How to Survive 2020 Without An Aerial Hammock

You know you are an aerial yogi when you lose access to your hammock or aerial yoga classes and something deep inside you feels incomplete. When the quarantine shut down aerial studios, those of us without home rigs lost access to hammocks or became dependent on the weather to use an outdoor rig. What’s an aerial yogi to do without a hammock in the house?

Unnata evolved in to the rich method it is today by a long process of exploration. As teachers and students continue to invent, observe, and share ideas, the whole community benefits. So, for those of us without hammocks, let’s use our time off to explore new props and apply some of Unnata Yoga’s methods with the suggestions below.
(For full, complete Yoga classes which use a bed or sofa to replicate the hammock’s support, check out these videos, or these streaming classes with Unnata founder, Michelle Dortignac.)

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Flipping Fight/Flight/Freeze Into Freedom

You’re likely familiar with the term, “fight, flight, or freeze.” It’s what happens to all sentient beings when we experience fear for our survival. The sympathetic side of our autonomic nervous system turns on, and a whole network of physiological reactions engage to help us survive a potentially deadly situation.

Even though we usually talk about “fight, flight, or freeze” in that order, I’ve noticed that in nature, most animals work their way through those survival reactions in the opposite order. For example, let’s say you’re hiking in the woods, and you come across a deer. If you happen to notice the deer before it sees you (unlikely, but it could happen), once the deer does see you, it will first freeze in place to hopefully “disappear” from your awareness. It perceives you as a threat. Then, if you don’t go away and the deer still feels threatened, it will run away at lightning speed. If for some reason the deer can’t run away, or perhaps you’re physically too close for comfort, the deer will fight with hooves and antlers to defend itself. (Also unlikely, but it could happen! Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=332NKyfklY0)

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How Fear Can Make a Valuable Partner

Well, this has been quite a year so far! I have to admit that a global pandemic was not on my mental radar coming into the year. As I write this, I am fortunate that I have not had to struggle with loved ones and people I care for being stricken with illness. For all of you who have lost your health or lost people close to you, my heart goes out to you!

OH MY HEART, OH MY HEAD
Temporarily closing my business, Aerial Fit has been hard. It was the right thing to do and I fully support social distancing protocols, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been one of the scariest moments in my life. It makes me realize all the things that are wrapped up in it, things I now see I’ve taken for granted.

My own health… What if I or my partner get sick, how will we run the business? My human connection… What if I can’t get all my students back in, who will I connect with? My livelihood… What else in the world am I qualified to do? My self-identity… This is what I’ve been doing 100% of the time for the past 11 years.

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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN SUPERPOWER

We like to celebrate exceptional talent and skill that we see in others. As a society, we see talent and skill as hard earned, something all of us can aspire to, and perhaps even achieve if we have a similar dedication and work ethic. We shower people who have exceptional talent and skill with popularity, accolades, and financial remuneration. And if you happen to be one of the many who are not recognized for your skills with popularity, accolades or financial remuneration, then the underlying message is that you just aren’t all that talented: Try harder, or try something else.

Interestingly, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (the ancient text many teachers use to learn and better understand Yoga techniques), when supernatural spiritual powers (called siddhayah) arise, they aren’t seen as things to be honored, admired or celebrated.
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Discovering Unnata Bed Yoga

Unnata Bed Yoga classes were recently featured in an article over on Redfin, a new real estate search website!

The article entitled “5 Ways to Create a Self-Care Sanctuary in Your Home” explores creative ways to stay healthy at home during this period of self-isolation, when we might be struggling to feel at ease.

Michelle talks about her Unnata Bed Yoga video series under the section header, “Get creative with household items to adapt your workout.”

Here’s what Michelle says in “pro tips and tricks”:

“Yoga is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety because it specifically works on the autonomic nervous system to bring us back from the state of fight/flight/freeze. Because we know most people don’t have a hammock in their house, we’ve started a series of videos in which we use a regular bed, instead of an aerial hammock, to drape over.”

Want to check out an Unnata Bed Yoga class? Visit our Vimeo On Demand page to watch the trailers, and find out more.

Also, be sure to read the full article over on Redfin for more great ideas!

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.

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A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO LEARNING AERIAL YOGA

I’ve been a Yoga instructor for over 20 years, and I can say with some certainty that the number one question I get asked from students in their first Yoga class is, “Am I doing this right?”

AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?
To the novice practitioner, Yoga is a pretty odd activity. Unlike most other fitness classes, Yoga classes usually start with some sort of singing, or breathing technique, or story outlining a specific moral or ethical finding. Then, students are guided through some calisthenics. After the students are warmed up, rather than continue with more physical exercises, they are asked to stay still for several breaths while making a sculptural shape. Next, another sculptural shape to stay in for several breaths, followed by another, and another, folding the body over in various ways, sometimes stretching, sometimes balancing, sometimes trying to develop leg or arm strength. After some time, all the students lie down seemingly to take a nap, and then the class ends with more singing or encouraging words by the teacher.

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ANNOUNCING PRE-SCHEDULED SEMI-PRIVATE CLASSES: A New Way To Study Yoga

The Unnata community has always been at the forefront of innovation – Yoga postures with a hammock, Aerial Yoga classes with two people per hammock, Aerial Yoga classes with a focus on meditative benefits in addition to physical health benefits. Well, now we’ve started an entirely new way to take Yoga classes.

Here at the Unnata Aerial Yoga home-base, New York City, we’re starting pre-scheduled, semi-private classes.

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NAVIGATING CHANGE

…or Humble Lessons From a Previous Humbug (including the secret formula for manifesting what you want from the Universe!)

Holiday Cookie Pose
The holidays are a time when many of us revisit long-held family and personal traditions. We eat the same food, partake in the same activities and music, visit with the same family and friends each year. We look to these familiar traditions for comfort, but soon realize that while the external shell of our traditions may look the same from year to year, our inner experience is always different. We return to the same point on the calendar expecting a circle, but instead experience a spiral – each year drifting a bit from the person and circumstances of the previous year.

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Swinging on Svadhisthana (in English)

Have you ever thought about the influence that dance has on the chakras; the centers that rule our energetic body, and the impact this can have on our life experience? Well, I have! Ever since I started swing dancing a few years ago.

First of all, I must say that I am not an anthropologist and what you are about to read is the result of my reflection and experience. Nor am I an experienced dancer, just an amateur who enjoys dancing a lot. But, I have completed years of study and yoga practice and these experiences have helped me come to the conclusion that it was dance, specifically swing, twist, boogie-woogie, rock & roll … which influenced the great sexual revolution and creative explosion of the late 50s and 60s. This way of moving the body, especially the hips, unlocked stuck energy and released it, allowing both, men and women to enjoy a freedom that had not been allowed until then.

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