Do you sit at a desk for most of your working day? Do you want to increase your agility as well as strengthening your core? Well, it sounds like you need a good dose of aerial yoga then!
A fairly new and modern form of yoga, aerial yoga originated in New York about five years ago when Christopher Harrison wanted to combine his love of yoga with his performance background in acrobatics.
So, what is aerial yoga?
An aerial yoga class generally follows the same flow as your usual yoga class does, however, instead of performing poses on your yoga mat, you use a suspended silk hammock (or yoga swing) to support you through each pose.
Not only does the hammock take the pressure off your shoulders, head and spine, but it also helps to improve your balance and also lets you address more challenging poses by offering the support you need.
Why is aerial yoga so good for me?
The USP of aerial yoga is that it allows you to stretch and strengthen your body without causing any excess stress on your joints or your spine. If you suffer with back or neck issues, then this form of yoga could be great for you, using the hammock as a vital support accessory. When you’re suspended upside down, the spine elongates, creating a space between each vertebrae.
The use of the hammock is also great for inversions. Taking away the factor of gravity, inversion postures can be practiced with relative ease – allowing your brain to gain that healthy influx of blood and nutrients, often for a longer period of time that it would get during an un-assisted headstand.
Aerial yoga is pretty challenging for the body and provides a great all-body workout. Because gravity is working harder on your body than usual, your muscles work harder too. Therefore, an average session can burn around 500 calories and have visible toning effects.
Where can I practice aerial yoga?
In order to practice aerial yoga safely, we advise you to do so under supervision of a qualified instructor.
We have aerial workshops here at GoYoga in Harrogate, which are aimed at both beginners and improvers. Be sure to check our workshops schedule for the next session!
Are there any precautions with aerial yoga?
Some people are put off by aerial yoga because of the anti-gravity factor and for fear of falling. But, you won’t fully know if you are a fan, or not, until you have given it a try.
If you have vertigo or are afraid of heights, then it might not be for you, so do your research and speak to an instructor before your first class. Pregnant women or those who have recently had a major operation are also advised against it.
If you are worried about any current health implications affecting your trial of aerial yoga, then speak with your GP or medical practitioner to see what their thoughts are.
What should I know before my first aerial yoga class?
Just like any yoga class, you should feel comfortable and relaxed. Wear well-fitting clothes that feel good but avoid anything oversized or baggy to reduce the chance of getting tangled. For similar reasons, make sure to remove all jewellery, watches or anything else that could get in the way.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid eating heavy food or drinking fizzy drinks before your class as these could make you feel queasy while being suspending upside down.