by Customer Serene, Chalk and Chakras
When I say older, I mean kids reaching tween hood and above.
Now that my older daughter is turning 8 this year (gasp!), I realise she’s more easily bored by the stuff we do together. She prefers to watch her cousins play Nintendo Switch or hang with the neighbours’ kids than to sit down for family board games or do a round of Cosmic yoga which she used to enjoy only a year ago.
I decided to try something that we have never done before — aerial yoga.
I was excited to see that Mindful Space started offering a parent-child aerial yoga session this Feb. Moreover, the session priced at S$90 (two hours for the two of us) seemed like a good deal so I promptly paid and signed us up. My daughter was similarly enthusiastic. She had seen those hammocks at the studio before and was curious about using them to “swing”.
On the day before the session, we received a text message with helpful reminders on what to note. These include having breakfast two hours before class and wearing pants (instead of shorts) to prevent friction against the hammocks.
The two-hour session kicked off with yoga basics to warm up. We did several sun salutations and other poses like cat and cow before our instructor started adding more interesting partner poses to do with our child. The purpose of this is to build greater communication and trust before starting aerial.
What was really fun to do was learning how to support our child with our own strength. It was exciting to push yourselves in terms of strength while having your child maintain his/her calm as he/she wobbled on your feet.
Help is always at hand if you need. Class size was kept small at just 5 pairs. Besides our main yoga instructor, we had one more instructor and studio owner Vernessa who were moving around the studio to assist.
After an hour of prep work, we were ready to fly.
First up we had a short briefing from our second instructor who’s an experienced aerial yoga teacher. She emphasised the importance of listening to her and watching her carefully before we attempt anything.
We began with easy moves — simply getting in the hammock and being comfortable in there. We laid like a baby cradled by the cloth. Then the action began.
We slotted our legs through the cloth to do several stretches. Our child was also asked to hold our feet and pull it while the parent stretched. The child was later told to climb into the parent’s hammock to help stretch the shoulders.
We then got into our respective hammocks to swing to each other to hold hands. We even got to steal a peck or two.
Next up were a series of other poses that involved taking turns to support each other while the other was in the hammock.
More challenging poses like inversions followed. Trust me - it really wasn’t that daunting because the instructions were very clear and simple. The hammock made it super simple for most participants to flip; plus there were the yoga instructor and 2 assistants around to lend a hand.
It was a true workout. I could also feel myself getting a little breathless at how exhilarating the poses were. The most difficult part of the session was saved for the end where your child had to climb on of the hammock to stand on your feet while you’re safely held upside down by the hammock.
At the end of the two-hour session, there was a great sense of accomplishment. My daughter constantly going upside down. It was fantastic that this was an achievement we unlocked as a duo.
In terms of side effects at the end of the session, my daughter didn’t feel anything dizziness or queasiness. I did, however. My tummy was a little ruffled after we reached home. I had a smaller than usual appetite for lunch. But the feeling wore off in an hour or two and I felt fine by the later afternoon.
The two-hour session was well spent. It was a much deserved alone time with the elder child. The session I attended also saw older kids aged 11 to 13 who appeared to be genuinely having fun with their mum and dad. Yes, they made it a family affair!
As for whether you need to be expert yogis to try aerial yoga, I’d say that some basic yoga knowledge for mums would help with confidence. As for kids, as long as they’re willing to try, they’ll be able to soar. Granted, my daughter’s familiar with yoga and she was very comfortable tackling poses straightaway. But there was a 10-year-old boy there for the first time and he gamely did everything with aplomb.
Do note that parent-child aerial yoga involves a lot of listening. It’s best to go with kids aged 6 years old and above who can take instructions better. The attentive assistants at Mindful Space will also make sure the participants attempt most of the poses while remaining safe and comfortable.
Would we do it again? Definitely! We’re still talking about the experience and my daughter proudly shows her grandparents photos of what she did. Now, maybe I should sign us up for Acro Yoga next.
P/S: This is a non-sponsored post. Chalk and Chakras tries new activities (sometimes) to uncover great new ways to find calm, fun and nurture mindfulness in our little warriors and share the good work of fellow small local businesses.