Aerial Yoga: What are the Best Aerial Yoga Postures for Beginners?
What Is Aerial Yoga?
Sure, you could book a regular yoga class at a
studio or gym, but if you want to exercise in a fun and unique way, aerial yoga can
offer many additional benefits and challenges. Traditional yoga is a great way to get and stay fit.
However, aerial yoga lets you experience this ancient tradition with a modern
twist, and as aerial yoga continues to gain traction, more gym's and studio's are giving you this opportunity.
Instead if the traditional yoga mat, how about trying aerial exercises and poses practiced in a silk hammock. The hammock is suspended in the air which allows you to do yoga airborne, or at least partially off the mat!
The hammock itself it typically suspended just a few feet from the floor, allowing one to easily perform inversions, forward, and back-bend type maneuvers. Typically the included equipment includes; a hammock, carabineers, support chains and straps. You may see these apparatuses hung from the ceiling, rafters, metal frame, even swing sets for home use.
The great thing about aerial yoga is that it helps deepen stretches and poses, and adds what can be a unique and challenging twist to traditional yoga asanas. Another added benefit that yogi's oftentimes find, is that challenging maneuvers and inversions that they could not do on a traditional yoga mat, they are able to achieve with aerial yoga.
Other areas of fitness like gymnastics, aerobics, Pilates and
dance are commonly known to be incorporated into this practice. It even was originated by a dancer, with an aerobic background (Christopher Harrison). This also makes aerial yoga a
great calorie burner! One this note, aerial yoga is also touted to offer a great stretch to the body, decompression to the spine, bettering circulation, even helping with stress relief.
As a beginner yogi, you may or may not be intimidated by aerial yoga. It can seem impossible to do poses off the ground, however like the more traditional forms of yoga, there are many simple asanas you can begin with, and then build from. A blog on HuffPost describes aerial yoga as "yoga....times 10" in terms of how effective it can be, not in terms of difficultly.
For more about the equipment read this post here: Let’s talk Aerial Yoga: Benefits, Types of Equipment, and more!
Now let's discuss how to know if this practice is right for you and then we’ll introduce you to some beginner-friendly poses, and provide additional tips on aerial yoga for beginners!
Is Aerial Yoga Right For You/Things To Think About?
It's hard to know without trying if aerial yoga is right for you. Whether you're a beginner or well versed within the practice of yoga, it may take a class or two to discover your feelings surrounding this more modern twist on traditional yoga practices.
However, here are some things you may want to keep in mind or ask yourself.
Are your looking for immediate results?
Look, truth is regardless of what type of activity or exercise program you're on, and whether you're looking to lose weight, tone or simply deepen your stretches, it takes time. Not just time, but it takes dedication, repetition, and mental focus.
Are your looking to take yoga to a new place?
Aerial yoga is just different. Yes, you can you practice many of the same asanas as you would on the mat. However, part of this practice is the fact that during the entire session, you have to be focused. One part of your body or another will always be engaged. Even just sitting, suspended, takes balance, via the core and/or arm engagement. So be ready to work!
Is it safe for me?
Besides understanding the discipline in general, this question is very individualized. Besides what you've heard, we would always advise you to enroll in some traditional yoga classes first, then get your feet wet with aerial yoga.
Always speak with your healthcare provider if you are questioning whether this may be a good fit to your lifestyle.
Always try your hand with an instructor first. Individuals with any recent injuries, trauma, vertigo, surgeries of any kind, should always consult with a healthcare professional.
What should I be wearing?
One of the more asked questions is what to wear during yoga practice or aerial yoga. The answer to that question is wear what makes you feel most comfortable + gives you the most maneuverability. In most cases, from fitting clothes, like yoga pants or spandex works best. The goal is to not be thinking at all about what you're wearing or how it may hang you up during your session. You want to be as carefree and focused as possible.
Tip: Try aerial yoga barefoot!
Can I practice aerial yoga at home?
