If you want to learn a new perspective and take your yoga practice to a whole new level, Aerial yoga is a must-try. Aerial yoga, also called anti-gravity yoga, makes you feel weightless. It allows you to say bye-bye to gravity and all those delicious inversions will come much easier.
Aerial yoga is beneficial for the spine as it decompresses and re-aligns the spine when inverted, and the adjusted poses with the hammock release muscle tension. And let’s not forget—the precious Savasana cocoon at the end of a class!
If you are new to aerial yoga, here’s a list of common mistakes to avoid when enjoying your next flying yoga class.
1. Expecting a Regular Yoga Class
Aerial yoga is something quite different than your regular Hatha class. Yes, some poses are similar, but what you will get is a combination of acrobatics and yoga, supported by a hammock.
Acrobatics may sound daunting, but don’t worry: you don’t need to be a circus star to get through a class. The poses are accessible, and will do wonders for your practice off the hammock as well!
2. Picking a Hammock Too Low or Too High For You
The hammock, the piece of fabric hanging from the ceiling, will be your bestie and confidante during the class. Within the classroom, the hammocks may hang at slightly different heights, and if you choose one which is too high or low for you, the practice may get uncomfortable. It’s best to choose one that comes to your waist, between your pubic bone and your navel.
3. Wearing Clothes That Do Not Work to Your Benefit
For Aerial yoga, it’s good to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts, or at least shirts that will help the decompressions of the hammock under your armpits. Clothing that is very loose may get tangled with the hammock, or you may end up exposing more than planned in inversions, so it’s best to wear something tight.
It’s also good to check that you are not wearing any distracting jewelry or clothes with zippers, as these may not work so well with the hammock.
4. Eating Before the Class
As with any yoga practice, eating just before the class is not advised. But since there are more inversions in Aerial yoga than in a regular yoga class, it’s even more important to make sure you give yourself 1-2 hours to digest your food before a class. You’ll want to fling yourself upside down without having to worry about your stomach going upside down as well.
5. Thinking Your Muscles Can Relax With a Hammock
Just because the hammock is there to support you doesn’t mean you can let yourself get lazy. You will have to use your core muscles much more on a hammock, than when you do standing on the ground. The hammock’s uneven and unstable surface pulls you to different sides, so it’s up to your core power to balance yourself (especially in standing poses) and to practice a deeper level of grounding.
This also means that all those supporting muscles, that may not get noticed much on a stable ground, get activated on a different level with Aerial yoga. You will also develop strength in the arms from pulling yourself up onto the hammock, so your muscles will get a work-out for sure.
6. Not Trusting the Hammock
It may be scary to be dangling in mid-air in new positions, but don’t worry, the hammocks are designed to hold a lot of weight (as much as 1,000 pounds). So no matter your size, you will not come tumbling down with the hammock. Ease into it, and enjoy the weightlessness.
7. Taking It Too Seriously
Aerial yoga is a wonderful chance to try out something different, to play and explore with your body as we did as children. So try to approach each class with great curiosity and a playful heart. After all, anti-gravity is playing with the laws of physics, and it encourages us to stay light-hearted and to simply have fun.
If you haven’t made any new year’s resolutions yet, it’s time to add Aerial yoga into your list! You will jumpstart your new year in a fun, weightless, and healthy way.
Image credit: Yogo Girls