Aerial Yoga is a routine of traditional yoga poses, pilates and dance that incorporates the use of a hammock.The hammock allows you to do certain yoga poses that are easier to do mid-air, suspended from the ground and is absolutely a fitness adventure.
We all know the benefits of yoga to improve flexibility, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and even to lose weight. With anti-gravity yoga, you get all these benefits plus the added benefit of relaxing your muscles and lengthening them, which is great for people with problems like scoliosis and back pains. Aerial yoga in hammocks/slings has soared in popularity.
Is it safe?
Aerial yoga is a safe form of exercise in that all aerial yoga classes should be taught by a certified aerial yoga instructor which will be able to tell you how to perform aerial poses properly, so that you don’t injure yourself.
One is only suspended more or less three feet from the ground during aerial classes. Therefore, the risk of injuring yourself from falling is quite minimal.
Some considerations to take into account, however, are the multiple risks associated with hanging upside down for too long. Of course, no reputable yoga instructor is going to keep you upside down for longer than is healthy, but you should be aware of the health risks associated with this activity nonetheless.
Benefits of Aerial Yoga
Heals back problems
It gives the chance to hang freely, allowing your spine to lengthen. With less strain on your back while doing the exercises, it eases tension in the spinal cord and hip joint, helping you feel better.
Since there is more freedom of movement, you can move your body into new positions. In some cases, this can result in a deeper and more fulfilling stretch than traditional yoga offers.
Total body workout
Due to the nature of aerial yoga movements, almost all the body parts are forced to move and stretch. Muscles are toned and redefined, and joints are regenerated and strengthened due to these movements.
Aerial yoga is great for stress relief. Not only do you use poses and stretches common to other forms of yoga to relieve stress, but you also experience the joy of knowing that you did something new and exciting.
By putting yourself in a more challenging situation than usual, aerial yoga forces you to be more alert and aware of your surroundings. You will likely also try to concentrate harder because you’re not used to being suspended in the air during your yoga practice.
Because gravity is working harder on your body than usual, your muscles work harder too. Aerial yoga is also a great core workout because you have to engage your core muscles to balance and stabilize yourself during your yoga session.
Aerial yoga fortifies your neural connections, thereby, rendering better memory power.
The different types of stretches and movements help improve the digestive system, thus helping in healing various digestion-related issues, including constipation and indigestion.
Aerial yoga improves strength and flexibility, which carries over into other daily activities. The core workout is a beneficial cross-training, as it helps runners increase stamina and be able recover faster.
Important Things to remember while doing Aerial Yoga
1. The hammock can hold up to 2,000 pounds.
Hammocks are made from a high-density nylon material that can hold up to 2,000 pounds. Like with any new relationship, it takes time to trust the hammock and learn how to move your body in connection to the sling.
2. Plenty of water and avoid acidic liquids prior to flight.
Because the nature of aerial yoga is likely to have you flipping upside down, it is best to be kind to your stomach by nourishing it with calming foods like banana and oatmeal, or ginger tea and ginger candy about an hour prior to class.
Alcohol, soft drinks, and other acidic liquids can make the stomach work overtime to try to be settled in an aerial yoga class.
It is not uncommon to feel nausea during aerial yoga so an acupressure wristband or “sea-band” that aids in nausea relief can help as well. A peppermint after class may help relieve nausea symptoms and effects as well.
Aerial yoga is an excellent complement to mat practice and an amazing stand-alone full-body work.
3. Wearing fitted clothing that covers the armpits and backs of the knees prevents chafing and promotes movement in the slings.
Hammocks snag and can tear so it’s best that your clothing is also free from any embellishments, buckles, or things that can get caught on the fabric. To avoid chafing and irritation of sensitive skin, it is best to wear full-length yoga pants/leggings and shirts that cover the armpits.
Some people also recommend ankle and wrist braces for protection, since some studios require you to go barefoot to practice.
4. You get to choose your own adventure with different styles of aerial yoga.
There are many different options for aerial yogis, and it’s best to find the unique teacher and style that works best for you. For example, there are traditional flow-based classes with emphasis on adjustment and alignment with the hammock set at hip height. There are also restorative classes with the hammock lowered closer to the ground (6-10 inches from the floor) to provide a gentle support and lift from the mat.
While instructors are likely to cue various pranayama, or breathing techniques, it is most important to remember to breathe comfortably throughout each pose and transition.
5. Hammocks can get snagged and ripped, so it is best to practice without jewelry, lotion or perfume.
To keep the hammock strong, and to protect you and it from snags, slipping, avoid wearing perfume, cologne, essential oils, or anything with a strong smell that can linger on the hammock long after your practice.
Watches, jewelry, and protruding piercing(s) are examples of things to take off prior to class to avoid ripping or tearing the hammock. It is also a good idea to make sure your fingernails and toenails are trimmed. Lastly, wearing lotion, sunscreen, or other cremes can stick to the hammock and make it difficult to grip the slings.
In conclusion, we’re all comfortable on our mat, but sometimes we may want to welcome new challenges. Enter aerial yoga, which is also referred to as anti-gravity yoga. Aerial yoga is a combination of the art of aerial silks and the classic practice of yoga.
It can be scary at first to get off the ground when you’re so used to feeling rooted on the earth. But with practice, being suspended feels just as natural as being grounded.