COOPERSTOWN — The third-floor renovated office space of the Key Bank building, home to the Fit to Be Tied yoga studio, was filled with laughter and Christmas carols Sunday morning as four local children flipped, stretched and spun their way through an aerial yoga class.
A modern adaptation of an ancient Indian practice, aerial yoga involves gravity-defying poses and gliding around the room in long, sling-like hammocks — called silks — suspended from the ceiling.
“You’re playing with gravity,” said instructor Vanessa Pellegrino, a Long Island native who also leads goat yoga classes in Gilbertsville. “It fully decompresses your spine when you’re upside down.”
Pellegrino said she adapted the moderate-intensity workouts for her young yogis, letting them explore the practice for themselves.
“I love kids — they’re naturals,” she said. “They’re a lot more in tune to being playful.”
“I was hoping Santa would put a silk right in our living room,” said 9-year-old Cooperstown resident Lillian Wood, joining the class for a second time.
Wearing a pink t-shirt reading “karma, sunshine, peace, yoga, love,” Lillian said she regularly practices yoga at home to a CD, but aerial yoga is her new favorite.
Her 5-year-old brother, Leo, said flipping through the air was his favorite part.
“They could just hang upside down forever,” their mother, Kristen, said.
Hartwick resident Stefania Aguzzi brought her sons, Johnathon, 5, and Gregory, 2, for their first class.
“I just thought they would have so much fun,” she said. “We do yoga at home, and I thought they would have so much fun in the air.”
Closing the class, Pellegrino guided her students into shavasana — “corpse pose,” in Sanskrit — intended to maintain the balance between relaxation and meditation.
“Pretend that we’re going deep-sea fishing,” she said as Lillian and Leo settled into their silks, fully engulfed by the cocoons formed by the weight of their suspended bodies. “Pretend you’re swimming through the water; hug your knees into your chest.”
“You’ve got to be still,” Pellegrino advised Johnathon as he twisted and wriggled in his silk.
“I don’t even know how to do that,” he replied.
For more information about upcoming classes, follow Cooperstown Fit to Be Tied Yoga on Facebook.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213.