Lighten Your Mind and Body – Aerial Yoga Demystified
Whether you’re a hardcore fan of yoga, or just starting out on your fitness journey, you should definitely give aerial yoga a try. Aerial yoga can be much more effective and calming than other conventional forms of exercise.
In aerial yoga, your routine revolves around a soft fabric hammock. This is a long piece of material made out of a high-density nylon fabric that is capable of supporting over 2,000 pounds. These hammocks are held in place by webbing straps, carabiners, and support chains. The height of the hammock can be adjusted according to personal preference.
Each session of aerial yoga involves executing various adaptations of traditional yoga poses. The poses are modified to be performed in the air, using the hammock for support. The exercise can vary from simple poses involving stretches while sitting on the hammock to balancing upside down while holding onto your feet for support.
Benefits of Aerial Yoga
In addition to the benefits of regular yoga, aerial yoga offers some additional positives:
Muscle strengthening: Since you need to work against gravity to perform the aerial yoga poses, your muscles tend to work harder. As you need to engage your core muscles to stabilize and balance yourself, it is also a great core workout.
Enhanced focus: The poses in aerial yoga force you to be more alert and aware of your surroundings as they are more challenging. Since your body is not accustomed to being suspended in the air, you are also likely to focus and concentrate more on getting the poses right.
Better flexibility: Aerial Yoga has a tremendous effect on improving your flexibility. This is because it gives more freedom of movement and you can move your body into positions that you never believed were possible. Therefore, the stretch you get is deeper than what traditional yoga poses give you.
Mood enhancement: Aerial yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress. In addition to traditional yoga poses that have mood altering properties, you also get to experience a feeling of lightness and flexibility like never before. This sense of novelty and excitement can make you feel on top of the world.
Risks Associated with Aerial Yoga
As in the case of any form of physical exercise, aerial yoga poses some risks of injury. If you suffer from heart disease, low or high blood pressure, arthritis or glaucoma, aerial yoga may not be the right fit for you. People with a propensity towards motion sickness or dizziness may also have problems with the poses that involve hanging upside down. The same goes for people with balance issues as they may feel uneasy and unstable. Aerial yoga is not recommended for pregnant women and anyone who is recovering from surgery.
Tips To Keep In Mind When Performing Aerial Yoga
- It is recommended to eat something light before attending an aerial yoga class, as performing these poses on an empty stomach can leave you feeling lightheaded. However, avoid consuming a heavy meal at least two hours beforehand.
- It is important to stay hydrated before, during and after a session. This will help prevent headaches and extreme dizziness.
- Wear the appropriate clothing to stay cool and comfortable. Light, breathable fabrics, and fitted clothes are ideal. Opt for a fitted t-shirt or tuck your t-shirt into your pants to avoid any distractions when performing the inverted poses. Also, file your nails and keep calluses buffed. While the hammocks are made from durable materials that won’t tear easily, it can be annoying when your hand and feet snag on the fabric.
- Like many other forms of yoga, aerial yoga is done barefoot. So there’s no need for shoes. However, it’s a good idea to carry a yoga mat, so that you will have something to stand on when not performing the aerial poses.
- You can still give aerial yoga a try if you have joint or limb issues. Since the hammock supports a significant amount of body weight during poses, the pressure on your joints is alleviated. However, if you have other health issues such as high blood pressure or are pregnant, you may need to give aerial yoga a miss. Always consult a medical professional before starting, especially if you’re prone to vertigo or inner ear issues.
- Before joining a class, check reviews and talk to people taking the class. Make sure your instructor is competent, formally trained and certified in aerial yoga instruction.
If you’ve always wanted to explore a feeling of weightlessness, aerial yoga is a great option. In beginner classes, the hammocks are only a few inches above the floor, so the risk of injury is minimal. As with any other form of physical exercise, always start slow and move at your own pace. Not only will aerial yoga leave you feeling charged with excitement, you’ll also get all the health benefits that come with it.