Originally Published On 8/23/2020
For thousands of years people have attended to a traditional yoga practice and this has expanded all around the world in modern times, with numerous people joining classes based on performing poses on the mat.
While this is as popular as ever and continuing to grow as a much-loved activity with more people learning the benefits of yoga, many people are now beginning to give aerial swing yoga a try!
In this article, we are going to be exploring how to prepare for your very first aerial yoga class and what you can expect when you arrive at the studio.
More People Are Turning to Aerial Swing Yoga
Not only are more people starting to join an aerial yoga class, it is fast becoming a primary practice for many people, “over and above” mat based practice.
Of course, we would recommend installing an aerial yoga hammock at home so that you are able to practice as frequently as possible.
This will give you the freedom to move and get used to being suspended in the air, to get comfortable maneuvering into different poses and allows you to progress in your own timing.
However, it is also a great advantage to access an aerial yoga class with a trained instructor who can provide you with advice and assistance to get the most out of your practice and avoid injury.
One of the best benefits of aerial yoga is that, unlike mat yoga or other workouts, it not only builds strength in your core it also engages your stabilizing muscles, developing strength and balance throughout the entire body in every workout.
There are many other physical and mental benefits to this type of class, not least increasing your flexibility and range of motion. Plus you have the support of the yoga swing which will allow you to get into poses that you may never have thought were possible, and assist with correct alignment, so you can relax into the poses and focus on your breath.
Choosing The Right Aerial Yoga Class For You
One of the most common mistakes that people make when looking for an aerial yoga class is performing a quick Google search for “aerial yoga near me” and heading off to the first class that appears in the search.
Whilst this may work in some cases, in others you may not be getting the best class for you and it pays to do some research before signing up for ongoing lessons.
Yes, it’s true that you will never really know if a studio is right for you unless you try it first, and hopefully you can take advantage of any free trial lessons that studios will offer for you to get a feel for it, we recommend following some of the tips below to point you in the right direction.
Before you have even entered a studio or joined any aerial yoga class, here are some things to keep in mind –
Beginner’s Option: It’s important that you choose an aerial yoga class that is in keeping with your own level of experience. If you’ve had a consistent yoga practice at home or at a studio for many years, and more specifically spent some time doing aerial yoga at home already, then a more advanced class will suit you. In contrast, if you have only just decided to get started and maybe don’t even own your own yoga swing yet, then join an entry-level group.
Location: Think about the location of the class, as it is important to be sure that it is easily accessible. The idea of performing yoga poses in a tranquil, forest setting may be appealing, but if you have to travel, it may cause more stress than it is worth, and you may end up skipping classes. Although it is nice to walk into a welcoming and peaceful environment, which most studios are, this quickly becomes less relevant once you are in the middle of your asana, so it is best to find an aerial yoga class that is local or along your normal lines of travel, such as on your way home from work.
Qualifications: Although we don’t believe qualifications are the be all and end all, it is a good idea to pay attention to the yoga qualifications and experience of your potential aerial yoga teacher. Take a look at how long they have been teaching and what relevant aerial qualifications they have. This is really important for you safety above all else. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet with the instructor before the first class.
Class Size: As you are likely looking for a beginner aerial yoga class, you will probably need more one-to-one instruction which can be difficult in a larger class. Don’t take this the wrong way, it is thrilling to be a part of large classes and if they are beginner focused, then you will not be doing any poses that are outlandish or overly dangerous, so if you are generally feeling confident, then you don’t need constant attention and assistance, then a large class size is good. However, if you are unsure and quite nervous, perhaps start with a smaller class size.
Class Costs: This is possibly the biggest consideration for anyone wanting to get started at an aerial yoga class. Obviously simply purchasing a yoga swing to practice with at home and following YouTube tuition is the most cost effective option. However, you have already decided to find a studio to get professional lessons, so there will be ongoing costs! The price will vary between classes based on the experience/popularity of the instructor and studio, class time length, as well as the location and quality of the studio and equipment. In some cases, you may find that the class will be cheaper if you book a block of sessions as opposed to paying for one at a time.
Reviews: Finally, there is no better way to judge the quality and effectiveness of an aerial yoga class than to look at what other people have to say about it. Checking out what previous members have to say on Google, Yelp or Facebook, as this can be a great indicator as to what to expect from your first session. Also, other members might leave some tips in the comments that could help you get started.
