What Is Unnata Aerial Yoga?

Unnata Aerial Yoga Logo

Unnata aerial yoga is said to be one of the original teaching of aerial yoga. It was created by Michelle Dortignac and was launched in 2006 at SLAM Studio in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), NYC. Over 15 years later the methods are years still being practiced. 

They claim to go beyond the gimmicks and state that “Unnata Aerial yoga offers authentic yoga, and works with gravity to relax and realign the body, center the mind and uplift the spirit (1)”

There are aerial yoga studios around the world teaching the Unnata aerial yoga method. Unnata aerial yoga classes can be taken in at least 34 countries and 21 US states spanning 5 continents, from 34 countries and 21 US states.

Unnata, is the Sanskrit word for “elevated,” refers to elevation in spirit and also in being physically elevated. Using a yoga hammock, students work with gravity to explore, refine, and advance traditional yoga postures in the air and on the ground. 

Who founded Unnata Aerial Yoga?

Michelle Dortignac founded Unnata aerial yoga in 2006. 

If you want to train with Michelle Dortignac you can take in-person private Unnata Yoga classes at her home studio in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn.

Unnata Michelle Dortignac leading a class
Credit: Unnata A.Y

What is Unnata Aerial Yoga?

Unnata aerial yoga is a carefully developed method of Hatha Yoga that utilises an aerial hammock made from aerial silks fabric, which is suspended from the ceiling. Traditional mat based postures can be enhanced and refined with the help of the hammock.  

The hammock partially or fully supports the students body weight so that both traditional and new postures can be explored.

Traditional postures can be  perfomed in a variety of ways, for example the pigeon pose can be performed standing, on the floor or upside down in the hammock. 

If struggling to hold a warrior III the hammock can provide support by wearing the fabric like a backpack or suspending either the arms or a leg. 

Whilst a student may struggle to perform deep backbends and handstands in mat based classes they suddenly become attenable in the hammock.

True inversions can also be achieved by inverting forwards into a Budha Kanasa or backwards into a basic straddle or frog. 

All classes end with a cocoon-like savasanas – it’s the most relaxing savasana ever, where you feel like you are wrapped up warm and safe in the uterus – or that’s what I heard one lady liken it to. Whatever you liken it too it is lush!

As it is strongly linked to Hatha yoga yoge will link your breath to the asanas and stay for a period of time in each postures as opposed to moving quickly through the sequence like in a Ashtanga class. 

Mediation may also play a huge part in the class. 

Is it better than other aerial yoga brands?

There are two main brands of aerial yoga, the Unnata method and anti-gravity yoga by Christopher Harrison. There are a number of other schools that do teach aerial yoga. Those who train with these two brands certainly get more comprehensive and intense training program to follow.

So, you would have to assume that the teachers of these categories are trained more intensely. You would also assume that students get a teacher who is more knowledgeable about the practice. Giving students a more authentic Yogic experience where asanas are performed within an Aerial hammock. But whether you get a better overall experience I guess is subjective.

The founder of Unnata is both an aerialist and a 500 hour RYT yoga teacher and she is continually updating her methods. The unnata method relates strongly to Hatha Yoga, so if you want a yogic experince then taking a class with a Unnata trained teacher will give yo a fully rounded practice. 



Those that teach the Unnata brand of Aerial yoga are already 200RYT yoga teachers prior to to taking the level one Unnata training course. The introductory level one course is an 8 day course, a total of 65 hours comprehensive and immersive instruction. The level two course is another 4 days of training.  

It’s the most intense teacher training course for wanna be aerial yoga teachers. 

Some other aerial yoga teachers may have had only 25 hours training in aerial yoga techniques, others may not even be fitness instructors and have had just 2 days training in how to teach aerial yoga. Who would you want to practice with?

You can find out more about aerial yoga teacher training courses on this page.