11/09/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Midair Meditation: Aerial Yoga Gives "Om" An Added "Oomph!"

IF you are looking to turn inward for some solo meditation, aerial yoga is not the class for you. But if you are looking to add a little circus to your downward dog, it is.

Aerial yoga takes traditional poses like pigeon and camel, winds them up in a 17-foot fabric sling hanging from the ceiling, and flips them upside down.

The fabric is actually an acrobatic apparatus made of a nylon, and used by performers in Cirque de Soleil and traveling big tops to turn somersaults and cut splits high above ground.

When Michelle Dortignac founded Unnata Aerial Yoga in 2006, she lowered the sling and replaced the daredevil tricks with back bends and hip openers.

"This is my way of getting people to clue in to their creative side," Ms. Dortignac said. "Give yourself time to be a kid again, flip yourself upside down and see how the world looks funny."

A rainbow of slings hangs around her Williamsburg studio; I choose sky blue.

Midway through class, Ms. Dortignac worked us into an upside-down pigeon pose.

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