Have you ever walked past a studio and seen a bunch of people hanging suspended in various positions, supported by hammocks attached to the ceiling? If you have, then you’ve witnessed aerial yoga in practice. If you haven’t, but you’re wondering what the heck aerial yoga is and why there are hammocks included, then look no further, because we’re about to explain everything you need to know about aerial yoga—the yoga class that takes normal yoga to whole new heights. Literally.
What Is Aerial Yoga?
If the title didn’t give it away, aerial yoga (also antigravity yoga) is yoga performed suspended in the air with the aid of hammocks. Imagine combining the acrobatic performances of Cirque de Soleil acrobats with yoga poses—which is pretty much the idea the founder of aerial yoga had in mind when he introduced this new type of yoga.
Aerial yoga was created by Christopher Harrison, a fitness professional and acrobatic when he started Antigravity Fitness. He combined the aerial moves of an acrobat using a hammock, with the poses of yoga. The hammock provides either partial or full body support during different moves and poses, which allows users to practice more moves, including complicated or advanced poses. It may look odd walking past a class and seeing rows of people handing upside down on hammocks, but the added support actually allows more focus on deepening the move as opposed to focusing on holding it.
What Are The Benefits Of Aerial Yoga?
Just as yoga itself has many health benefits, both mentally and physically, aerial yoga also has its fair share of benefits.
As mentioned above, relying on the hammock for support allows one to focus on the depth of the pose, instead of trying to stay still and not fall over. Hanging in suspension also allows your body to relax, your joints can freely decompress and release pent up stress, it can help relieve joint pain and is overall quite mentally relaxing and once you get the hang of it, quite fun! Moreover, it can help you to further improve your flexibility and strength. Each aerial yoga class ends with a position known as cocooning, where you simply float inside your hammock, and allow your body to stretch out, relax, and ensure you leave the class completely at peace.
Is Aerial Yoga For Me?
Just as yoga is available for anyone to try, aerial yoga is also not limited to a specific age, type, or level of flexibility. There are classes for any level of experience, so all you have to do is find a class and try it out! A guarantee to anyone who tries aerial yoga is that it will leave you feeling more confident in yourself and help improve your overall well-being. Whether or not you choose to continue aerial yoga depends on how you feel after trying it out! Some people love it, others just don’t find that it is for them. So, as with any other type of yoga, it all depends on you.
What Can I Expect And What Should I Wear To A Class?
Like any other class, you’ll want to wear something that is comfortable but not too restrictive or loose. Some moves may require you to hang inverted, so you don’t want clothing that is going to fall down or interfere with any poses. At the very start of the class, you might feel a bit silly dangling in a hammock, but just remember to relax and focus on the strengthening and deepening of each move as opposed to how you look. Get ready for lots of inversions and just hanging out (literally) in poses, but also get ready for lots of strengthening and toning as a result of aerial yoga. The hammock does provide support and removes tension in holding a pose, but you are still working your body and muscles and the results will show!
Most importantly though, is to have fun! It’s a great way to get into shape and to also challenge yourself, but really at its core, you get to practice yoga and live out your acrobatic dancer dreams. All in one!