When I signed up for the Aerial yoga class, I wasn’t certain what to expect. I wanted to share my personal experience with you as well as offer you some expert advice. After reading this, I hope you will want to give aerial yoga class a try. It’s something everyone should experience.
I have always been captivated by any opportunity to fly like Peter Pan, or at least be suspended in the air. Who doesn’t want to experience weightlessness?
The Aerial yoga class has been a fun way to be playful and workout at the same time. I am no aerial performer or anything close to it, it’s just a new way to strengthen my body. With that said, being draped in the silk fabric hammock is the closest thing to floating in midair that I have ever experienced.
When you slide into the silky flowy-like hammock (suspended from the ceiling) it hugs and wraps around you. It supports your full body weight. Hanging or suspending your body parts is known to create traction and open your body more gently and intuitively than when you’re on the floor. The silks and ropes can also be helpful for balance.
What is Aerial Yoga anyway?
Aerial yoga, also referred to as anti-gravity yoga, shares a lot similarities with conventional yoga. Aerial yoga offers the opportunity to deepen traditional yoga positions by using a silk hammock as a tool.
The hammock partially or fully supports your body as you move through various yoga postures, including hip openers, inversions, hamstring stretches and other restorative postures.
Using a silk hammock is a unique and fun way to hold yoga poses like headstands.
Everyone should try this new form of yoga. The key is to find a class with a highly experienced teacher like Bea Rosner. Bea teaches at Bainbridge Recreation Center (formerly BAC) as well as several places in Seattle.
Rosner shared with me that the most fulfilling part of my career has been sharing my love of yoga with people on the mat, in the air, in the water. She invariably creates a tailored playlist for every class and it really puts you in the right state of mind to be present in your practice. It makes a difference.
Rosner says “she loves the sound of laughter which encourages her to be playful during a class.” She creates the yoga sequence based on her students’ needs.
Meet The Expert- Bea Rosner
Bea Rosner is the Chief Yoga Officer for Air, Land and Sea Yoga. She offers group and individual lessons traditionally on a mat, suspended in the air in a nine-foot silk hammock and in a pool. All of her classes feature individualized attention, custom music playlists, and playfulness.
She has received certificates from leading yoga organizations like the Yoga Alliance, Soul Work, AIReal Yoga (different than Aerial Yoga), Core Power, etc. Bea is trained in Hatha, Yin, Trauma Informed, Childrens, Aerial, Restorative, Sculpt, Aqua, Chair, and Meditation. She has been called a yoga enthusiast expert that thrives on the exchange of energy with students.
Bea tells me that ‘AIReal Yoga (trademarked name and known as the gold standard) was created by a former Cirque du Soleil performer to help her recover from an injury. Bea has been teaching individuals and groups for the past six years. Certified AIReal Yoga (spelled different that Aerial Yoga) instructors are very well respected in the industry- It’s a big deal!
Can beginners do aerial yoga?
Aerial yoga is for anyone and everyone. Everyone in our class was a beginner. The key is to have an experienced instructor to ensure you don’t insure yourself. A patient instructor like Bea is essential for any students.
Bea Rosner is a delight and I have really enjoyed getting to know her.
Research Shows That Aerial Yoga Is Beneficial To Your Health and Wellbeing
A new study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that women who did three 50-minute aerial yoga classes a week for six weeks lost an average of two and a half pounds, 2 percent body fat, and about one inch from their waist, all while increasing their VO2 max (a measure of fitness) by a whopping 11 percent.
The study revealed that a single 50-minute session of aerial yoga burned an average of 320 calories and yielded cardiovascular effects in the range of low- to moderate-intensity exercise. After the six-week aerial yoga program, participants experienced significant improvements in several health risk factors such as body weight, body-fat percentage and blood pressure.
There are many health benefits to Aerial Yoga. Bea tells me “the top three would be decompressing the spine, calming the nervous system, and decreasing inflammation. And there’s that sense of feeling lighter, taller and confident that encompasses me as well.”
What surprised me was the Improved range of motion, increased strength and flexibility I felt after the class. I feel like the practice has helped to open my chest and shoulders, reducing stress and calming the mind.
The Top 13 Benefits of Aerial Yoga- Health Benefits Are Impressive
1. Great for Back Sufferers
Because of the hammock’s support, far less pressure is placed on your joints. You’ll be able to obtain a full-body workout without any discomfort. Relieves joint pressure and spinal compression that floor workouts can trigger
2. Helps with Breathing
Controlled breathing is an important aspect of yoga. Aerial yoga allows you to breathe deeply while dangling in the air.
3. Enhances Flexibility
In order to maintain a great range of motion, you must consistently work on your flexibility. Aerial yoga class will definitely help you stretch your muscles and tendons. Being suspended in the air gives you more space to move. This means you’ll be able to perform yoga poses that you can’t do on the floor.
