Fitness fans across Leeds can spin through the air in a high-flying exercise craze championed by Hollywood stars including Gwyneth Paltrow.
The ancient practice of yoga has long been popular with the A-list elite but a new trend has been sweeping the globe - and has now hit Leeds, where its popularity is soaring.
Aerial yoga involves working out while suspended in a hanging fabric trapeze or hammock. The idea behind the practice is that, with the weight of the body supported, users can do their yoga moves - creating ‘optimal postural alignment’ - through physical relaxation rather than effort.
Now teaching duo Amanda Franklin and her partner David Fleming have set up an aerial yoga studio Meanwood, which has been going from strength to strength in the ten months since it opened.
Amanda, who was a secondary school teacher before she re-trained in various exercise techniques, said: “We started with a series of beginner workshops because no-one around here had done it before. We kept putting them on and they kept filling up. Then we started doing classes on Thursday nights and Sunday evenings, once we had enough people.”
Amanda and David trained in 2012 with Devi Kaur, who developed Aerial Yoga UK, and said they initially went to observe.
“But in a very short space of time we fell in love with the practice and were keen to become teachers. I think just the experience of being in the hammock. Once you were physically doing it, it became something really appealing.
“The fact the hammock supports you means you can really kind of let go and relax into postures.
“It can really extend the already current yoga practice. A lot who come are yoga teachers or students but there’s also a massive amount of people who come who’ve never done yoga before.”
She added: “The underlying principle is fun! I’m not one for ‘exercise’, but I do love moving freely, having fun with movement and enjoying a sense of ‘play’.”
*** Aerial Yoga UK says the benefits include:
decompression of joints;
relieving pressure while aligning the vertebrae of the spine without strain;
increased overall agility, strength and flexibility;
self-confidence, conquering fears.
The classes are held at Temple Holistic Fitness Centre, Austhorpe Road, off Meanwood Road. Class prices start from £10.
For more information visit www.accessmovement.devhub.com/yoga. or www.facebook.com/AerialYogaLeeds.