You probably have seen photos of people hanging upside down wrapped in silks in the past and wondered what exactly was going on and how they managed to contort their body that way. It’s likely you were witnessing someone practicing aerial yoga, and it actually isn’t as complicated as it may seem. This style of yoga may seem outlandish and like something you wouldn’t consider trying, but there’s a reason for all of the buzz, and it just may offer you more than your typical yoga class.
What is aerial yoga?
Aerial yoga is a type of movement that utilizes silk hammocks that hang from the ceiling as a prop to achieve certain postures. Sometimes the postures are done entirely in the hammocks, and other times they involve floor work as well as using the hammock for assistance and to go deeper. There are typically different class levels and options for people with experience levels of all kinds. Aerial classes typically incorporate yoga, pilates and dance elements which is why many instructors refer to these classes as aerial fitness opposed to aerial yoga. Depending on what teacher you get, there may be certain elements that are more prominent in your class than the others.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to having an aerial practice. Many view aerial yoga as more challenging and something that wouldn’t be accessible for them but the silk hammocks actually make a lot of postures easier and more accessible for a lot of people. The hammocks can take a lot of the strain off of the joints and create a comfortable way to ease into postures at varying degrees. Beginner classes and easier levels can be a great option if traditional floor yoga classes and workouts are difficult for you.
Some other benefits of aerial yoga include deepening stretches, making inversions easier, relieving tension, breath awareness, increased balance and bodily awareness. Aerial is also a more fun and playful type of workout class for people. Using the silk hammocks creates a sense of fun and playfulness and removes the serious nature that many fitness classes tend to have. Many say that aerial classes feel safer and more trauma informed for them given that the silk hammocks feel like sort of a cocoon and create a safe container for them to move their body in and rest comfortably when needed.
What to expect in a class
Aerial isn’t all inversions and fancy poses. Depending on what kind of class you go to at what level, you can expect different things. In an all levels friendly aerial class, you can expect to start with some floor work and utilize the hammocks as a prop to deepen stretches and sink deeper into certain postures. Then you generally move into more suspended postures, relying on the silks to hang in the air. The atmosphere is typically fun and playful as people move about their posures and work the hammocks. You can expect to sink deeper into stretches and a moderate, fun workout that gets you out of your comfort zone. I would highly recommend aerial yoga for anyone that wants a well rounded way to move their body that isn’t a conventional fitness class.