Restorative Aerial Yoga
When we think of aerial yoga, we often envisage a heavy workout that makes us sweat, and for a lot of people, this is exactly what aerial yoga is.
But on the flip side, restorative aerial yoga is a calmer practice that has some excellent benefits that may not be gained from a regular session.
What Is Restorative Aerial Yoga?
Unlike your regular home yoga workout, restorative aerial yoga is related to a healing and gentle side of yoga.
This type of yoga is frequently performed on the mat and can easily be incorporated into your aerial yoga routine.
One of the main differences between regular aerial yoga and its restorative counterpart is the positioning of the yoga swing.
Usually, your yoga hammock will hang at hip height but when taking part in a restorative aerial yoga session, you will position the swing around a foot from the ground.
The reason for this is that, when placed closer to the ground, you can use the swing and the floor for support, bringing an even greater restorative feel to the session.
For the most part, you will be able to adjust the height of your swing so that you can benefit from any type of practice at home.
When performing restorative aerial yoga, the aim is not to get into difficult or challenging poses and work up a sweat but to gently guide the body into positions that can bring different benefits.
Restorative yoga can be heavily focused on the mind and often includes visualizations or meditations to further connect with your inner self, your healing and your spiritual side.
Additionally, the practice allows you to achieve opening of the hips, spine and other connective tissues bringing about better flexibility and relief from tension in the muscles.
Who Would Benefit From A Restorative Aerial Yoga Session?
In reality, restorative yoga is accessible and beneficial to anyone who wants to take part, however, there are certain groups of people who may find this type of practice preferable.
- People recovering from an injury will benefit from being closer to the ground, having more support and from the gentler movements involved in restorative aerial yoga.
- Older people who have limited mobility but still want to reap the many benefits yoga has to offer.
- People of all age groups who struggle with physical limitations or restrictions and who are unable to take part in more intense yoga sessions.
- Anyone who is new to yoga and wants to get into the practice more gently.
What Happens In An Aerial Yoga Session?
The great thing about performing yoga in a hammock or swing is that you have the option to attend a teacher-led class or enjoy the practice from the comfort of your own home.
A large part of any yoga practice is working with the breath and restorative aerial yoga is no exception, with many teachers insisting that each session should have a good portion dedicated solely to breath-work.
Additionally, you may incorporate guided or free meditations into your practice as well as an extended period of time spent in a floating savasana.
Unlike a vinyasa practice, for example, restorative aerial yoga sees participants moving through a sequence of slower movements with a focus on the connection of the mind with the body.
You may also spend a lengthier period of time in each pose, allowing the connective tissues, joints and muscles to stretch.
Yin yoga is a restorative form of yoga where you remain in a pose for at least one minute, often longer and is excellent for loosening tightness and relieving tension, both mentally and physically.
For this reason, a restorative yoga session may feature fewer poses than a more upbeat class.
Of course, when performing poses in a yoga hammock, the swing will naturally move, and so, unlike restorative yoga on the mat, there will be the addition of maintaining stability in the swing, but this is another reason that the yoga swing will be located nearer to the ground.
At the end of your restorative aerial yoga workout, you can expect to feel a lengthening through the spine as well as a feeling of lightness and removal of any stress. With this in mind, it is worth thinking about how restorative aerial yoga can be of benefit.
Why Do Restorative Aerial Yoga
Anti-gravity yoga brings about a whole new world of benefits that we may not be able to achieve through other methods of yoga such as floor work. Whilst these traditional methods do have their advantages, it is easy to see why restorative aerial yoga is an excellent choice.
- Stress relief is one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people include a restorative practice in their yoga arsenal. The slow nature of this type of yoga allows you to connect with your inner self and focus on breathing. Breathing exercises are well known for their ability to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn, have a positive impact on stress.
- Greater body awareness is brought about during a restorative yoga class and this is also thanks to the slower pace of the workout. As you move through the poses and rest in them, your awareness is brought to the various body parts that are being engaged, further connecting the mind and body.
- Tension relief is another reason that restorative aerial yoga can be beneficial. Quite often, tension builds up in the joints and muscles and, until it is released, can create physical stress and discomfort.
- This type of yoga also allows you to experiment with meditation by practicing it in varying poses, allowing you to find which suits you best.
- It is widely believed that restorative yoga also has a very positive effect on the immune system and the central nervous system boosting their health and improving their function.
- In this busy world, it is easy to get lost in ourselves but aerial restorative yoga can allow you to recenter yourself and become more grounded.
- This type of yoga is excellent for relaxation and is ideal for times when you need to wind down.
- If you suffer from lower back pain restorative aerial yoga can provide excellent pain relief from this as well as bringing pain relief to the hips and spine.
What Poses Are Involved In Restorative Aerial Yoga?
Whilst you are free to experiment with any asana that takes your fancy, restorative aerial yoga is usually comprised of some of the following poses.
- Supported sun salutations – these gentle flows are repetitive and help to improve focus, concentration and establish a good connection between the body and mind.
- Twists – spinal twists are great for releasing tension in the spine and are frequently used in a restorative practice to relieve stress and tension build-up.
- Floating savasana – this final posture allows for deep relaxation and is the ideal time to practice breathing exercises.
- Poses to open the joints – the tension that builds up within the joints can cause deep physical pain if not addressed. Many of the hip opening poses used in restorative aerial yoga are very beneficial in tackling this tension.
- Zero compression inversions – Some inversions may compress the spine but these are designed to lengthen and open the spine, bringing relief from stress, pain and discomfort. Additionally, space between the bones of the spine allows for an improved range of motion and mobility.
- Floating meditations – adding a floating meditation to your practice can be a new, invigorating experience and can provide stress relief and relaxation.
How Often Should I Practice Restorative Aerial Yoga?
There is no limit on how frequently you can take part in a restorative aerial yoga workout, provided that you do not experience any discomfort or pain whilst practicing.
That being said, this type of yoga can be of particular benefit when done alongside your regular yoga practice or to complement it.
For most people, one session of restorative each week will be enough to balance the yoga routine and provide all the benefits that this type of practice can bring.
But listening to your body is key when it comes to any form of yoga and if your body is calling out for a restorative session, you should not ignore this.
If you have mobility issues or a temporary injury, it might be a good idea to exclusively practice restorative aerial yoga until your physical limitations have been lifted.
Restorative aerial yoga is something that anyone can practice!
There are many different forms of yoga and one of the most popular is restorative yoga.
This is often done in the traditional way – on the mat, but for those who like to incorporate a yoga hammock or a yoga swing into their practice, the good news is that restorative yoga can be done this way too.
Restorative aerial yoga is something that anyone can practice but it can be particularly beneficial to those with physical limitations or who are new to yoga and wish to start with something a little less intense.
The practice is made up from a variety of poses with the main intention of stress relief, relaxation and opening of the joints and spine.