My first Aerial Yoga class in London
I am always up for new challenges, and when I saw that The Life Centre was going to host an Aerial Yoga workshop, I could not resist having a try. I was firstly tempted by the many Aerial Yoga images I had seen online; they all look so artistic and beautiful.
Photo by (top left to bottom right): Julia Lavron; Aerial Yoga Academy; Brunopion; The Journey Junkie
But Aerial Yoga classes can give you more than just a beautiful photo. I discovered that this practice has many unique benefits.
So, let me start by introducing you to what Aerial Yoga is in more detail and its key benefits.
What is Aerial Yoga?
Antigravity Yoga, or Aerial Yoga, combines the traditional yoga poses, pilates and dance with the use of a hammock, a low-hanging, wide aerial sling to aid in moving through traditional yoga postures. One of the primary benefits of practising Yoga with a Hammock is its remarkable ability to decompress the spinal column and reduce joint stress as you practise stretches and postures with the support of the sling. The ‘weightless’ aspect of this practice helps you to access a wider range of movement, moving through poses that would otherwise be more restrictive.
Weightless, stretch, reduce joint stress… they all seem so delicate and relaxing but trust me, Aerial Yoga graceful moves are not easy peasy.
5 Key benefits of Aerial Yoga
- Improves joint mobility. By facilitating the bending and stretching of the whole body during exercise, muscles and joints will be strengthened and rehabilitated, and the spine decompressed as the body hangs freely.
- Deeper stretches. By supporting your body weight on the Aerial Sling, it helps you to access these postures and deep stretches in a more relaxed way, leading to better alignment in most any asana. It also helps to alleviate muscle tension, neck and back pain. A chiropractor in a sling!
- Greater flexibility. Muscular flexibility, joint mobility and realignment of the spine are approached in a way that is unique from the other disciplines.
- Strengthened Muscles. Due to the nature of aerial yoga movements, almost all the body parts are forced to move and stretch. Plus, a constantly engaged core is required to perform most of the balances, which is essential for good spinal health and posture in this desk-bound age.
- Better Focus. The complex movements also force you to focus your attention on breathing and rebalancing the body and mind. It also creates better body awareness and agility – or grace of movement.
My first Aerial Yoga Class Experience
Unfortunately,I do not have photos of my experience to share. It was a group class and I did not wanted to be a paparazzi and disturb the class.
I was quite excited to try my first Aerial Yoga class. We were a small group of 10 people, and the majority were total beginners. So I felt quite comfortable sharing my clumsiness gifts with the group.
I could not stop thinking how good it would feel to be in a rocking yoga Hammock cocoon.
The teacher began the class by explaining what we should expect from the session, the type of Aerial Yoga exercises we would do and how the equipment worked. We then started the exercises at a lower level, so we had the chance to get familiarised with the equipment and become more confident.
Throughout the Aerial yoga class, we did various traditional yoga poses or aerial adaptations of traditional poses using the hammock for support. I could feel that by having the support of the hammock, I could hold challenging yoga postures for longer and I felt a stronger stretch without any pressure.
I felt like I was Aladdin levitating.
We then jumped to more challenging exercises at a higher height. Oh yes, you will sweat at a Aerial Yoga class. My core was fully engaged all the time and I needed to stay 100% focused on my movements.
I also tried the headstand asana. I never do it in my usual Yoga class because I do not enjoy the feeling – I feel too much pressure – but I was able to do it with the support of the hammock huuuurruuuay! I felt much less compression on my neck and back, but I am not able to stay in that position for long. Being upside down is not my cup of tea, I always feel a bit dizzy.
I think you can imagine what was my favourite exercise.
I laid down and fit my whole body, from the feet to the top of my head, in the rocking hammock while following a guided meditation focusing on my breathing. It was such an enjoyable and peaceful experience.
The 2 hour workshop flew fast, and I really enjoyed my Aerial class. It was a fun experience where I had the opportunity to explore a creative and artistic fitness side and release my clumsiness gifts.
Have you tried Aerial Yoga? I would love to hear about your experience.
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