While we have heard of many forms of yoga from ashtanga to hot yoga, it seems aerial yoga is drawing the attention of many. It is probably the fanciest-looking workout ever. If you have decided to give it a try, there are some things you must know about it. We spoke to an expert for relevant insights
Aerial yoga helps in toning the body and promotes improved flexibility, strength, balance and stress relief. Photo Courtesy: Niyoshi Marfatia
A passionate yogi who embarked on her yogic journey over six years back is now mostly seen floating in the air using her aerial skills. Niyoshi Marfatia, a Mumbai-based certified Yoga trainer took up aerial yoga to explore what it is like performing movements in the air. Now, she defies gravity every single day.
While we have heard of many forms of yoga from ashtanga to hot yoga, aerial yoga seems to draw the attention of many. It is probably the fanciest-looking workout ever, but requires immense strength. “To be able to practice this form of yoga, one needs to have a significant amount of core and upper body strength,” says this 19-year-old Marfatia.
What is aerial yoga?
Aerial yoga is a unique form of yoga that combines traditional yoga postures with elements of acrobatics and aerial arts. It involves performing yoga poses and sequences using a fabric hammock or swing that is securely attached to the ceiling or a sturdy structure.” Aerial yoga combines elements of strength, flexibility, balance and mindfulness. It offers a full-body workout that engages muscles in the core, arms, legs and back.
How is it performed?
Aerial yoga is performed while staying suspended in the air using a fabric hammock or swing. The fabric used is typically made of a strong and durable material, such as nylon tricot or parachute fabric. “The use of the hammock requires practitioners to pay close attention to their body's position and alignment in space. The hammock acts as a prop, assisting in achieving deeper stretches and poses that may be challenging on the ground. The gentle support provided by the hammock allows practitioners to explore a wider range of motion, gradually improving flexibility and mobility,” explains Marfatia.
What are its benefits?
While perfecting some yoga poses may take years of practice, aerial yoga lets you perform those poses with ease and requires only some amount of practice. The 19-year-old yoga trainer says, “Aerial yoga helps in toning the body and promotes improved flexibility, strength, balance and stress relief. It helps improve body awareness while providing a unique and challenging experience.”
If you have been thinking about giving this physical workout a try, Marfatia shares a guide to help you get started:
1. Look for a reputed yoga studio or fitness centre that offers aerial yoga classes taught by experienced instructors.
2. Before starting aerial yoga, it's important to ensure that you meet any prerequisites set by the instructor or studio. You can also consult your doctor to check if you are fit to take up.
3. Choose comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely and does not restrict your range of motion. Avoid loose or baggy clothing that may get caught in the fabric hammock.
4. Start with a beginner's class that will introduce you to the basic poses, techniques and safety guidelines.
5. Prior to beginning your aerial yoga practice, warm up your body with some gentle stretches to prepare your muscles and joints.
6. Begin with foundational poses that allow you to get comfortable with the hammock and build strength and flexibility gradually. As you gain proficiency, you can progress to more advanced poses.
7. Focus on your breathing. Stay present and connect with your breaths throughout the practice to enhance relaxation and concentration.
8. Regular practice is key to improving your skills in aerial yoga. However, always prioritize safety. Avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits.
Aerial yoga can also be performed at home with the right setup and equipment. Marfatia says, “It's important to ensure your safety and the stability of your setup such as a good quality hammock, sufficient space, a secure mounting point, and instruction from a certified aerial yoga teacher, especially if you’re a beginner.”
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