Floating Fitness & Fresh Faces: Our Experience at AIR® Aerial Fitness & Mud Facial Bar
Sep 05, 2017
Have you ever been in a fitness rut? That's how we (Alicia and Mel, co-founders of Work For Your Beer) were starting to feel a few weeks back. Despite the fact that we had so many beer fitness activities to choose from, we found ourselves falling into the same routine week after week. The regimen felt comfortable, and we were still getting killer workouts in... but we were also starting to get a little bored.
We realized that if we were going to keep our passion for fitness alive and kicking, we needed to try something new that would get us out of our comfort zones. And that's where AIR® Aerial Fitness came in.
AIR® is an intense aerial fitness training program with locations in both Myers Park and SouthPark. The SouthPark studio is also home to Mud Facial Bar. So, when we reached out to owner Kerri Flanigan and asked if we could try out an AIR class, you can imagine how excited we were when she said we could follow up our class with 30-minute facials!
We signed up for an AIR Flow class (a class that "fuses basic to advanced yoga poses with aerial hammocks to allow for a full body stretch that increases flexibility beyond what traditional yoga provides") and two facials. Here's how our experience went.
Part One: AIR® Flow Aerial Yoga
Mel and I walked into AIR® with virtually no experience with aerial silks, so we were nervous but excited about what we were about to do.
We met with studio owner Kerri Flanigan to learn more about her, about the studio, and about the workout we were about to embark upon. Kerri has been an athlete her entire life—in particular, a lacrosse player. After graduating from Belmont Abbey College with a degree in Sports Management, she worked for four years as the Director of Operations for Turn and Burn Lacrosse. She then worked for a year as General Manager at a studio called Flex + Fit, then once AIR® Myers Park opened, Kerri took over ownership six months after opening. Three years later, she opened AIR® SouthPark, which shares a space with Mud Facial Bar. Kerri has always wanted to own a fitness studio, and she loves the additional components of owning AIR®, like hosting international instructor retreats.
"I've always been the kind of person who wants to try new things, so I'm constantly going to different workouts around the city," Kerri said. "When I first tried an AIR® class, I loved how challenging it was, and how it worked so many different muscle groups. It tones your whole body and strengthens your core, and honestly, the classes are just really fun. I love watching as new people come in and try it out, love it, and keep coming back for more."
Kerri told us she'd be joining us for our AIR® Flow class, so we were glad to know she'd be there to answer any questions we had (and to help us out if we were absolutely horrendous with the aerial hammocks).
We walked into the studio and were greeted by a friendly instructor named Michelle. She grabbed us a few mats and set them up beneath our hammocks, then showed us how to do a few basic aerial yoga moves (particularly, how to go upside down) so we would at least know the foundation of all the poses that we'd do throughout the class.
We went into the class knowing that it would be a power flow intended to work our core, and man, did it live up to the hype! The class itself was definitely challenging, but Michelle provided clear cues so we'd know how to flow from one pose to the next, and she came around the room to adjust or offer additional assistance when needed. She also made sure our bodies were correctly aligned so we wouldn't injure ourselves when we flipped upside down or hung suspended in the air.
I loved that modifications were always offered (and encouraged) to increase or decrease the intensity of a pose—my tight hips stayed put in Triangle pose, while Mel moved into Birds of Paradise. We were told to take what we needed from the class, and we did.
In addition to being a physical challenge, the real challenge of the class was mental: it was all about letting go. Literally. For some of the poses, you had to let go of the aerial hammock completely (when really, you wanted to cling to it) and allow your bodyweight pull you properly into the posture. For someone who wants to be in total control, this sort of "surrender" can feel backwards. But by allowing yourself to let go, you really get the full benefits of the pose. Beyond that, it's also about letting go of your expectations; forgetting how you think you should look or feel during the class, and just allowing yourself to be.
We definitely left the class sweaty and sore, but we were also smiling. This workout was challenging, but empowering, and we loved every minute. If you've never tried aerial yoga before, AIR® Flow is definitely something to add to your fitness bucket list. And of course, if you're not a yogi (or if you're a yogi looking to branch out), there are a variety of other AIR® aerial fitness classes to choose from!