What To Expect From Your First Aerial Yoga Class
Going to your first aerial yoga class can be somewhat intimidating!
Although this is true of any new experience, particularly sports and exercise, when it comes to aerial yoga it can feel even more terrifying, because the thought of being suspended above the ground without the normal sense of control, coupled with the potential to fall and injure yourself, is enough to put you off!
Doing yoga off the floor and hanging upside down may seem like a scary prospect, however, there really is nothing to be afraid of, especially if you have followed our tips above to find the best class, and knowing what to expect when you get to your first session can alleviate some of the worries you may have which we will cover now, so read on for more..
Be Prepared To Get Involved
Whilst it can be scary going into a new class, especially if you are there alone, it pays to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Heading to the back of the class and shying away might mean that you miss out on something important and don’t get the full experience.
Depending on the style of aerial yoga class you join, the flow may be quite quick. So just do your best to keep up, but don’t get overwhelmed if you fall out of sync or cannot fully execute a pose. Just take a breath and continue on from where the class is at. Soon enough you will get used to the poses finding it much easier to keep pace.
A degree of confidence is required to start your aerial yoga journey but even if you’re a relatively shy person, you could book a one-to-one session to begin with to grow your confidence.
You Will Be Upside Down A Lot
During your yoga practice on the mat, you may find that inversions are one of the most difficult and uncomfortable types of poses but this changes completely when we get into an aerial yoga class, as hanging upside down is an integral part of the practice.
But don’t let this put you off – with the support of the yoga hammock and a good teacher, you will soon get the hang of it. The reason that it is so important to embrace the inversion during an aerial yoga session is that it has a huge range of benefits.
These include lengthening the spine, which gives us greater freedom of movement and can aid in natural detox working with the lymphatic system.
You Don’t Need To Be Super Flexible
One of the main concerns of those starting out with aerial yoga is that they believe that they need to be very flexible in order to take part – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Aerial yoga provides us with an opportunity to work on our flexibility but this doesn’t mean that you need to arrive at your first class with the experience of a fully-fledged trapeze artist.
In fact, quite the opposite. Thanks to the support of the yoga swing, getting into difficult positions comes much more easily than in traditional yoga so even if you are as a stiff as a plank, it really isn’t an issue.
The most important thing is to allow yourself to enjoy the experience and let your body guide you. In time, you will notice that your muscles and tendons will release and loosen and your flexibility will improve.
Remember Not To Eat Too Much Before Class
It is always advisable to avoid working out on a full stomach but this applies even more when going to an aerial yoga class. Since you will be spending a lot of time hanging upside down, a heavy meal beforehand can cause indigestion or make you feel nauseous.
The whole point of a yoga class – aerial or otherwise, is to relax, strengthen and work out your body and mind – not to leave you feeling uncomfortable. However, it is important to hydrate beforehand, and then stay hydrated by taking sips throughout your session.
Tight Clothing Advised
Traditional yoga classes are usually more comfortable when we wear loose-fitting garments that allow us to move around more freely. However, it is much better to do your aerial yoga class wearing tight-fitting clothes, such as yoga leggings and a sleeved, fitted top.
The benefits for this are two-fold, firstly, covering your skin will prevent you from getting pinched when in certain poses but also tight clothing will not get wrapped up in the sling, which could pose a potential safety risk.
This is a common mistake that a lot of newbie aerial yogis make, turning up to their first class in flowing clothes, but as you become more advanced, you can wear more relaxed clothing.
Aerial Yoga Practice
Buying an aerial yoga swing to use at home is a great idea to keep fit and reap the benefits that aerial yoga has to offer on a day to day basis, but as a beginner it is also recommended to regularly attend a class to learn the basics and gain the most from the practice.
Doing this will allow you to learn how to use your swing correctly and build confidence with the equipment, along with the opportunity to interact with other aerial yoga enthusiasts.
However, going to your first aerial yoga class with an instructor can sometimes be a little overwhelming so knowing what to expect can give you a sense of confidence and make your first experience much more enjoyable.
We hope we have helped you to ease any fears or concerns today, and hope you find a great studio to get started!