What is aerial yoga?
Aerial yoga can make you feel much like a butterfly breaking free from your cocoon, in more ways than one. Aerial yoga has its similarities to a butterfly’s transformation, as the hammock used is also made from silk. Aerial yoga is a hybrid of traditional yoga, pilates and dance with the use of an aerial yoga swing. This is a new type of ‘anti-gravity’ yoga developed less than 10 years ago. The aerial yoga swing or ‘hammock’ plays a crucial part in performing aerial yoga poses, allowing you to be supported above the ground and perform more difficult mat-based yoga poses with ease.
What is aerial yoga good for?
The main benefits for your health from aerial yoga are improved flexibility and strength. When you do an aerial yoga workout you will feel all parts of your body being stretched and moved and your muscles will become more toned over time from persistent aerial yoga practise. Suspension in the air also releases tension in the muscles and gives you a weightless feeling; this can be great for flexibility and enables you to build strength.
Let’s not forget the physiological benefits that all us yogis get, beginners or experienced. The buzz from doing something good for our minds and bodies from physical activity and mindful practises like yoga is what brings us back, time and time again. Aerial yoga can help to clear your mind, reduce stress and release those all important ‘happy hormones’.
Aerial yoga can also be a great way to keep fit and build your strength as well as toning muscles. The focus areas of this practise are your core strength and flexibility. It’s also important to have rest days in between practise to allow your body to repair and build muscle mass, this way you will be constantly improving your ability, in a sustainable way.
Can beginners do aerial yoga?
Yes, beginner aerial yoga classes are available, and are recommended for new starters before entering any other advanced aerial yoga classes. This way you are able to judge if this type of yoga is something you enjoy and will feel comfortable doing. It’s also a safe place to ask questions and take in as much information as you can about the practise before trying a normal aerial yoga class. It’s always great to try something new.
What do you need to perform aerial yoga?
Just like your normal yoga classes, a yoga mat is still needed as a soft base beneath your hammock and for warm up exercises. It’s also important to stay hydrated, as with any physical activity a water bottle is your best friend. If you’re a first time aerial yogi then you may want to bring along some yoga socks or ‘toe socks’ these are great for enhancing your grip while in the hammock.
Is aerial yoga difficult?
Just like mat-based yoga the levels of experience differ and you can become an expert in your realm by practising regularly and building up your techniques and movement abilities. There are beginners classes available through to the more advanced classes too.
What should I wear to aerial yoga?
Similar to mat-based yoga, you will want to wear form fitting clothing in a breathable fabric for the most comfortable experience and so your clothing doesn’t ride up when in certain positions in the hammock. It’s important that you also wear clothing that's short sleeved or long sleeved as opposed to a strappy top, this is to avoid rubbing and abrasions when changing positions in the hammock. You will also need to wear yoga leggings below the knee to avoid the same happening to your legs. If you have long hair it’s also a good idea to tie this up and out of your way in a ponytail or bun to avoid this getting caught or pulled when in the hammock.