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Aerial Yoga: High Flying Fitness

“The Suspense Is Killing Me!” – Said No Aerial Yogi Ever!

The Eastern form of exercise, yoga, has become a modern day symbol of serenity, peace and well-being in all over the world. According to the 2012 Yoga in an American study, more than 20 million people in America practice it with practitioners spending over $10 billion per annum on yoga related classes and products. The more we explore yoga, the more we realize its benefits. Yoga helps people to relax, relaxing the mind and making the heart beat go down, which is great for people with blood pressure issues. The different yoga poses help increase strength and flexibility, bring relief in all the muscles of the body.

A new form of yoga has recently been introduced by aerial performer Christopher Harrion’s. He is a former Broadway choreographer and a gymnast. Aerial yoga is a hot new fitness trend making its way across the world.

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What is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial yoga is different in its technique and practice from the other forms of yoga, but far more relaxing and soothing. It involves a series of exercises inspired by Pilates, yoga, aerial acrobatics and calisthenics in a hammock like apparatus. It is practiced to achieve a total body workout.

Aerial yoga combines the traditional mat yoga the postures suspended in hammocks. With the help of the hammocks and gravity, we can playfully explore fluid movements, floating and create space in our bodies without compressing the spine and joints. With practice, the body feels exquisite.

Aerial Yoga training is easily accessible

Aerial yoga started more than a decade ago, as the trainers began combining conventional yoga with aerial techniques in their classes. Today, there are a number of distinct schools and classes, conducting it regularly on studio schedules and at different festivals around the world. As it involves suspending hammocks, so it is mainly done in an indoor space.

How it works

Aerial yoga or anti-gravity yoga is an exciting complement to your mat practice. It unwinds facial tangles and knots, builds core strength, quiets the mind, and leaves your body feeling integrated. The hammock, same like other props in yoga, is to assist alignment of the body and deepen the awareness. The wonderful fabric becomes a tool of learning and the students often find moments that bring a new life and understanding of the poses and postures they previously feared. The classes are alternate between practicing with the mat and the hammock to play with gravity in different ways.

You sit on a soft fabric hammock suspended from the ceilings that looks like a long scarf. The hammocks are specially designed for the yoga purpose. They are made out of high density nylon material that support more than 2,000 pounds of weight. The hammocks are held up by webbing straps, carabineers and support chains. The hammock’s height can be adjusted according to personal preference, or for better maneuverability. You also need a normal yoga mat in an aerial yoga class so you can have a mat to stand on.

Throughout the aerial yoga class, you do a variety of yoga poses and aerial adaptations with the help of the hammock. Some of the most basic practices involve stretches, while sitting in the suspended hammock, while other poses progress to hanging in different styles, especially upside down and grabbing your thighs, ankles and feet for balance and support.

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Why Aerial Yoga is the best exercise?

As we know that aerial yoga is a combination of traditional yoga poses, dance and Pilates with the use of a hammock, it provides the best posture and gravity situation that allows you to perform various yoga poses that might be difficult on the ground. It’s fun and acrobatic. It offers the same benefits and enjoyment of the normal yoga, but it has some additional benefits attached to it.

Total body workout: Due to its unique suspension style, it gives all the body parts refinement and toning. Joints are regenerated and strengthened due to the movements.

Heals back pain: It allows to lengthen your spine freely by hanging freely. With less strain on your back, it eases the tension in the hip joint and spinal cord.

Psychologically beneficial: It helps rebuild your emotional system by clearing your mind and relieving stress. It helps in combating stress and increasing creativity.

Increases stamina and strength: It improves body’s overall strength and stamina. The core workout is important cross training, as it assists runners increase stamina and be able to recover faster.

Improves mood: Aerial yoga gets your adrenaline going, while going against the gravity. It produces happy hormones, such as oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which boost your mood and provide energy.

Aids digestion: The various types of movements and stretches helps improve the digestive system of the body. Thus, helping in healing different digestion related problems.

Improves memory: IT fortifies the neural connections, thereby, improving memory power. In a way, it can make you smarter.

Is Aerial Yoga safe?

Aerial yoga is a safe form of exercise if practiced under a supervision of a trained yoga instructor. The instructor will tell you how to perform aerial yoga properly, so that you don’t harm yourself. Furthermore, the height of the hammock from the ground is hardly three to four feet during the aerial yoga class. Therefore, the risk of injuring yourself is quite minimal.

Some important considerations to take into account are the multiple risks associated with hanging upside down for a long period of time. Most of the people engage in an aerial yoga experience few to no problems. However, if you feel any difficulty immediately contact the instructor and consult a doctor.

Precautions

For those who are looking forward to practice aerial yoga for the first time, here are some tips which help them to avoid injuries.

Wear well-fitted, but comfortable clothes. Loose clothing will make the movement difficult and has the potential to get tangled in the hammock.

You will feel more comfortable, if you go barefoot in the aerial yoga practice session.

Do not use hand lotion as it may make your hand slippery on the hammock and will loosen your grip.

Avoid soft drinks or any acidic liquid before the class. Drink plenty of water and have a light meal.

Remove watches, jewelry and anything which can tangle in the hammock. Fingernails and toenails should be trimmed.

After an hour of swinging back and forth, pushing your body in a new way and flipping it up and down, it’s hard not to leave the class with a great smile. It seems like an intimidating exercise, but it can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. Aerial yoga is a chance to play and dream together, to try something different altogether, and put yourself in a position in which you feel no gravity or earthly force on you taking you in a world of comfort and solitude.

by Angelique Harris

Angelique’s Etsy Store: JaenaLaShae.etsy.com

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