Originally Published On 13/5/2020
“Is aerial yoga safe” you ask… I’m sure there are many of you out there that look at aerial yoga and think that it looks so scary and dangerous hanging from the ceiling!
In fact one of the most common things we hear from aerial yoga teachers from all around the world, is that their classes are becoming more and more popular, however their biggest hurdle they face is with easing many newcomer’s hesitancy.
Of course as with any kind of physical exercise it poses some risk of injury, but this shouldn’t stop you from giving it a go! By delving head first, you’ll quickly realize that its quite a lot easier and not as scary as it looks.
So what are the risks associated with aerial yoga? Let’s go over some things and hopefully help to calm your doubts and worry.
Aerial Yoga Safety
Aerial yoga is a safe form of exercise for practically everyone and whether you’ll be joining classes or going it alone, you will be fine as long as you concentrate and be sure to follow instruction carefully, especially if you’re watching your fav yogi on Youtube.
Depending on your level of body awareness/fitness and previous experience with yoga etc, it may be a good idea to go to a few classes to get familiar with aerial yoga before soloing it, although a wonderful thing about aerial yoga is that you don’t need any previous experience with acrobatics/aerial performance or even yoga to get started.
Furthermore, you are only suspended three or so feet from the ground during aerial classes, therefore making it far less hair-raising than it looks at first, and the risk of injuring yourself from falling is quite minimal.
Of course, you can adjust the height of your hammock to suit your needs especially when you are experimenting with more challenging asanas.
An instructor will be able to guide you on how to perform aerial poses properly so that you don’t injure yourself and you get the maximum benefits from correct alignment.
Aerial yoga classes should be taught by a certified aerial yoga instructor and you can do some research about your instructor’s qualifications before taking an aerial class.
Although currently there are no fully comprehensive aerial yoga teacher training available as there is with traditional yoga, there are however a few fantastic 50 hour aerial yoga TT on offer (including our 50hr TT in Bali and Koh Phangan), that are for those who already have a minimum of 200hr TT in a traditional yoga discipline.
Aerial Equipment Safety
If you are asking the question “is aerial yoga safe?”, as long as you are careful, it really comes down to the equipment quality and how well it is mounted.
Any good aerial yoga studio will have aerial hammocks anchored to the ceiling properly along with strong daisy chains, and often studios have padding similar to a rock climbing centre, so you’ll have some cushion if you hit the ground.
No doubt at some stage you will want to purchase your own aerial yoga equipment to do aerial yoga, whether that is to take to the studio with you for your weekly classes or whether you plan to practice in the comfort of your own home.
This is an exciting task! Although it could be overwhelming with all the cheap aerial equipment littering the internet on Amazon so on, so be sure to choose the best equipment.
This is so important! Double check the manufacturer is authentic and has a great track record, and not just random, mass-produced equipment.
Our Yoga Swings and Aerial Hammocks are handmade in Bali from the highest quality 100% rip-stop nylon, which is extremely tough military grade parachute material – I mean you’d want it to be tough, especially when falling from a plane at 12,000ft!
These aerial yoga swings are triple stitched and fitted with strong 6mm stainless steel hooks and adjustment straps that safely hold 200kgs, ensuring that you can practice with peace of mind.
Along with making sure your equipment is the best quality and you have attached it to the anchor point securely, whether that be the ceiling or yoga swing stand etc., you have to make sure it is well maintained.
Check your equipment regularly for any issues such as tears in the fabric or lose threads. Also, a quick check that your hooks are fit snug into the daisy chains and so on before you begin each session goes a long way.
Stretch, Strengthen, and Decompress
When you attend an aerial yoga class, the aerial hammock is used various ways. In fact the aerial hammock and yoga swing are extremely versatile and can be used not only for aerial yoga, but for suspension training and inversion therapy.
Because you’re supported by the aerial hammock, you will be able to move through your full range of motion during aerial yoga, allowing you to increase your flexibility in a safe manner.
The conditioning moves will tone and strengthen muscles, and develop great coordination when you use the aerial hammock, as it challenges muscles in a way unique to aerial yoga by having to work harder at stabilization then when you are strictly on the mat.
Aerial yoga inversions come with the inherent benefits of inversion poses in traditional yoga, although often a little easier to execute and again with much more support, although not necessarily less effective. Inversions with the aerial equipment can truly enhance the decompression of the spine, bringing much relief to those with chronic back pain.
The flip side of all the amazing ways you can use the equipment and how well it can help you in your practice is that you could over-do it a little if you start pushing your limits too far.
As mentioned earlier, just as with the traditional yoga practice, there are few precautions when practicing aerial yoga. In particular going into an inverted pose too quickly or incorrectly and hanging upside down for too long when doing yoga inversions.
A reputable yoga instructor will know how to guide you into the poses and the appropriate amount of time to hold inverted poses.
