If you are a serious yoga practitioner who is looking for a new form of physical experience that can boost circulation, test your flexibility and challenge your body, a form of yoga that defies gravity might be just what you need. If you love to practice Bikram yoga and enjoyed the challenges of Power yoga, as a yoga aficionado you have a new trend to look forward to —- Aerial Yoga.
Aerial yoga, or anti-gravity yoga, became an overnight sensation. Perfect for those who want to shake things up a little to not let monotony ruin a perfectly good yoga session, this new form of yoga is both rewarding and exciting. Let’s find out more about this trend!
Aerial….What? This is a new form of yoga that originated in New York and has been inspired by a combination of yoga, calisthenics, aerial acrobatics and pilates. It involves performing a series of complex exercises while being suspended from a hammock-like apparatus about 2 to 3 feet above ground; hence the name Anti-Gravity Yoga. And yes, this hammock is the key difference between your regular yoga and aerial yoga. The fabric works like a soft trapeze or swing, and hence facilitates ease of movement and enhanced flexibility, while also changing your dynamic relationship to the ground and relying on gravity during workouts.
But Why Aerial Yoga? Aerial yoga offers many health benefits. The workout stretches and strengthens all muscles in the body without overstressing the joints or compressing the vertebrae. In fact, while it looks complex, it is highly recommended for those who suffer from back issues as the hammock offers great support for the spine. Here is a look at some of the additional benefits of Aerial yoga over regular yoga session:
- Improved Flexibility – Since you throw exercise moves inspired by dance, aerial acrobatics and pilates into the mix, this form of exercise greatly improves your flexibility. You move your body into new positions as you have more freedom of movement and this results in deeper, more satisfying stretching as compared to traditional yoga.
- Strengthened Muscles – As you can imagine, being suspended above the ground means that gravity is working hard on your body, and as a result, your muscles have to work harder too. Aerial yoga isn’t just great for stretching; it is also an amazing core workout as you engage all your core muscles to stay balanced and stabilize your body while you move in the hammock.
- Enhanced Focus – With Aerial yoga, you put yourself in a more challenging physical environment, and hence feel more alert and aware of your surroundings. This improves your ability to focus and concentration, both of which are great plus points.
- Relief From Stress – Aerial yoga is a great stress buster as you get an amazing workout, plus the satisfaction of knowing you did something new and exciting.
Is Aerial Yoga Safe? As with most workouts, there is a certain risk of injury even with Aerial Yoga. However, only because you are suspended above ground doesn’t mean that this form of exercise is any riskier than going for a run!
However, if you suffer from glaucoma, high BP, arthritis, vertigo, bone disorders or are pregnant, it is best to not take up anti-gravity yoga without consulting your physician first.
Few Useful Tips For Beginners
- Unlike traditional yoga where you are encouraged to wear loose, baggy clothes, Aerial yoga is best done in form-fitting but comfortable clothes. Loose clothing can hinder freedom of movement and become snagged in the hammock.
- You will feel most comfortable when barefoot.
- Eat a light meal before your yoga session and drink plenty of water. Avoid soft drinks and any other acidic liquids before class, as these can cause abdominal discomfort when you are hanging upside down.
- Remove all jewellery and accessories like watches before your yoga session. Don’t use any creams or lotions on your hands and feet as this can make it harder for you to maintain a good grip.