Is your back aching from sitting in front of your computer all day? Are you getting more stressed from hustling the whole week? Then why don’t you take a break and decompress through aerial yoga?
Don’t get too intimidated by the hammocks and yoga swings. Aerial yoga can also be a fun experience for everyone – yoga beginners included! There are tons of stuff to know about this practice and how it came to be.
In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of aerial yoga practice, a bit of its history, and how to get started with aerial yoga, even as an amateur.
What Is Aerial Yoga?
Following the upturn in meditative practices and exercises, aerial yoga has quickly gained popularity among yoga enthusiasts.
This type of yoga is essentially based on traditional yoga, but with the use of equipment such as hammocks, swings, aerial silks, and the like.
Aerial yoga integrates aerial arts with the yoga practices that we know. You will often see yogis suspend themselves in the air and they also try to incorporate different poses as they are being hung from above.
Many practitioners believe this helps you rediscover your body and learn about its potential. People who do aerial yoga tend to build a stronger foundation and connection with their physical body and mental status.
When Did Aerial Yoga Come Into Existence?
The practice of aerial yoga can be traced back to B.K.S Iyengar who was known for teaching inversion therapy to his students. He used tools such as blankets, straps, and ropes to demonstrate this particular technique.
Eventually, Gravotonics began producing hammocks and yoga swings in 2003 to assist with traditional yoga asana and inversions, however aerial yoga has since become more popularized as a fully fledged method of practicing yoga while suspended in the air using aerial hammocks!
Michelle Dortignac who is a life-long movement artist, founded Unnata ® Aerial Yoga in 2006 from the culmination of her passion and experience with aerial acrobatics and Yoga. She is a master of aerial yoga who has trained many Yogis throughout the world.
Around the same time, a former gymnast, dancer and choreographer named Christopher Harrison introduced his “AntiGravity” method as part of his conditioning exercises. He was able to develop it more by incorporating acrobatics, yoga and dance, making this progress into a very well known practice worldwide today.
Who Can Do Aerial Yoga?
At first glance, the thought of being suspended in the air—head first—can be quite daunting to many of us, especially, beginners.
You might think that you’re not light or not flexible enough to be engaging in such activities.
However, you might be surprised at how doable this is, even for yoga amateurs out there.
Anyone can get started with aerial yoga and by having the right guidance and tools, you will be able to enjoy this technique without fear.
Here are some of the things you can do to start:
- Do your research: If this is all new to you, it would be best to do some research first before you get started with aerial yoga. This will help you answer questions and learn everything there is to know. Starting is always the hardest part. There are tons of articles, podcasts, and vlogs out there that can aid you in starting your journey. But don’t be overwhelmed with all the information, try to filter and stick to what feels most relevant.
- Consult a professional: Once you’ve done your initial research, try to get further advice from aerial yoga practitioners. You may enroll in a class or do a one-on-one session with instructors so you will have a more in-depth understanding of the practice. Though aerial yoga can be done by anyone, this will still have important guidelines and safety precautions to be followed. You can also try reaching out to different communities within the practice. Surely a lot of them will be able to guide you through this or even help you get started.
- Get in the right mindset: Yoga is all about finding a balance between physical and mental states. It is important to know that this is a process, and every step is a learning opportunity for you. Do not push yourself beyond limits, but also learn when to work harder. Learn when to ask for help. In the end, yoga teaches us to find balance. If you think you’re straining your body, ask assistance from your mentor or friends. You should always take care of yourself.
- Enjoy yourself: Do not forget to have fun. Ultimately, the goal of aerial yoga is for you to explore your physical body in a new way. Take this time to learn more about your strengths and what your body can still achieve. Every session will be a new experience for you. Trust the process and just enjoy the ride!
What Kind of Equipment Do You Need?
Part of learning about aerial yoga is also knowing the right tools to aid you in your sessions. When you’re enrolled in a class, you won’t have to worry about additional equipment. Most studios already have equipment on hand, for you to use and practice with.
However, If you plan to do this at home, you can consider buying products such as the Gravatonics Yoga Swing. This product was developed and manufactured in Bali in 2003. Nearly 20 years later, this is still known to be one of the top choices in aerial yoga practice and continues to be used and trusted by many instructors and yoga practitioners worldwide.
The main sling is made from durable 100% parachute nylon so you don’t ever have to worry about its quality. They also go through intense quality control so you are assured that this underwent a very detailed and intricate process during production.
The bonus part is, that it’s lightweight so you can carry it anywhere! You can easily carry it in your backpack and assemble it during your session – hassle-free.
Is Aerial Yoga A Good Workout?
Doing aerial yoga can count as a workout too. When you’re suspended in the air, the tendency is you’re going to shift the focus to your core. This is because you lose the point of stability as you’re hanging mid-air. You will also do a lot of upper body, and even leg strands when you get started with aerial yoga.
