Aerial yoga trend soars into Williamsburg

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Lia Bollinger (Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)
Lia Bollinger (Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)

“Let It Go” may be the theme song of the popular Disney movie Frozen, but it is also the mantra for Lia Bollinger since taking up the practice of yoga seven years ago.

In addition to the physical health benefits, Bollinger enjoys the meditative aspect of yoga including the positivity, grace, calmness, and peacefulness associated it.

“It’s one of the reasons why I continue to practice, and why I continue to teach yoga, because I want to share that,” said Bollinger, a yoga instructor who teaches classes at R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA, Iron Bound Gym, and The Inspire Studio.

Bollinger specializes in Vinyasa flow yoga, and is currently undergoing training in aerial yoga in order to promote the new yoga style in Williamsburg at The Inspire Studio.

Aerial yoga is a fairly new form of yoga that uses a fabric hammock, sometimes called a yoga swing or a wrap, to make yoga poses and positions easier to achieve. The wrap is simply another prop to help with the poses, like using a block, a chair, or a strap.

“It allows you to access postures and poses that you may not normally be able to access,” Bollinger said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Bollinger first discovered aerial yoga two years ago through social media after a friend who is also a yoga instructor posted a video about it.

“It just looked like a lot of fun to me,” she said. “There was just something about it that intrigued me. I wanted to give it a shot.”

Lia Bollinger (Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)
Lia Bollinger (Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)

Bollinger underwent aerial yoga level I training in 2014, and recently trained at a studio in Pennsylvania in level II, learning additional wrap positions and advanced poses and postures.

“The beauty of yoga is that there is a type of yoga out there for everybody,” she said.

Bollinger first began practicing yoga in 2009, taking classes through an instructor friend at a neighborhood clubhouse. Her friend noticed Bollinger’s passion for yoga and encouraged her to take additional training.

“This door just opened for me, from the moment I took the first yoga class,” Bollinger explained. “It was a great workout, but I also found something else. Something more. It’s hard to describe. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted more of it.”

Bollinger spent a year getting her yoga certification through the YogaFit program. She’s passed five levels of training through the program, and also has experience with yoga instruction for children, seniors, and the military. YogaFit for Warriors helps veterans utilize the practice to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Practicing yoga improves strength and flexibility as well as cardiovascular health. But perhaps its biggest benefit is meditation.

“Yoga helps still the breath, still the mind, and let go of the millions of thoughts running through your head,” she said.

 (Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)
(Courtesy Float Yoga at The Inspire Studio)

Currently, Bollinger is assisting with the fundamentals of Float Yoga, the first aerial yoga program offered in Williamsburg at The Inspire Studio.

Bollinger teaches a four-course introduction to aerial yoga, including basic wrap positions, and the safe handling and usage of the hammock. Fundamentals is the only class available at the moment, but the goal is to expand and begin offering regular aerial yoga classes at the studio.

Bollinger practices yoga multiple times a week, whether she is training or teaching. She also enjoys running, kickboxing, cycling, and weight-lifting. Her goal is to get her two children and her husband more involved with the practice. She encourages everyone to give it a try. Take the first step and find a class that suits you.

“Just be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself to be right where you are in the moment,” she said.