THE HEART OF THE MATTER – What Message Do You Send Out To The World?

From the very beginning, I could see that aerial yoga would “take off” in popularity.
Not only is it a novel idea, but it also feels good, and it’s fun. Plus, it looks great in
photos, so the media was eager and willing to cover the activity in its nascence,
fueling its popularity.

Along the way, there’s one aerial yoga position that has become the most common
image to represent the practice. It is an upside-down position, with the legs split,
and the spine in a heart-opening shape. We call it “aerial pigeon.” Most aerialists call
it “giselle,” but there are likely many names for it. It looks graceful, complex and
exciting. And despite how difficult the position may look, it is relatively easy to
achieve for beginners, so naturally it’s everyone’s instagram-fave to post of
themselves doing aerial yoga.

Due to aerial pigeon’s ubiquity, this pose is often used in logos and promotional
photos for aerial yoga classes. Why then, doesn’t the Unnata Aerial Yoga logo use
aerial pigeon? After all, wasn’t Unnata Yoga on the forefront of the aerial yoga trend?
Don’t we like to have fun? (In case you’re wondering, the answer to both of those
questions is yes!)

As much as we love aerial pigeon and the magic of being upside down in general,
when it came to choosing a logo, we also wanted to take a look at the bigger picture
of Yoga, and the subtle messages that we communicate through words and designs.
“Unnata” is a Sanskrit word that means “elevated,” both literally and metaphorically.
We chose this word for our name because we recognize that the Yoga postures are
meant to lead to an elevated state of spirit, not just physical and mental health and

For our logo, we chose a picture of a heart-opening position. The heart chakra is
often associated with the air element, and through the language of metaphor, heart
yoga = air yoga. ☺ But unlike the heart-opening position of aerial pigeon, which
places the sacral chakra (the center of likes and dislikes) above the heart chakra
(the center for universal love and spirit), we chose “aerial camel.” Aerial camel
positions the heart at the top of the shape, reaching to the sky where many cultures
believe higher spiritual beings reside.

Placing our bellies and legs above the heart (inverting) is healthy to do for short
periods of time to support circulation, digestion, and a positive attitude. So please do
inversions often and enjoy them when you do! But when you’re ready to progress
into higher levels of understanding Yoga and self-realization, it is necessary to sit
“right side up” and meditate. Symbolically prioritize your spiritual heart over your
personal preferences, and offer your mind to a “greater good” and the Universe that
is above and all around you.

Through “elevating” an open heart to the Universe, the Unnata name and logo
demonstrates the intention of the practice: to move beyond simple fun, and to
bravely challenge ourselves to live our lives through universal love, above all.
And that’s how we came up with Unnata Aerial Yoga and our logo!

About the Author

Michelle Dortignac, founder of Unnata® Aerial Yoga, is an E-RYT 200 certified Yoga instructor of close to 20 years, while during most of those years also being a professional aerial acrobatics performer. Her most influential Yoga teachers include Dharma Mittra, Alan Finger, Cyndi Lee and Susan Braham.

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