Aerial yoga

Aerial yoga is one of the “youngest” types of yoga. Key feature of it is the students perform asanas and muscle stretching exercises in a specially shaped hammock attached to the ceiling.

History of aerial yoga is pretty ancient. People have always tried to overcome the gravitational impact. Therefore, various techniques with the use of ropes or poles are of great interest to practitioners today as well. Previously, such classes were not understandable and accessible to everyone, and some considered them even risky for life. But at the beginning of the last century, Iyengar and his daughter Gita adapted ropes attached to the walls for the practice. It helped to cope with the overweight, overcome the postpartum period and eliminate back pain. This technique makes asanas easier to perform and available even for those who couldn’t practice traditional yoga due to some health reasons. At the end of the twentieth century, Christopher Harrison suggested using a special hammock instead of ropes for dancing. Dancers liked the idea and applied it at all rehearsals and performances. In the United States training with the use of a hammock became a basis for a special fitness program which was developed for everyone. Later, aerial yoga conquered the whole world.

Aerial yoga features

The uniqueness of air yoga lies in a special hammock attached to the ceiling. It is made of nylon or silk. The maximum allowable weight of a person is 180 kg. This is why antigravity is suitable for overweight people. The yoga hammock “gets” a part of a weight, so even physically unprepared people find it easier to perform exercises. Aerial yoga classes are allowed even for people with spinal disorders, and even with cerebral palsy. The hammock can be fixed at any height, taking into account the height of a person and the level of physical shape. For beginners the distance of no more than 50 centimeters from the floor should be just fine. Experienced practitioners can place a hammock to a height of one meter from the floor.

Aerial yoga – Is is safe? Who can practice it?

This kind of yoga is suitable for everyone, without age restrictions. There are even special exercises for the older age category and for babies. It doesn’t require special knowledge, so even beginners can easily master exercises. Also, there is a special set of asanas developed for pregnant women. It includes not only physical, but also moral preparation for the upcoming birth. As a result, exercises help to stretch the muscles and normalize blood circulation. It relieves swelling, prevents varicose veins and other diseases associated with a pregnancy. It is worth noting that weight and body shape also does not matter: the hammock can hold up to 180 kg, so it reduces the load on the back muscles and relieves pain. In other words, practicing aerial yoga under control of experienced instructor is totally safe.

Basic exercises

Air yoga includes about 300 asanas and exercises. It includes a symbiosis of classical oriental knowledge, fitness, acrobatic and gymnastic elements. This combination helps to achieve good results in a short time. A teacher develops a training program taking into account individual characteristics of people, and the desired result. Movements can be performed with support on the floor or without it. However, a certain practice is needed before starting to perform inverted asanas (head down).

Aerial yoga benefits

Certainly, you will see the results of practicing antigravity yoga even after the first lesson. Among the other benefits we can name:

  • normalizing  blood circulation; 
  • reducing risk of heart disease; 
  • improved digestion;
  • weight loss; 
  • preventing the aging of the body; 
  • stretching the vertebrae; 
  • improved flexibility; 
  • reduced pain in all parts of the spine; 
  • strengthening the muscles; 
  • relaxation;
  • increased body endurance;
  • good mood; 
  • enhancing production of endorphins; 
  • improved functioning of the brain; 
  • increased harmony between the body and mind. 

Aerial yoga contraindications

Aerial yoga asanas are not recommended, if there are:

  • common cold (high fever, sinusitis, etc.),
  • long-term pregnancy,
  • head injuries,
  • serious gastrointestinal disorders,
  • uncomfortable state of the body during the session,
  • first days of menstrual cycle.

Also, it is better not do it if you suffer from:

  • high blood pressure; 
  • varicose veins; 
  • thrombophlebitis; 
  • retinal disorders; 
  • intervertebral hernia. 

Needless to say that if there are any other health problems, it is important to consult your doctor and trainer. It is very Important to practice aerial yoga in specialized yoga studios, under control of instructor.

Air yoga classes

Usually a lesson lasts about an hour and comprises six steps. First of all, training begins with breathing exercises. Then, the students warm up the muscles and ligaments (neck and joints). After that, they switch to performing asanas in a hammock. The first exercises are done partially standing on the floor. At the end of the training asanas “move” to mid-air: a slow transition from simple exercises to inverted poses. This stage requires concentration, attention and physical preparation. Beginners come to such exercises gradually. The last stage of a class is relaxation during a meditation. This helps to remove tension from the muscles and generates positive thinking.

What to wear?

It is better not to wear synthetic sportswear during the training. Give preference to materials that stretch well, do not irritate the skin, absorb sweat and are simply comfortable. Skinny sports pants or leggings, tight clothes without folds. You don’t need shoes, you will do yoga barefoot or in open toe socks (with non-skid rubber soles).