Aerial Yoga Explained

Aerial yoga has become an exciting new fitness class as of late, so it might be surprising to learn that Christopher Harrison first started developing aerial yoga as early as 1999. Harrison and Team AntiGravity — made up of gymnasts and dancers — were traveling in the tropics when they were inspired by a gazebo of hammocks. He and his team began messing around and playing with the hammocks, exploring the movements. Later on stage, the team was inspired when they saw fabric being used as a climbing rope. After experimenting with different types of fabric in their gym, Harrison found the perfect material and aerial yoga began. He began inventing moves that incorporated yoga, Pilates and calisthenics.

aerial yoga
(Photo: AntiGravity Fitness)

He initially added aerial yoga into his own shows, but started to see the benefits to his and his team's health. They even let their company chiropractor go because they could eliminate their own kinks just by hanging upside down! After seeing how aerial yoga helped to heal his body and the bodies of his company members, Harrison decided to set up a yoga hammock in his mother's house. She experienced bad pain which he wanted to help alleviate with the use of his developing technique. Harrison knew that if his mother, who had two reconstructed hips, a phobia of exercise and was overweight, could do it, then anyone could!

Harrison says that "she became the guinea pig" for aerial yoga, and he wanted to share this new form of exercise with everyone. So, with his ideas and his mother's hard work, they came up with the technique that is aerial yoga today! He first had to modify the apparatus and make sure all the techniques were safe before he launched aerial yoga to the public in 2007, but the craze caught on like wildfire. His pioneering efforts resulted in P!nk's aerial hammock performance for the 2010 Grammys.

Anyone can take part in this amazing new fitness class. Essentially, aerial yoga or AntiGravity Yoga uses a silk yoga hammock that is about 9 feet in length and suspended from the ceiling. If you're a yogi who wants to try your skills out in the air or a gymnast looking for something exciting, this fitness craze is perfect for you! Even if you just need a new fitness class to spice up your life, take the plunge and try aerial yoga!

aerial yoga class

In an aerial yoga class, you are taught how to safely climb aboard and then progress through a series of movements. These include learning how to maneuver your arms, legs and torso in and out of the loops while you swing and hang at different angles. After you get the hang of it, you'll start to incorporate normal yoga moves while you hang suspended in your hammock. Harrison's favorite aerial yoga move is the Harrison Handstand! Essentially, you're posed in a handstand in midair! And the best part is that anyone can do this because the yoga hammock is wrapped around your legs, helping you to balance.

When you do go to a class, you should wear normal workout gear that covers your armpits and legs. Tights would be best, but if you decide to wear a pair of sweats, make sure they are tight around the ankles. Remember, you're going to be hanging upside down! (via Women's Health)

Not only is it an interesting new take on yoga, but it has so many benefits for your mind and body. You get a full body workout because all your body parts are forced to move and stretch. This workout is often used for physical rehabilitation and can decompress your spine. If you have back and neck problems, aerial yoga is a must! It can improve your posture and make you taller. Like normal yoga, aerial yoga helps build your emotional system because it relieves you from stress and it helps to stimulate the release of your happy hormone.

There are just so many benefits like balancing your body and mind, increasing metabolism and burning calories to lose weight, strengthening and lengthening muscles and mobilizing joints. The best part is unlike regular workouts that can't seem to keep your attention, there is so much mindful playtime involved in aerial yoga. It's like an adult playground where you get to have fun while reconnecting your body with your mind!


Read More: 6 Yoga Poses to Relieve Stress

The upside down aerial moves allow you to develop new body skills that you may not be able to do in regular yoga. It works muscles you never even thought you had. It can also increase your creativity, joy and optimism. Overall, with aerial yoga you'll be healthier, happier and fitter!