Returning to your aerial yoga after injury can be extremely challenging.
There are several reasons behind this.
First, your body isn’t physically in good shape, since you haven’t been working out.
Second, you are not in the same state of mind and spirit as you used to be before you were injured.
Third, knowing where to start or how to configure your workout to align with the level you are currently in can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
The good news, aerial yoga is highly adaptable. In fact you can even use it as part of your rehabilitation.
Furthermore, there are several available approaches, which you can use to return to aerial yoga after injury.
So, what’s the best way to get back to your aero yoga practice after being sidelined with an injury?
Here are some tips to guide you.
Consult Your Physician
Before resuming your antigravity yoga workouts, it’s highly advisable to consult your physician. Your physician will examine your condition to determine whether you are fully recovered to return to your yoga practice.
After examining your progress, your physician will also advise you on how best to proceed with your workouts.
As you probably know, aerial yoga involves lots of stretching and other strenuous activities.
So, if you had suffered an injury, resuming your workouts before you’ve fully recovered may worsen the injury. Consequently, you may be forced into a longer recovery period.
Therefore, if you are planning to return to yoga hammock workouts after being sidelined, the first step should be to consult your physician.
If your physician thinks you are not ready to resume your yoga practice, then you should consider joining a meditation class. When properly done, meditation can help to lower psychological stress.
For instance, mindfulness meditation practices, in particular, can help to alleviate depression, anxiety and stress. And as you probably know, feeling mentally healthy and strong will go a long way in helping you to recover from your injuries.
Incorporating meditation into your workout will help to alleviate the frustration and stress that injuries can create, especially if the injury limits some movements.
If your physician has given you the green light to proceed to resume your antigravity yoga workout, it is still a good idea to practice meditation.
As you can see, it will help to reduce the stress and frustration that comes with injuries, improve your mental health and significantly boost your recovery process.
Take it Slow
After returning to aero yoga from an injury, you may be tempted to jump right in and start with advanced poses. While it’s understandable that you want to get back to the level you were prior to the injury, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard.
After you resume your yoga practice, it will be highly advisable to notch down a level or two for some time. So, before you go for your yoga workout at home, you will first need to determine what your body can handle.
Once you establish your current level of mental and physical ability, you should then stick to level for some months before you attempt advanced or physically-demanding yoga hammock workouts.
Instead, start with basic poses such as the cow pose, the downward-facing dog, the warrior pose, and the tree pose.
While these poses may appear simple and basic, they will help to prepare your body for the more advanced or demanding aero yoga poses.
Stick to slow-flow and gentle yoga poses as much as possible, as they will be best for maintaining proper and safe alignment.
At this level, basic, simple repetitive movements are enough to help you build strength, improve your mobility and enhance your range of motion.
You can also start with pranayama breathing exercises and practice being present, listening deeply to your body.
Listening to your body will help you to determine whether your body is ready for more workouts or you need to rest. Take this time to feel grateful and experience the joy of resuming your yoga swing practice.
Consider Restorative Aerial Yoga
If you don’t experience any discomfort or excessive pain when doing the basic poses, then you can proceed to restorative yoga.
Restorative aerial yoga is a type of yoga that involves holding the poses for a longer period, using various types of props like bolsters, blankets, blocks and others.
And as much as you will be using props, you will still enjoy all the benefits of aerial yoga, since they help you to hold the asanas longer. But unlike conventional aero yoga, restorative aerial yoga tends to focus more on flexibility as opposed to strength and aerobic.
Like we mentioned earlier, aerial yoga and even inversion therapy using the yoga swing is perfect for rehabilitation. It is proven to help back pain particularly with inverted poses, due to the traction.
The support from the yoga swing is an absolute blessing when you are trying to get back into your usual yoga routine, and you can slowly increase your depth as you feel more comfortable, in a safe manner.
Therefore, it offers a perfect means of helping to relax the body and calm the mind. And this is an important step when it comes to getting back to your aerial yoga practice after a lengthy injury layoff.
Some of the common props that you can use include:
Yoga blocks are designed to make your body more comfortable while helping to improve the alignment of your aerial yoga postures.
Also, yoga blocks are particularly useful when you are performing standing poses such as the downward-facing dog, where your hands are supposed to be on the floor.
Hence, instead of forcing your hands to come to the floor, you will use the yoga blocks to raise the floor. And when you do so, you will be able to execute this pose, without straining your body too much.
Apart from blocks, you can also use bolsters to help you get back to your aerial yoga after injury. Bolsters will cushion your body on the yoga hammock, thus helping with alignment.
Also, bolsters will encourage heart opening and help you to execute resting poses more comfortably.
Work with an Instructor
As much as you will be doing your yoga workout at home, you should consider working with an instructor after returning from an injury.
A qualified yoga swing instructor will examine your injury as well as your current level of fitness to determine how best to re-enter your aerial yoga practice.
Getting in touch with a yoga instructor before you start working out will also help you to modify your workouts, thus helping to prevent further pain.
Join a Group Class
Besides working with an instructor, you should also consider joining an aerial yoga class for a few months after returning from injury to ensure you are performing the poses correctly and avoid further injury.
After a lengthy layoff, you may sometimes lack the motivation or the drive that you used to have. And you may start missing some practice sessions, over some flimsy excuses.
Group classes, on the other hand, provide accountability and motivation. You should be able to find classes in your city as it has become quite popular and you will surely make good friends which is great to helping you through times of healing and recovery.
Also, they will support your progress while making your transition into a full-time yoga practice more enjoyable and manageable. Once you’re back to your pre-injury levels, you can get back to your yoga workout at home.
Incorporate Cross-training Into Your Practice
If you suffered an injury like bursitis or tendonitis, then it’s highly likely it was caused by repetitive motion. Hence, to prevent the occurrence of such injuries in the future, you need to add variety to your antigravity yoga workout.
For instance, some people tend to favor some poses over others. And they end up doing such poses every other day, leading to overuse injuries. To prevent such a situation, you will need to do different poses, which will help to target different muscle groups.
Besides alternating the poses, you should also consider incorporating cross-training into your yoga practice.
Apart from helping to prevent overuse injuries, incorporating cross-training into your yoga hammock workouts will boost your overall fitness levels, improve posture and coordination, boost mental strength, and most importantly, speed up your recovery.
Returning to Aerial Yoga after Injury
Once you return to aerial yoga after injury, avoid pushing yourself too far or too fast.
Trying to rush things could worsen your injury, thus keeping you off from your practice much longer. Instead, you should take one day at a time.
Be patient, take things slowly, and maintain a gentle, modified and safe workout.
With this approach, your body will soon get back up to speed, and with time, you will soon find yourself where you used to be, before the injury layoff.
So, be gentle, kind and mindful to yourself, and you will eventually ease back into your regular yoga practice.