This is turning yoga on its head, literally!

Yoga is often seen seen as a serene practice full of deep breathing and calming music, but with the introduction of a fabric hammock, you'll see yoga in a whole new way. We went to the Yoga Shelter in Southfield to check out its Aerial Yoga class.

The hammock allows you to do traditional yoga poses in a new way, and it allows you to completely invert. Now, turning completely upside down can be intimidating, but aerial yoga instructor Sarah Woodman says you have nothing to worry about, since the hammock can hold up to 1,000 pounds of dynamic weight.

While some of the poses that can be achieved using the hammock look like they belong in Cirque du Soleil (side note: Instructor Woodman actually trained with them), the class is much more like real yoga.

"The brand of yoga I teach is Aerial Yoga, which is a play on words because it is real yoga and, obviously, we do it in the air. It's also the only brand of yoga certified through Yoga Alliance," said Woodman. Much like a block or strap, Woodman says the hammock is used as a prop. 

So, how does it work? Well, class begins much like most yoga classes, with some deep breathing and stretching. Then, you start using the hammock to do some poses, like pigeon and a three-legged plank. It's only after you've built up trust in the hammock that you do a 180.

"One of the great things I love about it is that it makes yoga accessible for anybody, " said Woodman "It really just gives you the support that you need."

Class wraps up with you all wrapped up in your hammock in the classic pose, shavasana, or corpse pose. 

"You know, we get very regimented sometimes in our routines, and this kind of cuts through all of that and reminds us that life is meant to be enjoyed," said Woodman.

Yoga Shelter offers four-week sessions of Aerial Yoga, as well as private group lessons.

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