Sky-high in Scotts­dale

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mon­for­ton

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.

http://www.fair­mont.com/scotts­dale/

PHO­TOS BY RON PRAD­INUK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Look­out Moun­tain pre­sented great views and a playable chal­lenge.

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