For some people, yoga has become a lifestyle, while others just consider it an addition to their exercising routine. Yoga as a training program and a philosophy has become increasingly successful in the last two decades; it has evolved from a millenary practice to a gymnastics discipline that is practiced by 2 billion people in the world, according to some estimates.
Those who have fallen in love with yoga swear by the health benefits they have observed after introducing yoga in their daily schedule, such as increased strength and flexibility, sleeping better, keeping sickness at bay, releasing nerve blockage that causes pain, improving posture, and achieving peace of mind.
On the other hand, there are also people who have tried yoga but concluded this practice is not for them because not all movements can be practiced by everyone. We tend to associate yoga with covers of magazines depicting athletic men and women who adopt twisted poses that are impossible for beginners. So, if you have some extra weight, health conditions, or simply are a beginner with limited strength and flexibility, does this mean you cannot try yoga?
The answer is that yoga can be adapted for people of various ages, levels of flexibility, and health conditions, and one of the ways to become a yogi without worries is to try aerial yoga.
What is aerial yoga?
Aerial yoga is a relatively new type of yoga that originated out of New York in 2007. It is a combination of traditional yoga poses, dance, and Pilates with the use of a hammock. For beginners, it offers a level of support in each pose to help students learn and practice proper alignment as strength improves. This discipline enables you to perform yoga poses that are difficult to do on the ground and to defy gravity. You may hardly imagine yourself hanging upside down a few feet from the ground, but the truth is that aerial yoga is quite accessible and similar to yoga exercises performed on a mat. Known as the beginner-friendly yoga, aerial yoga represents the best solution for the average person for offering the following advantages:
Releasing spine pressure
As you stand up or sit on a chair almost all day long, your vertebrae are being pulled down into each other by gravity. Flipping yourself upside down allows your spine to be free of pressure and feel relaxed and lengthened.
Total body workout
All body parts move and stretch when you are practicing aerial yoga, and the various movements you perform are beneficial for your muscles and joints.
Like many other yoga types, aerial yoga improves your digestive system activity through stretches and movements and helps healing digestion-related issues like constipation.
Working against gravity determines you to make use of your balance and stability, and you start to see an improvement when it comes to balance while performing your daily activities as well.
Putting you in a good mood
Physical activity, including aerial yoga, releases the so-called happiness hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins, which makes you feel more energetic and in a better mood. Some experts consider that being suspended above the floor upside down may determine your brain to release even more serotonin, which will make you feel serene and even euphoric.
Helping with back problems
Handing upside down freely allows you spine to lengthen and the smaller amount of strain on your back can provide instant relieve from spinal cord tension and pain.
Aerial yoga clears your mind by putting you into a meditative state and ultimately combats stress you have accumulated throughout the day. Less stress also means you will enjoy better health.
Perform difficult traditional yoga poses
Inverse poses like Sirsasana and Halasana become much easier in air, and other traditional yoga poses like Gomukhasana and Tadasana are easier to do while suspended in air.
Hold poses for a longer time
When you can hold a pose for a longer time while performing aerial yoga, you gain a better understanding of yoga poses that can be implemented on the ground.
It’s a new challenge
Practicing aerial yoga requires mental focus and challenges your nervous system and proprioception as you move your body into poses you have never tried before.
It increases pulling strength
Pulling movements are not found in traditional yoga practice (for instance performing pull-ups), and most postures involve repetitive pressing, which can cause muscular imbalances and stress injuries. When practicing aerial yoga, on the other hand, the act of pulling yourself up in the hammock enables you to perform both pulling and pressing and to keep your shoulders balanced.
So, if traditional yoga is not suitable for you due to your health condition or other limitations, aerial yoga represents an excellent alternative if you still want to enjoy the benefits of this millenary practice and much more.
If you are asking yourself which type of yoga is better, traditional or aerial yoga, you should keep in mind that the best type is the one that suits your abilities and preferences. For some people, aerial yoga may be the only viable option for practicing this discipline, while others may still prefer traditional exercises. The only way to find out if aerial yoga is for you is to give it a go.