Practitioners attest that you could get more toned arms and shoulders, with consistent practice. You can also expect a firmer core which is always a bonus.
Though aerial yoga can be considered a good workout, note that this is not entirely geared toward weight loss. Granted, this can be a benefit in the long run.
If you want to achieve faster results, you can always incorporate other types of training that can cater to your needs during your practice using the yoga swings, such as resistance/suspension training.
Benefits of Aerial Yoga
Research has long shown that practices such as yoga promote awareness, mindfulness, strength-building, and connection between the mind and body. You get to improve your posture, control breathing, and relieve stress by engaging in such activities.
Doing aerial yoga is no different!
In fact, here are some of the benefits of aerial yoga:
- Breath control: One of the most important aspects of mindfulness is controlled breathing. While this is not exclusive to yoga, or aerial yoga, practices as such have been known in promoting this for years. While you’re hanging mid-air, you become more mindful of your breathing thus achieving a more relaxed state. This also gradually improves your lung capacity.
- Stress relief: Breathing and relaxation go hand in hand. A lot of people who go into yoga have this goal in mind. Aerial yoga helps relieve any sort of stress, may it be physical or mental. You might think that it would be impossible to achieve a relaxed state while upside down, however, results say otherwise. As you clear your mind, you also let go of the pent-up anxiety inside, thus freeing yourself from all the stress.
- Alleviate body pains: Mental and emotional stress can be manifested in our physical state. By releasing any unwanted tension from your body, you establish a better connection between your mind and body. In addition, aerial yoga greatly helps those who suffer from back pain. When you take the pressure off your nerves and joints, your back spine and back muscles also decompress.
- Improve flexibility: Another promising factor of aerial yoga is improving your flexibility. You will find yourself in challenging positions that can test the limits of your body. Constantly engaging in these kinds of poses also teaches your body to adjust. Being suspended in the air allows more freedom in your movement. You will be able to stretch and move more, further enhancing your flexibility.
- Great workout: As mentioned before, aerial yoga does not only provide relaxation, but it can burn calories as well. Movements that are done in your hammock or as you’re suspended in the air can count as a low-medium, intensity exercise. There is also a lot of core engagement and upper body strength building when you get started with aerial yoga, which are also helpful.
- Improve mental health: Being mindful of your body and emotions helps you release negative inclinations and build a more positive mindset. Though aerial yoga, and other yoga practices, are not the be-all and end-all of our mental state, it sure aids in clearing the mind and soul. A lot, if not most, yogis often found themselves in a more zen state after every session. Pressure is not only taken off of the physical body but also the mind, leading to improvements in every area of life, including being more focused and productive – handling situations with ease.
Advice For Beginners
Aerial yoga should be a fun and relaxing experience for everyone. You can always take your time when you get started with aerial yoga and if the swings and hammocks are too intimidating, try enrolling in traditional yoga classes first. Find your balance and your rhythm before going to the next step.
There are a lot of accessible resources online that can help you kick-start this journey. The internet is a great source of many things – tutorials included. You can try looking for content that fit your taste and lifestyle.
Once you’re settled in, you can try incorporating more challenging poses into your routine. It is always fun to learn what your body is capable of doing.
Use your yoga swing to assist you in going deeper into the poses. Make use of your entire body and utilize the equipment for a more satisfying experience.
Also, make sure that you have the proper tools before each session. Aerial yoga is a very safe practice if executed correctly. Make sure that the equipment you are using is of quality and not just a rip-off of other brands. Check out Gravatonics Yoga Swing for more information.
In addition, make sure you’re also wearing proper clothing. You can always opt for body-hugging or form-fitting athleisure wear.
Keep in mind that you will be using yoga swings for the most part. Any excessive material in your clothing may cause some discomfort on your part or worse, even serious injuries.
Don’t forget to try out new things and experiment. Every day is a new day. Tomorrow is always a chance for learning. Yoga is a varied practice. It is constantly evolving, and that is why there is always an opportunity to challenge yourself. Get involved with the community and other enthusiasts. It’s always fun to share the experience with others.
In the end, what’s more important is you finish every session without the feeling of uneasiness or discomfort. Always aim to leave the room feeling more mindful and positive, as it is the main philosophy of yoga practices.
Aerial yoga can be daunting, however, with the right mindset, tools, and support, it can easily be one of the most fulfilling practices for beginners like you. Over time, you will learn how to execute yoga poses with more comfort and ease.
Not only that, but you will also develop a better relationship with your body, which in turn improves your overall state. You will gain not only physical strength but also mental stability as you go further into the practice.
Go into it step by step and progress slowly as you get comfortable with each level. There is no competition after all. You go at your own pace. You start when you’re ready and end when you’re satisfied.
Remember that the principles remain consistent. Breathing, strength building, flexibility, and control. The challenge is when you continue to master these techniques off-ground when you get started with aerial yoga.
Though it may seem difficult, it is not impossible.
Take the first step and start on your first aerial yoga experience now!