Over the years, yoga props and equipment have evolved from their humble origins. B.K.S. began using simple stone “bricks,” the first of their kind—Iyengar to walls resembling a torture chamber, with ropes and pulleys. The art of the prop is sometimes more complex than the asana it’s designed to enhance. You can now add aerial Yoga and anti-gravity to the mix and experience asana in a new way! The “slings” and “hammocks,” which hang from the ceiling, suspend the practitioner mid-air for an acrobatic practice of yoga postures.
What is Aerial Yoga
Creators of aerial and anti-gravity Yoga have dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics backgrounds. Christopher Harrison, a yogi, and gymnast, created the anti-gravity style of Yoga in 2014 for the Crunch gym chain. Gymnasts have been using the yoga swing concept to explore the air in the past. Some found that the movements are similar to those of yoga asana. The concept was then molded and improved to fit within the yoga asana practice.
Aerial Yoga uses a hammock-like suspended device to support your weight as you do hatha hatha yoga postures. Aerial Yoga poses can be passive or require different levels of body strength. Aerial Yoga combines elements from Yoga, pilates, and aerobics with acrobatics and is gaining popularity among urban yoga circles.
What is a Yoga Hammock
Fabric hammocks are used for Aerial Yoga. They are anchored to ceilings and can support up to 600 pounds. Two main designs are used. The most commonly used hammock is a large loop of fabric similar to the ariel performance art. One type of yoga hammock is called a Yoga Swing. It has multiple handles, and the fabric is cinched.
The swing is used to support the hammock throughout the class. This is a major difference from other props. The hammocks, which are always present in aerial yoga classes, are used to support all the asanas. Swings are used in some classes throughout the class, while others only use them as a prop for specific asanas. The Samadhi Yoga Institute, Puerto Rico, has created a system that uses the swing. Lizelle Arzuaga, the owner, has created a program that integrates traditional Samadhi Yoga classes with the swing. This includes combining vinyasa-like floor exercises, modified Sun Salutations, and Savasana.
What are the benefits of Aerial Yoga
Aerial Yoga is a fun way to approach asana. Participants are encouraged “to be lighthearted” when manipulating “laws” of physics as they hang suspended, exploring backbends and savasana. The hammock’s soft fabric alters the dynamic relationship between the body and the ground. This allows the participant to understand their own body better. This experiment is said to ease neck and back compression, align the spine, and decompress joints.
Playfulness and joy: Discovering them
It is up to each individual whether they can discover the deeper aspects of Yoga from a swing. As a dedicated yoga practitioner, I’d love to be able to explore asanas while suspended from the ceiling. This practice would be a wonderful way to explore Leela. In Sanskrit, Leela means the universal play or the aspect of joyous abandonment inherent in every situation. Leela is life, free from all limitations, constraints, and illusions. This is where we can play roles to better understand ourselves and our purpose. We sometimes struggle to find freedom and joy in our daily lives. We can lose the joy of our Yoga practice if we become too serious.
Lizelle started using swings only for therapeutic reasons. But as she used them more, she realized that the swings brought joy and playfulness to her students that they didn’t find in the traditional asana class. So she created whole classes around the swing. I haven’t yet taught an aerial yoga class where no one laughed. We have fun; we shout and scream.
Aerial Yoga Benefits
Increased flexibility and range-of-motion
Building core strength
This is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints.
You can master inversions with this tool
Bring a sense of playfulness and fun into your yoga practice
Aerial Yoga is not for everyone
Aerial Yoga has some contraindications. As with inversions, those with uncontrolled high blood pressure or glaucoma should not practice it. Aerial Yoga, or anti-gravity Yoga, maybe the solution for neck and back issues that prevent them from practicing Yoga. This practice allows for freedom of center and reduces spinal compression, which can happen in traditional yoga classes.
Aerial Yoga tips
Aerial Yoga may not replace traditional asanas but it will balance your practice. This style of Yoga is based on the principles of core integration and balance. These can help develop strength and balance in a traditional practice. It is best to attend a class at a studio specializing in Aerial Yoga if you’re new to the form. If you choose to practice aerial Yoga at home, be sure to use ceiling anchors installed properly or a stand for aerial Yoga.