Aerial yoga is a gorgeous new way to add something new to your routine. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re in for a treat. Think about your favorite yoga workout pose. Now imagine how that same pose would feel if you were holding it while a piece of fabric held you in the air!
Did you just get a rush of excitement? You should! Aerial yoga is an exciting concept that allows you to combine everything you love about yoga in a whole new way. You won’t be able to practice these exercises at home, but a studio near you will likely offer it. This video of a class is an excellent example of what you might find yourself doing during an aerial yoga session:
What’s in an Aerial Yoga Classroom?
Since it’s a very hot trend, many classes are popping up across the country. They all want to accommodate everyone interested in feeling like an aerial circus performer. Aerial yoga studios are rooms with brightly colored lengths of fabric hanging from the ceiling. These are what you will use to wrap around your arms and legs to hold yourself aloft as you achieve your poses.
The movements are quite similar to the ones you see from aerial circus performers. They use the fabric lengths – known as hammocks or slings – to experience yoga in a whole new way. Aerial yoga class instructors will help you to learn just how to safely move to experience the peaceful movements as you rise off the floor.
What is Aerial Yoga?
Aerial yoga was created in the United States. It uses moves from aerial circus training, which are often rooted in yoga poses in the first place. Instructors of this type of practice focus on the poses more than the acrobatics that you would see in a circus performance.
As much as it may sound complex and as though it is appropriate for only the highly experience, that is not typically the case. You can usually find an aerial yoga class appropriate for your fitness level no matter how athletic you are (or aren’t).
At first, you may feel as though you’re taking on circus-based moves. That said, as you achieve your poses it begins to take on an experience far more similar to traditional yoga. In this way, many people compare it to Pilates as the basis remains yoga poses, but there is more activity involved.
Is Aerial Yoga for You?
Before taking on any new fitness routine, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor. That way you can be sure that there won’t be anything involved that could inadvertently cause you harm. Moreover, while you’re there, you can take the opportunity to discuss various weight loss tools.
Why should you be talking about it in the context of weight loss? Because it is a fantastic head-to-toe workout. A good instructor will give you the chance to work every major muscle group. You will be feeling that workout that evening and the next day, but it will be well worth it.
Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead, then it’s up to you to decide whether or not you think that an aerial yoga class will be fun for you. Before signing up, take the opportunity to speak with the instructor. Ask if you can sit in on a class or if you can participate in one class before you sign up for a several.
Benefits of Aerial Yoga
When you do aerial yoga, you’re getting a great full body workout. It’s particularly great for your arms and your core. Furthermore, it helps you to stretch you in various directions, improving your flexibility.
Moreover, there is no impact throughout the workout. This makes it easier on your joints. Many people with certain forms of injury can use this type of workout in the same way they’d use swimming. It helps them to make sure they’re still getting the exercise they need without hurting their joints.
As much as it may look like you’re holding yourself up in the air – and you are – the hammocks provide a great deal of support. They offer the stability as you achieve each new pose. Equally, for people who want to be challenged, the hammocks can also take your traditional floor yoga to a whole new level.
That said, it should be noted that the torque of the fabric may be too much for people who have had joint replacements. In those cases, this may not be an appropriate type of exercise for you.
Aerial Yoga for Kids and Special Needs Athletes
Due to the freeing feeling of aerial yoga, it is often a hit with children as well as with special needs athletes. There are a growing number of classes offered for these groups. That said, the numbers remain far more limited than those for typical adults.
Therefore, if you want a kids or special needs class to open in your area, start calling around and making requests. Call other parents or athletes with special needs to have them make the same calls. As gyms and studios find there is a market out there, they will look into the chance to serve it.
It’s not typically very difficult for aerial yoga to be adapted to kids and people with special needs. It’s just a matter of altering the routine to suit their capabilities and reach.
Is Aerial Yoga Safe?
One of the most commonly asked question about aerial yoga classes has to do with safety. After all, lifting yourself off the ground by a piece of cloth sounds rather hazardous. This seems particularly true when you’re not in great shape.
That said, most instructors will tell you that it’s more dangerous to be standing on the floor in those classes than it is to be up in the hammocks. A very good class will have an instructor watching everyone the whole time. That way, the instructor can correct your poses along the way and make sure you’re doing them right. You will be supported the whole time.
Drawbacks of Aerial Yoga
As graceful and freeing as it can look and feel to move and twirl in the hammock, it can take its toll on your body. Indeed, it is a no-impact exercise. However, when you twist your body around the hammock, it can cause bruising. This is particularly true if you hold yourself in the twisted fabric for a while.
Another risk is for people who are prone to vertigo or motion sickness. As you will be several feet off the floor and you will twirl with the fabric, this may affect you. People prone to vertigo or motion sickness may feel nauseated at points, particularly early on.
Is Aerial Yoga Difficult to Start?
Most of the people who sign up for aerial yoga are women. The vast majority of women who are not involved in sports don’t usually have strong upper bodies. This can make some of the moves rather challenging at first. It does, after all, work the arms and core the most.
However, among the top benefits is that as it works the arms and core, it strengthens them. Therefore, the more women attend their aerial yoga classes, the stronger their upper bodies get. This is beneficial in many parts of their lives and helps to make women feel more confident, too.
If You’re Already Great at Yoga, Are You Still an Aerial Beginner?
If you haven’t done aerial yoga before, then you’re a beginner. This is true regardless of how advanced you may be at traditional yoga. The reason is that while the concepts may be similar, they are not the same.
Furthermore, the aerial classes have their own sets of terminologies. You may be able to achieve some of the poses earlier because your yoga experience may have given you greater core and arm strength. That said, you must still discover how to use the hammocks.
Once you get better at it, you can use the hammocks to wrap yourself up several times over. By doing this, you’ll be higher above the floor for your poses. Equally, you can learn various types of climb, splits, back bends, headstands and handstands.
For fun, you can also learn how to do some of the choreographed movements. You can do this on your own or with a partner or whole class. This involves a series of poses linked from one to the next. That said, you will need to be in a more advanced class at a higher fitness level for that. It requires strength and endurance.
Are the Hammocks Strong Enough to Hold Any Bodyweight?
A typical studio’s rigging will be constructed to be able to hold between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds. That being the case, you should be more than safe on the equipment regardless of your bodyweight.
Is Aerial Yoga More Cardio or Relaxing?
Interestingly, it’s both. As you hold poses for a length of time, you will start to build a sweat. It’s not like a standard cardio class but you will certainly get your heart pumping.
Equally, aerial yoga classes also typically practice several minutes of relaxation and meditation. The hammock can provide extremely peaceful support near the end of the class. It feels very similar to the savasana at the end of a traditional yoga class.