It’s the holiday season and unfortunately many of us have elevated stress levels this time of year.
Studies have show that people who make time for self care experience reduced stress. Self care can be ten minutes of meditation, doing something that you enjoy or taking an fitness class. Fitness reduces stress, yoga reduces stress and yes, aerial yoga reduces stress.
What is Restorative Aerial Yoga?
The type of aerial yoga I teach comes from years of teaching yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga and aerial arts. In restorative aerial yoga, the hammock is 10-12 inches off the ground unlike traditional aerial yoga where the hammock is at hip height. This low hammock set-up allows us to use the floor for extra support, giving us more opportunity to release and less time spent performing harder movement. Many students recovering from an injury or older clients just getting into aerial yoga may find this notion of contact with the floor very appealing in the beginning.
In restorative aerial yoga class I always make sure to include breath work, guided meditation and slow flow yoga with the hammock. A traditional restorative yoga practice works with all these elements but may have less slow flow and longer periods spent in a supported pose. You may only do 4 or 5 poses in a class. The aerial hammock conveys movement by its nature and I believe when working with props to use a prop fully and in the best way possible. You don’t use a yoga block and put one finger on it, you place your entire hand on the block. So this is why I teach a slow meditative flow when teaching restorative aerial yoga. We do less poses, we use the hammock to help us release, but we accept the movement that comes with an aerial apparatus and we work with it and embrace it.
The practice is not vigorous, we work on letting release happen. Many of us hold tension in certain areas of the body like the hips or shoulders. In our classes we try to find space and opening without pushing, we try to create a connection with our bodies and increase our awareness. This type of restoration of the body can boost the immune system and quiet the nervous system. A restorative aerial yoga class can introduce students to a meditation practice and help students center themselves before heading back out into world of chaos.