Is Aerial Yoga Right for You?

Here’s why aerial yoga is all the rage these days…

If you’re looking to try something new in your yoga practice, aerial yoga may be just the ticket! This unique form of yoga – also sometimes referred to as AntiGravity® yoga – adapts traditional yoga poses to a yoga swing, trapeze, or hammock. These props can be used to either support part of the body during a yoga pose, or to suspend the entire body in the air. Aerial yoga can be done as either a dynamic full-body workout or as a restorative practice, and may also feature moves inspired by Pilates, dance, or acrobatics.

This type of yoga can be challenging, so is best done by those who already have some yoga experience (although it can also be modified for beginners). Aerial yoga is especially challenging for the core muscles, as it requires increased focus, balance, and the ability to support oneself using just a piece of fabric.

Other unique benefits of aerial yoga include the ability to easily practice inversions, improved circulation, unique stretch angles that allow you to gain additional flexibility, improved core strength, and reduced pressure on the joints and spine. For this reason, this form of yoga is often recommended for those with back pain. Aerial yoga is also thought to boost the mood and energize the body and mind. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun!

Although it can be performed by those with many different fitness levels, aerial yoga is typically not recommended for pregnant women or those who suffer from vertigo.

Here are a few common aerial yoga poses:

  1. Hanging/Suspended Plank
    In this version of the plank, you keep your hands firmly planted on the ground. Place both your feet in the yoga hammock. Make sure the fabric is low enough so that your body is horizontal to the ground. Since your glutes don’t have to engage when your feet are supported in this plank, it can help relieve lower back pain. At the same time, just like a normal plank, this asana strengthens and tones your core, shoulders, arms, and spine.
  2. Hanging Chair
    Utkatasana, or Chair Pose, was used by Vedic gurus of India as a punishment for students. But this hanging version of Chair in a yoga swing removes the difficulty of the pose. Instead, your spine will be free to lengthen as gravity does most of the work for you. This pose decompresses your spine and relieves sciatica and lower back pain.
  3. Supported Downward Facing Dog
    You can practice Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog, with a yoga swing supporting your hips. This will ease the pressure on your wrists and decompress your spine. You may also find it easier to bring your heels in the direction of the ground when your body is supported in the swing.
  4. Extended Cobra
    Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose, with the help of a yoga swing, can help deepen the pose but be careful not to go too far too quickly. Practice this pose with your belly on your mat but instead of holding your torso up with your arms, hold onto the fabric of a yoga swing. This makes the stretch come from hanging down from the yoga swing rather than pushing into the earth.
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