If you’ve ever seen photos or videos of people twisting, spinning, and flying upside down in a colorful silk hammock anchored to the ceiling doing aerial yoga, it can look like it’s made for a gymnast or some type of flexible daredevil, truth is, almost anyone can do Aerial Yoga. Working with the right instructor and in the proper class for your experience, you can move at a level to challenge most anybody. aerial yoga is like doing yoga with the help of a prop, there is a hammock, or “swing” attached to the ceiling that can provide support for the arms, legs, or could even suspend the entire body in space. As an aerial yoga instructor I am acutely aware of its endless benefits. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to share these abundant benefits with my clients through this joyful, exhilarating yet calming, strengthening, and for some, life changing exercise called aerial yoga.
Aerial yoga offers liberation by allowing your physical self to release, so the emotional and spiritual self can expand. You are gently nudged to go outside of your normal boundaries and forced to find balance. This can be disconcerting, but with time you create trust, strength, balance, confidence, and fun with aerial yoga. As you hang upside down or just lay in the hammock, you will be returned to your childhood and start to shed layers of fear, distrust and seriousness as you enjoy your “hang time.”
Certainly, core and physical strength are increased with aerial yoga, but you will see these benefits as well:
Greater flexibility and circulation
Because of the support of the hammock you will balance, stretch, and move more freely. You will be able to open your ribs and diaphragm to increase lung capacity, As you float backward in gravity your spinal flexibility will be uninhibited.
Improved muscle strength
Using specific techniques to wrap your hands around the silk to do upper body exercises will strengthen your hands and wrists. This will translate to more strength in things like down dog and arm balances when you go back to a traditional yoga class. You will have a great core workout and may even see improved posture and reduced back pain.
Reduce stress and increase joy
While inverting with the support of the sling can provide a sense of delight, there is also a deep sense of calm from the gentle rocking motion of the hammock.
All the benefits of being inverted without muscle strain
You’ll notice more radiant skin, improved sleep, and possibly a better mood. Because of the way the hammock wraps around the hips and low back it also offers myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and spinal decompression.
Inherently, aerial yoga supports the nervous system in a comforting, containing way. Ever leave a mat yoga class and feel calm all over? The breathwork and the stimulation of the vagal nerve during the asanas help to balance the parasympathetic nervous system. Aerial yoga takes this to a deeper level during the poses that squeeze the body almost like an embrace. For example, Savasana is done lying in the hammock in a cocoon like fashion, the compression of the silk against your body helps to stimulate your skin and muscles in a way that increases circulation and creates calmness, think swaddling a baby. The sympathetic nervous system (aka fight or flight) is also strengthened in an aerial yoga class when the excitement or thrill of trying a new vigorous flow or inversion is presented. Executing the more challenging poses followed by relaxing in the hammock inherently strengthens the nervous system. You’ll notice this when sleep comes so quickly and deeply after an aerial class.
Guiding people through their aerial yoga journey has been an adventure for me as their instructor. I’ve seen each person have moments of joy, fear, excitement, and calmness. The sense of community that occurs during a class is truly breathtaking. People encourage each other as they try and accomplish new things, the group laughs together at some of the more fun silly and freeing types of exercises, and this can lead to deep connections after sharing these experiences together. I become more passionate about aerial yoga everyday and feel so thrilled to help encourage people to explore these newfound layers of themselves.
Bridget Crowe is the owner of Body Essentials Pilates in Dillon. She has more than 2,000 hours of training from the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado and works extensively with her mentor Kim Haroche. Bridget has completed her Master training and is a host advisor for the Pilates Center. In 2014, Bridget was trained as a Ballet Barre instructor and in 2016 became certified to teach aerial yoga. Pilates, Ballet Barre, and aerial yoga have helped shape Bridget’s unique and comprehensive teaching style. (970) 468-1607 or visit BodyEssentialsPilates.com