Part Two: Mud Facial Bar
When you're a busy person with a calendar chock full of meetings, fitness classes, and more, you don't have 60- or 90-minute time slots available to schedule a lengthy facial. Mud Facial Bar gets that, which is why the company offers 30-minute facials from specially trained and licensed estheticians for just $50.
Before we stepped into Mud's (adorably decorated) facial bar, Mel and I were asked to fill out a short questionnaire with details about our faces. We handed them to our estheticians, who then sat us in chairs and stared closely at our faces through a magnifying lens to perform a skin analysis. Once they determined our skin's appearance and needs, they told us which facials they thought would best suit us.
Mud offers five main facial options:
- Mud: The active ingredient here is mud, and it's intended to tighten your skin and even out your skin tone. It's ideal if you've got dark spots.
- Breathe: If you've got sensitive skin, this sucker is for you. The active ingredient is white kaolin clay, and if you're feeling adventurous, for $10 more you can upgrade to add breast milk to your facial. Yeah, it's a thing.
- Glow: This is a brightening mask, which aids in a more youthful appearance but also just general makes you look like you're freaking glowing. The active ingredient here is sandalwood.
- Fresh: My esthetician told me that this is the facial all the hungover girls get. Which makes sense, since it's intended to refresh dull or tired skin. Fun fact: for this fella, Mud actually uses green juice from Luna's Living Kitchen in SouthPark!
- Detox: If you've got blemish-prone skin, you'll want to go for this deep cleansing mask. It uses charcoal to literally detox your skin, pulling all the toxins out to aid you on the way to a clearer complexion.
Since I've got mostly clear skin but my nose and chin areas can get a bit congested, my esthetician recommended that I get the Fresh mask across most of my face, then the Detox mask on my T-zone. I agreed with this assessment, side-stepped the breast milk add-on, and we started the facial process.
She leaned my chair back and moved a steamer toward my face to open up my pores. First, my face was cleansed completely. I expected this, which is why I came in with zero make-up... although at this point, I was a little sweaty from the aerial yoga class. The cleanser seemed like a good call. She then used an exfoliator, which sloughed away all the dead skin from my face and left it feeling silky smooth.
Next, she applied the facial itself. The concoction felt cool on my face to start with, but then came the best part of the whole facial experience: my esthetician got out these chilled blue glass globes and started massaging my whole face to really set the facial into my skin. I asked if I could order some of these chilly blue globes for myself because they felt so amazing; she said probably, but that it's all about technique, so it likely wouldn't be quite the same experience.
Once she removed the Fresh and Detox with a warm, damp towel, my esthetician applied toner and then a moisturizing oil. I have a healthy skin routine—every morning and evening I use a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer from LUSH—but after this facial, my skin still felt significantly cleaner than it has in AGES.
Meanwhile, Mel got the Glow facial. She didn't particularly need it, since her skin is just about perfect to start with, but as soon as she was done I could see an immediate... well, glow! The girl looked luminous, and her face smelled citrus-y and delightful. It smelled so good, in fact, that when she got home from the facial, her corgi Pancake smelled and licked her face for about five minutes straight.
We had an incredible experience at both AIR® and Mud! The experience was affordable enough that you could do it on any given day, but unique and exciting enough to make a perfect girls-day-out adventure for a bachelorette party or birthday celebration.
Want to try it out for yourself? Good news: your first class at AIR® Aerial Fitness is always free when you use the promo code AIRCHARLOTTE, whether you visit the Myers Park or SouthPark location! But if you're looking for a facial, definitely head to the SouthPark location so that you can stop by Mud Facial Bar after class. Mud accepts walk-ins, or you can make an appointment to ensure that you snag a spot, and get 20% off of your first facial with promo code WFYB.
Want to learn about other unique fitness studios in the Queen City? Keep an eye on the Work For Your Beer blog for even more reviews to come!