A new fitness program, Aerial Yoga, has hit the capital, and it is quite unique. Participants need not be regular sportspersons to learn the skills either. Yet, it is certainly one way to maintain a balanced physical health and get rid of that nagging stress.
These yoga exercises are done in the air. Students perform them from hammocks swinging from the ceiling, unlike traditional yoga practised on a mat. This helps one have more body flexibility and is similar to the art in the air or Cirque du Soleil.
Aerial BhaVana studio launched this fitness program four months ago and offers this special air sport, which has characteristics of the French circus based in Canada.
The hammock yoga is based on three different exercises – art of circus in the air, stretching and yoga to make the body agile and massage blood vessels in the body.
Seng Bopha, the founder of the centre, said hammock yoga is a combination of physical and mental exercises for people who are passionate about keeping themselves fit.
“Hammock yoga is also a part of the exercise. But what I teach and share includes yoga, pilates and dance, I prefer to call it an air sport because we have a lot of equipment and components.
“The hammock is only the equipment that is the easiest among rings and strings as well as other instruments to tie up in the air [ceiling],” she said, as students watched nervously how she swung in a nylon cloth hammock suspended from the ceiling in her studio.
To make it easy for new trainees, the hammocks are tied low to support the hip of the trainees in order to prevent accidents. But for experienced students, the hammock string is tied at a certain height which appears like a circus performance in the air.
After mastering the hammock yoga for eight years and four years of teaching experience, Bopha said: “As some Cambodians practice yoga, jog, swim, dance or go to the gym, they can also attend the beginner’s class.”
While yoga practitioners benefit from breathing techniques, being in a meditative state and having a flexible body, hammock yoga can also improve blood circulation and energy flow, but students must be physically fit.
“Anyone can perform hammock yoga but it requires a strong body and a little patience. Some yoga trainers cannot lift their bodies up. So for me, I think we should do various exercises so that we can bend our body and muscles well,” she said.
Responding to a claim that most women are weak and do not have the energy to cling and swing in the air, she replied candidly, “I am also a woman and I can lift myself up. It demands hard training. If we don’t train ourselves, we will not have the power.
“Most women do not have strong upper muscles like men, so women need to work harder. But for activities such as stretching the legs, women can do it easier than men.”
Aerial yoga helps strengthen muscles through an isometric contraction, improve balance, strengthen the backbone and neck, raise oxygen flow in the blood vessels, and improve flexibility and joint movements.
“What is most interesting is meditation. When we are in the air, we can float in our thoughts, especially when our body is in an upside down position and hangs from the hammock. It is very calming,” Bopha said about the experience.
She also advised trainees to participate in other sports to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as yoga, swimming, running, hiking or cycling.
To proceed from one level to another, participants have to complete a training session which ranges from one to 10 times depending on the individual’s ability.
Floor training costs $10 per session for an hour, while training in the air is priced at $15 per session. A 10-time package valid for two months costs $89 for the floor exercise and $139 for the air hammock.
Aerial BhaVana is located on the 4th floor of Bhumi Emerald Apartment #73, Street 444, Tuol Tumpong 2 commune, Chamkamon district. Those interested can contact it via phone at 092 805 917.