A new way to use your yoga skills

Anti-gravity Yoga, woman doing yoga exercises in the parkYoga is a great activity for strengthening the back and core. However, the repetitive nature of the poses can become boring. If your practice needs refreshing, aerial yoga may be just what you need to freshen up your routine.

What exactly is aerial yoga?

Aerial yoga is based on the poses in standard yoga, but uses a silk, hammock or yoga swing. The first classes combining aerial silk and yoga were held in 2006 by Michelle Dortignac, who combined her practice of dance and yoga on aerial silks. Silk, a soft fabric that is suspended from the ceiling, can be used to support part or all of a person’s body weight. Aerial yoga does require a bit of strength and most places will test your fitness level before you are allowed to use the equipment.

What can aerial yoga offer me?

Like traditional yoga, aerial yoga is also good for your back. Some of these benefits are magnified by the inversions and support of the silk. Aerial yoga is said to decompress tight joints, relieve pressure in the spine, and align the vertebrae with the use of gravity. Many people report feeling light and energetic after an aerial yoga class. Try the Warrior II pose while putting your arms through the silk for added balance. Your spine will be supported and some weight redistributed through the silk.

Is it safe?

Most studios that offer aerial yoga have classes just for beginners, and may even offer spotters to aid in achieving poses. The classes are offered to nearly all ages and sizes. Make sure you are in good physical shape before trying any type of yoga. Aerial yoga is not considered safe or recommended to those with glaucoma, spinal injury, epilepsy, high blood pressure, traumatic head injury, or pregnant women.

Aerial yoga can offer benefits for the spine and a new challenge in your practice. Starting with a class for beginners and paying careful attention to your instructor will help keep you safe.  As with any new activity, it’s best to talk with your doctor first before trying aerial yoga.

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