Heather Walker
Aerial Yoga🧘🏼‍♀️
Peace and Serenity whilst off the ground, eh? Yoga originated as a "Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures". Currently, yoga is widely practiced for health and relaxation, and everything listed above. Now, imagine all of that... off the ground. Seems possible to me, but don't take my word for it; here is Heather Walker, a teacher of Aerial Yoga who allows herself to be free whether on ground or in air.
When not working 40 hours a week at her day job, Heather teaches Aerial Yoga at the Elevate Yoga Center in Orlando, FL. Aerial Yoga is defined as an "anti-gravity yoga that shares a lot similarities with traditional yoga. The difference being when participating in aerial yoga classes, the weight of your body will be supported by a hammock. This means you’ll be suspended in the air!" 
Benefits of Aerial Yoga via thehotyogaspot.com

1. Great for Back Sufferers
While everyone can benefit from aerial yoga classes, they’re especially great for people experiencing back pain. Because of the hammock’s support, far less pressure is placed upon your joints. Aerial yoga also doesn’t strain the spine, which is a huge advantage for back pain sufferers. You’ll be able to obtain a full body workout without any discomfort.
2. Helps with Breathing
Controlled breathing is an important aspect of yoga. Aerial yoga allows you to breathe deeply with any restriction. While hanging in the air, you’ll be able to totally relax. Aerial yoga enables you to comfortably maintain every pose. Over time, you can even expect to improve your lung capacity.
3. Enhances Flexibility
In order to maintain a great range of motion, you must consistently work on your flexibility. Aerial yoga class will definitely help you to safely stretch your muscles and tendons. Being suspended in the air gives you more space to move. This means you’ll be able to perform yoga poses that you can’t do on the floor.
4. Stress Relief
Don’t underestimate the stress relief that stems from participating in aerial yoga classes. If you happen to be going through a rough time or experiencing anxiety attacks, aerial yoga may help put your mind at ease. It gives you an opportunity to meditate and focus on positive thoughts. Beyond just stress relief, the pros of being inverted include increased balance, more energy, and better focus. When you’re inverted, blood flows to your brain and provides oxygen it needs for brain function.
5. Burns Calories
Aerial yoga offers more than just peace and relaxation. It also helps burn calories through the balance it takes to stay control in the silks. Being suspended in the air requires a stable core as you change positions in a way a mat yoga class can’t. In fact, a study performed by the American Council on Exercise shows aerial yoga rivals the effectiveness of aerobic exercise. During a 50-minute aerial yoga session, you have the potential to burn 320 calories. After six weeks, your risk of cardiovascular disease may be significantly lower.
Interview W/ Heather!

1.     Who are you and where are you from?

I’m a born and raised Orlandoean who loves to share things with others in hopes they may love them too.

2.     How long have you been doing aerial yoga and what are your qualifications?

I was introduced to yoga 8 years ago and began teaching aerial yoga in 2019. I attended a 200 hour yoga teacher training as well as an additional aerial training through Elevate Yoga Center. I would recommend the training to anyone. After taking the training solely for self-discovery / self-betterment with zero intention on teaching others, it made me realize my passion for teaching. 

3.     What is the fabric called and how much weight does it usually hold?
The fabric is an aerial hammock. You want the hammock and structure to support you using a safety factor of 10 to 1, meaning if someone weighed 200 pounds they would want their equipment and structure to support at least a 2,000 pound load. Since you are moving, spinning, and swinging when you do aerial yoga you create a dynamic load (one that is in motion) on the structure supporting you. Different movements create different amounts of force onto the equipment so the rigging at the studio is designed to support this. The fabric itself can hold about 2,300 pounds with the supporting beams above distributing force and weight to give peace of mind to yogis.

4.     Do you have to be strong for this to work?

You do not need to already be strong or flexible to participate and you can gain strength by doing it. Aerial yoga is an evolution of Hatha Yoga using the hammock as a prop. The fabric allows certain asanas (yogic postures) to be more assessable as they provide more support while others become more of a fun challenge. The aim for a class I guide is to find movement, maybe laugh a little, and the allow that space for vital grounding stillness at the end. If one feels they can safely maneuver in a more typical yoga class, then aerial is another neat way to explore that same body, mind, breath, and soul connection.

5.     What services does your yoga studio offer?

Elevate offers a lovely variety of classes from non-aerial yoga Flow, Yin, Kundalini meditation, aerial yoga, aerial barre, etc. I have taken every single class we offer as a student myself and truly feel they are all wonderful.

6.     How do people contact you?

People can come try out my aerial power yoga class by reserving their spot through the Elevate Yoga Center app in the App Store. If taking that leap isn’t in the cards yet I can be reached via Instagram. 
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