Reaching new heights with aerial yoga

Aerial yoga made me taller.

Well, an inch taller.

While being guided through some intense stretches at Soul Flyte in Nyack, I could feel the tension in my neck and lower back release and flow out of my body. 

But the deep stretches — and deeper meditation — loosened up more than just my muscles. During the class, I experienced a profound, transcendent sense of weightlessness, relaxation and serenity. And though the workout was challenging at points, it felt quite freeing.

Every month, I look to visit a fitness boutique that offers a new experience, and this month proved no different. I had always been interested in aerial yoga and the gracefulness of its poses, evocative of ethereal fairies from a children’s storybook speckling the sky.

But I was especially intrigued by the serenity that comes with creating the space to connect with the inner self — a common thread in all forms of yoga. And I now understand that all yogis — who seek to flow from one asana, or pose, to the next while staying present in the moment — are in search of this connectedness.  We’re all united by this common cause. 

On a rainy, humid Friday evening, I parked a few blocks from Soul Flyte — located near Main Street, a thoroughfare bustling with food, music and performing arts. The timing was right, as I reached Soul Flyte as the rain became less forgiving. Owner Shira Turkl-Rubin was there to welcome me into a space redolent with incense and burning candles that also offered an array of merchandise, including aromatherapy oils, natural bath blends and yoga gear in eclectic patterns.

Class attendees trickled in, addressing Rubin — who was also the instructor — as an old friend, a reflection of her objective for the business. 

“I always wanted to bring the community together,” she says.

And that has become the essence of Soul Flyte. Having launched in August 2014, the studio reopened at its current location on April 1 and continues to grow in size. Instructors participate in frequent team-building exercises and company meetings, with emphasis on forming friendships that go beyond the studio’s walls. And, according to Rubin, class attendees share similar experiences of fellowship.

When the class began, each attendee was asked to select a hammock, which was lowered to meet specific needs. Then, for the next 75 minutes, Rubin guided the class through a series of midair stretches, some of which required using the hammock for resistance or simply to meditate. Comforted by soft music in the background, I found it easy to get lost in my thoughts but, in true yogi fashion, always acknowledged this and came back to the present moment.

The movements were slow, calculated and carefully addressed. Since the class was on the smaller side, Rubin was able to walk around the studio, make suggestions and tweak poses. The one-on-one aspect was crucial, as I didn’t feel intimidated to ask for help or get lost in a crowd of experts. 

The time spent airborne eventually came to a close and our final poses were done lying on the floor. But the class wasn’t officially over until Rubin said, “Thank yourself for showing up to take care of you.” And together the class responded, “Wisdom. Freedom. Love. Namaste.” 

In addition to aerial yoga, Soul Flyte also offers aerial dance, flying fitness, barre, core and resistance, flow yoga, free meditation and stretch and core work. The studio is at 13 S. Broadway in Nyack. 

For more, visit soulflyte.com or call 845-580-9240.

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