If you’ve dismissed airborne yoga as an intrusive trend designed only to create perfect jaw-dropping flicks, think again. There’s a reason a growing number of celebrities and fitness enthusiasts around the world are taking up gravity-defying workouts. Taking fitness to new heights, literally, is Aerial Yoga, which delivers the benefits of Yoga, Pilates and Dance, all in one device!
Aerial yoga is said to release hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine, boost your mood and make you feel energized. And those who practice it couldn’t agree more. “I am over 50. I was impressed but doubtful to join aerial yoga. It pushed myself and it helped me a lot,” said Manju Gupta, a government employee who has been practicing aerial yoga for over a year.
For 25-year-old Nitika Singh, aerial yoga is an outlet for her feelings. “It gives you a lot of strength, both mental and physical. I used to find (regular) yoga very boring, but this pulls me in. It connects me to myself. It feels like it awakens every part of the body, and there’s a lot of focus on the spine,” she says.
Aerial yoga uses a hammock or yoga hammock suspended from the ceiling instead of a mat. “The hammock is generally made of soft fabric and helps promote movement and flexibility,” says Tarandip Kaur, a yoga instructor.
Aerial yoga is largely credited to the late Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, who developed Iyengar yoga with props. The yoga instructor will ask his students to hang from the ceiling in yoga hammocks lined with yoga mats and blankets. The original swings weren’t quite like the colorful silk hammocks we see today.
“The difference between aerial yoga and other forms of yoga is how you do your poses. Instead of performing yoga poses on a floor mat, aerial yoga uses a silk hammock or ropes to do the same movements,” says Kaur.
The swing also takes pressure off certain areas of the body, such as the head and shoulders, allowing for easier performance in high-pressure situations such as head standing. Dr. Lovlina Nader, a gynecologist who has been practicing aerial yoga for many years, notes that “aerial yoga aids in the practitioner’s physical and mental health.”
Research suggests that doing aerobic yoga stimulates the production of certain neurotransmitters. “These chemicals reduce symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, while increasing overall happiness and well-being,” Nader adds.
While aerobic yoga does not require any specific dietary changes, it is wise to stay hydrated and eat leafy greens, fruits, vegetables with a high water content, and nuts. But do not exercise on a full stomach. Consume adequate nutritious meals and enough sleep to allow muscle recovery after yoga.
It helps to gradually increase the flexibility of the body, thereby improving the range of movements. Muscle strength also improves.
Helps increase the core strength of the body.
It stimulates blood circulation, which helps to improve the cardiovascular system.
It helps relieve pressure on the spine, which is often the result of being in an upright position all day.
It helps in losing fat and building muscle, as a lot of muscle is being used at one time. One can easily burn up to 400 calories in a 45-minute session.
Aerial yoga combines the benefits of cardio and weightlifting exercises effortlessly.
It is a low impact exercise for the joints, as it has virtually no impact during performance.
Who can’t do aerial yoga?
Cabin yoga is a potentially dangerous activity, if done without proper supervision.
Avoid aerobic yoga if you have heart disease, high or very low blood pressure, glaucoma, or severe arthritis.
Hanging upside down may cause dizziness.
Aerial yoga is not recommended during pregnancy and after surgery.
Injuries to the shoulders and back, muscle pulls, bruises and tissue burns may occasionally occur.
Warm up is a must. Exercising without a warm-up greatly increases the risk of injury, especially in beginners.