This overall body stretching exercise reaches muscles and parts of the body that regular exercise may not be able to. The use of the hammock supports and assists to manipulate the body into positions we normally struggle to reach.
4. Stress Relief
Aerial yoga is very Zen. It releases tension. With that said, this form of yoga offers stress relief. My favorite part of class is when you get to cocoon in the hammock. It feels amazing to be suspended in the air with no pressure on any joints. Calms the nervous system & relieves stress in your hammock cocoon.
Research shows that mind-body activities can reduce stress, and aerial yoga is no exception. You will walk away from class feeling calm and happy. Learn more about what to eat to reduce anxiety here.
5. Boosts Brain Function
When you are inverted, you have more energy and better focus because blood flows to your brain and provides you with oxygen it needs for brain function. Blood flow boosts brain power as you release neurotransmitters through inversion therapy.
6. Burns Calories
When you start to perfect more difficult positions, you will burn calories as your body struggles to remain in control.
Being suspended in the air requires a stable core as you change positions in a way a mat yoga class can’t. In fact, a study performed by the American Council on Exercise shows aerial yoga rivals the effectiveness of aerobic exercise. During a 50-minute aerial yoga session, you have the potential burn 320 calories. After six weeks, your risk of cardiovascular disease will be significantly lower.
7. Releases Endorphins and Make You Happier
When you first attempt this class, you’ll be overwhelmed with adrenaline due to new challenging positions you’ve never experienced before. Being upside-down increases adrenaline and produces hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and good old endorphins, improving our all-round happiness.
8. Strengthens Core Muscles And Helps With Balance
Aerial Yoga exercises strengthens the core muscles, including the back, stomach and pelvis to improve all-round physical strength. The more muscle you build, the better your body performs in burning fat.
9. Improves Your Posture By Realigning The Spine
Applying force to the spine separates the vertebrae, relieving pressure on discs and ligaments. The same occurs during Aerial Yoga exercises. It gives you the ability to hang freely, while decompressing and lengthening your spine.
10. Detoxify The Body
Aerial yoga helps detoxify the circulatory and lymphatic systems, reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Yoga in general is known for its ability to detoxify body, mind and soul; the circulatory and lymphatic systems collaborate better to eliminate pollutants, and this puts your body back into a healthy state whenever you are feeling heavy and bloated.
11. Stimulates Digestion
An Aerial yoga workout will assist in stimulating the digestive system. Aerial yoga can help rid you of digestion-related issues like constipation and indigestion.
12. Better Sleep
Inverting exercises reduces muscle tension, which assists with better sleep. Aerial yoga, like many other body workouts, encourages your body to release happy hormones such as endorphins and serotonin, making you to feel more energetic during the day, and calm at night.
13. It’s FUN!
Aerial yoga is actually fun. It’s different and it’s fun to be supported in way you feel as if you are flying.
What to Expect During an Aerial Fitness Class
When asked what do your students like most about it and what surprises them most after trying it? Rosner replied that “the class enables curiosity, not knowing what to expect, and the power of floating meditation.”
Rosner says, “I experience the pleasure of witnessing my students smiling at the sense of accomplishment and joy hanging upside down for the first time. Students surprise themselves by progressing quickly as their trust and confidence builds. The sky’s the limit on what is possible.”
Keep in mind that in the first few classes, you will learn how to manipulate the hammock and position your body within the hammock. Bre is great taking time to demonstrate the moves and explain why and how to get in the correct position.
The suspension fitness classes build over time. You must get comfortable with the apparatus.
Tips When Taking An Aerial Yoga Class:
- Trust the hammock: It may be scary at first, but just know that the silky sling will hold you plus another 300 pounds to boot.
- Wear the right gear: Wear snug clothing and nothing loose.
- Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, take a break or ask for assistance.
- Don’t eat a big meal beforehand: You’ll want to avoid eating a large meal for at least an hour before class, but Walker also notes that you don’t want to go into the class with low-blood sugar, so a small snack like a banana beforehand should be fine.
- Leave the jewelry at home: Jewelry can get easily snagged in the slings, so it’s best to be jewelry-free during your practice.
- Just relax: Enjoy the process and go with the flow
- Speak up: If you need help to get into position, or you’re uncomfortable in a pose, ask your instructor for help.
- Modify moves : Aerial yoga is easy to adjust to any move. Modify your moves if needed.
In conclusion, I highly recommend that anyone gives aerial yoga a try, if not just for fun! You can practice aerial yoga at home after you get the hang of it.
Whatever you decided to do with your fitness program. Make sure to find your happy with exercise!
Aerial yoga is not recommended for people who are pregnant or for whom hanging upside down is not medically advised.
This includes, but is not limited to, people with eye conditions such as cataracts or detached retina, as well as people with unregulated blood pressure.
Check with a healthcare professional before signing up for your first class.