Expand.Yoga: Adventuring into the world of aerial yoga in San Francisco

I stumbled upon Expand.Yoga with the help of a credit for an AirBnB experience. Having never done an AirBnB experience, nor aerial yoga, and with some time to kill on a staycation in the Bay Area, I roped my husband into joining me for a class.

We showed up at the studio, an unassuming corner on Potrero and 18th streets on the border with the Mission. However, we stepped in and were transformed by the hanging silks and excellent sunlight beaming through the windows.

After an hour of being guided through various stretches, inversions, and even a few minutes of cocooning, my back was thanking me and I was curious to learn more.

Hanging silks and great light in the Expand.Yoga studio.

The Story

Elena Pimenova, who co-owns and manages the studio, opened it in late 2017. She did so because she developed severe back pain from sitting at a computer as a data analyst. Right after she took a similar aerial yoga class in New York City, she was pain free for two weeks. Taking these classes regularly helped her develop the right muscles and forget about her pain in a very short period of time.

Trying out some aerial yoga inversions.

The mission

Something that I found attractive about this studio is that unlike many of the other boutique studios in San Francisco that charge somewhere in the range of $30-$35 per class, with little or no unlimited membership options, Expand.Yoga offers a very reasonable alternative. The studio tries hard to make the classes affordable for everyone, with a monthly membership of $75 (not including initiation fee, $20) which gets you 4 classes - one for each week to keep the spine happy and healthy. That’s certainly cheaper and more fun than seeing the chiropractor! Alternatively you can get a 4 pack of classes to be used whenever for $90 or pay $170 for unlimited classes.

Enjoying some cocooning (like shavasana) at the end of class.

The experience

Expand.Yoga offers a few different kinds of classes, to cater to both a variety of levels of experience as well as different needs, for example relaxation and stretching versus a more involved workout. Having tried a few of their classes, I can say that this is definitely a place where you can show up with no experience with yoga and still have a good time. You don’t have to be afraid of the inversions or fancy looking moves either, because you can easily skip them and do other stretching, or just remember that you are not even a foot off of the ground and therefore quite unlikely to get hurt! Having done actual aerials/silks at places like Athletic Playground, which puts you 5-10 feet in the air, Aerial Yoga or Bungee Fitness is a breeze and shouldn’t scare you from trying as it is not very high off the ground. Something I liked that one of my instructors often said was, “reach for your edge”. I felt like this was an appropriate way of telling me to stretch and do the things that my body felt were right for me- not for anyone else. Only you know where your edge lies!

If you are looking for a new workout routine, or merely a restorative self-care experience to compliment sitting in a chair 9-5, then Expand.Yoga could be the place for you!

The author, giving gravity a run for it’s money.

Find out the benefits of a pain free, flexible life and sign up for a discounted first class ($15) or monthly pass on Expand.Yoga’s website. Alternatively, the studio can be found on ClassPass or AirBnB experiences.

Thanks so much to Expand.Yoga for the free trial and to Elena Pimenova for the photos.