Aerial yoga—Why its good to hang upside down
My aerial journey started purely by accident and generally out of curiosity. One could even say I stumbled upon it. It was likely a result of a perceived mid-life crisis that I was on the hunt for doing something completely different.While in that mode, I happened to walk by an aerial studio in my neighbourhood mall.
“What is this all about?” I asked naively, captivated by the glossy images of graceful women hanging upside down with great poise in hammocks, trapezes, silks and hoops. “Just try!”, they said. Try I did, and hooked I quickly became. Could it be that all along, I was harboring an innate desire to run away and join Cirque du Soleil? The challenge – and satisfaction – of executing a dance routine while suspended in mid-air is nothing short of exhilarating. Over time, I also found that the regular aerial sessions gradually improved my strength and overall core, which meant that I kept getting stronger for the Spartan races!
Aerial yoga is gentler, slightly less dramatic, but no less challenging as compared to aerial arts. Executing traditional yoga moves while using the hammock as support, or as a tool to enhance the difficulty level, is an extremely effective way of stretching towards greater flexibility and heightened core strength. Adding the hammock to your yoga routine forces you to focus more as your body is learning to do something quite different. The yoga moves can be done while standing, sitting or even while suspended upside down in the hammock. Personally, I love being upside down as the rush of blood to my head can be quite thrilling. It’s also a great back stretch! The best part of each aerial yoga class is of course at the end when you get to cocoon yourself in the hammock and just r-e-l-a-x.
Many of us are spending more time behind a desk, or attached to a mobile device. The fixed posture that we subject our bodies to tends to result in a lot of tightness in our necks, backs, hip flexors, hamstrings, everywhere. We owe it to ourselves and our personal well-being to loosen everything up. Mobility is something we should not take for granted and we should absolutely ensure we maintain it while we still can. That is why I am a huge fan of stretching every single day and aerial arts / yoga is a critical component of that regimen.
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