By Martina Reinbold, Head of Yoga, Detox & Spa
Have you ever tried Yoga with a suspended silk hammock supporting your yoga poses? Aerial Yoga is a relatively new star in the Yoga universe and since a few years it draws more and more attention. Find out in this post about the origins and benefits of this Yoga style and why an Aerial class at Udara should definitely be on your The Origins of Aerial Yoga
The amount of Yoga styles seems to have exploded in the last few decades. Some of these new trends have helped greatly to make Yoga more accessible in the West and have created a big Yoga movement with an amazing variety of styles that we can nowadays choose from (In a previous blog post I have written about how to navigate the “Yoga Jungle”).
The famous Indian Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar was the first one who used ropes hanging from the wall or ceiling. These props helped his students with alignment, take stress off the joints and make poses more accessible. However, the use of ropes and belts, especially for inversion poses, was not a style on its own, but part of the regular Yoga practice.
Aerial Yoga as a distinct Yoga practice is around since about 10-15 years. In this Yoga style, a suspended silk hammock or belt-like fabric is hanging about one meter above the ground to support the yoga poses on and above the mat. Depending on the tool, teacher or school, you will find different names for it, such as Flying Yoga, Yoga Swing, Anti-Gravity Yoga, Yoga Trapeze, High Fly or Aerial Yoga.
The practice of Aerial Yoga
The practice generally combines traditional Yoga asanas with poses and movements from Pilates and Acrobatics. Many people who have heard about Aerial Yoga associate it mainly with circus-style acrobatic performance or merely with upside down poses. But a well-rounded Aerial Yoga practice is much more than this: It includes juicy stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles with standing and balancing poses, forward folds and back bends, side stretches, twists, inversions and relaxation. Especially with the Aerial silk hammock there is a great variety of poses for each group of asanas.
The hammock can be used in various ways e.g. with hands or leg connected to the fabric as you are still on the ground, or allowing your body to fly above the mat and even to hang upside down with the fabric wrapped around you. With the support of the hammock, some of the poses are much less weight bearing for the legs, other poses enhance the stretching and allow you to go deeper into a pose. At the end of an Aerial class, you will sink into blissful relaxation as you float in your Aerial cocoon during savasana.
At Udara, all Aerial classes welcome both beginners and more advanced students. When you are new to Aerial Yoga, you will be amazed, how many poses you can perform even in your first class. Some of them might look a bit crazy, but with a proper guidance how to safely get in and out of the poses you can do much more than you previously thought of and learn to trust yourself and the hammock. The body might need some time to adjust to the Aerial practice, so make sure to listen to your body and breath as you progress on your Aerial journey, bringing your practice to ever new heights. Our Indonesian and Western instructors are looking forward to share their passion for Aerial Yoga with you!
The amazing benefits of Aerial Yoga
The various poses of the Aerial Yoga practice help you to build strength and increase flexibility as well as improve your balance and overall postural stability. As other forms of Yoga it helps you increase mobility, tone your muscles and realign your joints. The suspension and swinging makes the body engage even more muscle than traditional exercises performed on the ground.
The upside down poses help to decompress the spine and may give relief from back pain. After an Aerial Yoga practice, you might actually feel taller and breathe with more ease. Compared to a regular grounded practice, you do not need as much effort and strength to hold the inversion poses and you do not have any pressure on the head and neck, as you hang in the air. Inversions are much more accessible with the hammock and you can hold the poses for a little longer, boosting the blood-flow to the brain.
Some of the Yoga poses e.g. handstand, half moon or warrior III, are easier to master with the support of the Aerial hammock. This will benefit your regular yoga practice on the ground, as you will practice with more confidence and improved alignment. You may attempt to practice poses with the hammock that have been out of reach on the mat. As an experienced Yogi, you may find that including Aerial into your practice can reawaken your motivation and creativity as you move and feel your body in different ways.
Why Aerial Yoga is so special
Besides all the amazing physical benefits of the Aerial practice, there is something about letting go and flying, that makes this Yoga style so special. You can get off the ground and feel that sense of weightlessness, taking off some pressure and leaving the cares and concerns of your daily life aside for the time of your practice. You can hang upside down and see the world from a different perspective, doing things that might have never done and imagined before.
While it is necessary in all Yoga styles to practice mindfully and safely, the Aerial practice can be a gentle nudge to bring some lightness and fun into our practice. You can feel like a carefree child again, playing around and discovering what your body is capable to do with a sense of ease and joy.
Bali’s most beautiful Aerial Shala
Udara in Indonesian language means air. Since the opening of Udara resort, daily Aerial Yoga classes were part of the Yoga schedule as a way to honor its name and to spread the magic of Aerial Yoga. The Aerial shala is built on the third floor overlooking the Indian ocean with 20 US-standard Aerial silks available. We believe that a beautiful physical place where you practice yoga is immensely supportive for your practice. The Yoga shalas at Udara are truly unique and rank amongst the most beautiful Yoga venues of Bali.
From the top level of the Aerial shala you can see all across the southern tip of the island and even see planes taking off and landing at Denpasar airport. Practicing Aerial yoga in the mornings with this amazing ocean view and the sea breeze on your skin is an experience by itself. The afternoon Aerial sessions are even more special, as they let you take part in the breathtaking spectacle of the sun setting behind the clear blue ocean and the stars emerging.
These amazing views will be a delight for your practice and you will keep these memories forever in your heart.
Starting in January 2020 we will have two Aerial Yoga classes every day at 7.30 am and 5.30 pm for 75 minutes. Check out our current Yoga schedule here with up to 8 classes per day. Please come a few minutes earlier before class for a hassle-free check-in, taking pictures and grabbing your perfect hammock.