Benefits of Aerial Yoga

Over the past several years, the Yoga community has embraced the use of an aerial or suspended form of Yoga. Some people know it as Anti-Gravity Yoga.

Why is this beneficial?

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We have found, and also hear from our customers, that using an Aerial Yoga Hammock relieves stress, helps with flexibility, and increases strength. If you find you are on the computer most of the day, your lower back, shoulders, and neck are taking a lot of strain. Spending just a few minutes stretching with the Aerial Yoga Hammock will help your back, neck or shoulder muscles engage in a different way. You can do an action similar to swimming by kicking your feet as you are suspended in the hammock. Or, you can sit on the floor and have your neck supported in the hammock for a release of neck tension. There are stretches, spine twists, and core conditioning you can try. Some of our customers say the Aerial Yoga Hammock is their ‘home spa’.

Other Aerial Hammock Uses:

  • Some of our customers use the Aerial Yoga Hammock to help soothe children with Autism. Many of our customers with children find it is a soothing and fun experience for their children and for them too.
  • We have customers who use the Aerial Yoga Hammock in birthing centers. The Aerial Hammock is used to support the mother during the act of giving birth if she wants to use the squatting position. It is also helpful for the mother’s birth partner to help support her when she is in this position.
  • We have customers who use the Aerial Hammock in their massage practice. It is helpful for Thai Massage Therapists who want to use the Hammock as a support when walking on a client’s back.
  • We have heard that some people enjoy using the hammock as a shared experience with one partner being supported in the hammock.

There are many different styles of Aerial Yoga in use. Some studios have a Flow Yoga approach, some use a more Fitness based program. Some studios prefer the Flying Hammock that offers handles for support in particular the plank or push-up pose which is extremely good conditioning for core muscles.

We also find the hammock can be used to support a limb or to assist in regaining joint mobility post surgery. This may require some assistance from a partner.

Here are a few examples of just some of the poses you can do on a daily basis:

In any of the more therapeutic uses, please consult your physician or physical therapist prior to using an Aerial Yoga Hammock.

Savasana Pose Using Aerial Yoga Hammock

A simple and very relaxing pose is to lye flat in the hammock and relax. You can do breathing using Yoga Techniques, Feldenkrais techniques, or just plain deep belly breathing. Just 5 minutes of this will remove lots of stress. Be careful getting into the hammock. Be sure to pull some of the fabric securely under you as you sit down. Then grasp the sides and spread over your shoulders. Slowly lay back, then with your feet, push the fabric so you can fully extend your legs and you are enclosed in your cocoon. After relaxing in this pose, take your time sitting up and then standing up.

Neck Relaxing Pose
Neck Relaxing Pose

Neck Relaxing Pose using Aerial Yoga Hammock

Sit on the floor and have the hammock low enough that you can rest your head in the loop. If you have a Flying Yoga Hammock, you can rest your arms in the hand loops. With a regular double point Yoga Hammock, as pictured, or single point Aerial Yoga Hammock you can rest your hands on the floor, or in your lap. Sit in this position and gently roll your head back and forth. Have the hammock on the Occipital Bone for maximum benefit.

yoga shoulder stretch kneeling pose
Shoulder Stretch for Kneeling

Shoulder Stretch From kneeling position

Improve Flexibility of Shoulders with Aerial Yoga Hammock

Another simple pose that allows you to remain mostly on the floor is the shoulder stretch. You may want a Yoga mat, or folded blankets if you have knees that need cushioning. You can do this from the Yoga position, the Child’s Pose, or you can lie on your stomach, or be in a kneeling position. In any of the positions, grasp the fabric of your Aerial Hammock with both hands.  Have straight arms and sink into the stretch. If you spend lots of time sitting in front of a computer, this is a wonderful way to stretch your shoulders, arms, and spine. If you have a Flying Yoga Hammock, you can use the handles versus the middle of the hammock. We have featured the regular double point Aerial Hammock for this pose, but you can use the Single Point Aerial Hammock just as effectively. Have your hands close together, or shoulder width apart, or farther out as in airplane wings. You can twist your body back and forth in the pose. Try to round your back when in the pose and then let your back arch so your spine is included in the movement. Try moving your head when in the stretch to see how this changes the stretch. You can try this pose from a standing position as well. This is not pictured. When doing the pose from a standing position, keep your knees straight for an extra hamstring stretch. Also when standing try to see how rounding or arching your back can include your spine in the stretch.

yoga pose supported front balance
Supported Front Balance

Aerial Yoga Supported Front Balance using Aerial Hammock

This pose is a slight inversion, but you are very close to the floor or your Yoga mat. Place the Aerial Yoga Hammock on your hip bones. Start by lifting up one leg, then the other so both are off the floor. You will keep your hands on your mat. You can swing slightly back and forth still with your hands on the floor. You can raise and lower one leg at a time as if you are doing a swimming kick. This is a slight shoulder stretch, but the goal is to engage your Gluteus Maximus Muscles, the backs of your thighs, and your lower back muscles.

aerial full front balance pose
Full Front Balance

Full Front Balance using Aerial Yoga Hammock

From the supported position previously featured, you will try to lift your hands from the mat. The Aerial Yoga Hammock needs to be positioned so you are balanced. Lift your legs off the floor so you are fully suspended. It is sometimes easier to have your legs wider than hip width apart. This position engages your back muscles and also your core muscles. If you can hold the position for a few seconds, this is ideal.

