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  • What to Expect During Your First Aerial Class What to Expect During Your First Aerial Class

    Posted on by Stephen Forbes

    Trying out a new workout class for the first time is always a little intimidating, but when it involves hanging upside down and wrapping your body up like a burrito, the fear factor gets taken up a notch. Yet, aerial classes can be a welcome change from your regular high-impact, high-intensity workouts, and you can still expect the physical and mental perks. (For example, these 7 Ways Aerial Yoga Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level.) Aerial classes aren't just about yoga anymore—other hybrids like aerial barre, Pilates, silks, and pole are available across the country. Here's what to know before heading to your first class.

    1. Leave loose fitting clothing behind
    Unlike some yoga classes where it may be comfortable to wear wide pants and blousey tanks, tight-fitting clothing is best for aerial classes. Go for leggings and a top with sleeves, which will prevent bare skin from getting pinched in certain positions and keep your clothes from sliding around on the hammock (such as the commonly used Harrison AntiGravity Hammock), which uses one piece of fabric, or silks, which consists of two longer pieces of fabric. If your skin is dry, which can make it slippery, consider wearing sticky socks or gloves for extra grip.

    2. Come with an open mind
    Most people don't realize just how capable they are at succeeding at flying moves. Believe in yourself and don't let your mind get the best of you. It may take a few tries, but imagine that the hammock or silks are your ground. That makes it easier to let go and fly. Bonus: Since the movements are all new to you, you'll feel totally inspired and accomplished after just one class.

    3. Don't head for the back row
    You may be tempted to go right for the back corner of the room, but stick to the front or middle, as the back becomes the front when you are upside down.

    4. Get ready for inversions
    Even if you hate doing inverted poses in your regular yoga practice, embrace them when you're in the hammock. In aerial yoga, you have the unique opportunity to be completely inverted without gravity to hold you down, a group fitness manager at Crunch in New York City. You'll also be less likely to fall in aerial yoga because you have the hammock to support you, which makes going head first a little less scary. "Inversions are a key benefit of class because they lengthen and release tension in the spine, as well as detoxing the body by massaging the lymphatic system.

    5. Don't worry if you're not that flexible
    If you're lacking in flexibility, this class is actually perfect for you, because the stretching and lengthening will help you to build flexibility. Aside from static and dynamic stretching, you'll also use the hammock or silks for myofascial release, which can help to ease up tight muscles, adds Sweets.

    6. Expect to stretch and strengthen
    There are plenty of options for strengthening in class as well, says Sweets. Your core will be engaged the entire time to keep you stable during poses and you'll use your upper body to hold yourself while suspended. In Airbarre, you'll also use the hammock to float off the earth for traditional movements such as grand jetes, which are even harder than using traditional ballet barre because the hammock is unstable, encouraging you to engage much more fully through the core and legs.
    Trying out a new workout class for the first time is always a little intimidating, but when it involves hanging upside down and wrapping your body up like a burrito, the fear factor gets taken up a notch. Yet, aerial classes can be a welcome change from your regular high-impact, high-intensity workouts, and you can still expect the physical and mental perks. (For example, these 7 Ways Aerial Yoga Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level.) Aerial classes aren't just about yoga anymore—other hybrids like aerial barre, Pilates, silks, and pole are available across the country. Here's what to know before heading to your first class.

    1. Leave loose fitting clothing behind
    Unlike some yoga classes where it may be comfortable to wear wide pants and blousey tanks, tight-fitting clothing is best for aerial classes. Go for leggings and a top with sleeves, which will prevent bare skin from getting pinched in certain positions and keep your clothes from sliding around on the hammock (such as the commonly used Harrison AntiGravity Hammock), which uses one piece of fabric, or silks, which consists of two longer pieces of fabric. If your skin is dry, which can make it slippery, consider wearing sticky socks or gloves for extra grip.

    2. Come with an open mind
    Most people don't realize just how capable they are at succeeding at flying moves. Believe in yourself and don't let your mind get the best of you. It may take a few tries, but imagine that the hammock or silks are your ground. That makes it easier to let go and fly. Bonus: Since the movements are all new to you, you'll feel totally inspired and accomplished after just one class.

    3. Don't head for the back row
    You may be tempted to go right for the back corner of the room, but stick to the front or middle, as the back becomes the front when you are upside down.

    4. Get ready for inversions
    Even if you hate doing inverted poses in your regular yoga practice, embrace them when you're in the hammock. In aerial yoga, you have the unique opportunity to be completely inverted without gravity to hold you down, a group fitness manager at Crunch in New York City. You'll also be less likely to fall in aerial yoga because you have the hammock to support you, which makes going head first a little less scary. "Inversions are a key benefit of class because they lengthen and release tension in the spine, as well as detoxing the body by massaging the lymphatic system.

