It’s early in her morning practice when Megan Emerson strikes a familiar pose, Pincha Mayurasana, or Feathered Peacock asana.
Wisps of her blonde hair fall about her face, but what comes into view when she looks back between her elbows is not the wall of a yoga studio — instead, it’s the Manhattan skyline. Far below her, the noise of the bustling city as it wakes cannot be heard at this altitude.
Her mat? A flying carpet that gently sways with the undulating air currents above the distant city.
“It’s so relaxing and meditative. It simply feels amazing”
Emerson shifts her weight front to back and side to side to steady her floating Feathered Peacock. “It’s a totally different experience than in the studio,” says Emerson, a passionate vinyasa yogi. “You have a total connection to nature and you’re subject to her whim. It’s so relaxing and meditative. It simply feels amazing.”
Dedicated practitioners are no longer just taking to their mats — they’re taking to the skies, too. Yogis around the globe are now testing their skills by practicing their sequences while attempting to balance on flying carpets. The new trend has led to several studios opening rooftop shalas for customers wanting to give the practice a try.
Enthusiasts find the sessions to be a better workout. Because the rug-based platform is unstable, one must engage the core muscles more acutely to achieve balance. Los Angeles-based instructor Raine Beau White remarked of flying carpet yoga’s challenging nature, “Your whole midsection will have to work to keep you balanced and in air. You have to work harder and focus more while flying.”
“Your whole midsection will have to work to keep you balanced and in air.”
The specialized carpets are woven from a blend of sustainably and humanely harvested dragon heartstring and unicorn hair. The intricate patterns adorning the rugs are not dissimilar to those found in traditional designs originating in the Bihar area of India bordering Nepal.
Levitation has deep roots in yoga’s ancient practices. In Sanskrit, the power of levitation is dardura siddhi or frog power — so named for frogs’ ability to jump, suspending themselves midair. Flying carpet yoga is simply a modern extension of this age-old practice.
While certainly intriguing, the practice is not without risk. Injuries ranging from wrist sprains to concussions have been reported by those who have fallen while floating.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, yoga travel company Trip Tribe is working to organize a flying carpet retreat to with the famed yogi Swami Mahesh Saraswati from whom the practice originates. The retreat will feature daily flying carpet yoga workshops, reiki healing sessions and of course, views of a whole new world from above the rooftops of Agrabah.