Next Level Yoga: Advanced Aerial Yoga Postures & Poses
Aerial yoga may just be the ultimate tool for fitness and mindfulness. With a good yoga hammock and knowledge of aerial yoga postures, yogis can take their yoga to the next level, helping to deepen in your pose and ultimately improve flexibility and strength.
In this post, we’ll be
talking about more advanced yoga postures. In previous discussions we've talked specifically about more beginner aerial yoga asanas, as well as some of the equipment used.
To take advantage of this yoga technique, you may need to start with some of those aforementioned basic aerial yoga postures until you get into the "swing" of things. Upping the intensity of your yoga practice can certainly be obtained by giving advanced aerial yoga a try.
Aerial yoga (or antigravity yoga) is touted to help reduce pain, realign the spine, and increase flexibility. Advanced aerial yoga may be able to enhance these benefits, reaching your fitness goals, faster. When performing aerial yoga, you will be executing many of the same poses done on your yoga mat, just now suspended in the air. Like other yoga props, the hammock/swing can be used to challenge you as a yogi, and/or help support you in developing more stretch and strength.
Advanced aerial yoga can also keep you more in touch with your body as it
brings a different type of physical awareness. Some yogi's find specific poses extremely challenging, like inversions, do to pressure on the neck and spine, as well as weakness in their arms and shoulders. With the help of a hammock, these asanas become more executable for beginner and intermediate yogi's.
Significant Advantages of Aerial Yoga Practices:
At many times in our lives we look to better ourselves in some way, both physically and mentally. Pushing yourself to try aerial yoga can do just that, and be fun at the same time. This is not just a physical challenge, but difficult mentally as well. Most notably because it is probably something completely new to you, making it not just exciting, but slightly nerve racking as well. Conquering certain poses and concentrating on your execution, may help take your mental game to the next level, giving you increased confidence within this form of yoga, but also on the mat!
Let's also not forget about the fact that often times (not always) when doing aerial yoga, you are in fact, suspended in the air. For some, just the completion of doing an exercise while suspended in the air, is an almost "face your fears" type moment. This itself, may be a huge boost to your overall fitness confidence.
ii. Strength & Flexibility
The Yoga Hot Spot (with locations in New York), discusses the ability of aerial yoga to help maintain great range of motion by consistently working on your flexibility, which aerial yoga can help achieve. Not only does aerial yoga allow you for an opportunity to safely stretch your muscles and joints (they write in there post), but may also give you additional space to move about.
You might imagine, due to the constant tension on your upper arms and the core to help stabilize yourself in the air, the additional strength that you may see in these areas. During aerial yoga you will be holding onto a silk hammock for the duration of the session, and engaging your core to help move about and execute the asanas. While engaging areas of your body, you may also increase blood flow to those areas, allowing for strength gains through nutrient transport.
iii. Better Mat "Game"
If you think about the fact you are often deepening your positions, coupled with combining skills of gymnastics, Pilates and acrobatics, it only makes sense then when getting back to "yoga on the mat", you tend to improve your overall yoga game. Heck their is even aerial barre classes.
Having trouble getting those tricky headstand on forearm stands down? Try some advanced aerial yoga poses!
Keep in mind that oftentimes these classes are led by an instructor, whether at home or in the gym (given the rise of virtual classes). Many instructors offer a variety in training, as aerial yoga can be restorative, meditative, even more face-paced. Point is, many forms of yoga you do on the yoga mat, can be done via aerial yoga.
iv. Easy on the Body!
Don't take this to mean, aerial yoga is easy to do! What we mean by this is it's impact on the body, muscles, joints, etc. Because you are not constantly creating force on joints like your knees, ankles and hips, aerial yoga offers comfort as well as cardio and strength training.
Advanced Aerial Yoga Poses You Should Practice:
1. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose Variation (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Variation Aerial)
An intermediate level pose, (their are other versions of this pose as well). The One Legged King Pigeon pose requires balance, strength, and offers a great stretch to your routine, working your core, hamstrings, hips, quads, and shoulders.
1. You’ll first want to get into an aerial reclined angle pose to start this posture.
2. Lift your head up so you can place your legs correctly. One leg should extend straight out to your side. The other leg should be bent sideways with the outer foot wrapped around your hammock.
2. Aerial Star Inversion (Utthita Tadasana Viparita Aerial)
The next advanced aerial yoga posture we'll discuss is star inversion.
1. To do this pose, sit in your yoga hammock. Lean back and brings your knees toward your core, while also engaging your core.
2. Spread your legs in a straddle position.
3. You'll want to lean back enough so you can flip backward, and become inverted, then widen your legs.
4. Guide your hands down toward the floor so that the back of your hands touch the ground.
3. Inverted Eagle Pose (Inverted Garudasana Variation Aerial)
The Inverted Eagle Pose is yet again another advanced aerial yoga asana. It requires strength and balance. This pose can equate to a nice stretch for the upper and lower back, arms and shoulders.
**SEE Video Above For Easy Instructions**
1. To get into an inverted eagle, bring your yoga silk right above your glutes and lean back in the reclined position.
2. Like in the previous asana, become inverted by bringing your knees up to your core, and engaging your core.
3. At this point, your head should be near the ground, and your legs up in the air, inverted!
4. Your hands should be firmly on the ground, palms down, for leverage. At this point, place the back of your left knee over your right knee.
5. The hands should be wrapped around one another. To work on your other leg, put your right knee over your left knee.
4. Inverted Bow Pose (Inverted Dhanurasana Aerial)
5. Handstand Pose Aerial (Adho Mukha Vrksasana Aerial)
Sticking with the theme of this post, the Handstand Aerial Pose in another advanced aerial yoga pose. Both strength and balance come into play when maneuvering into this inverted pose.
1. Sit in your hammock, then lean back and straddle your yoga silk so you are fully inverted.
2. Wrap your feet in your silks.
3. Once fully inverted, with legs wrapped, put your hands out on the ground and lengthen up to a handstand pose.
4. Your silks should help take some of the weight off your arms, but this pose still requires ample arm strength.