Sister Act: Suspension yoga review

Our pictures turned out terrible, so we stole these from The Flying Yogi’s website. Thanks internet!


What: Suspension Yoga Introductory Workshop
When: Saturday @ 2:30pm
Where: The Flying Yogi (245 Carlaw Street)
Who: Beatrix Montanile

Jill’s Story:

First, I have to say how very proud of Erin I am. She is doing so good with her 30 day challenge! I am impressed. I think this experience may actually convert her to a real yogi, and not someone who goes to yoga just for the work out and feeling of kicking butt! Who am I kidding? This is Erin. She probably will never understand the whole mind body connection, or at least never admit it. She will appreciate (or loathe) yoga in a new way, however, when this is over. I’m hoping for the appreciation part, but betting on the hating part. Erin is changing. I can sense it because after Saturday’s whole suspension yoga experience I think she may have enjoyed it more than I.

Remember way back when at the Yoga Show when Erin and I tried suspension yoga for the first time. Erin was disgusted with hanging upside down. All the blood rushing to your head so fast was a bit overwhelming. Me? I was giddy and loving life, but that’s to be expected from me after any yoga experience. Then we did partner yoga and the day got even better. Then I think I went to a class that night… most likely I did.

So, a week ago Erin emailed me that WagJag had a $20 deal for suspension yoga at the Flying Yogi. I was all over this! I’ll try anything after all. I don’t know if it was my run from the morning (my first official Team In Training run was earlier this morning) but I was not completely in the headspace for flying today. This could very well be from waking up at 6am for my 8am run or the fact I accidentally got mixed the full marathon crowd and ran 11k instead of the scheduled 5k. Oops.

Whatever the reasoning was for me feeling off my yoga game, I did like the fact that suspension yoga is literally doing yoga in the air! And some poses required you to wrap yourself completely up in the OmGym (the hammock like apparatus you are strapped to). Suspension yoga savasana is the best. And with a little John Mayer’s Gravity playing in the back ground (very clever!) I could have stayed swinging all afternoon. I did like the inversions, but there were a few too many for me today. Like I said I think I was a little off to really enjoy them fully. And I couldn’t for the life of me wrap my legs around the hammock in the right way on my own. This did not make me happy.

I’m not going to give up on suspension yoga and I think every yogi should give it a try at least once. You will feel poses in a new way, while having some fun while you’re at it. The feeling of giddiness came straight back to me once it was all done, but this time it was mixed with a slight feeling of nausea and a bit of a weird headache. All effects of post flying. As fun as it was, I wouldn’t practice suspension yoga all the time. I’m too tied to moving on the mat with my feet on the ground. May be that’s my problem?

Either way, I will for sure do this again. Maybe next time not after running 11k. There’s a thought.


This is basically what we did, but our version was far less graceful.


Erin’s story:

Jill is too much of an optimist. She claims it’s yoga, but I think it’s just her.

Anyway, suspension yoga. Let’s give credit where credit it due: honorary fit girl and guest contributor JK sent me the WagJag. But it was something Jill and I agreed to try, so we both grabbed it. (We’re also on the hunt for a great partner class, if you have any suggestions!). As Jill pointed out, at the Yoga Show, I wasn’t the biggest fan of hanging upside down. But now that I knew what I was getting myself into, I was ready. And the inversions were pretty fun. Jill’s right — there were too many for an intro workshop. I was dizzy by the end and spent an hour after the class fighting nausesa. I think I ate too soon before class, but who knows?

Suspension yoga can be broken down into three parts: regular yoga with OmGym modifications, body work and actual suspension yoga.

Regular yoga with OmGym modifications means things like forward folds and warriors, but using the handles or the seat of the OmGym to either assist you or push you further. Some of these were fun, especially the forward folds and backbends. Some, like the warrior poses, were just awkward. I struggle with these poses in a regular class, so to add another twist only added to the punishment. Jill didn’t seem to mind this part though, so it could just be one of those things that you need to try to out before you judge it.

