by Sheila Julson
Aerial yoga involves colorful, high-density nylon hammocks suspended from a ceiling, providing a unique opportunity for not just adults, but also kids to bring out their inner acrobat. As aerial yoga gains popularity, Laurie Hebert is ready to teach kids this fun type of yoga where they also learn discipline and mindfulness.
Hebert, along with Lindsey Lieneck, at Yogapeutics, with whom Hebert studied aerial yoga teacher training, were both occupational therapists that had worked with many children with sensory processing issues. “These kids need a lot of movement and they can’t sit still; the hammocks are a great way to get them to focus because they’re getting the sensory input their bodies are craving,” Hebert says.
With aerial yoga, Hebert teaches kids to use the hammock as a prop for warm-up poses like downward dog. “They always have a point of contact with the floor to start,” she explains. “After the warm-up, the kids learn poses that allow them to be in the air, either upside-down, upright or even sideways. Sequencing the steps to get into each pose is a great way to challenge their motor and executive functioning skills.”
Hebert also has the kids do a mindfulness lesson or activity, such as an experiment or a game to learn concepts such as gratitude, perspective and mindful breathing. The class ends with meditation through guided imagery while the kids are still in the hammock. “We use essential oils such as lemon oil as the kids imagine they’re under a lemon tree,” Hebert says, “Or they imagine they’re on a magic carpet, and we’ll lightly swing the hammock.”
Hebert works with children ages 4 and up, and she offers one-on-one private sessions. She has gotten good feedback from parents that say their kids had tried other extracurricular activities but loved aerial yoga the most, because it’s so novel.
“A lot of kids I work with have emotional trauma, and now that my career is evolving, I feel like I’m making more of a difference and preparing kids to better handle life’s pitfalls,” says Hebert.
For more information, call Laurie Hebert at 225-772-5530 or email LHAerialYoga@gmail.com.