Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes—gravity-defying aerial yoga might just be the most thrilling variety yet. The practice has only gained popularity in recent years, and many assume you need acrobat-level skills to learn it. In reality, aerial yoga is for everyone. It can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance while also providing a fun and challenging workout. Like most good things, it takes time and practice to get the hang of aerial yoga, but the benefits are worth it. So, what are the benefits of aerial yoga? Keep reading to find out!
How Does Aerial Yoga Work?
During an aerial yoga class, you will use a fabric hammock-like apparatus called a “swing” to perform various poses. The swing helps you achieve deeper stretches and provides support so you can safely explore new positions.
This type of yoga is great for all fitness levels because it allows for modifications and progressions. You can start with basic poses and work your way up as you build strength and flexibility.
Improved Strength And Flexibility
Aerial yoga is a great way to improve your overall strength and flexibility (5). Fabric hammocks provide support and assistance while you are performing the poses, so you can go deeper into the stretch and hold the position longer.
This increased flexibility and range of motion will help you in all aspects of your life, from improving your golf swing to being able to touch your toes. Additionally, the strength you gain from practicing aerial yoga should help protect you from injuries in your everyday life (5).
Most people who practice aerial yoga will tell you that it improves their balance. This is not surprising, as aerial yoga involves a lot of balancing postures and requires a great deal of focus and concentration.
Balance is important for everyday activities such as walking, running, and biking. It is also important for more advanced activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and surfing. Good balance allows you to stay on your feet when something unexpected happens, such as a gust of wind or a bump in the road.
First, the aerial hammock provides a sense of security and support that helps you feel more confident in your balance.
Second, the aerial yoga poses require you to focus on your alignment and posture, which helps you become more aware of your body and its positioning (5).
Third, aerial yoga practice builds strength and flexibility, both of which are important for good balance (5).
Poor posture results from a number of factors, including sitting for long periods of time, incorrect sleeping habits, and muscle imbalances. While you cannot change some of these factors, there are things you can do to improve your posture and protect your spine.
Aerial yoga is one such activity. Aerial yoga has been shown to improve posture in a number of ways.
First, it helps to stretch and align your muscles. This can correct muscle imbalances that cause poor posture (5).
Additionally, aerial yoga helps to improve your balance, which should help you to maintain good posture when standing or sitting (5).
Improved Blood Circulation
The hanging position in aerial yoga helps improve blood circulation by compressing and decompressing the veins and arteries in the legs. This increased blood flow improves the overall health of the body, including the brain and heart (6).
Additionally, the stretching and range of motion exercises involved in aerial yoga also help improve blood circulation (6).
Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food you eat, extracting the nutrients your body needs, and getting rid of the waste.
When your digestive system is functioning properly, you’ll have more energy, better mental clarity, and be less likely to get sick. Unfortunately, many people have poor digestion due to a variety of factors such as stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
Aerial yoga is a great way to improve your digestion. The gentle rocking motion created by aerial yoga helps stimulate the digestive system. Additionally, the inverted poses help to increase blood flow to the digestive organs (11).
The stretching and lengthening that takes place in aerial yoga works to relieve tension and stress in the digestive system, which can also lead to improved digestion (11).
Finally, the deep breathing that is involved in aerial yoga helps to oxygenate the digestive system, which also contributes to improved digestion (11).
A compressed spine can be a result of many different things, including poor posture, excessive body weight, or even genetics (12).
When the spine is compressed, it often causes pain and discomfort in the back and neck. Over time, this compression can lead to more serious problems, such as slipped discs and spinal stenosis (12).
One way to help decompress the spine is through aerial yoga. In aerial yoga, participants use a fabric hammock-like apparatus to perform various poses. This unique setup enables the spine to decompress in a way that is not possible in traditional yoga (2).
The hammock provides support and stability, which helps prevent the spine from becoming compressed. Additionally, the hammock allows for greater range of motion, which stretches and lengthens the spine (2).
