Disciples of Manisha Kohli in New Delhi

Disciples of Manisha Kohli in New Delhi
  | Photo Credit:
V.V. Krishnan



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Feel the freedom of childhood with aerial yoga’s letting-go exercises

Do you remember the rush of climbing a tree as a child? The tingling sensation in your palms as you dangled from a jungle gym? As we transition from playgrounds to hour-long traffic jams, these happy memories tend to disappear in the maze of deadlines and pending bills.

Aerial yoga helps relive that adrenaline rush and endorphin kick, while we reconnect with our inner child. Inspired from aerial silk, a form of acrobatics and dance, aerial yoga blends yoga with gravity defying moves. And you don’t need to a gymnast to give it a try. “A typical class lasts about an hour or a little over, and usually ends with people taking pictures for Instagram,” says Manisha Kohli, co-founder of The Yoga Chakra.

Beginners and experienced students are put in the same class to keep the motivation high. Warm-up exercises and stretches are done on the silk hammock. This is a length of silk-like fabric that is secured to the roof and supports your body weight. Initially the moves are simple. You learn how to knot the silk so you can stand on it. There are ways to wrap the silk around your foot to balance. Gradually, you’ll learn to do flips, swings and more.

Letting go of your hands and trusting the silk to hold you up is easier said than done. Mentally, it pushes you to acknowledge the fear of falling or making a fool of yourself — both very real. However, the moment you let go, it is liberating, bringing you into the moment.

“It’s heartening to witness small and big wins. Every time someone achieves a pose they had initially feared, you can see the child-like excitement in their eyes,” says Kohli.

Children especially enjoy the classes. They are bigger risk-takers than adults are, and are more trusting to let go. For an hour-long activity that can help a child hang loose while actually exercising, aerial yoga is a win-win. It is low impact, counts as cardio and builds mental resolve. In fact, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) it is considered moderate-intensity exercise that burns about 300-350 calories an hour Pragya Aggarwal has been practising aerial yoga for a year and a half because she needed a change from gym-like workouts. “I leave each class feeling confident, stronger and calmer,” says the 21-year-old.

Classes are conducted every Sunday morning, at The Yoga Charka studio (theyogachakra.com), GK-2, 9:30 a.m.; Yoga Pallete, Arjun Magh, DLF Phase 1, Gurugram