The body work included stuff like using the handles to do bicep and tricep curls. I didn’t mind this, but it was hard! You need balance and muscle strength to make this work. It was nice, however, to do these kinds of workouts without weights.

Finally, the suspension stuff. This is the best part. It’s like being a little kid and hanging out on a swing. The OmGym is unbelievably versatile, and as a result, you can do superman, lotus, shoulder stands and more in the air. (Check the video out below for proof!) This part alone made the workshop, as it was challenging, fun and something new.

Overall, it was a solid, positive experience. I had fun. Doing it once is a novelty, and one I recommend to every yogi who is looking to mix up their practice. Just don’t eat too soon before you go, be prepared to fall and try to have fun.



The Toronto Yoga Show

On Sunday, April 1, Jill and I headed over to the Toronto Yoga Show. Thanks to her endless presence at Moksha Downtown and her eco-friendly job, she managed to score a few free passes, and chose to take me. Hooray!

Having never been to a yoga trade show, I was unsure of what to expect. Now, after completing just one, I can tell you: it’s exactly what you think it is. There’s lots of socially conscious and extremely expensive clothing, lots of people trying to convince you to get your posture checked and plenty of Toronto studios letting you know that they are the very best studio in the city.

The yoga community weirds me out a little bit, not going to lie. I’ve always struggled with middle class North America misappropriating and commercializing the non-exercise aspects of yoga. This presence was definitely felt at the show, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Plus, Jill and I got to do cool things, like a suspension yoga demonstation and a partner yoga workshop.

The partner yoga workshop was in the yoga garden at the centre of the show. We decided to come to the show about an hour before the workshop, walk the floor, take the class, then head home.

On the floor, Jill won a free class to Yoga Tree (jealous!), discovered Three Minute Egg Yoga Blocks (I want some) and generally moaned that our Lulu Lemon yoga bags are too small for all the crap we carry.


Spin the wheel, win a prize!


Then we finally caved and stopped at one of thos chiropractor booth. Thanks to all my running, my body is constantly in some state of pain. Thanks to a slightly pushy salesperson, I learned that my right shoulder is higher than my left, my left hip is higher than my right and I put 10% more weight on my left foot when I run, walk or event stand. So, all those times I’ve had knee problems in yoga or hip problems in running — I should blame my weight distribution. Jill had the same problem, but on the flip side (high left shoulder, high right hip). After the suggested we purchase their expensive consultation (which we declined), we decided to blame our mother for our less-than-perfect bodies. Genetics. You can always blame genetics.


We finally proved, once and for all, that I am taller.


Next, we headed over to a Suspension Yoga demonstation. A new studio, OmGym, opened up in Leslieville recently. I hopped in the swing and flipped upside down. The head rush you get is intennnnnse. You eventually get used to it, and it’s pretty fun being upside down. The instructor spoke of the health benefits (blood to your brain makes you smarter, being upside down helps you digest better, it helps circulation, blah blah blah), and after a few minutes I was ready to be right side up again.

I want to try a class (the whole thing is not upside down, thank goodness!), but it sounded pricey, so we will see.


Can you tell how dizzy I am?


Finally, we headed to the partner workshop. Sebastian Kowilak and Kaelyn Wong led us through an hour of a 8 Limbs, 2 Hearts Partner Yoga Flow class. The verdict? Partner yoga is fun! It takes you deeper into poses than you can go by yourself and it’s inherently  child-like, playful and silly. I’ve alywas been wary of partner work in my other classes, but since it was Jill (and, let’s face it, we did poses like this when we were 8 and 9 for kicks, not realizing it was yoga), any shyness or concern melted away.  I can’t wait to take a proper workshop with this team.


This is not the partner class. But you get the idea.


In conclusion? The Yoga Show was a decent way to spend an afternoon. I wouldn’t purchase a pass next year, but if you can score one for free, by all means check it out.