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The circulatory and lymphatic systems are two vitally important systems in the body that work together to detoxify and cleanse the body.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. The circulatory system circulates fresh blood and oxygen throughout the body, which aids in detoxification.
Aerial yoga can be a great way to support the detoxification process.
The inverted poses in aerial yoga help stimulate the lymphatic system, this in turn helps to move toxins out of the body. The deep breathing and stretching in aerial yoga increases blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body, further supporting detoxification (3).
In addition, the relaxing and calming effect of aerial yoga can help to reduce stress, which can also contribute to a healthy detoxification process (8).
Boosted Brain Function
Poor focus, and low energy are just a couple of the symptoms associated with brain fog. While there are many possible causes, such as stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep, one overlooked contributor is a sedentary lifestyle (4).
A growing body of evidence suggests that being inactive can not only lead to physical health problems but also can impair cognitive function (10).
Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to improve mental clarity and cognitive function, but what about activities that are less conventional (10)? Proponents of aerial yoga claim that it can boost brain function by improving blood flow and stimulating the release of neurochemicals (8).
Increasing blood flow is important because it brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The neurochemicals released during aerial yoga include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. These neurotransmitters play an important role in mood, cognitive function, and stress response (8).
Lower Stress Levels
Your body’s stress response is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. This system has two branches, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
The sympathetic system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, while the parasympathetic system is responsible for the “rest and digest” response.
Aerial yoga can help to activate the parasympathetic system, which can help to reduce stress levels (13).
In particular, aerial yoga can help to improve the function of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for sending signals from the brain to the body’s organs, and it plays a key role in the parasympathetic system (7).
Aerial yoga can also help to promote relaxation by providing a sense of weightlessness. This can reduce stress levels and promote feelings of calmness. Aerial yoga also helps improve breathing patterns, which also helps to reduce stress levels (7).
Poor sleep is defined as not getting enough sleep or poor quality sleep. Approximately one-third of adults in the United States report poor sleep, which can lead to a number of health problems (1).
There are many things you can do to improve your sleep, including making changes to your bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and exercise. Exercise is a great way to improve sleep, and aerial yoga is a particularly good option.
While the research on the effect of aerial yoga on sleep is still preliminary, it’s possible that this type of yoga could be a helpful tool for improving sleep quality.
There are several reasons for this conclusion.
First, aerial yoga involves a lot of stretching and movement, which helps relax the body and mind (9).
Second, aerial yoga is a challenging workout, which can help to tire you out and make it easier to fall asleep at night (9).
Thirdly, this practice improves blood circulation and breathing, both of which are important for a good night’s sleep (9).
Finally, like most exercises, aerobic yoga triggers the release of endorphins, which have mood-boosting and stress-relieving effects (9).
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The Bottom Line
Aerial yoga is a great way to add some variety to your workouts, and it offers a number of potential benefits, including improved brain function, reduced stress levels, and better sleep.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 1 in 3 Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep (2016, cdc.gov)
- ACE SPONSORED RESEARCH: Can Aerial Yoga Take Your Workouts to Another Level? (2016, acefitness.org)
- A REVIEW STUDY ON EFFECTS OF YOGA INVERSIONS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO SIRSHASANA (2018, ijcrt.org)
- Brain Fog: Solutions To Help You Improve Concentration (n.d., bangkokhospital.com)
- Contralateral muscle Imbalances and Physiological Profile of Recreational Aerial Athletes (2019, nih.gov)
- Effectiveness of Yoga for Hypertension: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2013, hindawi.com)
- Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (2012, pubmed.gov)
- Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life (2011, nih.gov)
- Impact of long term Yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly (2013, nih.gov)
- Physical Activity and Brain Health (2019, nih.gov)
- Remedial yoga module remarkably improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients: A 12-week randomized controlled trial (2015, sciencedirect.com)
- Spinal Cord Compression (2022, nih.gov)
- Understanding the stress response (2020, harvard.edu)