Aerial Yoga

Nearly any view in Muskoka provides a form of decompression. But consider a view of a blue lake and rocky shore while suspended upside down from a hammock. In short, decompression takes many forms.

Aerial Yoga — yoga assisted by the use of a silk or nylon hammock — has made its way to Muskoka lakes in time for Summer 2016. It may well provide the ultimate calm: floating with the aid of a hammock suspended from a tree, with the sounds of lapping water and a view of the lake as your sensory surroundings.

Aerial yoga — sometimes referred to as anti-gravity yoga — was developed by mixing ashtanga vinyasa with aerial acrobatics as a method of helping achieve spinal decompression. Performing zero-compression inversions allows one to open space in the body and decompress the spine—all good things, especially for those suffering from back injuries, or chronic pain and tension.

“Some yoga poses can cause a lot of compression on the cervical spine,” explains specialist Kaye Penaflor of “With aerial yoga you can find space between the vertebrae—which is one of the practice’s main benefits: spinal decompression.” Penaflor employs aerial hammocks to guide students through various therapeutic and restorative poses designed to achieve lengthening, fuller breaths, and proper alignment.

“With aerial yoga you can find space between the vertebrae—which is one of the practice’s main benefits: spinal decompression.”

Aerial yoga has other advantages, too. “The practice really expands your mind and allows you to focus on your own personal practice,” Penaflor says. “On a mat, your eyes wander to see what other people are doing. When you’re doing aerial, you are focused on yourself. Even during your first practice, you can reach a point at which you’re dialed in. It’s a different sensation — yoga floating above the earth. It can be restorative as well as exciting.”

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Lake Rosseau Retreat

Penaflor will bring aerial yoga to Lake Rosseau this June with The Next Level OM Yoga Retreat, a workshop she’s co-producing with Steph Ouellette of Muskoka’s Suptopia Floating Yoga Studio. The retreat, running June 23-36, 2016, will combine aerial with three other types of yoga: acro, SUP (paddleboard), and the more traditional ashtanga vinyasa. Next Level OM will be held at a luxe cottage on Rosseau, only minutes from Port Sanfield, Port Carling, and Clevelands House.

“It’s the perfect spot to practice, play, float, and fly,” Ouellette and Penaflor explain. “We wanted to create a beautifully safe space for yogis to step outside their comfort zone. To learn awesome new skills… A space to connect with others, but more importantly, to re-connect with themselves. We honestly can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer.”

For more on The Next Level OM Yoga Retreat, see

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