Right when yoga studio owner Sherri Dujmovich tore away the drop ceiling inside the building she bought, she knew right away what she was going to do with it.
“The building is cinder block and steel. We took the away the drop ceiling and there were these steel trusses. It was perfect for aerial yoga; I mean you could hang a car from it. As soon as I saw the ceiling I looked for an aerial yoga training program right away,” Dujmovich said.
ONE, a yoga studio in Valparaiso that has been opened for six months, hosts aerial yoga workshops. Aerial yoga, otherwise known as anti-gravity yoga, can combine traditional yoga poses, Pilates and dance with the use of a hammock, depending on the instructor.
Holly Johnson, from Aviana Yoga, has been teaching the aerial workshops at ONE.
Aviana Yoga is an international aerial yoga company that offers teacher training programs, workshops, retreats, class series and consulting services.
“I took the beginner’s workshop and I loved it,” said Andrea Bock-Koizumi, who teaches vinyasa yoga and guided meditation classes at ONE. “It’s cool because it opens up your hips and arms span and you can really lean back and open up your chest area in ways you normally couldn’t. It’s a fun experience — you don’t need to know any of the poses or feel like you’re not strong enough because you have the support of the hammock.”
One of the benefits of aerial yoga is being able to do inversions, such a headstand or handstand, safely while being suspended. The hammock itself also serves as a tool to compress and/or decompress parts of the body, in addition to providing support during stretches.
According to Bock-Koizumi, the first part of class is getting comfortable sitting in the hammock.
“You can wrap your whole body in it, it’s pretty large but it’s a silky material so it’s not cumbersome — it’s easy to move around in,” said Bock-Koizumi, of Valparaiso. “She takes you through different poses where you can use the hammock to support you.”
In November alone, ONE held six aerial yoga workshops. Johnson is returning to the studio in January to conduct teacher training in aerial yoga to interested yoga instructors.
“The training is for yoga teachers who would like to expand into aerial yoga. It’s 25 hours of training over three days,” Dujmovich said. “I have three yoga teachers from the studio interested in taking the training, which will help us offer aerial yoga on a weekly basis.”
As of now ONE offers a variety of yoga and meditative classes such as vinyasa, hot yoga, power vinyasa, restorative yoga, meditation, guided meditation and Qi Gong.
“I created a space that when you walk in, you don't want to leave. I wanted it to be a place for community to gather and share their passions and that's exactly what it's turning into,” Dujmovich said.