Originally published on 04/16/2020
Yoga has been one of the most sought-after exercises for stress relief. Due to its meditative nature, a lot of people gravitate toward this practice. It does not only help release physical tension, but it also helps alleviate stress and anxiety.
During the height of the pandemic, at-home workouts, including yoga, have grown in popularity. Since most of the gyms and studios were closed, people had no choice but to do such exercises in the comfort of their homes.
After discovering the wonder that is yoga, a lot of these beginners have ventured into the different variations of yoga, including aerial yoga.
Aerial Yoga is a type of yoga that incorporates aerial equipment such as purpose made hammocks, swings, silks, etc. within the practice.
Some of the aerial yoga amateurs just enroll in aerial swing classes just out of curiosity (and perhaps for the thrill) – but ultimately end up loving the practice. Because even though this might seem complicated and intimidating, it’s more doable than you’d think!
But wait, isn’t aerial yoga different from regular yoga?
Although aerial yoga or “flying yoga” classes differ from traditional yoga, you can absolutely use your Yoga Hammock or Yoga Swing as an all-around prop throughout the various flow of mat yoga poses. Since both of these yoga practices still stem from the original discipline, it’s expected that they follow the same principles.
In essence, it’s entirely possible for you to incorporate the aerial hammock into your usual yoga routine or sequences. You would simply perform the same poses you do on a yoga mat, except using the hammock which is suspended from the ceiling.
There are a lot of articles, and vlogs across the internet that could help you adjust to this. Poses such as Butterfly, Sphinx, and Lotus can also be done with the aerial hammock. You can always start small, it’s not necessarily about performing the flying spider pose from the get-go.
Best Yoga Prop
The purpose of the hammock is to help you improve flexibility and build strength while allowing you to do more challenging poses without added pressure on your shoulders, spine, or head. Many dedicated Iyengar students and teachers alike, use and trust the Gravotonics Yoga Hammocks to assist with correct alignment.
There are several benefits that you can get from doing aerial yoga, aside from improving flexibility and strength. This can also be considered a full-body workout. Depending on your routine, you may go from low to medium-intensity workouts. As the poses get more complex, you’ll naturally exert more effort thus fully activating muscles in your body.
With constant practice, you will get more flexible, you will notice a reduction in soreness of your back and neck, and you will better your posture. A lot of practitioners also feel more energized and confident right after their aerial yoga sessions. This is might be caused by the involvement of your full body in each yoga sequence. Aside from that, you get to learn various things every day.
This means that each session is a whole different experience.
If you already practice yoga, you may be surprised how well the yoga hammock fits in with your routine. You will certainly notice the benefits!
With a bit of support from the hammock, you’ll develop strength, balance, and perhaps most importantly, the stability that will enhance your traditional mat poses beyond belief.
Explore Deeper Flexibility
It’s no doubt that the practice of yoga helps a lot in improving one’s flexibility. In fact, a good number of people do yoga for the purpose of improving this. Though it might be challenging at first, the payoff, in the end, makes it all worth it.
It’s no different with Aerial Yoga. You can explore your range of flexibility more fully when using the yoga hammock, thus enhancing your traditional practice with mat yoga poses. You will be able to learn how poses are supposed to feel as you go deeper into their fullest expression.
You might be in challenging positions that can test the limits of your body. By being in these challenging poses, you teach and help your body to fully transition and adjust. It cannot always be done on the first try, especially for beginners. Most of the time, it will take three or more sessions for you to fully adjust to the practice.
However, know that there will always be improvements. The practice of aerial yoga introduces more freedom in your movement as you’re suspended in the air. You eventually enhance your flexibility by allowing your body to move and shift more.
It is common for some students in yoga to push themselves too hard during difficult routines. Unfortunately, some result in serious injuries as they force their body into complex and new poses.
What happens is that the students push too hard to achieve a certain pose, then if they need to release themselves from the position, instead of coming out of it slowly, they’d immediately release hence injuring themselves. With the hammock being there to act as support, incidents like this can be avoided.
This is why it works so well because it helps you progress in your yoga practice, through unlocking yoga poses you are not able to do, due to tension in your body in a controlled way. This will allow you to experience the energetic benefits, even before you have the strength to support your body weight in the asana.
With the assistance of the yoga hammock, you will find yourself taking on more challenging mat yoga poses. Beginners in aerial yoga practice often stay because of the new experience. Though traditional yoga can be enjoyable on its own, being suspended in the air can be a thrilling experience especially for beginners.
Aerial yoga can be popular for those who are looking for something new. It’s easy for a workout routine to become monotonous. It’s not wrong but sometimes it’s also vital to incorporate something in your workout that you know you’ll anticipate more.
