Aerial yoga offers a wide range of health benefits. It can help to relieve joint pressure, release tension in your body, increase body balance, and enhance your core strength. Also, yoga swing workouts can help with enhanced flexibility.
But like with other types of fitness activities, aerial yoga also poses the risk of injuries, especially if you are not careful. And these injuries can happen to anyone, regardless of their fitness level.
So, how can you be sure you’re practicing aerial yoga safely, and enjoy their amazing benefits without injuring yourself? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we will walk you through some great tips for practicing aerial yoga safely.
Consult Your Physician
If you have underlying health conditions, it’s always advisable to consult your healthcare provider before you begin any type of workout. And the same should apply to aerial exercises.
According to a recent study, extreme stretching or flexing of the spine can lead to spinal compression injuries for people with osteoporosis.
Also, individuals with hypermobility are also at risk of suffering from yoga-related injuries.
Overuse injuries and muscle strains are the most common injuries experienced in the yoga practice.
Also, older individuals, especially those over the age of 65 are at a high risk of developing yoga-related injuries, if they overstretch.
Hence, you should halt the session right away and go for a medical checkup.
After the checkup, your physician will determine whether it’s safe to proceed with the aerial yoga stretches or not.
You should also consult a physical therapist if you are pregnant. When you consult your healthcare provider, they will assess your situation and advise you whether aerial yoga workouts will be safe for you.
And if your physician gives you the green light to start the yoga swing exercises, they will also advise you on how best to proceed. Using this approach will help you to avoid injuries or worsen your situation.
Pick the Right Training Methods
Similar to other types of workouts, there’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all. So, you will need to choose an approach that works best for your situation.
For instance, if you are young, healthy and fit, then you can handle almost all types of yoga swing poses.
On the other hand, if you are older or you have a medical condition that limits your flexibility and movement, then it will be highly advisable to opt for gentler poses.
At the same time, if you are a beginner, then your body may not be in a position to handle the demanding poses. Hence, you should go for aerial yoga poses for beginners.
Training at your level will give your body ample time to adjust, thus helping to prevent injuries.
Warm Up Before Your Workout
A considerable number of injuries related to yoga, happen due to a lack of warming up the muscles properly before practice. So, before you begin doing the yoga swing poses, you should have a short warm-up session first.
Warming up for a few minutes prior to your aerial yoga poses will significantly enhance muscle elasticity, thus reducing the chances of an accident.
Furthermore, doing a short warm-up before you start your antigravity yoga practice will help to raise body temperature, thus increasing oxygen availability to your muscles.
As a result, your muscles will relax and contract more easily, thus making it easier for you to conduct even the strenuous poses and ensure you are practicing aerial yoga safely.
Once you’ve finished your workout, you should have a brief 15 minute cool-down session.
Cooling down after your yoga hammock workout session will allow your muscles to contract gradually, again helping to reduce the chances of an injury.
Listen to Your Body
As much as you may want to challenge yourself during your yoga hammock workouts, it doesn’t mean that you should push yourself too much.
So, make sure you listen to your body throughout your antigravity yoga session. If you experience any shooting, numbness, or sharp pain, there’s a high chance you may have an injury.
And if you decide to continue with your yoga swing session, you may end up aggravating that injury, leading to a lengthy layoff. So please listen to your intuition and stop if you become aware of something odd in your body.
Some yoga swing poses tend to carry a higher risk of injuries than others do. For instance, holding the forward bend positions for longer periods can prove to be an issue, for individuals with low back problems.
If you have a history of such medical problems or any health condition that limits your mobility in any way, it will be advisable to avoid extreme poses. Instead, you should go for the gentler ones.
However, it’s worth mentioning that just because you have osteoporosis or other conditions doesn’t mean you can’t practice antigravity yoga. You simply need to modify your poses and exercise within your range.
Try Different Poses
As earlier mentioned, overuse injuries are the most common in aerial yoga. And as their name suggests, such injuries are caused by doing a certain type of workout continuously.
So, you should consider mixing up your antigravity hammock workouts. For instance, you can be alternating the stretching poses with the balancing poses.
Also, you should consider combining your aerial yoga practice with another form of workout, such as strength training.
Adopting a varied training regimen will go a long way in helping to prevent aerial yoga-related injuries. Also, it will help you to train the entire body.
We all have different bodies and varying fitness levels. And your yoga swing practice should be individualized.
So, if you are feeling as if you are struggling too much to execute a certain yoga hammock workout, don’t be afraid to use blocks or bolsters.
As much as using blocks may make your workout easier, it will also help to prevent injuries. After all, you’d rather have an easier but safe workout than a challenging one that may leave you with injuries.
Don’t Don’t Rush Or Compare Yourself With Others
Doing an aerial yoga workout at home is usually the best approach, you may sometimes decide to attend group classes occasionally.
During those classes, you will notice that some of the participants will be better than you are.
And, there’s nothing wrong with this. So, don’t try to compare yourself with the person on the next yoga swing or even the instructor.
Also, avoid trying to accomplish exactly what the instructor is demonstrating. After all, you may not be at the same fitness level.
Instead of trying to compare yourself with the other participants or attempting to do exactly what the instructor is demonstrating, you should go at your own pace.
Trying to push yourself beyond your limits can lead to injuries.
You may sometimes feel as if you should be at a higher level in your aerial yoga practice, than where you are. And as a result, you may begin pushing yourself harder, trying to reach that level within a short period.
The reality is, where you currently are is where you are supposed to be. Trying to push yourself into harder styles or poses can lead to serious injuries.
Instead, while practicing aerial yoga safely, you should take a step at a time. Remember the goal is to enjoy your yoga hammock workouts and not to punish yourself.
Focus on Function, Not Form
Most yogis tend to focus too much on form. However, this may not always be the best approach, especially if you are a beginner.
Rather than focusing too much on how a certain posture will look, you should focus on how it will benefit your mind and body.
So, avoid trying to strain yourself into postures. Instead, you should relax your way into them. Twisting your body into a posture it’s not comfortable with is a recipe for injury.
One of the easiest ways of practicing aerial yoga safely is by training within your comfort zone.
When you use this approach, you’ll be challenging your body to some extent, but within your comfort zone.
It’s all about finding a spot where you are stretching your muscles and you can feel them working, but you are not experiencing any fatigue, pain or strain.
Practicing Aerial Yoga Safely
Whether you have been practicing yoga for decades or you recently started, practicing aerial yoga safely should be your goal.
So, make sure you warm up properly, listen to your body, train within your capabilities, and understand your physical limitations. As long as you follow this approach, you will avoid serious yoga-related injuries.
And in the unfortunate situation that you get hurt, it’s advisable to take a break from your aerial yoga practice, so that you can allow your body to heal.
From there, you can gradually ease your way back into your yoga swing practice.
At the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy your antigravity yoga practice, not to punish yourself. So, follow the above safety tips, and you will have an injury-free aerial yoga practice.