Aerial Yoga BT (Bernasconi Technique) blends the ancient form of yoga with equal part of aerial arts. Jayne Bernasconi has been practicing yoga for 30 years and is celebrating her 20th year in the field of aerial dance. She designed and combined the two forms in 2002 and taught her new invention at the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, Colorado.
What Happens In An Aerial Dance Class?
Students begin with a warm up - either on the mat or in the air - preparing to suspend their bodies in a soft fabric hammock. The hammock allows for deep stretching, strengthening and release as certain body parts are being supported by the hammock. This method helps to target specific areas of the body to achieve maximum results. Shoulder and torso strengthening is key so proper alignment can be achieved in a suspended movement.
As well, students are carefully guided into the “art of inversion” and all that encompasses being upside down to achieve healthful benefits, such a decompression of the spine. The hammock is used to apply “traction” in the inversion, pulling gently on the spine to open the vertebral column. Reversing the flow of blood greatly helps with circulation, giving the heart a break from gravity, as well as helping to eliminate toxins and flushing out impurities and lactic acid build up.
One of the best aerial yoga remedies for spine decompression is a sacrum hang. Ahhhh. Just hang back, grab your ankles and release into reverse dhanurasana (bow pose) one of the deepest backbends unassisted you’ll ever try. Your body works with the hammock as a natural assist to promote and increase strength and flexibility.
And - what’s even better? Faces have that full vibrancy of color and glow once they’ve come back upright.
PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you give us 24 hour cancellation so that we may release your spot if there is a waitlist.
Protocol for aerial yoga: Wear shirts with sleeves that cover armpits; leggings or sweat pants that cover knees; no lotion on hands or body, do not wear jewelry, watches, or zippers and trim toenails to avoid snags in fabric.
**Please note that the Introductory offer of $39/30 days does not include aerial yoga.
Aerial Yoga started as an authentic development out of necessity - my own necessity about 10 years ago when teaching a beginning aerial dance student how to take her feet off the ground for a simple knee hang. Sensing her anxieties I said: "You need to BREATHE!."
I deepened my breath into ujjayi (sounding) breath and hoped that she would do the same. After she took a few deep breaths and stopped giggling she was able to slowly bring her toes to the bar. I witnessed a complete transformation within this student as she started to drop more into her breath and become more mindful of what she wanted to do with her upside down body. Combining aerial dance and yoga was an authentic development in my 17 year career as an aerial dancer and my 22 year career as a yoga instructor.
Ah, nice breathing….. now stay centered as you bring your hands up to the bar. I could sense my yogini self saying: “Don’t rush. Take your time. Stay focused on your breath. And that's when the light bulb went off. Of course!
Why not bring the yogic philosophy into the aerial dance arena? Aerial students need to clarify what ís happening in their body and mind so that they can not only let go of fear, but to have a deeper and richer experience as they are airborne.
If using a yogic philosophy helped one anxious aerial dance student shut down all the chatter in her mind in order to trust her body intelligence to become more grounded in the air, it can help others, too. Thus, I spent several weeks of playing with yoga asanas (postures) on an apparatus before proposing what I called “aerial yoga” to Nancy Smith, Artistic Director of the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, Colorado back in 2002. She agreed to let me pilot my first aerial yoga class at ADF in 2003.
I never realized how much of an impact those classes were making on some of my students including Michelle Dortignac, founder of Unnata Aerial Yoga in New York (my student at ADF 2003) and Rebekah Leach, author of Aerial yoga manual (my student at ADF 2008) until I discovered that they had taken the name coined Aerial Yoga and started teaching and making names for themselves in the field of aerial yoga.
A Word of Caution!
It may be wise to inquire before you sign up for an aerial yoga class as to what the class format is or what the instructor's background is. Are they yoga certified? Do they have an aerial dance background? Many health clubs are now jumping on the band-wagon to bring aerial yoga to their facility, so please be careful and if at any time something doesn't feel right or you don't trust the instruction, please don't do it!! Safety first!!
As a dance professor at Towson, I am including this two minute video explaining what aerial dance is. ~Jayne
"I've been practicing yoga very consistently for over 5 years, trying different forms, different teachers.. Nothing like this. So much fun and you stretch your body in ways you can't, just on the
floor. Jayne teaches in such a loving, nurturing manner, and with complete knowledge of the yoga. Finishing with the most restful Savasana ever, while cocooned inside the floating hammock. Aaah!