Have you heard of aerial yoga? It’s the technique of using a hammock to deepen your yoga practice. While there are many different types of aerial yoga ranging from circus-like to fitness and dance-based styles, there is one constant in aerial yoga practice: the hammock.
What is the importance of the hammock for aerial yoga?
The hammock is a prop for your practice, like a block or a strap. If you can’t reach an asana in traditional yoga, the hammock will hold you, so you can do it in the air. If you’re already an efficient yogi, the hammock can deepen your practice and make postures more challenging. In AIReal Yoga™ we use the hammock for alignment; not so we can do that pretty yoga pose, but so we can do it properly and safely for our body. When we’re aligned, we are more efficient. We can do more, using less energy. The hammock is also a spotting device for inversions, helping decompress the spine and relieve pain and swelling.
There is also an element of fun to it. You’re lifted in the air, floating, feeling free and light, helping you deepen your connection to the mind, body and spirit. Savasana is also done in the hammock. Being wrapped in silk, and held, feeling safe and supported, is pure bliss.
While many first come to aerial yoga classes just for fun, they leave surprised by how good they feel: pain-free and happy. Because the hammock allows you to decompress the spine and safely do inversions aerial yogis see incredible benefits like increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and pain, anti-aging, increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, decreasing stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Inversions calm the mind, allowing you to think more clearly, see yourself more clearly and help you focus.
How to prepare for your first class
Before you start your aerial yoga practice, you need understand the differences between the classes that you take, just like in traditional yoga. Get to know the brands and different styles of aerial yoga and what they offer. It’s not just the teachers that are different, the teaching differ as well. Because there are aerial yoga classes for all levels and styles of yoga, it is important to take classes that are right for you, your goals, and your skill level.
When looking for an aerial yoga class, be sure that the teacher is certified in both yoga and aerial yoga. I also recommend checking that they were certified by a reputable brand and have their 200-hour certification from a Yoga Alliance-accredited school.
Be sure to verify that the aerial certification they took involved training in safety and rigging. After all, the hammock is your life line and your teacher needs to manage and properly set this prop for you.
Even though there are many types of aerial yoga, your aerial yoga practice is about you. Once you find your studio and first class, prepare to relax and soar!