    5. Don't worry if you're not that flexible
    If you're lacking in flexibility, this class is actually perfect for you, because the stretching and lengthening will help you to build flexibility. Aside from static and dynamic stretching, you'll also use the hammock or silks for myofascial release, which can help to ease up tight muscles, adds Sweets.

    6. Expect to stretch and strengthen
    There are plenty of options for strengthening in class as well, says Sweets. Your core will be engaged the entire time to keep you stable during poses and you'll use your upper body to hold yourself while suspended. In Airbarre, you'll also use the hammock to float off the earth for traditional movements such as grand jetes, which are even harder than using traditional ballet barre because the hammock is unstable, encouraging you to engage much more fully through the core and legs.

    Read more

  • Why You Should Try Aerial Yoga... Why You Should Try Aerial Yoga...

    Posted on by Stephen Forbes

    If you like yoga — even if you don’t do it that often — you should definitely, certainly, positively consider giving Aerial Yoga a try.

    For me, aerial yoga was like normal yoga... times 10. Not times 10 in terms of difficulty, but in terms of how effective, fulfilling and calming it was.

    Here’s how it works: You sit on a soft, fabric hammock that looks kind of like a long scarf. These hammocks are made out of special, high-density nylon material that can support over 2,000 pounds, so don’t worry - you’re not going to tear them.

    The hammocks are held up by carabineers, support chains and webbing straps. You can adjust the height according to personal preference, or for better maneuverability. (Note: You’ll also want to bring your normal yoga mat to an aerial yoga class so you have something to stand on.)

    Throughout the yoga class, you do various traditional yoga poses or aerial adaptations of traditional poses using the hammock for support.

    Some of the most basic poses involve simple stretches while seated on the hammock, while other poses progress to hanging upside down and grabbing your thighs, ankles or feet for support and balance.

    Why Aerial Yoga?

    Aerial yoga offers many of the same benefits and enjoyments of regular yoga, but it also has some additional benefits as well:

    Greater Flexibility. Since you have more freedom of movement, you can move your body into new positions. In some cases, this can result in a deeper and more fulfilling stretch than traditional yoga offers.

    Better Focus. By putting yourself in a more challenging situation than usual, aerial yoga forces you to be more alert and aware of your surroundings. You will likely also try to concentrate harder because you’re not used to being suspended in the air during your yoga practice.

    Strengthened Muscles. Because gravity is working harder on your body than usual, your muscles work harder too. Aerial yoga is also a great core workout because you have to engage your core muscles to balance and stabilize yourself during your yoga session.

    Stress-Relief. Much like traditional yoga, aerial yoga is great for stress relief. Not only do you use poses and stretches common to other forms of yoga to relieve stress, but you also experience the joy of knowing that you did something new and exciting, which makes you feel good.

    Of course, any kind of physical exercise poses some risk of injury. So what are the risks associated with aerial yoga?

    Is Aerial Yoga Safe?

    Aerial yoga is a safe form of exercise in that all aerial yoga classes should be taught by a certified aerial yoga instructor (you can specifically ask your yoga facility about your instructor’s qualifications before taking an aerial class). Your instructor will be able to tell you how to perform aerial poses properly, so that you don’t injure yourself.

    Furthermore, you are only suspended three or so feet from the ground during aerial classes (although you can adjust the height of your hammock to suit your needs or make the class more challenging). Therefore, the risk of injuring yourself from falling is quite minimal.

    Some considerations to take into account, however, are the multiple risks associated with hanging upside down for too long. Of course, no reputable yoga instructor is going to keep you upside down for longer than is healthy, but you should be aware of the health risks associated with this activity nonetheless.

    Most people can engage in aerial yoga with few to no problems. However, if any of the following apply to you, you should consider a different form of exercise or — at the very least — consult with your doctor and yoga instructor before trying an aerial class:

     

    • Pregnancy
    • Eye diseases
    • Recent eye surgery
    • Vertigo
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Bone disorders
    • High/Low blood pressure
    • Prosthetic hips
    • Colds/Flu/Any condition that blocks the nasal passages

       

      For those of you who have decided to give this unique form of exercise a try, here are some tips to help you avoid accidents and injuries in your first class:

      Wear form-fitting, but comfortable, clothes. Loose or baggy clothing can make it difficult to move and has the potential to get snagged or tangled in the hammock’s mechanisms.

      Go barefoot. You’ll feel more comfortable moving around in the hammock this way.

      Drink plenty of water, and eat a light meal. This will prepare you for the intensity of the workout ahead.

      Avoid soft drinks and other acidic liquid before class. These might cause unpleasant feelings in your gut when performing the upside-down movements.

      Do not use hand lotion. It might stick to the hammock, or make it harder for you to maintain your grip.

      Remove jewelry, watches and anything else that can rip into or get tangled in the hammock. This also includes untrimmed fingernails and toenails.

      Be considerate toward your instructor and classmates. If you have good relationships with them, they’re more likely to give you help when you need it.

