Student Series with Danielle Abisaab

Danielle Abisaab took an Aerial Yoga class and was immediately hooked after her first class, shortly after that she discovered and partook in the Unnata Aerial Yoga teacher training course with Michelle back in 2011.  She is now teaching in Beirut / Lebanon where she has her own studio.

FLIGHT OF FANCY?… Not anymore.

I discovered Aerial Yoga in NY a few years back, on a day where my sister insisted I should try “this new type of yoga”.

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Being that I no longer live in NY, I always feel no one should ever interfere with my busy schedule, reconnecting with my teachers, loading up on Yoga workshops and classes, hanging out with my friends or wandering aimlessly through the streets of NY. The amounts of time abandoning myself to the city I love so much were not about to be curtailed by some “yoga that wasn’t even real yoga” I thought to myself when she insisted I should go. Naturally, I displayed a great amount of resistance only to give into it in the end.

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Unnata Yoga Featured in: Lux Bond & Green

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Unnata Aerial Yoga was featured in the 2013 Fall/Winter issue of ACCENT: The Magazine of Life’s Celebrations by LUX BOND & GREEN.

Reporter Elise Diamante took an Unnata Aerial Yoga class at Sacred Sounds Yoga in NYC, and interviewed Michelle afterwards.

You can click on the images below to enlarge the article to read it.

Student Series with Stacey Huard

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Stacey Huard took the Unnata Teacher Training course last August. She has shared her experience in the below Student Series article.

What is this Unnata Aerial Yoga? A new spin off the yoga craze in the West filled with gimmicky promotion? A new fitness regime to add to the already intimidating practice of yoga, perceived as accessible only to the ideal body?  Those were my exact thoughts when I was first visually introduced to the practice. Even with these closed judgments that I can admit I am not proud, there was this longing guided by curiosity that had me try my first class. This article is for those who are filled with this same sense of curiosity and perhaps resistance to the hybrid practice.

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Unnata Aerial Yoga Mini Class #4

Here is the fourth installment in the Unnata Yoga Mini Class video series. Each video in the series shows 10-15 minutes in real time (unedited) of what an Unnata Aerial Yoga class looks and feels like.

Mini Class #4 demonstrates the Aerial Pigeon, also explaining how this benefits our floor practice and ultimately our everyday lives.

Student Series with Diane Tomasi

IMG_1487I spend a lot of time in the air; I love being in the air.  I love climbing, inverting, finding new ways to stretch and to drop into a ‘trick’.

I am an aerialist and a dancer and as fun as it is, my profession is also very hard on my body.

 I look forward to Aerial Yoga classes because I get the thrill of being in the air and of being upside down, while also doing something good for my body and mind.  I can find these awesome moments of relaxation, where the pressure of the silks massage my tired muscles and gravity lengthens the space between my bones.   I can go deeper into a pose that while in ‘ground’ yoga, I didn’t quite understand where my body position should be exactly.  But because the fabric partners with balance and with gravity the choices for body positioning become that much less and it becomes acutely clear where I need to be in the fabric and on the floor.

 What I love most about Aerial Yoga, what I crave when I get the opportunity to take class, is the weightlessness, is hanging two feet above the ground and learning ways to support myself with the fabric and staying there until I forget I’m being supported by the fabric and can just focus on gravity undoing all the compression it normally inflicts onto me on a regular day.  My cranky muscles scream at first and then slowly they begin to relax and open.

 I learn how to stretch areas in my body that I’ve been trying to stretch for months prior, but haven’t been able to go as deeply because my body and the earth just don’t quite fit that perfect way.

 I love the parts where the hammock allows me to shut out the rest of the world and very quietly just be one with my hammock, while cocooned inside with the blue hue from the color of the fabric all around, there is nothing to see, no phone to check, no To Do List to think about.  It’s just me and the fabric, calm, quiet, serene and best of all weightless.

 Though I don’t practice yoga nearly enough, whenever I leave an Aerial Yoga class I always think, “That was amazing!,” and I quietly affirm to myself, “I need to do this more often.”

 

 

Student Series with Kathleen Stansell

IMG_1477As an aerial silks performer, I was really excited about taking a class that would restore my body’s alignment through the use of the principles of yoga and doing so with an apparatus that I am already familiar. The beginning of this class felt very restorative. We started with some spine stretches, using the silks as a prop to hold our weight against gravity. I enjoyed the leg, arm, and core workout that was happening simultaneously. Sitting upright in butterfly pose felt very relaxing and calming. I look forward to using the strengthening and stretching exercises that were learned in the beginning of class in my own aerial class. Personally, I felt the yoga principles had dissipated in the latter half of class. I would have preferred to continue on with the yogic vocabulary and the gentle flow of yoga with the silks as a tool rather than a focus of strength and muscular toning. Finishing class with meditation was a wonderful way to end my evening and put an ease to my body and mind.

 

Unnata Yoga Featured in Yoga & Ayurveda Magazine

Yoga-Ayurveda-May-2013-CoverUnnata Yoga has been featured on the cover on Yoga & Ayurveda Magazine, an online magazine based in Madrid, Spain!

In an extensive interview, founder Michelle Dortignac answers questions about the origins, benefits, and differences of Unnata Aerial Yoga.

You can see/read the entire Yoga & Ayurveda article here (in spanish).

Or scroll down to read the interview in english.

What is Unnata Aerial Yoga?

Unnata Aerial Yoga combines a traditional Hatha Yoga class with the use of a Yoga hammock prop to assist students with elongation of the spine and proper alignment so that they can find Yoga.

