Aerial yoga and anti gravity yoga - what's the difference?

They're both upside down. They both include yoga moves. So what's the difference – if any – between aerial yoga and anti-gravity yoga? And to make things more complicated – what's yoga trapeze?

Firstly, anti gravity yoga is aerial yoga, although not all yoga is antigravity yoga. That's because Anti Gravity Fitness® is actually a trademarked company started by former gymnastic and Broadway choreographer Christopher Harrison.

The man himself in action

The man himself in action

 

Aerial yoga vs aerial hammock

Confusingly, there's also a recent trend (looking at you, Instagram) of conflating aerial yoga and aerial hammock dance. While they use the same equipment (a hammock made of soft yet durable material attached to caribeners and strops), they're slightly different disciplines. When we do aerial yoga, the hammock's close to hip height, and moves are often performed with at least one foot, leg, or arm on the ground (although not always when doing inversions). It's important to note that although aerial yoga makes for some pretty striking photos, it's not meant to be a performance art – that's why it doesn't matter in class if you don't feel graceful or don't have perfectly pointy toes!

Throwing some shapes on aerial hammock

Throwing some shapes on aerial hammock

Aerial hammock, on the other hand, involves the hammock often being rigged a little higher, and attached to a swivel so that the entire piece of equipment rotates. Spins for days! It's an awesome piece of equipment for aerial dance and one that I'm particularly fond of – but again, strictly speaking it's not aerial yoga, though many of the inversions will look familiar to you.

Yoga trapeze

We can also add “yoga trapeze” into the mix. If you've got any images of Cirque du Soleil acrobats flying around a big top, sorry to disabuse you of this notion – it actually looks like this.

Photo by master1305/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by master1305/iStock / Getty Images

Note the stirrup-style loops that the user can put their hands or feet in – it's a little like yoga meets TRX.

The name “yoga trapeze” has always been a little misleading for me, as I also practise and teach static trapeze. Before I had seen yoga trapeze in action, I always wondered about how yoga on a traditional trapeze would work, seeing as trapezes have a metal bar and aren't always known for being the most comfortable piece of equipment to recline on. Maybe someday I'll combine them – watch this space!