Splits Stretch from a kneeling position using a Yoga mat for cushioning the knee and the Aerial Yoga Hammock for support
Splits Stretch from a kneeling position using a Yoga mat for cushioning the knee.

Splits Stretch Using Aerial Yoga Hammock

You can use your Aerial Yoga Hammock to increase your leg flexibility. Have the hammock only about a foot off of the floor or your mat, and from the kneeling position, grasp both sides of the hammock above your head, place your heel in the bottom of the hammock, or your ankle, then lower yourself into a splits position. If you are not ready for this pose, you can do a simple lunge position with the hammock placed in the crook of your knee and your knee bent. The Splits Stretch increases the flexibility of the front of your thigh of the leg that is still on your Yoga Mat as well as the leg suspended in the Aerial Hammock. At first only go as deeply into the stretch as is comfortable. You want to always stretch slowly and always when your muscles are warm. It is not helpful to bounce when you are in your stretch, but ease into the stretch, hold for a couple breaths and then move slowly out of the stretch. Remember to stretch both legs. You can move your leg that is in the hammock back and forth if you want. You can do this pose from a standing position. However, if you are in a standing position, you are not as stable. It is best to start low and build up to the standing pose.

Supported Lunge Pose using Flying Yoga Hammock
Supported Lunge Pose using Flying Yoga Hammock

Supported Lunge Position with Aerial Yoga Hammock

When you feel comfortable in the Splits Stretch, try a variation, the standing lunge pose with the back leg suspended in the aerial hammock. You can do this pose without the support of the handles if you do not have a Flying Yoga Hammock. We are featuring the pose with the Flying Yoga Hammock so you can see how the handles add additional support to help with balance. When in this position, you can go as deeply into the lunge as you feel comfortable. Have your supporting leg directly under your hips for best balance. If you are using a Flying Yoga Hammock try raising your chest up so you are using the handles less as supports. You can try the pose without the handles. Remember to do the pose on both sides. You may learn that one leg offers better balance. Try to remember to breath into your pose.

Full Suspended Plank Pose using Aerial Flying Hammock
Full Suspended Plank Pose using Aerial Flying Hammock

Full Suspended Plank Pose with Flying Yoga Hammock

If you have a strong core, you can try the Suspended Plank Pose. This pose can be done using a Flying Yoga Hammock. However, you can do the same position inside of a double or single point Aerial Yoga Hammock by grasping the front edge of the fabric and having your toes in the hammock so you are doing a push up position inside the Aerial Hammock. It is more difficult to illustrate, so we are using the Flying Aerial Yoga Hammock in the photo. Keep your arms straight and engage your core and back muscles. Try to have your head in a neutral position, neither higher or lower than your spine. Try to think of your legs, back, shoulders, and stomach as if you are a board. Hold the position for a few breaths then lower one foot down to the floor. You do not want to be too far off the floor for this pose. When you first try it, you may want a friend there to help support you. Or, you can open your Flying Aerial Hammock and try the position inside the hammock first and then with the handles as featured in the photo.

Aerial Yoga Spine Twist Using Aerial Yoga Hammock as a Single or Double Point Set Up
Aerial Yoga Spine Twist
Using Aerial Yoga Hammock as a Single or Double Point Set Up

Aerial Yoga Twist Stretch with One Leg Suspended

This stretch is great to do as a warm up stretch, or a warm-down stretch. As you can see from the photo, the hammock is only about 18 inches off the floor. Start by laying on your back with one foot in the hammock. Roll from your back towards your stomach. Your free leg, the one not in the hammock can either be straight or bent. You get more of an Illiotibial or IT muscle stretch if your leg is straight. If you bend it, you are stretching the inner muscles of your thighs. You want the arm closest to the floor to stay straight and you are stretching your shoulder at the same time as you are stretching the front of the thigh of the leg that is supported by the hammock. This stretch is a spinal twist. You can roll completely over to come to a lunge position on your knee, or you can simply roll from your stomach to your back and then switch legs. There are many variations on this simple Spinal Twist. It is a simple yet effective way to warm up your body for stretching and moving, or as a warm down position. It is a nice shoulder stretch. One variation to try is to lie on your side and with the top leg in the hammock, simply move your leg back and forth. You can have your leg bent or straight. You are moving your leg in the joint socket but not using many muscles to have the leg supported. You can spread the hammock so it fully supports your leg. You can use your hands to push your leg so you can experience your leg moving with little effort. This is very relaxing. This supported movement could be helpful in regaining range of motion. However, you may need help from a partner to put your leg in the hammock.

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