Here we all were thinking that hot yoga was about as crazy as the meditation-exercise hybrid could get. Well, folks, I'd like to introduce you to aerial yoga. This new form of yoga allows you to expand beyond the mat with the support of a silk loop, or 'hammock,' suspended from the ceiling. 

Some of the crazy aerial yogis can do this:

Or this:

But, in the often recommended foundations courses, most of us first-timers didn't get anywhere near. 

I’ve tried every single form of yoga, and although I could write an encyclopedia-sized novel on how “Downward Dog” is NOT a resting position, I still find myself quite relaxed when I nearly float out of the studio. I’ve done active meditation before major exams, driver’s tests, or even when I need a good excuse for not actually working out. Because of this, I decided to sign myself up for an Intro to Aerial Yoga class. I figured I could knock out one class then earn myself a delicious smoothie or Starbucks drink, right?

And so my adventure began.

I walked into the studio right before dinner, excited to try something new and full of expectations from the Kardashian experience with silks. I also had read countless articles in preparation (ok, I actually read like, two). The instructor greeted me with a smile, then customized the length of my hammock based on my height and arm length. There were yoga mats placed under each hammock, where we began sitting and soon rose to use the hammocks.

At first, I found myself in excruciating pain. I thought I would float, but hooking my arms in the loop only left a wedgie-like feeling in my armpits. It was rough. The class even got less relaxing as we proceeded to swing awkwardly across our mats, and I ran into the man across from me and earned myself a deathly glare from the girlfriend next to him.

Boyfriend-brushing aside, the swinging began to feel fun. My arms eventually became numb to the armpit wedgie, and I convinced myself to just have fun. That was, until the instructor told us it was time for core.

We began in plank position, with one leg in the air. Slowly, we did a version of “downward dog” (my nightmare had returned!) and then lifted the leg that was on the mat to be level with the leg in the hammock. Let’s just say it was the most extreme plank I had ever experienced.

Then came the fun part!

wine, beer, tea, coffee
Madeleine Braksick

Being a long, lanky, 6’0” gal with zero arm strength, maintaining a plank for the core session was nothing short of difficult. However, the part that followed was a blast and a half. We did inversions, which left us hanging upside down with only our legs in the hammocks, swinging around like little monkeys. The couple next to me even held hands while hanging upside down. S’cute! 

The inversion was followed with the best part of all: the final pose. We expanded the silks to their entire 8-foot length, and cocooned ourselves inside. It was the most comfortable, wonderful, 15 minute nap I’ve ever taken. The only light that leaked in was at the end where my feet slightly peeked out, but otherwise I was completely covered and comforted in my little nest. The hammock slowly swung from side to side, and I couldn’t help but smile about the partly painful, and mostly weird – yet wonderful – yoga experience I’d just completed.

tea, coffee
Madeleine Braksick

As the instructor warned me at the beginning, middle, end, and everywhere in between of the class, aerial yoga definitely takes some getting used to. But all precautions aside, I can guarantee that despite some initial discomfort, you will float out of this class both relaxed and fulfilled. I had a truly "elevated" experience trying aerial yoga for the first time. Get it? Elevated?