Take a load off with aerial yoga

Challenge your flexibility and strength with aerial yoga.

Challenge your flexibility and strength with aerial yoga.

Tired of keeping your feet on the ground? Aerial yoga is a hot fitness trend that allows you to let out your inner acrobat and do your favorite poses suspended from the ceiling.

Yoga in the air
Aerial yoga – sometimes referred to as anti-gravity yoga – is a form of the practice where participants are suspended in the air using silk swings. According to Boston magazine, sometimes the swings are used to deepen traditional yoga poses, but other positions are entirely unique to this style. Like any form of exercise, it can range from easy to challenging depending on your level of experience.

“It’s based on a suspension philosophy rather than a weight philosophy,” anti-gravity yoga instructor Nancy Elkes told the Chicago Tribune. “You’re not holding yourself up; the hammock is holding you. You’re using your own body weight jumping, pulling yourself up and landing softly.”

Benefits of going aerial
The benefits of aerial yoga go beyond just having fun. The support provided by the swing can help take the pressure off of your body in certain positions, making it an ideal solution for people who have  joint problems. While the swing makes many positions easier to attain than in traditional yoga, you still get the strength and flexibility benefits of any form of the practice.

There’s also something incredibly freeing about hanging upside down from the ceiling.

“My first thought about the class was how liberating it felt: There’s an incredible lightness to soaring, stretching and floating through the air suspended by a lavender silk hammock,”  Carolyn Gregoire wrote in The Huffington Post after trying aerial yoga. “The inversions really get the blood flowing – extended periods of hanging upside-down will do that – which left me feeling clear-headed and energetic after the class, feeling like I was walking on air.”

Starting out
You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete or even an experienced yogi to try out aerial yoga. However, The Huffington Post recommended starting out with a restorative class if you don’t have any kind of gymnastics or yoga background. The simpler moves will help you to learn the ropes before you attempt more advanced poses. Don’t despair if you’ve tried yoga before without much success. The swings can actually make some positions easier to achieve for those who aren’t as flexible.

To prepare for your first class you can work on some basic poses throughout the week, but there’s no need to have previous experience. Wear comfortable clothes that allow you plenty of room to move and stretch and tie back your hair in a ponytail or braid to avoid getting tangled mid-pose. Leave dangling jewelry and your favorite BABY-G digital or analog watch at home to avoid accidentally scratching yourself or catching the fabric as you change positions.

Before you sign up, you should also make sure that you’re comfortable hanging upside down. You don’t want to figure out that you aren’t once you’re already up in the air!


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