AERIAL YOGA: footage taken from one of the aerial yoga classes at Little Stars Circus, shot by Sarah Scotchman Photography.
Little Stars Circus, Chelmsford, helps people escape from everyday stress and guides them on the path to a more balanced lifestyle.
AERIAL yoga is one of the many unique ways to exercise in the world day and combines yoga poses, pilates and aerial dance. This has provided people with an escape from the stress of everyday life ranging from mums and dads to people in the high demand jobs.
With this there comes many benefits from the physical side to the mental health side. With the physical side, it forces your body to move and stretch and this tones your muscles and strengthens your joints. Also, it improves your overall flexibility, because you are suspended in the air which releases tension in bones and muscles in areas such as your spinal cord and your shoulders and it increases your stamina. In addition, aerial yoga aids your digestion, because of the different stretches and movements you do, and the result improves your digestive system and it helps with thing such as constipation. Its increases circulation, which helps combat signs of ageing and helps detoxify the circulation, which lowers the risk of heart issues.
Looking at how it help you mentally as well, practicing aerial yoga helps you rebuild your emotional system because it clears your mind and puts you into a meditative state. With continuous practice it helps you develop ways to combat stress, in addition, to boosting your creativity overall. Doing this also release hormones like serotonin, endorphins and more to help boost your mood.
One group that offers this to students and those looking to start aerial yoga is Little Stars Circus, Chelmsford. These are classes of up to five people, which has allowed people to gain more confidence on their exercise journey, and this may be one of the main reasons why people join the classes. Megan, one of the aerial students at Little Stars Circus, said: “The final push that made me join was that it was a small group, if it were bigger, I would never have joined. And I don’t think, here because you are chatting, you don’t realise what you are doing. You are getting the social side of it, as well, whereas in a big group you wouldn’t you’d be isolated. You come and you exercise, and you go. Whereas here you don’t realise you’re actually doing what you’re doing till the next day where you hurt like hell.”
Aerial yoga is a class that has no structure or set moves that you can learn within a certain number of weeks. Diana Entwistle the creator and aerial yoga teacher at Little Stars Circus said: “It’s better for your body to not just to repeat the same activities, it challenges your body and it also means that if you’ve got a lot going on in your head. If you’ve got a lot going on, if someone’s giving you instructions and talking you through those, you must clear your mind. I think that’s a very healthy thing to do to just get rid of all the clutter. So, you regain your identity and you regain, hopefully, the ethos of being the best you can be in this time, this moment and not judging yourself, and not striving for a target, but if we can learn to except and to find happiness within ourselves, we’re going to be a lot better off. “
This is something that we do a lot of today, where we are trying to be the best that we can be and better than the rest. We push ourselves so hard that this can sometime result in emotional burn out. Diana’s aerial yoga class try to encourage to take a step back from the work ethic that has been encourage by society today. This is with parent, those who are in full time work along with students, when talking to Diana about the students that visit her class. She said; “ I’m always saying to them just be the best that you can be these exam results do not reflect who you are as a person, it’s a number and it doesn’t tell be what a joyful, wonderful mind, a beautiful inside person you are. It’s just an exam result, and I say to them if I was your mum, I would want you to be healthy and happy. If it stops one teenager thinking this exam result does not measure who I am as a person and it just stops them taking that leap, then that’s a job well done.”
In addition to helping students, the teachers have been on the journey as well. One of the teachers who has been on this journey is Jane Faux, who also teaches figure skating alongside aerial yoga and talked about the challenges she faced when she started teaching aerial yoga.
Jane said: “Learning about different body types and different personality and making sure that I leave enough different option for everyone, so that everyone comes away feeling for filled and happy and that’s the part I find really interesting because everyone’s a little different, everyone comes in feeling a little different depending on what sort week they’ve had.
“It’s very different in skating, everything is really highly motivating. Whereas in aerial yoga you’re still working hard but if you’re struggling it’s okay cause you are allowed to give yourself a bit of a break, which is the way it should be actually because life is hard. Also, as a teacher its nice because you’re not constantly having to push people towards that next goal, and you’re learning about their strengths and working on that, so they feel really good about themselves, and you don’t feel the pressure as a teacher to achieve something, to a certain level. It’s just a constant, learning and exploring ideas we can try. “
Aerial yoga has many benefits and has helped people gain more confidence and gives people a chance to break away from reality and be themselves. In addition to this, little stars circus provides that springboard to do so.
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