Fitness-wise and mental health-wise, the traditional yoga poses pass with flying colors. They’re also quirky and very Instagrammable. But if you want to take your yoga experience, why not take it to the sky?
You won’t be doing yoga on the plane. We’re talking about hanging in the sky, ensconced in silk while you do your yoga poses. Instead of the basic yoga poses, why not go with aerial yoga?
Think of it as a gravity-defying form of yoga. Because of its “yoga in the air” setup, aerial yoga classes have started gaining traction even a few years back (they’ve since branched out to other forms of aerial yoga, which includes aerial barre). Nowadays, aerial yoga has attracted more devoted yogis and newbie yoga enthusiasts alike.
So, what’s the deal with this form of air aerial fitness? This form of yoga involves you hopping into a silky sling-like aerial yoga hammock, a fixture that drapes from the ceiling and supports your body weight. Using the fabric, you’ll maneuver your body as you perform tricks (backflips or swings) or hold poses (headstands).
And the best part is, apart from this yoga offering plenty of benefits, you can make prettier poses for Instagram!
If you’re interested in adding this gravity-defying yoga to your fitness routine, here’s everything you need to know.
An Introduction to Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga combines yoga philosophies with the aerial arts and traditional asana (aka yoga’s physical postures). As mentioned above, you’ll use silk fabrics to form shapes while you’re up in the air. If you don’t have aerial yoga hammocks, you can also use silk ropes.
The silks will support you as you lie down entirely. You can also wrap them around particular body parts and keep yourself off the floor. Suspending individual body parts or hanging fully can open your body more intuitively and gently compared to when you’re on the floor. The ropes and silks can also help you work your balance.
Although many aerial yoga classes add a touch of acrobatics to their sessions, many aerial yoga classes also use these aerial skills for therapy.
What is Aerial Yoga Good For?
A combination of athletics and the arts, aerial yoga offers a variety of physical and psychological benefits. It can help you take better care of yourself physically and mentally.
Consider the following:
To maintain a greater range of motion, you need to consistently work on your flexibility — something aerial yoga can help you with. A 2019 study reported that aerial athletes develop exceptional strength, flexibility and balance.
Aerial yoga helps you safely stretch your tendons and muscles since being suspended in the air grants you more space for movement. This means you can perform more yoga poses that you can’t usually do on the floor.
Aid for Breathing
A crucial part of aerial yoga is controlled breathing. Aerial yoga enables you to breathe deeply and freely While you’re up in the air, you can still relax. By practicing aerial yoga, you can comfortably maintain your pose.
Great for People with Chronic Back Pain
While everyone can benefit from aerial yoga, people who suffer from chronic back pain will benefit greatly from the practice. The hammocks offer sturdy back support that places less pressure on your joints. The practice doesn’t strain the spine, which is a huge plus for people with chronic back pain. You can do a full workout without any discomfort.
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, give yourself a breather and do some aerial yoga. Swinging from an aerial yoga hammock can ease your mind. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on positive thoughts and meditate (while hanging upside-down).
Apart from stress relief, being inverted on a hammock promotes better focus and more energy. When you’re hanging upside down, the blood flows to your brain and feeds you with more oxygen, which is needed for better brain function.
Can You Lose Weight With Aerial Yoga?
Aerial yoga is a full-body workout. It’s one of those fitness activities that combine strength training and cardio training, which build muscle and burn fat respectively.
By performing poses, inversions and tricks, you’re also encouraging blood to flow to all of your body’s muscles. Aerial yoga also engages several muscle groups all at once, which burns more energy compared to regular cardio exercises. Its ratio of strength and cardio is ideal for fitness newbies or people who want to take their yoga workouts to the next level (literally).
As mentioned above, this type of yoga is a full-body workout that exercises every single muscle in your body during a 1-hour session. You can burn up to 400 calories in a single class!
If you want to maximize your aerial yoga sessions, combine it with mat yoga or other strength training to ensure you practice a holistic workout.
How Do I Get Started with Aerial Yoga?
To get started with aerial yoga, you’ll need at least one of the following:
- Aerial yoga hammock and online aerial yoga instructional videos
- A local aerial yoga class near you
If this is your first time, it’s best to work with an experienced instructor so they can teach you the right techniques before you start learning at home. Fortunately, the rising popularity of aerial yoga led to more classes opening up.
If you’re going to do aerial yoga at home, make sure that you have the right equipment with you.
You’ll need the following:
- Aerial yoga hammock/yoga swing. The fabric that you need to perform tricks and inversions.
- Rigging. You can use a door-frame bar or an exposed beam to hang your hammock.
- Accessories/connectors. Use these to attach your swing or hammock to the rig. Take your pick from rotational connectors, static connectors and more.
Is Aerial Yoga Better Than Regular Yoga?
It depends on your goals and preferences, but in general, aerial yoga adds a dash of fun and thrill to your traditional yoga routine. Aerial yoga enables you to completely stretch your body, which helps you be more flexible.
Also, when you’re suspended from the ground, you can relax your muscles, which is a good thing for people suffering from scoliosis or chronic body pains. If you’re struggling with yoga poses, you can use the hammock to help you do backflips, headstands and stretches.
Is Aerial Yoga Suitable for Beginners?
Aerial yoga is suitable for any yogi — whether you’re a veteran or a beginner. With your hammock keeping you off the ground, you can easily get a grasp of this aerial form of yoga. If you’re a beginner, work with a professional yoga instructor to learn the proper techniques first.
The sky’s the limit when you practice aerial yoga. Instead of doing poses on the floor, why not do them high in the sky?