      Don’t go at it alone. Unless you’re 100 percent sure of your aerial yoga skills, you’ll be much safer performing with others.

      Aerial yoga might seem like an intimidating exercise at first but it can be incredibly rewarding and exciting. Many fitness clubs offer aerial classes for people of all fitness and skill levels. Check into the aerial options in your area, and you just might discover your favorite form of exercise yet.

      If you like yoga — even if you don’t do it that often — you should definitely, certainly, positively consider giving Aerial Yoga a try.

      For me, aerial yoga was like normal yoga... times 10. Not times 10 in terms of difficulty, but in terms of how effective, fulfilling and calming it was.

      Here’s how it works: You sit on a soft, fabric hammock that looks kind of like a long scarf. These hammocks are made out of special, high-density nylon material that can support over 2,000 pounds, so don’t worry - you’re not going to tear them.

      The hammocks are held up by carabineers, support chains and webbing straps. You can adjust the height according to personal preference, or for better maneuverability. (Note: You’ll also want to bring your normal yoga mat to an aerial yoga class so you have something to stand on.)

      Throughout the yoga class, you do various traditional yoga poses or aerial adaptations of traditional poses using the hammock for support.

      Some of the most basic poses involve simple stretches while seated on the hammock, while other poses progress to hanging upside down and grabbing your thighs, ankles or feet for support and balance.

      Why Aerial Yoga?

      Aerial yoga offers many of the same benefits and enjoyments of regular yoga, but it also has some additional benefits as well:

      Greater Flexibility. Since you have more freedom of movement, you can move your body into new positions. In some cases, this can result in a deeper and more fulfilling stretch than traditional yoga offers.

      Better Focus. By putting yourself in a more challenging situation than usual, aerial yoga forces you to be more alert and aware of your surroundings. You will likely also try to concentrate harder because you’re not used to being suspended in the air during your yoga practice.

      Strengthened Muscles. Because gravity is working harder on your body than usual, your muscles work harder too. Aerial yoga is also a great core workout because you have to engage your core muscles to balance and stabilize yourself during your yoga session.

      Stress-Relief. Much like traditional yoga, aerial yoga is great for stress relief. Not only do you use poses and stretches common to other forms of yoga to relieve stress, but you also experience the joy of knowing that you did something new and exciting, which makes you feel good.

      Of course, any kind of physical exercise poses some risk of injury. So what are the risks associated with aerial yoga?

      Is Aerial Yoga Safe?

      Aerial yoga is a safe form of exercise in that all aerial yoga classes should be taught by a certified aerial yoga instructor (you can specifically ask your yoga facility about your instructor’s qualifications before taking an aerial class). Your instructor will be able to tell you how to perform aerial poses properly, so that you don’t injure yourself.

      Furthermore, you are only suspended three or so feet from the ground during aerial classes (although you can adjust the height of your hammock to suit your needs or make the class more challenging). Therefore, the risk of injuring yourself from falling is quite minimal.

      Some considerations to take into account, however, are the multiple risks associated with hanging upside down for too long. Of course, no reputable yoga instructor is going to keep you upside down for longer than is healthy, but you should be aware of the health risks associated with this activity nonetheless.

      Most people can engage in aerial yoga with few to no problems. However, if any of the following apply to you, you should consider a different form of exercise or — at the very least — consult with your doctor and yoga instructor before trying an aerial class:

       

      • Pregnancy
      • Eye diseases
      • Recent eye surgery
      • Vertigo
      • Cardiovascular diseases
      • Bone disorders
      • High/Low blood pressure
      • Prosthetic hips
      • Colds/Flu/Any condition that blocks the nasal passages

         

        For those of you who have decided to give this unique form of exercise a try, here are some tips to help you avoid accidents and injuries in your first class:

        Wear form-fitting, but comfortable, clothes. Loose or baggy clothing can make it difficult to move and has the potential to get snagged or tangled in the hammock’s mechanisms.

        Go barefoot. You’ll feel more comfortable moving around in the hammock this way.

        Drink plenty of water, and eat a light meal. This will prepare you for the intensity of the workout ahead.

        Avoid soft drinks and other acidic liquid before class. These might cause unpleasant feelings in your gut when performing the upside-down movements.

        Do not use hand lotion. It might stick to the hammock, or make it harder for you to maintain your grip.

        Remove jewelry, watches and anything else that can rip into or get tangled in the hammock. This also includes untrimmed fingernails and toenails.

        Be considerate toward your instructor and classmates. If you have good relationships with them, they’re more likely to give you help when you need it.

        Don’t go at it alone. Unless you’re 100 percent sure of your aerial yoga skills, you’ll be much safer performing with others.

        Aerial yoga might seem like an intimidating exercise at first but it can be incredibly rewarding and exciting. Many fitness clubs offer aerial classes for people of all fitness and skill levels. Check into the aerial options in your area, and you just might discover your favorite form of exercise yet.

        Read more