There are other styles like antigravity yoga, aerial yoga, yoga swim… that uses hammock; What is the difference between, these yoga styles and Unnata?

I am not familiar with all the styles/brands that use a Yoga hammock, so I can only make a very general observation: Unnata Aerial Yoga enhances a traditional Hatha Yoga class, but does not attempt to replace it. Many of the movements and/or exercises of Unnata Aerial Yoga continuously reinforce deep breathing and the stilling of the mind that allows for Yoga to arise.

Read the rest of this article »

Student Series with Stacy Ulrich

IMG_0861Going into my first aerial yoga class I was filled with trepidation: Could I do the moves?  Would the poses be too hard?  What would I wear?

My mind raced with these questions as I darted in and out of traffic on my kick scooter- my chosen transportation to class. I found the studio on Bleecker Street, and timidly climbed the stairs to find a bright, clean, airy studio with numerous women welcoming me at the front desk.  Some of my nerves dissipated as the staff and studio inspired a sense of calm.  I quickly removed my shoes and stowed my belongings.   I entered the beautiful studio.  Bright teal silks draped from the ceiling, hanging in stark contrast to the brilliant white walls.  A cool breeze drafted through the window and soft light covered my classmates, who were focused on their own stretching routines on yoga mats beneath the teal silk clouds.

Michelle, our teacher for the day, measured our hips against the silks to make sure they were at the appropriate height.  She brought us to attention and we began.  Michelle calmly and expertly led us through various stretches and exercises.  She was consistently assuring: “Listen to your body and do what feels right to you.”  There was an emphasis on breathing throughout the session.  First we breathed to fill our stomachs and then to expand our lungs and feel our bodies fill and push against our ribs.  Michelle instructed us to place the silks in different positions on our backs so we would feel our bodies expanding as we focused on deep breathing.  The sensation was both calming and empowering.   We stretched with our knees in the silks, we swayed with our backs in the silks, at one point we completely inverted and the silks hugged our hips as our bodies fell into hand-stand positions with the silks bearing most of our weight.

IMG_0864After stretching, breathing, inverting, and swaying, we were rewarded with a private hug by the silks.  Michelle helped us work our full bodies into the silks so my classmates and I relaxed in our silk cocoons, slowly turning about the space in our own private orbits.  The stress of the streets and the city dripped away from my body.

Eventually we were instructed to gently remove our bodies from the silks and cross legged on our mats.  Michelle led us through an optional meditation that solidified the sense of peace and rest I experienced in my silk cocoon.  The sense of calm stayed with me for a long while after the class.  Although I rode the same streets home, they were more forgiving; the city, and my mind, were at ease.

Student Series with Sara Roer

Michelle’s Soothing Flow Unnata Aerial Yoga IMG_0867class was the first time I’d ever experienced aerial yoga. I’ve practiced traditional yoga for almost a decade, and trained in aerial silks for a few years, but never ventured into this specific combination of the two disciplines.

I went into class thinking it might be an exact combination, something like going through familiar asanas while supported by fabric that relieved me of my own gravity and occasionally made me completely weightless. As I’ve learned time and again on my mat, however, expectations can be misleading. Michelle’s class actually situated me even more firmly in my own  gravity, and to deeply therapeutic effect. The pace and flow of the class was akin to a restorative yoga practice where you set up and discuss a pose quite thoroughly then stay in it for several minutes, letting gravity do its slow work of breaking down your muscular holding patterns.

The class I attended was quite full, which created an instant sense of community as we negotiated the real danger of knocking into each other by broadening our awareness (at Michelle’s direction) and cultivating the ability to move fully and in harmony with our neighbors. We moved through progressions of cat/cow from floor-bound to completely airborne, chest openers by laying the silks into our ribs and breathing deeply, fully supported inversions that tractioned our spines, supported standing poses that called on us to simultaneously stabilize and stretch, and more. We closed with savasana situated completely inside our hammocks, weightless and enveloped by fabric.

As a newcomer, every pose was a revelation, but I could also see how this practice could deepen and expand. The focus was not on super-strengthening or super-stretching. It wasn’t about “super” anything – it was far more subtle in all those goals than one might expect. Michelle has a great knack for drawing you into those subtleties. Her verbal instructions are articulate and anatomical; her physical adjustments sometimes minute – a gentle stabilizing touch to keep you from swinging or a fractional shift of your weight back toward your center. These cues, and the added information from the support of the fabric, help to open your mind and awareness into the work, and hopefully, into the rest of your life. That’s the yoga.

Unnata Aerial Yoga: Nippon Television – Woman on the Planet

JAPAN / Nippon Television
Woman on the Planet (Feb 2013)

Nippon TV (one of the major networks in Japan) has featured Unnata Aerial Yoga, and Sacred Sounds Yoga in New York City, in their weekly reality show / documentary entitled: “Woman on the Planet”!

The program features a female individual that has decided to come to a foreign country to start her second life; pursuing her dreams and ambitions. In addition to following her daily life, the program introduces some aspects of daily living in her country of choice. The female subject (Asuka Sato) is interested in organic, vegeterian/vegan foods and yoga.

The timing of this piece couldn’t be better, as we’ve just scheduled an Unnata Aerial Yoga Teacher Training in Japan!

Unnata Yoga teacher Misato Taniguchi of Aerial Yoga Japan will be hosting this Teacher Training program in Tokyo, and we are so very excited to be working with her there in her home town. More information can be found on the Tokyo Teacher Training page of this website.

Yoi ichi nichi wo!