Have you caught a glimpse of a bunch of hammocks in the yoga studio next to you and wondered what the heck they’re doing there? Or maybe seen some “acrobats” in pictures on Facebook talking about their swing yoga class and wondered how that’s yoga? If so, then this is the blog post for you!
Swing yoga, or aerial yoga, recently sprung up in the yoga community thanks to Michelle Dortignac. Back in 2006, she began holding classes in her NYC studio that combine traditional yoga with her background in dance and the circus art of tissu, or aerial silks. Today, aerial yoga is more common around the US, but many yogis (new and traditional alike) are hesitant to jump in the swing. Which is why we’ve provided you with four great reasons to try taking flight with your practice:
Aerial Yoga is Great for Everyone, Even Those New to Yoga
A lot of beginners are hesitant to jump into the swings. It makes sense: if you’re still learning the poses on the ground, wouldn’t they be harder in the air? Not necessarily. True, there are more advanced poses that can be learned through the swings, but most of the building block poses can also be done just a few inches off the ground. In fact, once you’re in the air and working to counteract gravity, the body can learn to align itself more properly, helping your confidence and practice on the mat as well.
It’s a Full Body Experience
When you’re in the swing, your body can hang freely, taking pressure off your joints and allowing your spine to decompress and the shoulders to straighten. It’s like the easy version of combining water aerobics with an inversion table. And since you aren’t limited by the floor, you’re free to stretch and bend in ways you can’t on the mat. In fact, due to its anti-gravitational nature, almost every body part moves and stretches when you’re in the swing; muscles are toned and redefined, joints are regenerated and strengthened.
When you’re in the swing, you’re sweating, and your blood gets pumping, like with most other workouts. Your circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems are being reactivated through blood circulation, which also boosts your mental abilities, regenerating the mind and strengthening neural connections related to memory and intelligence. If you’re able to let completely go and trust in the swings support, aerial yoga can also help to rebuild your emotional system by relieving stress.
There’s something about an aerial yoga class that feels like being a kid on the playground again. Monkey pose, monkey bars maybe? Because endorphins make you happy? Whatever the reason, swing yoga allows for the opportunity to drop your ego and judgment during yoga class and just have fun!
Ready to Fly? If you’re ready to get started with aerial yoga, go to www.HealingRadius.com to find a yoga studio near you that offers classes. And keep these tips in mind to make it one of your best practices yet:
Wear form-fitting, but comfortable clothes and go barefoot (like your regular yoga classes).
Drink plenty of water and eat a light meal; avoid anything that might make you feel sick when you go upside down.
Do not use hand lotion, and remove any jewelry, watches, or anything else that can get caught on the swing.
Listen to your body: if you need to, take a break and come down to child’s pose, do so.
Have you gotten to try aerial yoga before? Tell us about it in the comments!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.