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Aerial Yoga Is For Everyone!

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“Aerial yoga is a fun way to in- troduce people to yoga, or give long-time practitioners a dif- ferent flavor,” says Ariel Mann. “You can use the system to take weight off a body part, you can do it lying down, fully support- ed, or partially supported. A lot of people use it therapeutically. If you do yoga a lot, it is a way to improve your alignment, also, it’s fun. Kids are naturally drawn to it—they look at it as a plaything, and it gives adults an opportunity to explore their inner childlike nature.”

I Tried It - As Told By Claudette Stern

I knew nothing about aerial yoga before I tried it. I’ve done yoga since I was a teenager—I worked in a college bookstore and came across Richard Hittleman’s book 28 Days of Yoga and started that way—but saying I have a yoga practice is mak- ing it bigger than it is. This past summer I decided I was going to try all sorts of new things, places, and techniques related to being physical and self-care. I’m not a big class taker, so this was to push myself a little bit. I didn’t only want to try new things, but, at my age, 57, I think it’s important to make sure we’re being effective and skillful with all parts of our body. I wanted to use it and care for it in different ways. One day I wandered into Medicine Wheel Wellness. I found so much! I did some active isolated stretching (AIS) and also worked with [Dr.] Dagmar [“Josie” Wittner, a chiro- practor]. Talking with Francine, aerial yoga eventually came up. It sounded interesting. It turned out I loved it! Doing yoga that way felt very liberating. The opportuni- ty to feel a sense of weightlessness and maybe stretch yourself a little more than you would if you were just doing work on the floor was wonderful. I loved the way it ended, too. One of the options was to take the silk hammock and fold it up over yourself—while suspended—so you are really kind of this chrysalis inside. We did a few moments of breathing and relaxing. The world was totally shut out because the “pod” was all around you. I really decompressed. When I emerged I felt like the whole class had made a difference—I felt more expansive and stretched.Arielsmall

Meet Ariel Mann, Voted Jackson's Best Yoga Teacher 2011-2015

"The first time I went to a yoga class was because a friend dragged me. We were supposed to go on a mountain bike ride, but it was a snowy June day. My friend suggested we try hot yoga at this new yoga studio [Inversion]. I was pretty sure I was going to die in class. But leaving, I felt so good. After that first class, I did yoga five days a week. The next step was training to become a teacher. Now I am E-RYT 500, which is the highest level the Yoga Alliance certifies. Jackson Hole athletes are pretty extreme. In terms of the physical body, yoga helps to treat and prevent injury through balance and alignment and it improves body awareness so that when you’re out doing your sports, you’re more aware of how and why you’re moving. Yoga gives you confidence in yourself too."—Ariel Mann

Medicine Wheel Wellness Offers Private & Semi-Private Aerial Yoga

Studies show Aerial Yoga causes your body to release "happy" hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, which boost your mood and help you feel more energetic.

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Meet Medicine Wheel Wellness


Before there was Medicine Wheel Wellness, there was The Medicine Wheel. There have been about 100 medicine wheels found in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, but it is the one in the Bighorn National Forest in eastern Wyoming that is The Medicine Wheel. Native American cultures built medicine wheels to symbolize dimensions of health and life. Seventy-five feet in diameter and at an elevation of 9,642-feet, the Bighorn Medicine wheel is a national historic landmark; it is the best-preserved and most complete medicine wheel yet discovered. Francine’s connection to the Medicine Wheel started in 2008, during a Lakota sweat lodge ceremony. “To create Medicine Wheel Well- ness, I looked to traditional Medicine Wheel teachings and how I could integrate them into the health care system I must work within to make it better. We can have integrated, accessible, and effective care that is less expensive,” says Francine.


“I have personally and professionally expanded from exposure to the healing methods of other cultures. Kauai, for me, is the mothership of healing. While finishing yoga teacher training there I saw wheels everywhere. I couldn’t ignore this sign. I asked my mentors —Chief “Sweet” William, a Lakota Chief, and Jules, a Buffalo Valley native who first invited me into the sweat lodge— for permission to use the wheel in my practice; they immediately granted support. I started gathering up practitioners like a sheep dog, each with a similar vision of health and healing as mine. Medicine Wheel Wellness opened January 1, 2015.

Medicine Wheel’s home is a 5,000-square foot building in downtown Jackson that includes a 2,500-square foot physical therapy clinic (Excel Physical Therapy), a group fitness studio, a private yoga studio, a handful of private practitioner offices, and a retail boutique, all overlooking the ski runs of Snow King Mountain Resort.

“When recovering from injury, illness, dis-ease or looking to improve fitness or sports performance, Medicine Wheel Wellness gives people options that fit their budget and healthcare needs,” says Francine, who teaches yoga, knee rehab, and SURFSET Fitness classes. Medicine Wheel Wellness offers services from rehab to sports performance and numerous modalities addressing the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing. Francine says, “You don’t have to use the whole wheel, but when you are ready to work on your overall well- being—that includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—we’re ready.” 

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