floor practice," Long said.

Long's studio is "low flying" as the base of the hammock is only a few feet from the floor.

The class concludes with students cocooned in their personal hammocks relaxing in a blissful modified shavasana pose. After climbing down from the cocoon, namastes are exchanged and students float out of the door.

There are 11 hammocks available each class period and it is wise to book in advance.

If you go …

Peace, Love Aerial Yoga is located at 23698 US Hwy 24, Meadow Mountain Business Park in Minturn. Locals can purchase a one-time introductory week pass for $18. The pass offers access to all classes. There are also regular punch cards, Anyone can drop in for a class ($18), but space is limited, so register in advance. To make reservations or for more information, visit http://peaceloveaerialyoga.com or call 970-977-0317.

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