About Aerial Yoga

Scorpion pose on a Sunday morning

Scorpion pose on a Sunday morning

Aerial yoga's a fairly new form of yoga. It was first popularised just over 10 years ago in New York by acrobat and dancer Christopher Harrison, who started the Anti-Gravity Fitness movement. However, it's been around in some shape or form for possibly a lot longer - famous yogi B.K.S Iygengar was well known for using straps, ropes and chairs and improvised inversion slings when teaching.

Aerial yoga is normally performed in a fabric hammock attached by webbing and carabiners to the ceiling. The hammock isn't rigged very high - it falls roughly to hip height.

Benefits of Aerial Yoga

  • Decompressing effect on the body: The chance to hang freely allows the spine to lengthen and the vertebrae to decompress. In a study titled ‘Inverted Spinal Traction’ published in Arch Phys. Medical Rehab 59: 367-370, Aug 78., physiotherapist LJ Nosse found that inverting and decompression of the spine decreases muscle tension by over 35% within the first 10 seconds.
  • Improves flexibility: Having the support of a hammock helps you move freely in the air and explore poses and asanas  with much less stress on the joints and tendons.
  • Increases strength: Aerial yoga is pretty much a total body work out. Because gravity is working harder on your body, your muscles work harder, too. Counteracting gravity helps you engage and utilise muscles you may not realise you had!
  • Engage the core : Suspension encourages students to use their abs more than traditional yoga practise does.
  • Uplifts mood: The unfamiliarity of aerial yoga gets your adrenaline going, helping to release “happy” hormones like endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, which boost your mood and help you feel energised.
  • Improves balance: While being upside down is fun, we also do a lot of work with one leg suspended. This helps with balance and stability in every day life.
  • Increases confidence: Aerial yoga looks visually stunning - however, as with everything, some poses take time and practise to master. But when you finally master that Dancer's Pose, Flying Locust, or hold a plank, you'll be so proud of yourself!
  • Relieves stress: Learning to work with your breath, either while doing familiar flows or poses, or trying a challenging new move, encourages you to be present in the moment and focus. The relaxation/meditation at the end doesn't hurt, either,
  • It's fun! Hanging upside down adds a little childlike joy to your life - and we can all benefit from that.