Aerial Yoga is a new form of yoga practiced in, with and on a long piece of fabric hung like a hammock. Each hammock, rigged with mountain-climbing grade daisy chains and carabiners, can typically hold up to 1,000 lbs. The benefits are numerous, the challenge is exciting, and the fun factor is out of this world!
One of the greatest benefits of aerial yoga is the decompression of the spine during inversions. During a typical aerial yoga inversion, the head does not touch the ground; Gravity plays a big role in gently stretching the body and lengthening the spine. This becomes especially important as we get older because after about 30 years of age, the elasticity and water content in the spinal disc begin to decrease. The way to keep the discs supple and moist is through movement and creating space in the discs.
Another benefit to aerial yoga is its ability to increase flexibility and stability concurrently. Because flexibility and stability are always competing to become greater than the other, it tends to be quite a challenge to increase both at the same time. For example, if you stretch too far forward in One-Legged Warrior 1 (see photo), you will lose your balance and disengage the core.
There are many spiritual and emotional benefits as well. Flying Poses such as Flying Coffin, not only challenges the core and the legs, it also increases inner confidence and willpower. Floating Poses like Aerial Savasana bring about a sense of protection while relaxing the entire body cocooned in the hammock from head to toe.
Aerial Yoga Students typically start experiencing improvement in their stamina, flexibility, stability, sense of calmness and mind/body connection after just a few sessions. Increase in muscle tone and other physical improvements become noticeable after about 3-4 sessions.
With the fun-factor being equally as great as the benefits, put Aerial Yoga on your list of things to try this year!
-Jheni Solis, Fabletics Master