However, it’s a good idea to be aware of any other contraindications associated with it for your own home aerial yoga practice. If any of the following apply to you, you should consider a different form of exercise, or at the very least, consult with your doctor and yoga instructor before starting out:
Do Not Perform While Pregnant
Recent head/brain injury or trauma
Recent surgery or trauma to any internal organs
Eye diseases, or recent eye surgery
Heart and/or cardiovascular diseases
Bone disorders, or broken or fractured bones / Prosthetic hips
Colds/Flu/Any condition that blocks the nasal passages
Vertigo or regular migraines
During Menstruation Not Recommended
Excessively High/Low Blood Pressure
If in doubt check with your Doctor for any medical conditions you are unsure of…
Tips to Avoid Accidents and Injuries
For those of you who’ve decided to give this unique form of exercise a try, here are some tips to help you avoid accidents and injuries.
Not all aerial yoga classes are created equal!
Many fitness centres and gyms now also offer aerial classes for people of all fitness and skill levels.
Before attending a class, make sure that you are aware of the type of class, the level and any other necessary guidelines. This not only helps you, but also will help the instructor to provide the best experience possible.
If you join a class that is quite progressed it not only could be danger to you if you are very unstable, it could also cause you to feel overwhelmed and not enjoy yourself at all, leaving a distaste for the experience.
So do some searching for the aerial yoga options in your area, and you just might discover the best workout fun you’ve had in years!
Do a brief warmup
Most people will understand the importance of warming up before a workout to avoid injury, however many assume it is not necessary before a yoga session because the practice is based on stretches, but it is still advised to do a brief warm up first.
This is more-so true for aerial yoga because of the nature of being suspended by the yoga swing, where your stabilizing muscles and muscles such as your adductors are under load and could be over-stretched easily.
It might be beneficial to do a short cardio workout incorporating some dynamic stretching with a wide range of motion to ensure good elasticity when they’re warm. This will reduce the chance of pulled muscles etc.
Find a workout buddy
Having a friend to join you during your workouts is an enjoyable way to get through your grueling sessions, it is also a great way to ensure a safe workout and helps you keep on track, like an accountability partner.
A friend can act as a spotter, who is someone who can be there during your practice to help you into the poses, especially to assist if you have any physical limitations. Having someone to workout with and help, you’re there to catch each other if you fall off balance, particularly when attempting advanced poses.
You can even just hire a coach or personal trainer to do the job if you need, and in either case it is important that you are clear about exactly what you are intending to do and what your current limitations are, so they can help you to the best of their ability.
Wear well-fitting clothes, avoid jewellery and lotions
For aerial yoga class, comfort is definitely key, however it is advisable to wear well fitted clothing so it won’t get caught up in the equipment as you are performing your poses, and throughout transitions.
It will be much easier for you to execute the poses if you’re in comfortable clothes such as tights that do not have zippers getting stuck in your aerial hammock during the session.
Additionally, by wearing tights or long shorts below the knee and long sleeve active wear will protect from friction and more comfortable when the material is touching your body then connecting with your skin directly.
Again, just avoid items of clothing that would have additional elements or designs that can get stuck in your straps or aerial fabric. No matter how good you look in that outfit, safety is the highest consideration.
This goes for jewellery as well. We highly suggest to remove all jewellery including rings, piercings and even hair clips. This is not just for your safety but also to avoid damaging yoga hammock and causing weakness in the material which could prove extremely detrimental.
Lastly, try to avoid excess oils, creams and lotions whilst working out on a yoga swing or aerial hammock because your grip may be reduced and could lead to slippage and injury.
Furthermore, any lotions or creams that are present on your skin will absorb into the material requiring frequent washing and may not actually come out at all, so it’s best to have a shower before you head to class.
Don’t practice whilst using alcohol or substances
As fun as it may be, when you are under the influence of any substance your judgement, strength and balance/coordination is impaired and just as driving a car is dangerous in this state, so is practicing aerial yoga!
Also your confidence is generally increased leading you to attempt poses that you normally are not able to do, so not only are you more “gung-ho”, you’re also less capable, therefore risking injury.
We want to keep your aerial yoga safe, so don’t get on your yoga swing drunk! lol
So, Is Aerial Yoga Safe?
Aerial yoga might seem intimidating but it’s incredibly exciting and once you’ve got the “hang” of it – it is a very rewarding practice.
If you’ve never tried aerial yoga and you’re looking for something fresh, it can be a great way to learn a new skill and increase your satisfaction during your workouts.
Aerial yoga and inversions have so many benefits that it would be a real shame if you didn’t at least try it for fear of falling or injuring yourself.
As long as you are smart about where you go or who you are learning from, and feel into your limits – Aerial Yoga is completely safe for everybody!
So, go out there, feel the fear and do it anyway!