Others do this by switching up their routines, going to different gyms, inviting a friend to work out with, or by simply enrolling in classes such as aerial yoga. Doing this will really take your workouts to the next level as you’ll get introduced to tools such as hammocks and swings, which are the main attraction.
A downward-facing dog might be a simple position but you can easily take it up a notch with the use of aerial hammocks. Aside from this, if you’re also having difficulty in holding poses such as the wheel pose or even splits, with aerial yoga, you will develop the capacity to hold it on your own – especially with consistent practice.
Develop Stamina and Improve Core Muscles
Aerial Yoga can help you progress in your yoga practice with the use of the yoga hammock. So you want to improve say, your Warrior II? The hammock works wonders, allowing you to go deeper and sustain each pose, so you can hold for longer with less strain – building stamina!
Warrior is a good example of this as normally you would feel your quads burn to the point of no return! However, with the aerial hammock, you can lean into the pose with the support under the thigh to the degree that allows you to feel the pose and reap the benefits – without prematurely fatiguing!
Additionally, it also helps work on your core muscles. A lot of aerial yoga routines will require you to constantly engage your core, especially if you’re suspended in the air. By simply being off the ground, you already activate your core. Losing your point of stability results in your body engaging your core constantly.
Maybe you don’t realize it, but there will be times that you’d feel the burn in your mid area. That means that you use your core muscles a lot. In every transition and switch of position, while you’re suspended in the air, the main muscle groups that you work out would be the core and upper body muscles.
So this means that aerial yoga can also help improve the appearance of your abdominal muscles. If you’re consistent in doing so, you’d eventually see the benefits and results. Perhaps you’d feel stronger, plus your abs would appear more toned and firm.
Improve Posture, Focus, and Breathing
As you may know, yoga postures look rigid but they are actually quite a complex series of micro-adjustments that require deep internal focus to sustain. With the additional support from the hammock, you are able to sustain positions longer, so you can fine-tune the alignment of your limbs and joints.
Correct alignment allows you to hold a posture for longer periods of time safely without undue strain and encourages fuller deeper breaths, thus enhancing the mind-calming aspects that yoga practice can cultivate.
It is a well-known fact that yoga promotes mindfulness and meditation. Knowing how to better control your breathing is a key facet of aerial yoga or yoga in general. While you’re suspended mid-air, you get more aware of your breathing hence getting to a more relaxed state. Over time, your lung capacity will improve as well.
Move Beyond Fear of Inversions
A highlight of using the hammock is it will fully support your body while performing inverted poses. It is great for partial inversions, such as Downward facing dog, as well as full inversion poses, as with headstands etc.
Instead of kicking up against a wall to get into an inverted position, the hammock wraps around your body and supports you. You’ll be gently held as you develop the core strength necessary to maintain a stable, centered, and grounded position.
This gives you the experience of how each pose should feel being upside-down and will improve your balance, even in traditional mat yoga poses. Eventually, you will embrace the sensation of being inverted as it becomes more natural.
Another advantage is that you would feel completely fine to “fall off balance” without the fear of falling out of the pose and injuring yourself. In the back of your head, you know that you have the support that can carry your whole body weight throughout the routine.
Inversions can be difficult for many people to master, but are much easier with the assistance of a hammock. Of course, this could always be done with the guidance of someone such as a friend or a professional if you are uneasy. There is always a learning curve when it comes to this, but you can always overcome it.
Master Any Asana
The yoga hammock can be used throughout an entire class for all mat yoga poses, including seated meditation, sun salutations, inversions and even finishing with a floating savasana, also known as the “cocoon.” Yoga Asana is about developing strong core stability and flexibility while clearing any mental roadblocks that would disturb your inner peace.
Through persistent practice, you can master any yoga poses, and the hammock will make it easier than ever before! So it is about time you tried using a yoga hammock or yoga swing.
You’ll improve your yoga practice leaps and bounds!
Final Thoughts On Mastering Your Mat Yoga Poses With A Yoga Hammock
Aerial yoga is no different than traditional yoga. Since this is just another variation, most of the poses and disciplines of traditional yoga are also featured in this.
Though it can be quite discouraging especially in the initial stages, creating an additional target might help you get out of your workout rut and try new things such as this.
There are a lot of things that you can gain from practicing aerial yoga. Some of these are improved confidence, enhanced physical strength, changed outlook, boosted mood, and just overall transformation. Not only do you refine your physical skills, but you also reshape your way of thinking.
Just be reminded that it’s always a step-by-step process. Allow your mind and body to fully sink into each routine. Everyone goes at their own pace. You do what is comfortable for you until you feel satisfied and relieved. In the end, yoga is all about individuality.
There is nothing more important than feeling good about yourself every session.