Karen Applegate, Aerial Yoga Instructor: Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo
Karen Apple gate began her fitness career began in 1982 when she took her first aerobics class. She fell in love with it and shortly after got certified to teach.
As the fitness industry evolved, she stayed up to date with the latest fitness classes and got certified to teach most of them. Eventually, she added personal fitness training and earned certifications from the AFAA (Aerobics Fitness Association of America) and ACE (American Council on Exercise).
Her love of exercise and movement kept her in the business, and the demand for both yoga and pilates professionals grew so she ventured and studied both disciplines. Applegate is now a registered yoga teacher (with the yoga alliance) and is certified to teach mat pilates and pilates on studio equipment. Two months ago she was offered the opportunity to become an instructor of aerial yoga so she joined a group of talented instructors and began the study to develop our practice.
Just recently she went back to teaching spinning classes and who knows what is next. Fitness has been an important part of my life and a career that has allowed her the opportunity to schedule her work around the job of raising two beautiful daughters.
Q. How is aerial yoga different from regular yoga?
A. Aerial yoga uses a hammock made of soft fabric as a tool to assist the participant with traditional balancing postures to deepen stretches and encourage greater joint range of motion in postures that might not otherwise be achieved in a floor yoga practice. The hammock lifts and holds some of our body weight and takes pressure out of the wrist, hands, neck and shoulders. Participants naturally move into proper alignment, achieve inversions without straining their joints and relax/surrender more effectively in the fabric. While aerial yoga shares many of the traditions of other schools of yoga it offers new options, variety and playful fun.
Q. What are the benefits of aerial yoga?
A. Aerial offers wonderful decompression of the spine and joints, it loosens and lengthens muscles, creates natural alignment with suspension, encourages deepening in postures, and the fabric leans into pressure points which activates blood flow and the lymphatic system helping to bring your body’s energy into balance.
Q. What should a beginner bring and know about aerial yoga before they try it?
A. New participants should wear a top that covers their under arms and bottoms that cover their legs. They should not wear jewelry because it can catch on the fabric and they should know that anyone can try to enjoy aerial when it is taught properly.
Q. What is one misconception people have about aerial yoga?
A. That they are not capable of attempting it. This, however, is not true. The method can be tailored to multiple levels.
Q. Who do you recommend can do aerial yoga?
A. Anyone who would like to reap the benefits listed above and who would like to try a very fun, safe and yet challenging variety of assisted body movement and still postures.
Q. Any other additional information you would like to add?
A. Aerial yoga classes are available at a variety of times every day of the week for both members and non-members at Future Fitness in Cherry Hill NJ.