Originally Published On 9/27/2020
There’s an increasing interest in Aerial Yoga workouts
Getting started with aerial yoga may feel a little intimidating – because unlike its floor-based cousin aerial yoga workouts can seem a little more extreme!
For many people, the idea of getting into a yoga swing and being suspended from the ceiling is a whole world away from practicing firmly planted on the mat and so its little wonder you may want to know how to start aerial yoga for yourself.
But in reality, it’s quite simple to start aerial yoga and provided that you have the right equipment and the right mindset, you’ll likely find it a very beneficial addition to your yoga practice.
Whether you want to move from the mat into the air or whether you are completely new to yoga and want to start with the anti-gravity version, this article will help you to understand how to start aerial yoga the right way.
What Is Aerial Yoga Exactly?
There are quite a few variations of what may be considered “Aerial Yoga” however put simply it is a form of yoga that is practiced in an aerial yoga hammock or yoga swing in a suspended fashion, rather than traditional floor yoga.
The styles can range widely, as the practice has progressed over the years, each teacher adapts it to their own preference and teaching style, adding their own spin to it.
From the aerial arts styles which generally use a very long, stretchy material aerial hammock to perform poses, through to practicing the same poses in your normal routine, using an aerial hammock or yoga swing strictly as support and correct alignment. Then everything else in between. Some names include Aerial Yoga, Trapeze Yoga, Suspension Yoga, Antigravity Yoga and others.
Is Aerial Yoga Better Than Regular Floor Yoga?
How you like to practice will determine which type of yoga is better for you.. Many people just like to use the aerial hammock to support them in their regular practice because of mobility issues or to allow them to hold poses longer so they can sink into and focus on their breath for example.
Others will completely elevate their entire practice and incorporate all the suspended poses they can, maybe connecting to their inner child and having fun.
Personal preference plays a huge role in the style you choose. In the main however, aerial yoga offers benefits that cannot be gained from traditional yoga – not that we are implying that mat-based yoga is inferior, it certainly isn’t, and many people just prefer to be grounded on the floor and there is no need to do swing yoga if you’re not feeling drawn to it.
What are some of the benefits when you start Aerial Yoga?
One of the main reasons that people look to start aerial yoga is because of the many benefits that this type of practice has, many of which are found in traditional yoga styles.
On a purely physical level it is great for working out different muscle groups in whole new ways. This includes helping develop your fine motor control and proprioception, as well as strengthening your stabilizing muscles.
Unlike other forms of yoga, the spine can be decompressed during your time in the yoga swing by handing upside down and allowing the vertebra to relax and unwind. This is known as Inversion Therapy which this is amazing for so many reasons including relieving back pain and tension throughout the entire body.
Others might turn to the practice as a way of achieving yoga poses that they are not usually able to manage, whereas some people do not like the concept of on-the-mat yoga but the anti-gravity method seems extremely appealing.
Furthermore, aerial yoga is a great way to stay in shape whilst having fun.. The reason you want to start doesn’t matter, as long as you’ve come prepared – so lets over some of those things now.
How To Start Aerial Yoga – What Will I Need?
Of course, there are hundreds of aerial yoga courses and classes that simply require you to turn up, dressed appropriately and all of the equipment is provided for you.
However, many people are looking to start the practice in their own homes and one of the first things that people ask when beginning their aerial yoga journey is what type of equipment will be needed, and in this instance, getting the correct equipment is essential. Doing so will ensure a safe and enjoyable practice.
Most importantly you will need a basic aerial yoga hammock, or you can do one step further and get a yoga swing and this has the added assistance of the handles, which is particularly helpful for beginners. You may hear this equipment being referred to as a yoga trapeze, but they are one of the same.
The point is, choosing the right aerial fitness equipment is important.
A Few Aerial Rigging Options
There are generally two types of yoga swing set up. A portable freestanding frame with the yoga swing attached, or hung from an overhead support such as a tree branch or cross beam; Or a more permanent installation fitted with ceiling brackets.
A freestanding setup is ideal is if you do not have the space to install a more permanent option, however, whilst there are many good yoga swing frames on the market, they won’t offer as much stability as a fixed swing.
Regardless of which you opt for, there are two further choices – a two-point or a single point attachment for your yoga swing set up.
The double point attachment is certainly the cheaper option, and just as easy to mount, except will take a little added time because you will need to install two brackets or hooks as apposed to just one. Also, this option may limit your choices of where you hang your yoga swing.
