Yoga is a wonderfully restorative practice that helps you to build strength and relieve tension in your body. There are many different types of yoga that you can get involved in, each of which offers its own unique benefits and appeal.
One such form of yoga is aerial yoga. In this article, we will look at some of the various forms of aerial yoga that you should try as well as the benefits of this exercise.
What Is Aerial Yoga?
Aerial yoga is a form of yoga that uses apparatus to suspend you in the air. The poses used in aerial yoga are inspired by more traditional forms of yoga, pilates, acrobatics, and dance.
The exercise is designed to help you build strength and flexibility without putting excessive pressure on the spine, shoulders, or head.
Aerial yoga comes in different forms that are mostly based on the type of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling. It is possible to do aerial yoga in a special class or from home if you have the right equipment.
1. Hammock Aerial Yoga
The most common form of aerial yoga that you will come across is hammock aerial yoga. This form of aerial yoga is still quite close to traditional yoga.
Many of the poses used in these classes are similar to poses that you would do on the mat. The main difference is that at least one limb will be elevated by the hammock for each pose.
The hammock for aerial yoga is made from a specific type of synthetic fiber. It is suspended from the ceiling so that it hangs in a U-shape.
The fabric can expand in surface area to provide more support depending on the pose that you are doing. Hammock yoga also utilizes props such as yoga blocks to provide extra support.
As you become more comfortable and experienced with hammock aerial yoga, you are likely to spend more time during practice and classes completely suspended in the air.
This is where more acrobatics can get involved. If you are going to be practicing more advanced aerial hammock yoga at home, you should invest in a padded mat to place under the hammock to protect you from falls.
- Brings an additional flair to regular yoga practice
- Takes some pressure off of joints and the spine
- Easy to set up at home
- Can be much more expensive than regular yoga
2. Silks Aerial Yoga
If you like the sound of hammock aerial yoga but want something a bit more challenging or want to lean more into the acrobatic side of the exercise, silk aerial yoga could be just what you are looking for.
This type of yoga is commonly referred to as just “silks”. This word refers to the fabric that is used to suspend you from the floor.
The difference between a hammock and silks is that there are two separate pieces of material used in silks aerial yoga rather than a single piece that is joined at the bottom.
This means that, in order to suspend yourself, you need to wrap the material around your body in certain ways. This takes a lot more strength than is needed for hammock yoga.
The moves and poses that are used in silks aerial yoga stray further away from the asana poses that you may be used to in regular yoga classes.
However, it still helps to improve your overall fitness, your flexibility, and your strength. It is also easier on your joints than regular yoga because you are suspended in the air rather than supporting your own body weight.
- More challenging for advanced gym-goers
- Learning new skills to correctly wrap the silks
- Builds strength and flexibility
- Much more difficult than others on this list due to having to support yourself
3. Trapeze Aerial Yoga
You can also choose to give trapeze aerial yoga a go. This type of yoga requires a specific piece of apparatus known as a yoga trapeze. This is a more complex version of the hammock that is used for hammock yoga.
The trapeze features two pieces of fabric that resemble the hammock we mentioned above. There are also some handles on the trapeze that can be used to assist certain moves.
Trapeze yoga is actually more accessible than hammock yoga. This is because the sling is lower to the ground and it has multiple handles that you can use to assist your body in moving between poses.
This is another form of yoga that can be practiced in a class or at home as long as you have the equipment.
One of the things that draws people to trapeze yoga, especially if they are going to be doing it at home, is the versatility of the trapeze. The handles mean that the trapeze can double as a suspension trainer, similar to TRX bands.
This can make it a preferable choice for people who train at home because of the added value for money.
- A more versatile piece of equipment for home practices
- The handles make practice easier for beginners
- Suspended lower to the ground which is safer
- Slightly more complex setup than a hammock
4. Aerial Pilates
Although this isn’t strictly a form of aerial yoga, it is very similar in nature and can be a great choice for anyone who wants to indulge in an aerial workout.
Aerial pilates can use a hammock or a trapeze depending on the studio that you go to. The aerial pilates workout is just as effective as regular pilates but allows you to skip the daunting reformer.
The structure of an aerial pilates class is very similar to that of an aerial yoga class with a hammock or trapeze. The moves are similar to yoga poses and pilates movements.
With that being said, this isn’t a class or form of exercise that is recommended for beginners. An incredible amount of core and upper body strength is required to keep yourself suspended with the silk.
If you have tried hammock aerial yoga and enjoyed it but want a bit more of a challenge, aerial pilates can be a great option. You can use it alongside your aerial yoga practice or swap to it completely.
With that being said, not all gyms that offer aerial yoga offer aerial pilates and vice versa. This can mean having to sign up for multiple gyms.
- An additional challenge from hammock yoga
- Contributes to overall strength and toning
- Helps to build lean and long muscle mass
- Not a good choice for beginners
Benefits Of Aerial Yoga
As with regular yoga, there are many health benefits that you can get from aerial yoga no matter which form you choose. Below are some of the main benefits you can get from taking up this sport.
Improved Blood Circulation
Something that may be a surprising benefit is the effect that aerial yoga can have on your blood circulation. You may already know that the more movement you incorporate into your lifestyle, the better your overall health will be, including your heart.
The healthier your heart is, the better it will be at pumping blood around your body.
However, that isn’t the only way that aerial yoga specifically helps improve circulation. Because of the nature of the movement with aerial yoga, it can be particularly good for rotating and moving stagnant blood that is spread throughout your body.
This can help make you feel rejuvenated and healthier.
Improved Strength And Tone
As with regular yoga and pilates, you will see a significant improvement in the strength and tone of your muscles when you begin practicing aerial yoga. One of the best things about aerial yoga is that it manages to work out every muscle in your body.
The muscle mass that is built through aerial yoga is very different from the muscles that you can build through other exercises such as weight lifting.
With aerial yoga, your muscles are elongated which means that the strength you get is lean rather than bulky. This can be a strong selling point for many people who want to be strong without additional bulk.
Improved Brain Function
Another more surprising benefit of aerial yoga is that it can help to improve your brain function. Part of this benefit is the result of doing physical activity that helps to release endorphins and other positive hormones in your brain.
It also helps to relieve stress which can cloud your mind.
Aerial yoga can also improve your brain function through increased coordination. Aerial yoga requires a lot of coordination between your limbs to achieve and hold the poses, this can work out your brain as well as your body.
There are many different forms of aerial yoga that are extremely beneficial for your overall health and fitness. Although the differences between the types of aerial yoga are small, they all allow you to get something different from the sport.