Soaring High with Aerial Yoga
I first tried aerial yoga with my husband on a bit of a whim at a festival a couple of years ago. It was a short session, the swings were suspended from children’s swing frames, and it was set up on a bit of a hill, but there was something about it that I loved. The deep sense of relaxation I felt cocooned in the swing, and the relief I felt in my back from the inversion may have been more about the awful nights sleep we’d had in a tent on a hill with our friendly neighbours playing music at 4am… but all the same I was intrigued, and eager to try more.
After the festival experience I started to attend a regular class near home (actually it was over 30 minutes drive away - so perhaps that shows how much I love it!), but the bit that has intrigued me is people’s reaction when I tell them that I practice aerial yoga, or more recently that I am going to teach it.
I felt inspired to write this blog as I wanted to let people know not only about the benefits, but also about how accessible it really it - even for those that struggle with traditional styles of yoga.
Aerial yoga’s origins
Props to help with the yoga asanas (poses) have been used as far back as yoga records go. In ancient times these would have been in the form of ropes, stones and sticks, but nowadays we tend to use props in the form of bolsters, blocks and straps. The yoga swing is a more modern form of a prop, allowing users to experience deeper versions of asanas they may find inaccessible in a normal yoga setting.
The benefits of practicing with a yoga swing
I’ve already touched on the fact that using a swings makes certain poses more accessible, so let me bring that to life a little for you. Headstands bring so many health benefits to us - they strengthen the whole body, are said to help calm a frantic mind, and are also really good for relieving digestive and urinary complaints (not to mention that they are an awesome party trick). BUT they are really hard to do, not everyone that would benefit from doing headstands can do them, or hold them for long enough to really feel the benefits. With the swing anyone* can do an inversion, and get so many of the benefits that I’ve just listed. AND what’s even better, is that as you’re suspended there is no compression through the spine and neck.
There are many other benefits as well. One of the main ones for me is that when I practice with the swing I find I am fully present in my practice. I find I care less about how I look, or how well others are holding a pose (which is something we shouldn’t do in any yoga practice, but somehow I can’t help but have a sneaky look!).
Others find that the feeling of touch from the swing is important to them, for others the ability to ‘rock’ in certain poses is a huge benefit. Rocking can not only help with joint mobilisation, can act a bit like a massage, but also helps improve sleep patterns and calm our stress response (see my blog on How Yoga Change my Life for more info about the effects of stress on the body).
And, also it’s really fun! I love that when I teach aerial yoga you get people smiling and playing and feeling energised just by incorporating a simple swing into their practice.
And, also it’s really fun! I love that when I teach aerial yoga people smile, play and feel energised.
(this is my husband playing around - there is no expectations you will do this in your first aerial lesson!!)
Aerial Yoga at The Garden Studio
So, why don’t you give it a go? We currently offer classes on a Monday evening and Tuesday morning, as well as regular workshops on Saturday afternoons. You can find more details about the aerial classes here, book by clicking here, or if you want to talk so more about it (or any other classes we run) please feel free to get in touch.
*Contraindications (or conditions that mean we recommend aerial yoga may not be the best form of yoga for you)
Hypertension, glaucoma, Heart conditions, Inner ear conditions, recent surgery, Epilepsy, Hernia, medications that cause dizziness, Pregnancy (unless approved by a doctor).