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5 Reasons to Fly with Aerial Yoga

June 25, 2014

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You probably already know all about the benefits of yoga. As a workout, it’s incredible for toning your muscles, increasing your flexibility, strengthening your bones, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your balance. On an emotional level, yoga’s strong mind-body connection teaches you to quiet your inner critic and bring conscious attention to your body, thoughts, and emotions. That’s why yoga is so effective at reducing anxiety, promoting sleep, and even boosting your sex drive. 

I love this moving meditation as much as the next yogi, but, over the years, I’ve run into my fair share of yoga conundrums. How do I maintain my practice through a wrist sprain? Will I ever learn how to transition into a properly aligned headstand? What adjustments should I make to accommodate my runner’s knee? 

If you ever reach an impasse, aerial yoga, also known as “antigravity yoga,” may be just what you need to bring some levity—both literal and figurative!—to your yoga practice. Created by gymnast Christopher Harrison during a trip to India, aerial yoga combines the moving meditation of a traditional yoga practice with silk hammocks that suspend you from the ceiling. Think of it as your very own mega-relaxing Cirque du Soleil performance! 

Here are 5 reasons to incorporate aerial yoga into your physical mindfulness routine: 

It takes the stress off your joints. Recently, yoga has come under fire by critics who say some studios pressure students to stretch their joints and muscles beyond their limits. By going airborne, aerial yoga removes much of this stress. That allows students of all shapes, sizes, and abilities to try out poses—even inverted poses—without the risk of over-stressing their joints. 

Aerial yoga enfolds you in a mindful cocoon. Fans of antigravity yoga rave about the “silk hammock effect,” describing it as a peaceful cocoon where you can shut out the world and commune with your inner self. Even in a room full of other yogis, you can retreat inside your hammock, breathe deep, and focus on your own physical practice with minimal external distractions. 

It makes yoga more accessible. When yoga first became popular, it quickly gained the reputation as a practice only for the most flexibly fit. While this myth has largely been dispelled, traditional yoga can still feel intimidating. Aerial yoga is open to all ages and ability ranges, thanks to the range of motion created by the supportive silk hammock. 

It decreases back pain and increases spinal health. Suspended above the floor and supported by the hammock, practitioners are able to hold a headstand or handstand for much longer periods than the floor version of either pose. The result is a powerful spinal decompression that relieves backaches and stretches out the spine without risk of strain. 

What’s more fun than to experience yoga in flight? Talk to anyone who’s tried aerial yoga and they all circle back to the same feeling: “It was just so much fun to practice! It felt like flying.” So why not give aerial yoga a try and inject a little extra fun back in your yoga practice? 

Have you ever tried aerial yoga? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!