It's always hard to say goodbye to a member of the Gym Squad but even harder when they have become a good friend. The end of the summer meant it was time to see Angela off as she headed out to Montana to move closer to family. But we couldn't let her go without one last workout.
Given it would be our last workout together in Seattle, we wanted to go Big! Why not try something completely different? Something we would never do and had never done before? The Flight Room caught our eye given they have aerial yoga classes. If you know me, you know that this is WAY out of my comfort zone. I am not a yoga person and I am definitely not graceful. So the thought of me being in an aerial yoga class is laughable but I was ready to make a fool of myself at the expense of celebrating Angela!
The Flight Room is located in the Central District on a small street that has brand new condo buildings and a cute coffee shop. When you walk into the studio, it is one open, breezy room with beautiful blue fabric hanging from the ceilings. The check in/waiting area is right by the door so we were greeted by someone right away and she gave us a quick overview of what to expect. They provide warm towels to clean your feet before you walk to your hammock. There are storage cubes and restroom at the back of the studio and they recommend you store everything there except your water bottle so nothing is on the floor and in the way during class.
When we were ready, the instructor came over to introduce herself and help adjust the hammocks as needed based on our height. Adjusting the hammocks, means she has to climb up on a ladder and make adjustments up above. She was VERY efficient at doing this for everyone, especially given the number of us that were there for the beginner class. So if you do go, keep in mind you should arrive 10-15 minutes early given you may need your hammock adjusted.
The class filled up pretty quickly - there are 3 rows of hammocks (about enough for 25-30 people). At first I was nervous that we would hit each other or step into my neighbor's space but this was not an issue. The hammocks are spaced out with enough room in front, behind and next to you. The instructor also did a great job of making sure we were coordinated so we were all moving in the same direction at the same time.
If you do go to the Flight Room, I highly recommend you start with the beginner class like we did. The instructor did such a good job of describing the movements, then showing us while reiterating the movement and then having us walk through it together. It helped you connect all the movements together before trying it. This was especially helpful when we started incorporating the hammocks and the little details around how you folded the fabric, how you held it and where you placed it made a huge difference in your ability to successfully get into a position.
The class itself started with a few stretches and classic yoga moves (think cat and cow) on the floor. This was a good way to get your body ready, help you relax and also, in my case, build some confidence before incorporating the fabric. What I loved about the class is the middle portion was focused on moves where you could incorporate the fabric if you were ready/felt comfortable but you could also do the same move without the fabric. For example, there was a leg series where you could go through the exercises with your leg in the air behind you or you could hook it into the fabric and test your balance. I also loved the plank series where you could choose to go through the movements on the floor or hook both legs into the hammock.
The pacing of the class was perfect. Most of the time, when it comes to movements like this, I am rushing to get in and out of the swing/trx/hammock that I end up tripping or falling because I rush. Because the instructor did such a good job of explaining the movements to us before we transitioned and then talked us through it as we transitioned, it helped me move in and out of the hammock without tripping or feeling rushed.
The last part of the class was definitely the most exciting and what I imagine to be more of a taste of the intermediate classes. We had an opportunity to sit and flip over in the hammock so that we were hanging upside down. It was much easier to get into this position than I thought but I think that is because, once again, the instructor did such a good job of walking us through the movements. I will say, they warn you about motion sickness in the class and as someone who is prone to it, I did get hit with it when we hung upside down the second time. Fortunately, the class is staffed with someone, aside from the instructor, who walks through the class to jump in and help anyone who might be struggling. She immediately came over when she saw me get out of the position and had me sit down on the floor and sip some water. It took me a few minutes to recover but if this does happen, sitting on the floor and grabbing some water is definitely the best way to work through the dizziness and nausea.
The last move was the most advanced and I was not feeling up for it in fear that I would loose my breakfast if I did. They had you essentially somersault into the hammock and end up laying in a cocoon. The shavasana portion of the class is intended to be the relaxing, close out to the class. I'm still disappointed that I wasn't able to try it but I think we'll be back!
It was definitely a memorable workout. The class was engaging and not too challenging for me as an inexperienced yogi. It was a great opportunity to get in some good stretching and trying something completely new.