Aerial Yoga for Women
One of the most wonderful things about any type of yoga, including aerial yoga, is that it is a completely inclusive activity.
Although we are beginning to see a shift in the athletic world, making various male-dominated sports more available to women, there is still a clear divide.
This is why Aerial Yoga for women is fantastic! When it comes to an aerial yoga workout, anyone is welcome.
However, as with anything that involves an intense physical hit, there are some conditions that may not be suitable for people thinking of jumping into the yoga swing – but is being pregnant or on your period one of them?
Women’s health has been at the forefront of the news in recent times, with female activists campaigning to get women’s issues noticed so in this article, we are going to be exploring whether some of the most common things for women will have an impact on their aerial yoga routine.
Yoga & Women
It may come as a surprise to learn that in the Ashtanga variety of yoga, there is what is known as a ‘women’s holiday.’
During the time that women experience menstruation, they are expected to take a break from their asana practice as it is believed to be detrimental to their health in certain positions.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this tradition dates back to ancient Hindu practices where women who were on their period would be separated from other members of the family and whilst it is perfectly acceptable to follow this tradition if you wish, many women no longer do.
Can I Do Aerial Yoga During Pregnancy?
For the 40 weeks that a woman’s body is growing a child, Mom is using up a lot more energy than usual and one of the side effects of being pregnant is feeling lethargic – there are two ways that you might look at this.
First of all, one might assume that, as a result of extreme tiredness, a pregnant lady may not want to participate in a yoga practice – aerial or otherwise.
In contrast, some people might take the view that taking part in an activity such as aerial yoga will give a much-needed boost of energy…
But what do the experts say?
Well, it may surprise you to learn that there are now aerial yoga classes popping up all over the world that are specifically aimed at the prenatal mother. So, one would assume that it is a perfectly acceptable activity!
Getting into a yoga swing when you are pregnant should be done with caution, in fact, it is advisable to speak with your doctor before taking part in any physical activity whilst pregnant.
For the most part, you’ll be fine, however, there are certain aspects that may make aerial yoga unsuitable.
The Benefit of Aerial Yoga During Pregnancy
But, let’s assume that you are fit and healthy and ready to make the most of your aerial yoga practice during pregnancy, what might be the benefit?
First of all, doing an aerial yoga workout is a great way to protect your body since right now, it is undergoing a lot of strain. This added pressure on your joints, ligaments and muscles can result in discomfort and even injury.
However, a gentle aerial yoga class will provide you with the tools you need to take care of your changing body – not to mention, it is a great way to get in shape once your bundle of joy has arrived in the world.
What’s more, the feeling of being weightless is an excellent way to promote stress relief during pregnancy.
It’s no secret that the tension and stress on the body during this time can drive you slightly crazy – having a way to release that is very healthy.
Furthermore, there are many meditation elements included in restorative aerial yoga sessions which will be another addition to your calming arsenal.
Women’s Aerial Yoga Contraindications
On the flip side, there are things that you should be mindful of when approaching your first prenatal aerial yoga class. We have already discussed having a health check with your physician which will allow you to make an informed decision.
But there are other things to think about before you begin.
- There is a risk of falling.
- Possibility of nausea.
- A very real risk of connective tissue damage which does not always become obvious until after you have had your baby and may result in abdominal separation or other issues.
The trimester you are in will also play an important role in how you do aerial yoga whilst pregnant. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy, known as the first trimester are the riskiest out of them all.
Positions to Avoid
Due to the high risk at this point of pregnancy, it is important that, if you do decide to take part in aerial yoga, you approach it from a gentle place. It would not be wise to do an intense inversion practice, for example.
It is recommended that a pregnant women does not lie on her back once she hits the 12-week mark, this may sound ridiculous – what harm can it do? In reality, the weight of the baby is enough to cause it is cut of the blood supply to the placenta.
For this reason, there are certain poses that should not be attempted and this is why it is even more important to find a class which is tailored to pregnant women.
As you reach the third trimester, you center of gravity will naturally shift – you’ll likely have seen heavily pregnant women waddling along with an awkward gait, this is why. But this also means that, when doing aerial yoga, you may not be as balanced as you once were, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
Can I Do Aerial Yoga Whilst On My Period?
Many women are too embarrassed to speak to their aerial yoga instructor about this intimate issues, even more so if that instructor is male – but it is important to do away with the taboo from menstruation and encourage women to talk about it and treat it as the normal bodily function that it is.
With this in mind, let’s explore whether aerial yoga for women on their period is a suitable activity.
Now, we talked about the age-old tradition of a ‘women’s holiday’ earlier on but for the most part, this is out-dated and there is little evidence that doing any sort of activity whilst bleeding is detrimental to your health. In fact, many doctors are now suggesting that regular exercise whilst on your period may relieve PMS symptoms and give you a boost of energy.
There have been some studies that have shown that after ovulation and before menstruation, some women had a fall in energy and found physical activity more pressing but that isn’t to say that they shouldn’t take part.
Consider How You Feel
As far as aerial yoga is concerned, the most important thing to consider when you are on your period is how you feel. If you are comfortable and happy to take part in an aerial yoga class, there is no reason why you shouldn’t.
However, if your energy levels are running low and you feel as though some breathing exercises and meditation would benefit you more, then go for it.
The important thing is to listen to your body – it really does know you best.
One of the main reasons that there has been some confusion around whether aerial yoga is suitable for menstruating women is that there is an old assumption that doing yoga inversions may cause retrograde menstruation which has the possibility of causing endometriosis.
Whilst this may be true, medical experts have determined that if you are doing short inversions which are less than 60 seconds long, there is an extremely low risk of this happening, therefore, aerial yoga whilst on your period is just fine.
So.. Is Aerial Yoga for Women for you at this time?
Aerial yoga is an activity that can be enjoyed by any gender but one of the most common questions raised by women is whether certain conditions that they find themselves in will affect whether they can enjoy an aerial yoga session.
Pregnancy and periods are something that most women experience, and along with these things comes changes in the body and physical symptoms, but this should not mean that women cannot take part in aerial yoga at these times.
The most important thing to think about is how you feel in yourself and whether there are any medical reasons that you should not be taking part.
During pregnancy, your doctor will be able to give you advice on exercise and you might be interested in finding a prenatal aerial yoga class. As for when you are on your period, there is no real reason why an aerial yoga class should be forbidden, as long as you feel energized and ready to go, you should hop in the yoga swing and enjoy!