Fresno Beehive

Aerial yoga studio brings (upside) downward dog to Clovis

You’re cocooned inside a black hammock, hanging inverted and trying to relax into what is appropriately called “bat pose.”

In this moment, you’re reminded of the secret to aerial yoga: trust.

“You have to trust the hammock. That can take awhile,” says Teresa Jaquez, who teaches aerial yoga at Love at First Flight, the studio she opened in Clovis in May.

The hammocks hang from large mounts and act like harnesses, giving support so a body can twist and turn — even hang upside down.

Jaquez is there to help, of course.

The aerial yoga classes are one hour and 15 minutes, and start with Jaquez leading students through a series of simple stretches and body movements before getting them off the ground. Student may get into one or two of the inversion poses during a class.

The bat pose isn’t something you typically get on your first day.

Keila Stout, center, leans back during an aerial yoga class at Love At First Flight Thursday, July 12, 2019 in Clovis. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

As the name implies , Love at First Flight is an expression, and also a labor, of love.

Jaquez has been doing yoga for a decade and had dabbled in other fitness routines, including aerial silk performance. But she fell in love with aerial yoga from her first class, three years ago.

She quickly became a regular at a studio in Visalia, even though it was an hour-long commute. She took a workshop and started the process to be a certified instructor and open her own studio.

“No one else was doing it,” she says.

“I wanted to bring aerial yoga to the community,” even it was just a side job. Jaquez is also a marriage and family therapist with a practice in Hanford and runs the studio with the help of husband. She had been looking for a space for a year before ending up at Willow and Nees avenues.

Aerial yoga student Mackenzie Lauchland, center, hangs from material with others during a class at Love At First Flight Thursday, July 12, 2019 in Clovis. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

The studio is lined with two rows of red and black hammocks hanging from a set of professional trusses built by Southern California company Vertical Art Dance. The equipment is designed to hold up to 3,500 pounds, Jaquez says, so it will hold.

The hammocks can be pulled up when not in use.

Jarquez also offers barre classes along with mommy and me classes, and traditional mat yoga for family and kids.

Like traditional yoga, aerial yoga helps with strength building and flexibility, Jaquez says. The inverted poses are good for spine health and posture. Those who practice traditional yoga may find the support of the hammock allows them to ease deeper into poses they may struggle with on the mat.

There’s also a playful aspect to the whole thing that Jaquez says can’t be overlooked.

“It’s also kind of fun,” she says. “You get to be like a kid again.”

Related stories from Fresno Bee

Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.