Sky-high in Scottsdale
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — I’ve never had a secret wish to join the Cirque du Soleil. Heights, not to mention clowns, scare me.
But this visit to Scottsdale came with heights, big and small — from an aerial hammock, a hot-air balloon and atop Camelback Mountain. It was a different view of a place known for flatland fun such as golf, great restaurants, shopping and near-perfect weather.
Here are some exhilarating ways to see another side of Scottsdale — upside down and from the sky.
I’ve never been one to turn down a chance to do yoga, even if it does have the word “aerial” in front of it. I wondered how high off the ground it would it be. Not very, but that didn’t make it any less tricky.
Aerial yoga, also known as suspension or anti-gravity yoga, “is a way of deepening whatever practice you already do,” says Sierra Ramm, yoga and movement supervisor at the Fairmont Scottsdale’s Well & Being Spa.
It has its roots in the acrobatic derring-do of the Cirque du Soleil.
“It tests you and can make you feel uncomfortable,” says Ramm. You’ll also keep saying, “I’m going to fall,” but chances are you won’t.
Suspended in a large, hammock-like piece of stretch-nylon fabric latched onto the ceiling with carabiners and rigging — just like the gear used in mountain climbing — we’re suspended a couple of feet from the floor, swinging gently.
Ramm guides us through the hourlong practice, starting us off slowly, getting us accustomed to being off the ground and trusting the fabric as a support.
Suddenly, I’m face down, hands behind my back with the fabric wrapped around my ankles. The head rush is instant.
The trickiest pose of the day has to be the Vampire Pose — something you don’t appreciate until you see a picture of it. It takes faith in yourself and is impossible to explain in words. All you need to know is you’re flat-out, face-down with your arms out behind you, wing-like. Oddly enough, it feels exhilarating.
The rush of blood to the head is similar to a couple of tequila shots in the hot Scottsdale sun.
For me, shavasana (corpse pose) in the cocoon-like swaddling is the best part of the hour, that and savouring the au naturel light-headedness of our 60 minutes of suspension.
Lookout Mountain presented great views and a playable challenge.