A Guide to Aerial Yoga

Guide to Aerial Yoga

Fundamentally, aerial yoga raises the three basic tenets of yoga—mindfulness, breath, and alignment—to unprecedented heights. It has a silk hammock dangling from the ceiling, which allows for playful inversions and deeper stretches while offering support and assistance.

Evolution of Aerial Yoga

Iyengar yoga popularized props like blocks and straps, but he also experimented with hanging students in rope swings for more profound stretches. Using silk harnesses rather than ropes, these early prototypes helped pave the way for the development of antigravity yoga in the late 1990s.

The first authentic yoga swing with handles and foot holds appeared in the UK in 2001. By 2011, “aerial yoga” and the well-known hammock had become global phenomena, with devoted studios and teachers.

Thus, the origins of aerial yoga can be traced to Iyengar’s inventive use of props, which developed into a well-liked form that combines the challenge and support of silky hammocks with traditional yoga in a graceful manner.

Benefits of Aerial Yoga


Increased range of motion and flexibility: By supporting your body, the hammock or silks enable you to extend stretches further and achieve new heights of flexibility.

Strengthening your upper body and core: Aerial poses work muscles you would not normally use, which tones your arms and shoulders and strengthens your core.

Better spinal alignment and decompression: The hammock’s inversion relieves pressure on the spine, lowering back pain and encouraging proper alignment.

Cardiovascular exercise that burns calories: Aerial yoga can be surprisingly difficult. It increases heart rate and burns calories while you enjoy yourself.


Stress reduction and mindfulness: Aerial yoga’s flow and focus offer a welcome diversion from the stresses of everyday life, encouraging calm and awareness.

Increased self-expression and confidence: Learning new aerial poses and overcoming your fears fosters playful self-expression and increases confidence.

Better balance and coordination: The instability of the hammock tests your balance and coordination, which improves your overall control.

Starting Aerial Yoga at Home

Essential Equipment

  • Silks or hammocks: Choose one that is suitable for your weight and skill level.
  • Hardware for mounting: To ensure that your equipment is securely supported, install yoga frames or ceiling anchors.
  • Yoga mat: Give floor exercises some cushioning and traction.

Creating a Home Aerial Studio

  • Look for a large, well-ventilated room with tall ceilings.
  • To prevent obstructions, make sure there is enough space around the hammock or silks.
  • For safety, spend money on crash pads or soft mats.

Beginner Poses: Take Flight with Ease

To ease you into your first class, try these foundational poses from Aerial Yoga:

  • In the seated hammock pose, place your feet flat on the ground and sit comfortably in the middle of the hammock. Gently lean back, letting the hammock cradle your spine.
  • Supported Child’s Pose: Bend down in the hammock and place your big toes together. Rest your forehead on the hammock, arms outstretched or by your sides.
  • Hammock Plank: With your hands gripping the hammock beneath your shoulders, begin in the high plank position. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line.
  • Assume the downward-facing dog poses in a hammock by pushing your hips back and up while straightening your legs to the extent that feels comfortable. Lean back and relax, and let the hammock hold your shoulders.
  • Sit in the hammock in the butterfly pose, opening your knees wide and placing your soles together. Gently flutter your knees up and down while you lean back and allow the hammock to support your upper body.

Best practices for a safe Aerial Yoga experience

  • Consult a professional: Take lessons from a certified aerial yoga instructor to learn proper form and safety measures. This is crucial for beginners and even experienced yogis trying new poses.
  • Pay attention to your body: Recognize and respect your boundaries. Never try a pose that hurts or is uncomfortable for you. As your strength and flexibility increase, start slowly and advance gradually.
  • Warm-up and cool-down: To prepare and relax your muscles, spend five to ten minutes warming up vigorously before class and stretching gently afterward.
  • Staying hydrated is essential: Stay hydrated throughout your practice and the day. Staying properly hydrated helps to avoid cramps and keeps your muscles lubricated.
  • Dress appropriately: Put on form-fitting garments that will not snag or slip on the fabric and permit unrestricted movement. Steer clear of loose accessories or jewelry that can get tangled in the hammock.

Advancing Your Aerial Yoga Practice

Advanced Techniques in Aerial Yoga

  • Go beyond simple headstands and handstands to deepen the inversions. Explore shoulder hangs, scorpion poses, full inversions with leg wraps, and even aerial variations of the crow pose.
  • Test your inner strength: Incorporate dynamic exercises such as plank posture transitions, leg lifts, and aerial sit-ups. Investigate flying variations of side planks with twists and boat poses.
  • Discover new transitions: Use the hammock to provide momentum and support as you move fluidly between sequences. Imagine handstand rolls into inversions, leg swings into backbends, and artistically transitioning aerial flows.
  • Use the fabric of the hammock to create deeper stretches, such as hamstring pulls and assisted backbends. Practice holding poses while the hammock provides resistance and support.

Therapeutic Uses of Aerial Yoga

Decompression and Pain Relief

The soft support of the hammock eases pressure and tension by cradling the spine. Those who suffer from sciatica, persistent joint problems, or back pain may find this particularly beneficial. Picture yourself upside down, feeling the intervertebral discs gently decompress and your spine lengthen.

Improved Flexibility and Strength

You can safely reach deeper stretches and activate your muscles in new ways with the help of the hammock. This is gentle on your joints and results in better core strength, flexibility, and balance. Imagine yourself extending into a warrior pose with grace, leaning on the hammock as your muscles grow longer and your core becomes more powerful.

Enhanced Body Awareness

Proprioception, or the awareness of your body in space, is enhanced by the suspension experience. You can move with more control and precision thanks to your increased awareness, which also helps you avoid injuries and maintain better posture. Imagine being aware of every little detail of your movements as the hammock helps you achieve the best possible alignment in each pose.

Enhanced Body Awareness

Proprioception, or the awareness of your body in space, is enhanced by the suspension experience. You can move with more control and precision thanks to your increased awareness, which also helps you avoid injuries and maintain better posture. Imagine being aware of every little detail of your movements as the hammock helps you achieve the best possible alignment in each pose.

Teacher Training and Certification Processes

Yoga Foundation

Most programs require a prior 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certification. This establishes the foundation for comprehending basic yoga principles and safely assisting students while performing various asanas.

Aerial Yoga Teacher Training

Pick a respected course of study that fits both your budget and learning preferences. These courses cover extensive aerial techniques, safety precautions, lesson planning, and teaching methodologies. They usually run between 50 and 200 hours.


After training, you should think about becoming certified by an established organization. This adds credibility and opens doors to wider employment opportunities.

Sajan Negi
Sajan Negi

Posted: 17 January, 2024

Renowned for his expertise in yoga and its philosophy, Sajan Negi brings over 15 years of experience in guiding individuals on their transformative journey towards holistic well-being. With a Master’s degree in Yoga and a life dedicated to personal growth, Sajan Negi combines ancient wisdom with modern insights to inspire physical strength, mental clarity, and spiritual peace in his students.