Yes. But. It is advisable to have a good grasp on the practice before jumping into aerial yoga at home. Also, if you do purchase a swing make sure to have it installed by a professional. Have a mat on the ground/spotter, ect.
Other safety tips and advice
a. Take off jewelry
b. Go with a friend or someone you know in the class
c. stay hydrated before and after aerial yoga class
d. Stay away from using lotion on your body prior to hanging in the air from a silk hammock!!!
e. If you must eat prior to class, eat a very light meal, and refuel after
Best Aerial Postures For Beginners:
1. Aerial Lunges
You could do lunges on the ground, but why not do them in the air! Aerial lunges help increase leg strength and muscle density. When you do this pose with aerial yoga equipment, you may actually be able to increase your stamina and flexibility.
There are certainly several variations of many of these exercises, but this is a beginner-friendly variation that will still make you work. The lunge works mainly the quads and glutes.
1. To do this pose, you get into a normal
lunge position with the assistance of the hammock.
2. The forward bending leg will be firmly planted on the ground, while your back leg/foot will be placed on the hammock with the top portion of your foot/leg touching the hammock.
3. While keeping your back straight, you can then bring your back leg parallel with the front. From here begin to bend the "front" leg as your "back" leg moves backwards.
4. Place your hands in front of you or overhead as you move through this sequence.
5. Switch legs and repeat the process.
2. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana Aerial)
Downward dog is a popular beginner yoga pose that can be done aerially as well with a modified approach. This is a full-body stretch that tests your stability and stamina. Adho Mukha Svanasana Aerial works your arms, shoulders, back, hamstrings and core.
1. To begin this pose, you'll want to spread your legs at a comfortable distance (shoulder-width), pull the fabric up into your hips.
2. Next, bend yourself over your yoga hammock slowly. You can then begin to bend your knees slightly and bring your hands down to the floor to stabilize yourself a bit.
3. Walk your hands out in front of your body until they are straitened.
4. If your feet come slightly off the mat this is perfectly fine. The aerial downward dog position is great because it can be a starting pose which leads you into many other poses in your routine and you can keep coming back to it as needed for support and stabilization.
3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana Aerial)
The chair pose is another simple, but useful beginner/intermediate yoga pose for aerial yoga. When you do this posture aerially, you can help align your back and improve posture. Again there are variations of the chair pose, but we will start with the most common.
Doing the Chair Pose, aerially, helps increase strength in your legs and core as well as works on balance and stretch.
1. Loop the hammock over your body so it wraps around your back and under your arms.
2. Hold both ends of your
hammock with your hands and then sink into a sitting position. Your feet should
stay planted on the ground, and the hammock should be supporting your spine.
3. Your quads should be relatively parallel to the ground and your lower legs perpendicular to the ground. Sit in this position until failure, and really feel the burn. (Like the downward dog pose this is another pose that can be great for starting your routine and lead into other poses and stretching techniques and variations).
4. Aerial Plank (Phalakasana Aerial Variation)
Aerial planks are the last posture we will introduce in our discussion of aerial yoga for beginners. This pose is pretty straightforward, can be beginner friendly, but it can be a challenge to maintain.
You need impeccable core strength to hold a plank for a sustained amount of time. This pose in done in the prone position, working on balance and strength. Plank poses work the arms, shoulders, core (abs/back) and even the wrist area.
1. Start this pose by putting your feet in your hammock and forearms firmly on the ground. The top portion of your feet/legs should be touching your aerial equipment.
2. After this, place your hands out on the ground as far away from your feet as you can, while still remaining on the hammock.
3. Assume a plank pose. Hold this pose as long as you can to increase abdominal strength and stamina. From this pose, you can easily transition to other traditional yoga poses or aerial yoga asanas.
Aerial yoga is a great way to change up classic yoga postures. It's great for all yogi's, not just the advanced, so if you're looking for just a little something different, aerial yoga may be your answer.
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