We all know yoga. But aerial yoga? Tell me more! We’ve recently discovered aerial yoga, which basically is practicing yoga from a suspended hammock. We know hanging from the ceiling in a cocoon of material sounds strange (and quite frankly a little terrifying), but once you learn to “trust in the hammock” there are some amazing benefits of practicing aerial yoga.
We had a chat with Shari Veitch from Sky-Lab AntiGravity Yoga to find out more about aerial yoga. Check it out!
- Tell us about aerial yoga. How did the concept originate?
At its most basic, aerial yoga is a fusion practice. Christopher Harrison, American dancer and acrobat developed it 20 years ago in the USA. It combines elements of yoga (taking its roots in traditional yoga form), so you’re preforming shapes similar to a floor base yoga class but you’ll do them upside down or in the air! Aerial yoga also takes influences from pilates, core development and dance. Its major influence comes from silk trapeze, which is an aerial apparatus. So really you’re combing all those beautiful elements that come together in a really dynamic practice.
- How did you come to try aerial yoga for the first time?
Before creating Skylab, I was a professional dancer and doing a lot of pilates. But I’ve always loved yoga and it was my go-to class when I wanted to do something for myself. I started focusing more on my yoga practice, and at the same time I started working in aerial arts as a dancer in a contemporary company. I had a lot of different loves and when I discovered the practice of anti-gravity yoga, I knew I had found everything I loved in one apparatus!
- What can someone expect out of an aerial yoga class? What does a typical class look like?
People are often scared when they first try aerial yoga, because you do spend a lot of time hanging upside down! What you’ll get out of an aerial yoga class, however, is a decompression of the spine – that’s one of the main benefits from an anti-gravity practice. It’s just so good for your body! Another key benefit of aerial yoga is that nothing touches the floor. The hammock is wrapped around your pelvis and is holding you up in space, so you have zero compression happening on the floor. That allows traction through the spine, helping you feel taller and lighter! In a typical class you’ll find we do a lot of pilates and yoga inspired moves, but in a hanging hammock!
- Can anyone do aerial yoga?
Yes! Everybody can do it! It is so accessible because the hammock is measured to your body height so it’s at hip height for you. It makes hopping in an out of the hammock like hopping into a chair! The hammock acts like your support or a teacher assisting you through the whole class, lifting you and aligning you from the ceiling. It’s a challenge, but yes, definitely anybody can do aerial yoga and reap the benefits!
- How has aerial yoga changed your body and your fitness?
I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life. Aerial yoga is an incredibly balanced practice. After I class, I don’t feel like I’ve overworked or underworked any part of my body. You’re constantly using your core stabilising muscles, even when you’re sitting in the hammock because it forces you to sit upright. You’ll feel more balanced, flexible, toned and overall lighter from practicing aerial yoga, I can guarantee it.
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