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Get Your Practice Off the Ground with Aerial Yoga
Fitness
Published Tuesday Jun 06, 2017 by Carmen Curtis

Get Your Practice off the Ground with Aerial Yoga

Yoga

Have you heard of aerial yoga? It’s the technique of using a hammock to deepen your yoga practice. While there are many different types of aerial yoga ranging from circus-like to fitness and dance-based styles, there is one constant in aerial yoga practice: the hammock.

What is the importance of the hammock for aerial yoga?

The hammock is a prop for your practice, like a block or a strap. If you can’t reach an asana in traditional yoga, the hammock will hold you, so you can do it in the air. If you’re already an efficient yogi, the hammock can deepen your practice and make postures more challenging. In AIReal Yoga™ we use the hammock for alignment; not so we can do that pretty yoga pose, but so we can do it properly and safely for our body. When we’re aligned, we are more efficient. We can do more, using less energy. The hammock is also a spotting device for inversions, helping decompress the spine and relieve pain and swelling.

There is also an element of fun to it. You’re lifted in the air, floating, feeling free and light, helping you deepen your connection to the mind, body and spirit. Savasana is also done in the hammock. Being wrapped in silk, and held, feeling safe and supported, is pure bliss.

While many first come to aerial yoga classes just for fun, they leave surprised by how good they feel: pain-free and happy. Because the hammock allows you to decompress the spine and safely do inversions aerial yogis see incredible benefits like increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and pain, anti-aging, increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, decreasing stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Inversions calm the mind, allowing you to think more clearly, see yourself more clearly and help you focus.

How to prepare for your first class

Before you start your aerial yoga practice, you need understand the differences between the classes that you take, just like in traditional yoga. Get to know the brands and different styles of aerial yoga and what they offer. It’s not just the teachers that are different, the teaching differs as well. Because there are aerial yoga classes for all levels and styles of yoga, it is important to take classes that are right for you, your goals, and your skill level.

When looking for an aerial yoga class, be sure that the teacher is certified in both yoga and aerial yoga. I also recommend checking that they were certified by a reputable brand and have their 200-hour certification from a Yoga Alliance-accredited school.

Be sure to verify that the aerial certification they took involved training in safety and rigging. After all, the hammock is your lifeline and your teacher needs to manage and properly set this prop for you.

Even though there are many types of aerial yoga, your aerial yoga practice is about you. Once you find your studio and first class, prepare to relax and soar!

Carmen Curtis
Written by
Carmen Curtis
Owner, Airealistic
About the author
Carmen is a co-founder/owner of the world-renowned, site-specific aerial theatre company Airealistic and has been traveling the world creating aerial acts, teaching harness and aerial, and performing for clients.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

2
Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

3
Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.