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What Is Aerial Yoga?

What Is Aerial Yoga?
What Is Aerial Yoga?
Mon Jul 30

Warning: don’t try this at home!

Aerial yoga is one of the most exciting trends to hit the yoga world in recent years.

It is an intense form of exercise that uses props including straps, poles, fabric and hammocks to help participants perform yoga poses while suspended in the air.

Although it looks like it is more complex than other forms of yoga, aerial yoga can be performed by participants of any skill level.

To help learn more about aerial yoga, this guide will share its history and some of the benefits that can be gained by practicing aerial yoga.

Where did aerial yoga come from?

Aerial yoga, also known as AntiGravity® yoga, was developed by an American named Christopher Harrison who is an experienced dancer, acrobat, and yoga practitioner.

Aerial yoga participants will use a yoga swing or hammock to perform poses that they may not be able to perform on a yoga mat.

Most aerial yoga workouts combine yoga poses with movements from other forms of exercise including pilates, ballet, and acrobatics.

Practitioners usually make their aerial yoga workouts fast-paced, providing participants with a high-intensity aerobic workout.

Most aerial yoga workouts will use a hammock that is suspended less than one metre from the ground.

The hammock can be moved like a swing, supporting the hips and allowing the participant to perform poses with less strain on the body.

What are the benefits of aerial yoga?

Aerial yoga is an interesting form of yoga which can be quite challenging and a lot of fun.

It offers many of the same benefits that traditional forms of yoga deliver, plus a few more:

Decompresses the spine

Performing yoga poses while suspended in the air makes it easier to decompress and lengthen the spine.

This is particularly useful for people who sit down all day at work or have problems with their back.

Strengthens the core

Many of the poses performed during aerial yoga require the participant to sit horizontally as they lift or lower their legs or arms.

This engages the abdominal muscles and quickly strengthens the core.

Aerial yoga is very effective for weight loss

A 2016 study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that aerial yoga is a very effective form of exercise for weight loss.

The study tracked sixteen women who performed three 50-minute aerial yoga classes each week over six weeks.

The women lost an average of 1.2 kilograms body weight, 6.7% body fat, and 2.3 centimetres waist circumference.

Boosts cardiovascular fitness

Most aerial yoga sessions are performed at a medium to high intensity which results in improvements to the aerobic fitness of participants.

The ACE study mention earlier also found that the women involved in the study had their VO2 max (a measure of aerobic fitness) improve by a massive 10.9%.

Low impact form of exercise

Being suspended in the air takes strain off of many joints including your elbows and knees.

This is useful for people who have injuries or medical conditions that make their joints sore or weak.

If you have a bad knee that prevents you from doing yoga on a mat, aerial yoga might be a useful alternative.

It’s fun!

Most aerial yoga sessions include acrobatic moves that involve swinging or spinning the hammock.

They are a lot of fun to perform!

It’s easy to get started

Virtually anyone can perform aerial yoga.

Poses are typically less complex than the ones that are found in an intermediate yoga class.

Aerial yoga will rapidly improve your mat yoga skills

The positions used in aerial yoga will help you improve your flexibility and strength.

Using a harness also supports you and guides you as you attempt more difficult poses.

Eventually, you will have the confidence and physical ability to perform more difficult poses on a yoga mat.

You get all of the other great benefits that come from yoga

Aerial yoga delivers the many great benefits that come with normal yoga practice, including stress reduction, better mental focus, better digestion of food, healthier bones and much more.

Who can perform aerial yoga?

As mentioned earlier, aerial yoga classes are suitable for people of all skill levels.

However, people who are pregnant, have prosthetic hips, suffer from low blood pressure or have bone disorders should talk to their doctor before commencing aerial yoga.

Individuals who suffer from vertigo may find it difficult to enjoy aerial yoga.

Tips when trying aerial yoga for the first time

Here are some simple tips to help you enjoy your first aerial yoga session:

Wear clothes that are comfortable and form fitting

Your clothing should be snug but not too tight.

They should also cover your armpits and the back of your knees to prevent any chafing from the hammock.

Long yoga pants and a shirt that covers your armpits would be a great choice for aerial yoga.

Take off any jewellery that you are wearing

Wearing jewellery while performing aerial yoga is not recommended as it can become snagged on the hammock — potentially causing some pain!

Don’t wear perfume, lotions, or essential oils

If you wear perform, lotions, or oils they may rub off on the hammock, making it smelly for the next person who uses it.

Don’t wear shoes

You will find it easier to move around the hammock barefoot.

Drink water

Aerial yoga will cause you to work up a sweat!

Be prepared by drinking plenty of water before the session begins.

The idea of performing yoga while suspended above the ground might seem intimidating at first, but it is quite easy to get started.

The best way to try aerial yoga is to find a local class and learn some poses from a qualified instructor.