Aerial yoga, yoga in a hammock, gives a complete different dimension to yoga and other bodywork techniques.
Aerial yoga is extremely lengthening and strengthening for the body. Lengthening because the hammock can take you further and differently into asanas (positions). This and the instability factor of the hammock makes it strengthening as well, because you will have to hold your body together while moving from one position to the next. Apart from this, aerial yoga can be very playful and you’ll be grounding while flying.
This sequence starts with a warm up for the core, circling around and then the swinging motion that essentially is an upward dog and plank, but requires a lot more core strength than arm strength. In the high lunges the hammock supports underneath the shoulder blades which makes a small backbend easier and the posture lighter but deeper.
Then there is a little hamstring stretch before downward dog, some back exercises and a swinging plank. The warrior sequence that follows (with the leg in the fabric) is a typical example of being able to move deeper into the poses and having to really pull the body together, which still feels quite light.
Then the inversion, hanging upside down, letting gravity do its work on the spine, decompressing the vertebrae. The inversions are all without weight on the head or neck. From there (still upside down) I am moving into Natarajasana (dancer’s pose) and handstand. Cat-cow with the leg in the fabric to lengthen the hip flexor, plank with the instability of the fabric into half handstand and abdominal exercises.
Followed by a deep stretch for the front of the thigh, pigeon pose, twists and a shoulder stand with the shoulders in the fabric so the neck is free. Finishing with the final relaxation, Savasana while softly swinging in the hammock.
Hanna is a Yoga instructor and professional dancer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
To find out more about Hanna or where she teaches Vinyasa Flow and Aerial Yoga, visit her website: www.hannapazyoga.com