Fitness With a Twist: Trust the Silk

Aerial Movement in Blawnox offers a high-flying, flexible adventure.

It’s about the time I find myself suspended three feet in the air, blood rushing to my head, trusting an emerald green silk to spare me from face-planting onto the yoga mat below, that I begin to wonder: When did I get old?

This is because I can vividly recall flipping myself while swinging in the park, much to my delight and the sheer horror of my panicked mother. Such bold behavior earned me bragging rights and plaster casts. Huh, I think as pressure builds behind my eyeballs. Funny how that was once what I called “cool.”  

“Trust the silk,” assures our instructor, Will Brani. “Let go of the silk.”

Half of us seem to be dubious. Odd, since we’ve all voluntarily signed up for this aerial yoga class at Aerial Movement in Blawnox.

I begin to laugh. Let go of the silk? “Let go of the silk,” he repeats. So I do. There seems to be a lot of blood rushing to my head now. I begin to question my decision not to eat since lunchtime. Brani wants us to extend our legs in a “V” towards the ceiling.

“Where do I go from here?” asks the inverted gentleman beside me, his body locked in an “I.” 

While Brani offers an assist, I immediately contemplate how I’m going to explain this to my chiropractor.

The steel frame to which all seven of us are anchored groans. I manage to pull myself up and gently drop to the floor, purposefully taking notes while everyone else flips upright. Within moments, they have managed to follow Brani’s instruction to flip into what he calls “The Flying Diaper.”

“This feels weird,” someone calls out. 

For an hour, the class continues to flip themselves into and out of various positions: Flying Yogi, Floating Pigeon. A very ethereal version of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” plays softly.

“It’s a lot simpler than you think,” Brani tries to assure me. I'm skeptical; positive my body will revolt. I want to explain my tale of woe: how I woke up a few months ago to stiff muscles and misaligned vertebrae that seemed to guarantee my chiropractor's early retirement. As everyone inverts, twists, and pulls, I eye the silk with trepidation.

When our hour is almost up, Brani dims the lights. Each of us gets spritzed with an essential oil spray of lavender, patchouli and lemon.  We’re all cocooned now, swinging gently. “Savasana,” he explains. Corpse Pose.  

I’ve finally found my bliss.   

The verdict: if you enjoy a lot of inversion and do not get dizzy easily, this is for you.  

Fitness With a Twist
Beginner classes are offered Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; cost is $20/drop-in class; $80 for 5 classes; $150 for 10 classes;
469 Freeport Road, Blawnox; 412/377-5889,


Eat This Month

Sprouted Grains
Carbaholics, rejoice: the Whole Grains Council backs the health benefits of sprouted grains. During the sprouting process, the grain’s natural enzymes break down the protein and carbohydrates, making them easier to digest than white or whole-wheat grains. Sprouted grains also retain a greater portion of key nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber and essential amino acids. What’s more, they boast health benefits of decreased blood pressure and increased HDL “good” cholesterol. “Sprouted grains are lower glycemic, releasing sugar into the body at a slower speed than whole grains. This means you will gain less weight with sprouted than with traditional grains,” says Dr. Conan Shaw, a certified clinical nutritionist. 


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