Aerial yoga requires a special kind of hammock, a prop designed to support up to 300 kilograms on average. The rig typically consists of support chains, a webbing strap, a silk hammock and carabiners. Two support chains hang from the ceiling to less than one meter above ground level, and the hammock is connected at the height set by the user.
The hammock acts like a swing supporting the hips for forward bends and backbends. Difficult mat-based yoga postures may prove easier to perform through aerial yoga, while the hammock's movement further contributes to adding variety to the aerial workout.
Health benefits claimed
Aerial yoga has not been studied with clinical trials. Anecdotal evidence indicates that by facilitating bending and stretching of the whole body during exercise, muscles and joints will be strengthened and rehabilitated, and the spine decompressed as the body hangs freely. Yoga in general, and aerial yoga in particular is promoted as benefiting emotional, psychological and spiritual health.
The travel writer Elizabeth Gowing, sampling an aerial yoga class, was warned that as someone new to the practice she would "feel it in [her] core [muscles]", and indeed found the class strenuous. In her experience, "it was the combination of the sense of weightlessness and finding some steel in your core or upper body that made the class addictive."
Aerial yoga poses include the cross position, leaning back with support just above the waist, arms outspread; the star inversion, the hammock supporting the tailbone with the body bending backwards; and the one-legged king pigeon pose, like the star inversion but with one foot hooked across the front of the hammock. A bound variant has the rear ankle grasped by the hands.
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- Gowing, Elizabeth (2019). Unlikely Positions (in Unlikely Places): a Yoga Journey Around Britain. England: Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 70–77. ISBN 978-1-78477-640-4. OCLC 1061309216.
- Curtis, Carmen (23 July 2015). "8 Essential Aerial Yoga Poses You Have to Try". Wanderlust. Retrieved 4 June 2018.