Aerial yoga: 'Most people don’t experience being upside down'

Aerial yoga: 'Most people don’t experience being upside down'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Naja Rossoff teaches a class that’s designed to increase your flexibility, build your strength, and lift your mood; all while lifting you off the ground.

It’s called aerial yoga, and it’s taking off in Eugene.

Rossoff says the class’s unique poses, like hanging upside down, set it apart.

“Most people are not doing these kids of activities of getting inverted and being just up in the air where the balance points are different,” she says.  “And there’s this buzz you get from it because it’s exciting and it’s new. And you know, most people don’t experience being upside down.”

While Naja makes the flips and twirls look easy, students will tell you: they’re not.

Rossoff said many people’s biggest hang-up is being hung upside down, but she says that’s actually where a lot of the benefits lie.

“Hanging upside down, getting inverted allows the vertebrae to separate from each other,” she says.

“It’s just helped my back tremendously. I’m an old gymnast with back injuries, and it’s stopped my back from spasming, it just feels really healthy.”

Rossoff isn’t the only one who’s feeling better.

Participant Tad Merrell says his chronic back pain used to drive him to see a chiropractor. Now, instead of going to a chiropractor, he simply goes inverted.

“My spine feels better,” says Merrell. “I don’t get lower back pain like I used to.”

But aside from the health benefits, Merrell says that aerial yoga is just a swinging good time.

“It’s so cool, so you can wrap yourself up in it, you can fall a little bit, you can swing, you can rotate. It just feels so different.”

Rossoff says those different moves leaves participants with an unique feeling.

“You kind of come out a little bit buzzy, but also very centered and calmed as well. And hopefully tired!”

If you’re uneasy about being off the ground, Tad has one piece of advice: “Get over it. Face your fears. Do it anyway.”

Naja offers her class four days a week at Bounce Gymnastics and Circus Arts Center in Eugene.

The classes are a drop in format, but there are only enough silks for about 10 people, so Rossoff advises arriving early.