Just like any mat-based yoga there are many different styles and intensities of Aerial Yoga. You can have really intense, dynamic forms of mat-based yoga which include arm balances and handstands and you can have really chilled forms of mat-based yoga with slow mindful movements and long holds. The same applies for Aerial Yoga. It can be dynamic and strong with lots of inversions and funky moves, or it can be slow, mindful, supportive and chilled. It all depends on the style, training and influences of the teacher as to what kind of class you get. For this reason, it is always best to talk to the teacher, let them know any concerns you might have and ask them if their class is suitable for you.
So, with that in mind I want you to understand that I don't speak for every teacher of Aerial Yoga. I can only tell you what kind of class you will get in your book in with me.
Aerial Yoga Swing
The Yoga Swing consists of a separate sling and 3 levels of handles on each side. We often use the handles without the sling but in general we don't use the sling without the handles.
Yoga Swing is a strong class. I would describe it as a combination of TRX, HIIT & Yoga with a lot of inversions. If you take this class regularly, you will improve your grip, arm and shoulder strength, you will increase your core strength and build up your posterior chain muscles which support your spine. Your confidence and self-esteem will increase. Your body will become more toned, and you will feel physically stronger quite quickly. The Yoga Swing also helps to relieve pressure on your lower back from the inversions which decompress your spine as the dynamic movement strengthens the muscles that support it. During this class we play upbeat music to match your high energy levels. The class ends with a relaxation so although you have worked hard you still leave feeling relaxed and revitalised.
Aerial Yoga Hammock
The Aerial Hammock is stretchier, softer and much larger than the sling of the Yoga Trapeze. We do not have any handles just a large flowy hammock.
Aerial Yoga is more like traditional Hatha Yoga but with the added support of the hammock. It's floatier and more flowing than the Yoga Swing. Just like traditional yoga we emphasis a lot on moving with the breath. We move from one posture to another mindfully and slowly. With a regular practice you will still build strength, improve flexibility and balance and we will still do some inversions so you will still benefit from the decompression of the spine, but it will be more subtle. During Aerial Yoga Hammock classes we pay calming more meditative and peaceful music.
The relaxation in an Aerial Yoga Hammock is the best relaxation I have ever experienced. You can lay in the hammock completely flat, completely supported and completely cocooned. It is such an amazing internalising sensation, so we make sure that we leave plenty of time for a nice long yoga nidra (relaxation) at the end of the class.
So, Which One Do I Choose?
It depends on what you like and what you need, both physically and mentally. Our bodies and minds need Yin and Yang. Slow, mindful movement and breath to calm our central nervous system and switch on our relaxation response so that we can heal, receive nourishment and rest. But we also need strong, intense, high-energy movement to increase cardio, metabolism, get our juices flowing and burn off stagnant energy so that we feel revitalised.
Ask yourself if you are already doing another class or form of exercise, is it Yin or Yang? If for example you were doing a meditation class once a week and you sit down for a living, I would definitely say choose the Yoga Swing as you need some strength building and high energy training in order to create balance.
If for example your job involves a lot of lifting and moving, and you also run a couple of times a week I would say choose the Aerial Yoga Hammock so that you can move more slowly and mindfully. You need to reconnect your mind and body, improve flexibility, increase space and give yourself more time in the relaxation response.
I hope you found this blog useful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Tania.