What is Aerial Yoga?

aerial yogaAerial yoga is a relatively new yoga class that is also known as Anti-gravity yoga. It combines acrobatics and yoga postures while supported in a hammock. In fact, the hammock is the only prop you’ll need for class. Only Aerial yoga uses a hammock, so this is quite a distinguishing feature.

Because of the hammock you can find better form and understanding of familiar poses. The hammock shares the job of supporting you, which allows you to really focus on the correct form of the pose. Now, your muscles have created a muscle memory of how the pose should feel and you can take that feeling and try to recreate the experience in your mat practice.

These aren’t the only benefits of Aerial yoga. There are many more. I have listed some below, but I also have links to other resources for those who would like more information. Make sure to check out the video at the end to get an idea of some poses you might do in an Aerial yoga class.

Benefits of Aerial Yoga

We all know that there are many benefits from yoga practice, so I’ll refrain from listing those. Here are benefits specifically from an aerial yoga practice.

  1. Decompress your spine. With the support of the hammock, you can decompress your spine with Downward facing dog or other inversions.
  2. Sharpen your alignment. When you use the hammock to help support your weight, it is easier to correctly get into poses. For example, when your arms are looped around the hammock, it’s easier to sit back into Chair pose.
  3. Let gravity do the work for you. Think about Downward facing dog. With the hammock supporting your hips, you easily find the lengthening of the spine and hamstrings.
  4. Master inversions. Because of the support from the hammock, you can comfortably come into inversions and experience benefits such as improved mood and circulation, increased blood flow to the head, and the joy of accomplishing a difficult pose.
  5. Build upper body strength. “Because students have to pull down on the hammock to lift themselves up, they build a kind of core and upper-arm strength that they don’t build in traditional yoga, where most arm movements are about pushing, not pulling,” says Michelle Dortignac, founder of Unnata Aerial Yoga.
  6. Try a new Savasana. According to doyouyoga.com, “Savasana in Aerial yoga is suspended, meaning you are in a cocoon of fabric!” How cool is that!
  7. Grow as a person when you do something new. When we do something new, we grow and develop. Without growth, we feel stagnant and stuck in a rut. For many of us, attending an Aerial yoga class will be a new experience that will help us develop and advance.

Aerial Yoga Resources

For additional information on Aerial yoga, I recommend reading these articles.

Aerial Yoga Video

I know this is what you’re all really wondering:  What in the heck does an Aerial yoga class look like? Wonder no more. Here is a video. This is from a German studio, so the words are in German, but that doesn’t interfere with the awesomeness and beauty of the poses.

Have you tried Aerial yoga? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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