Defying Gravity With Aerial Yoga - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Defying Gravity With Aerial Yoga

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BERLIN, Md. - If you're looking for different ways to get into shape this summer, a new exercise craze is taking yoga to gravity-defying heights.

The flying locust, inverted pigeon and the flying cannonball may look pretty intimidating, but aerial yoga is becoming an increasingly popular trend.

"Unnata is a new way of using the hammocks as a prop. It really assists in different poses and deepening the poses. It elongates you as you go upside down, and you flow through most of the poses. It's a huge assist," Zenna Wellness Studio Director Chrissy Ehrhart said.

The hammocks are made of Cirque du Soleil silk and are rigged up by mountain climbing gear. It may look like just a thin piece of fabric, but it can hold up to 1,500 lbs.

So I decided to brave the silks with a few of my WMDT colleagues with a special session instructed by Chrissy.

"I'm not the most flexible person," Meteorologist Stephen Shively said.

"We'll see how it goes," Producer Gabriella Cole said.

After a few flips and twists, we were all looking like pros.

Chrissy says she's seen aerial yoga do wonders for people with back problems and stability issues.

"The benefit of aerial yoga is the elongating of the spine - the decompression where you create the gaps where you need it. Most of the poses are not weight bearing, so it's really good for people who have any joint issues or problems."

In her own personal experience, she says it helped get rid of her back issues.

"I have not had to go to the chiropractor in months."  

The exercise also has mental benefits and can help ease the mind.

"I have women who come to me who want to get through battling with claustrophobia, fear of heights and vertigo issues. By going upside down, you will balance out the fluids inside so that you can continue to go upside down without getting vertigo, or sea sickness or air sickness.  When you're in the cocoon, it gives you that sense and feeling. It's very intimate, like being in your mother's arms," Ehrhart said.

Although it looks really fancy, Chrissy believes aerial yoga is for everyone.

"Back in January, I had a 70-year-old woman come to me who wanted to get up without having the assistance of a chair or wall. We built her core strong enough that she's actually able to do inversions now, and she doesn't need the assistance of the wall or the railing. I've seen leaps and bounds with her. Zenna has been created in my vision that it will be a place of learning and growing and healing," she said.

To sign up for classes and for more information, go to www.zennawellness.com or call (443) 373-7069.

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