What’s Aerial Yoga All About?

For 2015, we are featuring one new Aerial Yoga Sequence each month in our video library, led by various teachers. One of our teachers is Amy Tynan. I love her sequences because she knows how to flow. Her sequences tend to be faster paced. They get the blood and breath moving! Her roots are strong in yoga. As a consequence, her alignment is always right on par. Let’s sit down for a moment and get to know Aerial Yoga through Amy’s eyes. If you are a paying member, you can view her sequences under the “Aerial Yoga” tab in our video library. More to come throughout the year! 


What is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial Yoga is YOGA! Except, with a twist. You practice with a prop known as an aerial hammock. The hammock helps to support you in various ways to provide more or less challenge to traditional yoga postures. Its an incredible way to diversify your practice. There are many different styles of aerial yoga, just like there are many different styles of traditional yoga. At my studio, AerialCLT, we focus on the yoga aspect and make our aerial yoga classes as much like a vinyasa class as possible. Vinyasa means “flow”. When you flow in and out of poses, connecting your movement with your breath, it will help you stay focused and present. This mind set is what makes yoga so enjoyable, beneficial, and rewarding. Some studios prefer to teach the postures independently of one another. Other studios might focus strictly on teaching tricks on the aerial hammock. There is nothing wrong with these approaches, it’s all a matter of taste. If you are interested in exploring aerial yoga, try classes with multiple instructors at multiple studios to find the style that sparks your fire.

How does Aerial Yoga work?

In aerial yoga, you have a hammock hanging from the ceiling. Typically, the hammock hangs to waist height. With the hammock resting at the height of your waist, you have the freedom to put it around your back, around your front, put one or both legs in it, sit in it, hang from it, wrap your wrists in it, etc. The possibilities are many! Try and imagine Warrior I. Now try and imagine all the variations you could explore with the hammock! Its a totally new and exciting world for your yoga practice.

Who can benefit from an Aerial Yoga practice?

Truthfully, anyone! Ask yourself first if you like yoga. If you like yoga, chances are that you will like aerial yoga. If you have never done traditional yoga, don’t worry! You might really like it. You do not need to have practiced yoga prior to attending aerial yoga, however it might be helpful to know some of the basic names of postures. If you are 100% newbie, an experienced and professional instructor will be able to successfully and safely guide you through your first class. Do your homework and find a teacher that looks like they know their stuff.
Don’t like yoga? You probably won’t connect well with aerial yoga either. Still want to hang upside down? Check out a different variety of aerial class: aerial silks, aerial hoop/lyra, trapeze, etc.
sun sal A (Amy).Still001

What should I wear to Aerial Yoga?

Wear something you would normally practice yoga in. It’s best to have your legs covered to at least the knee, midriff should be covered, and preferably arm pits covered. Every studio is slightly different, though. I have met some studios who require everyone to wear socks. At my studio, we just require knees and midriff covered. You should also wear snug clothes, especially tops (most important for the ladies). You might be asked to go upside down and you want to feel safe and secure that everything is tucked in its place!

What can I expect from my first Aerial Yoga class?

To be sore! Just kidding.
Even if you are in great shape and work out all the time, you will find muscles that you are not used to using. Aerial yoga requires a ton of stability in the inner thighs, outer hips, and core. Your hands might end up a bit sore from all of the gripping, too. Have no fear, your body will get used to this new form of exercise you are putting it through.
You might also find yourself battling a lot of trust issues in your first practice. Its hard to trust a stranger who is telling you to “let go” while you are upside down. You might also find it hard to trust yourself in your own physical ability. These are all GREAT emotional walls to face. Thats part of the beauty of yoga – it helps you find new territory to conquer in your own psyche. Facing the fears will only help you grow and become even more awesome than you already are.
Ok you fearless flyers. Go get to work finding an aerial yoga class in your area! You can use the studio directory on this site to help you get started. Can’t find an aerial yoga studio near you? Don’t fret. Ask your local favorite gym if they would like to start a program. Julianna Hane and I would love to run a Born to Fly™ Teacher Training to get a program started near you!
Ask any other questions that I have not covered here. I’m ready and willing to answer ‘em! Just shoot me an e-mail at amy@aerialdancing.com.
<3 Amy Tynan
Owner/Instructor @ AerialCLT
Born to Fly™ Master Trainer
Amy is a teacher by trade who found the perfect medium when she discovered the beautiful world of aerial arts. She lives in Charlotte, NC with a handful of furry friends where she owns and operates a booming aerial studio, AerialCLT. 

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