Why Should I Try Aerial Yoga? – Part 3 of 3
Part 3 – Inversions!
In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about how we use the support of the aerial yoga hammock to improve our alignment in the postures or asanas. In Part 2, we learned about building strength, increasing flexibility, and improving balance are also great benefits of aerial yoga. The 3rd and final part of this series is devoted solely to inversions and why we should practice them.
Inversions 101 – Any posture in which the heart is above the head is considered to be an inversion. Yes, this includes downward facing dogs and standing forward folds. Anytime we are in an inverted position, many benefits happen. Here’s a list of a few:
- Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a calming effect as it is the opposite of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response).
- Decreases systolic blood pressure when done regularly.
- Detoxifies lymphatic system
- Increase in VO2max which is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise
- Improves HDL cholesterol levels
- Decreases weight, body fat %, and waist circumference
- Improves mood
- Improves flexibility
- Improves back pain
- Aids digestion
- Improves memory
- Improves blood circulation
- Improved posture
As you can see, the benefits are many. If you’d like to read in detail about any of these, visit www.FlyingBeachYoga.com/News to reference the studies in which this information came from.
In a Flying Beach Yoga aerial class, we use the hammock in many different ways to support us in inversions, one of which is an unnata viparita baddha konasana, or bound angle pose, which is pictured below.
Here in this secure environment, we get decompression of the spine, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to infiltrate the area. When this happens, it sets up an environment for healing to occur. From this posture, we can venture into other postures including backbends and handstands, all with a decompressed spine. These are postures that may not be within the realm of practice for a newer yogi, but can be the most beneficial for both the body and the practitioners’ awareness.
If this sounds like something you would like to try, I would highly recommend finding a highly trained instructor to guide you through this practice. You can ask your local yoga studio for the aerial yoga teacher’s credentials. There are many home kits for aerial yoga available, which is okay once you have been to some aerial classes and are knowledgeable and comfortable with the hammock. You can subscribe to the Flying Beach Yoga channel on YouTube -https://www.youtube.com/results?q=flying+beach+yoga – for more information on aerial yoga in general as well as hammock installation and maintenance. Or you can visit www.FlyingBeachYoga.com for more answers to your aerial yoga questions. Namaste.
Written by Michele DiPetrillo, PharmD, RYT, Owner and Instructor for Flying Beach Yoga