Aerial yoga studio defies gravity

Leigh Black Irvin

FARMINGTON — A newly opened yoga studio aims to "suspend” the normal rules about practicing yoga.

Lindon Vick, 7, hangs from a yoga hammock on Friday at The Flying Nest yoga studio while owner Aspen Ballard assists her.

The Flying Nest, located at 1601 N. Dustin Ave., has been open for the past week and will be holding a grand opening celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, offering a photo booth, refreshments and door prizes while giving the public a chance to learn about a unique form of the ancient art of yoga.

Aerial yoga utilizes a specialized silk hammock secured to the ceiling. The traditional yoga moves are performed while being suspended in the hammock a few feet off the ground. Many people who have tried aerial yoga say they experience a deeper stretch and say they are able to go deeper into the yoga poses than with traditional ground-based yoga.

The Flying Nest owner Aspen Ballard has been practicing aerial yoga in her home, but found that the closest studio offering classes was in Bernalillo. So she decided to obtain her regular yoga certification, then take all the necessary steps to get the additional aerial yoga certification.

The opportunity to open her own studio followed when Ballard’s friend Danie Lambson obtained a large space to open an indoor play place, Play Day, which just opened Nov. 1.

Owner Aspen Ballard performs a yoga pose on Friday The Flying Nest yoga studio in Farmington.

“Danie told me she had an 850-square-foot space with a reinforced ceiling, so right after I got my aerial yoga certification, I re-painted (the space), put in new floors and extra reinforcements on the beams, and I had the studio opened all within the space of one month,” Ballard said.

Ballard said one benefit to aerial yoga is that it is very focused on spinal mobility and spine health.

“When you hang upside down, it allows the spinal fluid to flow back into the vertebrae, so it’s really good for people with back pain and back issues,” she said, adding that classes are available for anyone age 8 and older, though people with osteoporosis or those who are pregnant should not attempt it.

Kimberly Slusser attended one of Ballard’s classes today. She said she decided to try aerial yoga after seeing postings for The Flying Nest on Facebook.

“I had a work injury on my wrist, leaving me with permanent nerve and tendon damage. I can’t put more than five pounds’ weight on it, so I can’t do regular yoga,” Slusser said. “But aerial yoga uses different parts of the body such as your hips, legs and feet, so I was able to do it, and it was awesome — it felt like sitting in a relaxing cocoon.”

Owner Aspen Ballard touts her new aerial yoga studio, The Flying Nest, as being a good option for those concerned about spinal mobility and spine health.

Each of the nine hammocks can hold up to 500 pounds, so heavier people are not excluded from practicing aerial yoga.

Jamie Church tried aerial yoga today for the first time and said she can tell that it’s going to be useful for her aging muscles and joints.

“I know that as we get older, we lose a lot of our flexibility and I think it’s so important to stay flexible so you can continue to enjoy activities,” said Church, 50. “The most challenging part is learning to trust the hammock, but Aspen helped each of us, and you really feel weightless doing it.”

The studio will also begin offering Zumba classes and Pure Barre workout classes starting in December. All class schedules and information can be found on the studio’s Facebook site, Ballard said.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621. 

If you go

What: The Flying Nest grand opening celebration

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Flying Nest, 1601 N. Dustin Ave., Unit F