By Nicole Atphasouk
1 ~ Deeper Stretches and Increased Flexibility – I love how every muscle in my body feels long and lean after practicing in the hammock. Using the support of the hammock and body weight allows access to deeper stretching of muscles. My favorite example of this is ankle supported standing splits, gently leaning in this asana allows for deep stretch of the hamstring that feels more accessible than practicing splits on the mat.
2 ~ Gained Confidence – I used to be terrified of inversions. I never thought I’d do a handstand and avoided them at all costs. But after several hours of practicing supported handstands in the aerial hammock, I knew I had the strength and the courage to try arm balanced inversions without it.
3 ~ Core Strengthening – The day after my first aerial yoga class, I got out of bed with that delicious feeling of being sore that makes me feel accomplished and hurts when I sneeze. It was then I realized that it is a hardcore core strengthening workout disguised in a fun and exciting package. My favorite standing poses practiced in an aerial class involves having a foot or leg in the hammock. That requires balance. Balance requires a strong core. See where I’m going with this?
4 ~ Mental Clarity and Creativity – I love the saying ‘when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ A different perspective can bring clarity and shows things that might have been missed, which can lead to creative ideas and problem solving. Hammock supported inversions create a safe space to see the world and ourselves from a new angle. The increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain that come with just 10 seconds of a full upside down stretch can decrease EMG activity more than 35%, which results in revitalizing the mind and invigorating the physical body.
5 ~ Letting Go – It’s not always easy to let go. Surrendering can be scary. Accepting support can be scary too. Aerial yoga is a practice in both. With the support of gracious teachers and the silk hammock, aerial yoga allows us to release and go deeper into poses. During savasana the hammock contours to the body and creates a cocoon that supports the body in complete suspended relaxation.
“The moment you learn to let go, you realize you are actually more secure than when you held on.” ~Whitney Kirk