The first time I ever did yoga was at a sleepover as a teenager. My friend put a yoga tape into the VCR, and the four of us sat down in front of the TV.
All of my friends were giggling with excitement as they expressed how much they loved yoga and how fun it was. I didn’t know much about it, but I thought, “What the heck. It sounds cool. I will give it a go.” As the video began, a middle-aged woman began stretching to her toes and talking about breathing. Within 30 seconds, I was bored. I looked around at my friends all breathing deeply and reaching for their toes. I tried to concentrate on the woman on the tape, but it was near impossible. After ten minutes, I guiltily confessed to my friends, “I don’t think yoga is my thing,” and I waited for their looks of shock. Instead, they were all relieved; we turned off the movie and never attempted yoga at a sleepover again.
Obviously, my thoughts and feelings on yoga have changed. I absolutely love it, almost to the point of obsession. I do admit that while I enjoy practicing yoga daily, I do not enjoy every yoga instructor or routine. I can get sick and tired of doing yoga the old way. It is fun to spice it up, listen to pop music, attempt more difficult positions, and even try completely different methods. If you are getting tired of the same old yoga moves and classes, it might be time to try something unlike anything you have done before. One of the newest ways to do yoga is called anti-gravity or aerial yoga. I don’t even know how to explain how fun this is, but anti-gravity yoga is one of the most creative and exciting ways to exercise and experience your body’s abilities.
What is Antigravity/Aerial Yoga?
Anti-gravity yoga is a type of aerial workout that combines hammocks hanging from the ceiling and your body. The hammocks are made of a soft and slightly stretchy material. They hang almost like a swing, and everybody gets their own hammock. To use them, you place your stomach, back, or bottom on the material and perform various yoga moves. It reminds me of performers in a circus, and it gives me that beautiful feeling of doing something incredible.
Benefits of Aerial Exercise
The biggest thing that aerial yoga has over doing it on the ground is the support system it provides for your body. Instead of putting heavy pressure on your back and joints, it lightens the load and works wonders on the body. It also shares the benefits that typical yoga gives. It strengthens muscles, stretches the body, relieves tension, increases confidence, and helps you connect with your body.
Before You Try It
Whenever you do yoga, you should always do it on an empty stomach, but aerial yoga places a lot of pressure in the stomach area and can make you sick if you eat beforehand.
As you twist and turn in the hammock, your skin is going to rub against the material. Make sure you wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent carpet burns.
Practice to Prevent Pain
At first, the different positions and the hammock will make parts of your body ache. This is normal, but the more you do it, the less pain you will feel. Our bodies aren’t used to hanging and twisting in a hammock, so introduce your body to this new method slowly. I love trying new things, and this is one type of yoga you simply can’t pass up. The experience is memorable, but the benefits are why I continue to do it. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it several chances, and you will know why I love it so much.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: Jean Henrique Wichinoski (Flickr)