Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Fly Studios on Queen West. Fly Studios is an aerial yoga and reformer Pilates studio located above a storefront (…let’s be real, it’s a dispensary) near Spadina. I’d been wanting to try aerial yoga for a while, but I admit I was a little intimidated! Even a regular yogi can be nervous about new kinds of yoga. That said, I was delighted when Fly invited me to a special event because I knew it would be an awesome way for me to step outside of my comfort zone.
Co-owners Karey Emmet and Marlene Sammy (pictured above) greeted me right away. I loved their positive vibe and how it filled the space. It extended from the bright aerial room overlooking Queen St on one side through to the intimate reformer studio on the other side.
I had no reason to worry about aerial yoga. Marlene guided us through the class with such attention to detail that never once did I fear falling on my face. In fact, it was quite the opposite experience. I wondered instead how far I could go, how deep I could get into the poses with the support of the silks. I felt strong and feminine floating through poses like Virabhadrasana II and “unicorn.” The inversions felt meditative, as you can maybe tell by the look on my face in the photo below.
I don’t particular recommend wearing glasses for aerial yoga, especially for inversions, but I just can’t really see without them and had no choice but to sport the specs on this particular day!
Aerial yoga is beautiful and graceful, and yet there is this childlike-play about it. It evokes a curiosity that is refreshing and empowering, not to mention a ton of fun! Look at all of us hanging upside down!
What I love about yoga is it’s always surprising me, and aerial yoga is no exception. The style allows you to explore and experience different expressions of the pose. It asks you to trust yourself and to have faith in your strength. It reminds you that your mind typically tires long before your body does, encouraging you to ultimately release whatever tension is blocking you. A lot of yoga does this, but sometimes you see it in a different light when you experience it in the context of something new. I was grateful for the reminder.
After the class, we were treated to delicious food from b.good before sitting down to a wellness seminar. I was a big fan of the harvest kale salad and the beet ginger lemonade. Beets on repeat!
The wellness seminar turned out to be about the idea of manifesting the things you want in life, which begins with identifying what it is exactly that you want. This can be the hardest part! Karey gave the metaphor of a plane, which was perfectly appropriate for a studio called Fly. How can a plane fly to Hawaii if the pilot doesn’t know that Hawaii is the destination?
We did a bit of a check in and reflected on our goals and happiness at this moment. Honestly, it was a little crazy because just that morning I had finally decided to do this manifesting exercise I had downloaded several months ago. I’m part of this manifestation group on Facebook but I’m mostly just a curious observer, but something inspired me yesterday to give it a shot. This is something I’ve kind of been exploring on my own and yet here I was in this group of people talking about how powerful it can be. My yoga teacher training has shown me how to tap deeper into this idea of energy and now I find myself in situations like this quite often, ending up exactly where I’m supposed to be at that moment.
I also ran into the lovely Casie Stewart and now I have an aerial yoga buddy, which is awesome because I don’t know if you could tell or not, but I LOVED Fly Studios! Aerial yoga is definitely something I’m going to try to do regularly to spice up my practice and have some fun. While it’s a great way to empower yourself, build upper body strength and muscle memory (I was a little sore later last night, but am feeling good today), it’s also a welcome reminder not to take yourself too seriously. I mean, how can you when you’re laughing as you flip yourself backwards over smooth, silky hammocks before winding down your practice with a super comforting pose called “cocoon.”
Yes, it is just as dreamy as it sounds.
Thanks again Fly Studios for the great night! I highly recommend checking this studio out if you’re at all curious about aerial yoga. I had a blast and will be back for another flight.
Photos by the lovely Lisa Simone Richards with editing by me.