If you haven’t tried aerial yoga yet, you’re missing out on an experience like no other. Aerial yoga classes have become increasingly popular as people seek a way to expand their practice beyond the mat.
What Is Aerial Yoga?
Aerial yoga is the practice of yoga poses on a hammock or in a slingshot. Aerial yoga has many benefits for the mind and body and can be done at home with an aerial yoga hammock or professional aerial workout equipment.
Other names for aerial yoga are air yoga, gravity yoga, and flying yoga.
Aerial yoga uses a sling or a silk hammock hanging from the ceiling to accomplish the same movements as traditional yoga poses on a mat. The hammock’s function is to support you as you practice yoga and to increase your flexibility and range of motion.
Additionally, the hammock relieves pressure from particular body parts, including the head and shoulders, making it easier to perform postures like headstands that are more difficult.
Aerial yoga poses need you to lift one body part off the ground, such as your foot or leg, even though most aerial yoga photographs you’ll encounter depict a yogi floating in midair.
Something to bear in mind when doing aerial yoga at home is that there should be nothing but space beneath the hammock; it includes furniture and other items because they could interfere with the height of the swing.
In addition, aerial fitness enthusiasts should remember that some health risks are involved when using this exercise technique. Make sure you’re healthy enough before attempting aerial yoga without supervision.
The History Of Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga has been around since the 1900s and is making a resurgence in the fitness world. Aerial yoga utilizes hammocks or yoga swings for low-impact stretching, balancing, and strength training. The benefits of aerial yoga are vast because it allows you to lengthen your muscles in ways that are impossible on the ground.
So aerial yoga is an excellent choice whether you’re looking for relaxation, rehab, or want to mix up your workout routine. Michelle Dortignac developed aerial yoga in 2006 by fusing ballet, pilates, and traditional yoga poses with a hammock. A physical therapist and Florie Ravinet worked together to create Fly Yoga in 2009 in France. It has been “authorized by health specialists.”
Aerial Yoga Vs. Classic Yoga
Aerial yoga is a practice that incorporates yoga poses with the use of aerial equipment, such as hammocks, trapeze bars, and silk fabric. The aerial yoga benefits include increased flexibility, strength, and balance. One of the main differences between classic and aerial yoga is the lack of gravity on an aerial mat.
It allows for an improved range of motion in poses that would otherwise be restricted by gravity. The equipment also provides a prop for some postures, making it easier to hold them longer without getting tired. In addition, aerial yoga poses can be controlled much closer to the ground than regular yoga poses.
Finally, with many moves being more effortless due to the lessened gravitational pull from a yoga swing, aerial yoga requires less body weight or strength, making it accessible for people with limitations or injuries preventing them from practicing other forms of yoga like Bikram Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.
Physical Benefits Of Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga combines traditional poses, acrobatics, and dance moves performed on a fabric hammock or yoga swing. Look at some of the physical benefits of aerial yoga below.
- It Reduces Neck And Back Pressure – Doing some aerial yoga poses upside down can help extend and decompress the spine. Sitting or standing all day allows gravity to weigh down the spine.
- Better Circulation – Aerial yoga is excellent for increasing circulation throughout the body and digestion because of the nature of the postures and the emphasis on breathing during the movements.
- It Enhances Mood And Confidence – Aerial yoga offers the chance to learn something new and makes more challenging yoga poses approachable for newcomers to the practice, thanks to the support of the sling. It can enhance mood and confidence in the practice.
- It Strengthens All Muscles – This exercise is a full-body style of movement that increases flexibility across the entire body. Your full-body flexibility will be further improved by going deeper into the stretches and poses while in the hammock.
- It Is Moderate Exercise – Aerial yoga is an excellent choice for people who wish to move their bodies but have joint problems because of its low- or zero-impact nature. Aerial yoga uses suspension and gravity to help you expand your body without crushing your joints. Even aerial yoga programs expressly designed to relieve joint discomfort and pressure exist.
- It’s Fun And Exciting – Just imagine how elevated you would feel after a flying yoga session. Lingering on a hammock would make you so relaxed that you would enjoy it immensely.
- It increases your awareness of your breathing and strengthens your core.
- It encourages the release of endorphins, which improve mood.
- It boosts your strength and flexibility through yoga poses.
- It strengthens your mind-body connection and releases your spine, joints, and tense muscles.
Aerial Yoga Poses
Aerial yoga is a modern twist on traditional yoga. It’s the perfect practice for yogis looking to stretch their limits and find new challenges. Here are some poses you could try with a yoga swing:
1. Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
This pose is called the tree pose, it looks like you are standing on one leg and then placing your other foot in the air. To do this yoga swing pose, you will want to stand on your right foot with your left foot lifted in the air. Keep your back straight while raising your arms towards the sky. Reach as high as you can while still keeping good form.
2. Matsyasana (Supported Fish Pose)
Matsyasana (supported fish pose) is a challenging arm balance that requires your body to be straight and strong. This pose also requires you to be comfortable releasing your head between the space of your arms and rolling back onto the top of your head. It can take some time practicing this pose before you can put all of these postures together and hold them for an extended time.
3. Ardha Kapotasana (Half Pigeon Pose)
Half pigeon pose (Ardha kapotasana) is a great way to lengthen the spine and stretch the back of your body. This pose is also therapeutic for sciatica, back pain, and spine injuries. First, lie down on your stomach with your arms by your side. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, press into the floor with your hands and lift as you walk your feet backward until they are under you so that they are pointing towards the ceiling.
4. Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose/Inverted Star Pose)
Supta Konasana, or reclined angle pose, is a restorative yoga pose that allows the mind and body to recoup. It’s done by laying on your back and bringing your legs up overhead until they are perpendicular to your torso. Your hands can be placed behind your head for more support or underneath the buttocks for extra padding. Once in position, you’ll feel the weight of your legs pressing down onto the ground and into your body.
Aerial Yoga At Home
Aerial yoga is a subtype of yoga where you are suspended in the air. It can be done using an aerial yoga hammock, fabric, or even a beam in the ceiling. The best way to practice aerial yoga at home is to use a trapeze swing.
You will need one heavy-duty adjustable-height pulley that attaches to two beams in the ceiling, two clamps for connecting to each end of the hammock ropes, and one set of bungee cords with carabiners.
The weight-bearing capacity should be 100 pounds, so it’s strong enough for people of all sizes. Use a mat underneath for extra cushioning and comfort when practicing aerial yoga at home on the trapeze swing.
Equipment Needed For Aerial Yoga
The first piece of equipment piece you need for aerial yoga is your body. You will also need a ceiling, hammock, and straps at least 10 feet long. The straps go around the hammock at four different points. Each strap can be tightened by pulling it through a loop on the other end of the strap.
Aerial yoga is often called rope yoga because it uses ropes in addition to hammocks. The two most famous pieces of equipment for aerial yoga are a static trapeze or lyra (a piece of metal with loops on each side) and a double-sided trapeze bar. When practicing with either bar, the person holding the bar must always keep one hand above the head while using the other arm to support their weight.
What To Expect From Your First Aerial Yoga Training
Your first aerial yoga training will be both challenging and fun. You’ll learn about how to do poses that you can only do in the air, as well as poses from your favorite yoga class. As a result, your core will be challenged, and you’ll experience new strength.
Plus, aerial yoga has no impact on your joints, so if you’re looking for a low-impact, moderate workout that still gets your heart rate up, this is it. You should trust the hammock during your first class and face your fears.
Aerial Yoga Tips For Beginners
Aerial yoga is a beautiful and exciting way to practice yoga. One of the many benefits of aerial yoga is the ability to feel like you are flying. When first starting, there are a few essential tips that will help make your experience a safe and successful one.
- Trust The Sling – Aerial yoga has been around for many years and is a great way to reconnect with your body, improve your balance and core strength, and increase flexibility. It’s also fun to get a new perspective on the world, but you must first trust the sling. In aerial yoga, your weight is supported by an adjustable hammock-like fabric called a sling (or lyra). The therapist or instructor guides you through poses focusing on various upper and lower body muscle groups.
- Wear The Right Gear – The gear you’ll need for aerial yoga differs from what other types of yoga required. It’s vital that your equipment is comfortable and fits well. You also want to ensure you wear clothes that won’t get caught on the ropes or hooks. For example, you don’t want to be upside down in a tank top!
- Don’t Eat A Big Meal Beforehand – It’s important not to eat a big meal before aerial yoga. A full stomach can make it more difficult for you to bend and twist in the air. Plus, food doesn’t digest well when you’re upside down, and it could cause discomfort or cramping. Choose a light snack instead, like fruit or nuts. Eat something substantial beforehand: Avoid eating anything too heavy before your class because digestion is different while inverted, which could lead to some unpleasant side effects. The best option is to have something substantial earlier in the day that won’t be digested during your session but will give you energy throughout the day.
- Leave The Jewelry At Home – If you’re going in for an aerial yoga session, remember that it’s best not to wear jewelry. It includes rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Doing so can damage the carabiners and ropes used during your class. It’s also a good idea to avoid any lotions or oils, as these may cause your hands or feet to slip out of the grip.
- Just Relax – As a beginner in air yoga, you should relax. Take some deep breaths and get used to holding your body weight in the air while maintaining balance. The key is learning how to shift your weight from one side of the body to the other, using gravity as a tool for support.
- Speak Up – As with any new skill or workout routine, you should speak up if you don’t feel comfortable with the exercise being taught. Once in a while, an instructor will ask for feedback, and it is your opportunity to share your thoughts on how well the class was going for you.
- Modify When Necessary – When a pose or movement seems complicated, you can modify the pose since there are various modification opportunities. You must be open-minded and have an optimistic perspective; you will achieve it all.
Risks Of Aerial Yoga
While aerial yoga can be a great workout and help improve flexibility, it also has some risks and disadvantages that you need to know before you get started. For example, aerial yoga’s risk of injury is very high because the hammock puts your body in different positions than on the ground.
A severe disadvantage to aerial yoga is that it’s more challenging to learn the poses because gravity isn’t as helpful as when doing them on the ground. So, beginners might struggle until they become more familiar with how their bodies should move in each pose. Another disadvantage is that air yoga requires strength and coordination, which may only be possible if you’re in top physical condition.
Plus, this yoga type could worsen injuries because it forces your joints into areas they usually wouldn’t go into. Some people are even allergic to natural fibers, like cotton or silk, so this type of yoga may not work for everyone.
Of course, it depends on the person. Aerial yoga gives you support that regular yoga does not provide, making the poses more easily achievable.
Yes, aerial yoga can help you lose weight since it will force you to move your muscles to do the poses while you're in the air. So, it helps you build more toned muscles and burn body fat.
The weight limit for aerial yoga is 150 kg (330lbs).
Before an aerial yoga class, you can eat oatmeal, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, almonds, or bananas.
Similar to an aerial yoga hammock in material, aerial silks are rigged with two long ribbons that don't have loops at the bottom.
Flying yoga is excellent if you want strength training, more stretching, and better cardiovascular abilities.
The Bottom Line
Air yoga is a form of aerial fitness that uses hammocks, straps, and trapezes. It’s an excellent way for anyone with physical limitations or joint pain to get an effective workout.