For beginners, a two-point swing usually works better since it is a lot more stable when attempting the poses and the ability to spin around may really mess with you if you’re not used to executing poses in mid-air.
Once you have gained some confidence and have better balance and control whilst in the yoga swing, you could consider switching it up and trying out a single point set up.
The key difference between the two is that a single point rigging is able to spin 360° because of its one contact point with the overhead support.
Usually this is done with a “Spring Suspension System” pictured which just happens to be is perfect for a yoga swing frame.
One of the great things is that, aside from the basic aerial hammock and rigging, no special equipment is required to get started with aerial yoga and since these yoga swings are quite easy to install, you can get to practicing very quickly. If you want to go further an add in some extra bells and whistles and fully deck out your space, the option is yours!
Oh, also place your yoga mat underneath for better grip, stability and a bit of cushioning when the feet are in contact with the floor. Or buy a thicker “crash mat” style mat if you feel nervous about potentially falling and hurting yourself.
Aerial Yoga Clothing
In addition to the equipment that you will need to start aerial yoga, you should also consider the type of clothing you will wear. Your comfort is the main thing to think about.
Whilst there is only one real rule, which is to avoid clothing with sharp zips and bits that could snag the material and cause rips or tears, there are no limits to what you can or cannot wear. It is advisable to opt for tighter fitting clothing as this gives you less chance of your garments becoming tangled in the yoga hammock.
Some people prefer to purchase special yoga clothing such as leggings and workout shirts, but again, this is totally optional – heck, some people practice in the nude!
Other Things To Consider Before You Start Aerial Yoga
One of the main things that put people off when thinking about starting aerial yoga is that there is a common misconception that aerial yoga requires a certain amount of physical strength or that only highly trained athletes will be able to manage it.
While it is true that you will need to have decent physical ability to perform the more complex poses in your yoga swing, you certainly do not need to be an Olympian to get started with the practice.
For complete beginners, there are plenty of aerial yoga classes that offer basic skills and allow you to work your way through a program designed to introduce people to this fun and beneficial workout.
It is worth looking to a beginners class even if you plan to install a yoga swing in your home. Whilst having an at-home yoga swing is great for being able to practice whenever the urge calls, being under the instruction of an instructor can ensure that you are performing the poses correctly.
Not only will this make the practice easier for you but it will also make it safer. Contorting your body into certain positions does carry a risk of injury if it is not done properly and the best way to learn is under the guidance of a fully-fledged yoga instructor.
Even once you are past the beginner stages, it is very worthwhile to continue attending a class, even if it is only once a month as this will keep you up to date on any new techniques or advice, and at the very least watching online videos will keep your practice fresh and exciting.
Don’t Let Fear Get The Better Of You
Being hoisted into the air in your yoga swing can be a little scary and this is totally natural but when you are learning how to start aerial yoga, it is important that you let go of any fear and try to enjoy the practice. It’s meant to be calming, after all.
Provided that you are either under the instruction of a trained professional, or are somewhat used to it and are being careful, it’s highly unlikely that you will fall and cause yourself injury.
Another great thing about yoga is that it is hugely beneficial to the mind, and the same is true with aerial yoga.. However, if you allow your mind to get the better of you, this can spoil the experience.
So now you know how to start aerial yoga, get your own aerial hammock and head into your first class with an open mind – you may surprise yourself at just how capable you are!
Anyone Can Start Aerial Yoga!
More and more people are looking to get started with aerial yoga and the trend doesn’t look set to slow down any time soon. And it’s not surprising when we think about the benefits that come along with aerial yoga and how easy it is to get started.
There is some belief that starting this practice is a complicated process and requires mounds of equipment, good knowledge and the body of a God, or Goddess. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Aerial yoga is accessible to everyone and with the with the best yoga swings on the market right here at Gravotonics, installing one at home is all you need to get your feet off the ground – literally!
In terms of fitness, aerial yoga does not discriminate so whether you are an adept yogi who can twist into a variety of shapes without a problem, or you are someone with much lower levels of fitness, there will be an aerial yoga class suited to you.
Whilst many people worry that they won’t be able to get to grips with it, they are often surprised at how easy it is. So, if you want to start aerial yoga, it’s as easy as choosing a yoga swing, finding a class and getting stuck in – we know you’ll have a blast!