The Aerial Teacher Experience


            With over 20 years as a wilderness guide, my yoga instructor role shows up in an unusual way. It is this perspective that I believe, invites me into a journey with my students that often remains hierarchical in a traditional mat class. From the set up of the room to the way students interact to the exploration in practice and posture, aerial yoga/fitness is similar to guiding a group along a trail to some unknown destination. We may get to the destination (i.e. a peak pose), but it’s the journey that roots us in this form of expression and way of being.

From an instructor perspective, I list below things I notice about this practice and that way it unfolds from a teacher’s point of view.

  • Teaching aerial, the teacher, interacts with a hammock not as a practice for themselves but in the way a guide is on the same path and encounters the same scenery. Being in the hammock supports the practice of visual learning, and compliments audio and kinesthetic ways of knowing the postures. Monkey see, monkey do.
  • Community happens in the individual space of each hammock as students overlap in space and in posture expression. Helping one another to find understanding of how to get into the hammock or what feels a certain way invites students to feel that they a part of some larger. The community forms in the shared journey.
  • It’s fun. The opportunity to play, laugh, to take things a little less seriously enters all aspects of this practice. As a teacher I can have a dialogue with students.
  • Similar to guiding, our personal strength, attitude, and approach remains an important aspect of structuring the class. I am inspired to be able to have more expertise to support student growth.
  • It feels different. We are part of some larger unfolding. This is the inarticulate ways each of us show up during the practice.