What Is Aerial Yoga?

You might already be familiar with yoga, but did you know that not every yoga class takes place on a mat? That’s right—this antigravity fitness practice takes place a couple of feet above the ground. 

While it may seem a bit technical at first glance, you don’t have to be a circus or Broadway acrobat to enjoy this yoga variation. Check out this in-depth guide we’ve created to help you enjoy this aerial fitness practice, newbies and pros alike!

So, What Is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial yoga (also regarded as flying yoga) uses a silk hammock that is suspended from the ceiling. This type of yoga is a combination of aerial arts and acrobatic-style movements, along with classic yoga poses.

The aerial silks support your body as you perform various yoga poses and help you hang upside down safely. 

Contrary to popular belief, Aerial yoga is actually suitable for beginners, as it offers support in each pose, helping students learn the proper alignment as their strength gradually improves.

How Aerial Yoga Is Different From Other Yoga Types

Aerial yoga complements traditional yoga; the only difference is that instead of doing yoga poses on a mat, it is done using a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling to perform the same movements.

The hammock takes the pressure off of your head and shoulders, helping you to perform challenging yoga poses like headstands more easily.

Although it may seem like most aerial yoga poses are done while suspended in the air, there are those you can perform with only a part of your body suspended while the rest is on the ground.

No matter what type of class you sign up for, you can always expect the instructors in your Aerial classes to guide you in each sequence, so there’s no need to be intimidated, especially if you’re a newbie. 

The Benefits Of Aerial Yoga

Here are some of the Science-backed benefits you can get from this antigravity practice:

Improves Back Pain

If you’re someone who sits or stands all day, then you definitely feel joint or back pains. One great benefit of taking Aerial yoga classes is that due to the support provided by the hammock, your spine isn’t strained as it is actually decompressed and realigned

This means getting the benefits of a full-body workout without experiencing any discomfort on your back.

Improves Core Strength

Aside from offering you peace of mind and relaxation, Aerial yoga also helps burn calories and improves your core strength in the process. 

After all, a stable core is required to keep your balance in the air, especially as you switch to different Aerial yoga poses. As a matter of fact, studies have found that a single class of Aerial yoga offers the same benefits as doing low to moderate aerobic exercises

A 50-minute serial yoga class can help you get rid of 320 calories, and in six weeks’ time, your risk of cardiovascular diseases will be significantly lower.

Relieves Stress

Just like the other yoga classes, Aerial yoga can help provide stress relief and put your anxious mind at ease. 

When you’re inverted (hanging upside down), blood flows to your brain, providing it with oxygen for better brain function and better focus. 

Improves Flexibility

Aerial yoga requires full-body movement, every muscle in your body is strengthened, and your body’s flexibility is enhanced. 

Attending Aerial yoga classes in a studio that provides you with the essentials you need can help you stretch your tendons and muscles safely. 

While you are suspended in the air, you can have more space to move and perform some yoga poses you have difficulty doing if you’re on the floor. 

5 Aerial Yoga Poses You Can Try Out

Some of the Aerial yoga poses you can try out in a studio include:

  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
  • Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Supported Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana)
  • High Lunge Pose 

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Yoga students with tight hips or anyone having a hard time doing an external rotation of the hips will benefit from this aerial yoga pose. This is one of the easy and fun movements students can do, as it involves floating your body off the ground.

Start by stepping your left foot into the swing (take note that the fabric should be held tight together so that your heel and toes are free). 

Hold on either side of the hammock as you try to find your balance.  

Once you’re ready, lift your right foot, bend your knee, and bring your leg around the front so you can place your foot on your thigh. Afterward, put your hands in a prayer position with the fabric hooked under your armpits.

Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The downward dog pose is one of the first yoga poses you will do in Aerial yoga studios to warm up your body. This yoga pose involves folding your body over the hammock with the fabric resting on your hip bones.

This Aerial yoga pose takes weight off your legs and arms while still giving you the opportunity to achieve a full-body stretch. 

To get started with this Aerial pose, stand firmly on the ground and spread your legs to a shoulder-width distance. Bend your body over the yoga swing slowly, and lower your hands to the ground. 

This Aerial yoga pose can help decompress your spine, strengthen the core, and remove pressure from your hamstrings. 

Supported Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

The Supported Chair Pose is one of the easy poses you will be doing in your Aerial yoga classes. It’s even considered one of the foundational poses in Aerial yoga since it will help prepare you for a more advanced class involving yoga swings. 

This is also an important transition pose of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga

Start by wrapping the yoga fabric under your armpits and shoulder blades. Extend your arms, grab the fabric above you, and place both your feet firmly on the ground.

Then, bend your knees and slowly sit back while letting the fabric support your back. Hold this pose for a couple of minutes as you bring yourself to a state of relaxation.

The Supported Chair Pose can help align your back, improve your posture, strengthen your legs and core, and improve your overall balance.

Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Unlike the plan you do on the ground, the Aerial plank pose is less strenuous, but positioning yourself can be tricky, especially for beginners. 

To begin, go on an all-fours position on the ground, facing opposite the hammock. 

Lift one of your legs and place your ankle on the fabric. Shift your body weight from your lower body to your upper body as you lift your other leg to have both of your ankles on the fabric. 

Extend your legs and make sure that your shoulders are aligned over your wrists. Hold this pose for 5 breaths. 

Doing this Aerial yoga pose frequently will help strengthen your core, arms, wrists, and back. 

High Lunge Pose (Ashta Chandrasana)

Aerial lunges are one of the beginner-friendly yoga poses that can help increase your muscle density, enhance leg strength, and increase stamina. 

To do this Aerial yoga pose, begin by performing the ordinary lunge position. 

Then, position your back leg carefully on the yoga swing, with your forward-bending leg remaining firmly on the ground. 

Position your back leg so that it is parallel to your other leg on the ground. Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

Aerial Yoga Tips For Beginners

Now that you’re familiar with some of the Aerial poses you can perform, here are some tips to bear in mind, especially if you’re a newbie in this aerial fitness practice:

Don’t Overthink It

“Can the swing hold my body weight?” is one of the common questions beginners have when it comes to Aerial yoga.

Take note that the yoga hammock varies, and while some can only hold up to 300 pounds, there are those that can hold up to a thousand pounds. 

So, no matter what your size, shape, or ability is, all you have to do is trust the sling (after knowing its maximum capacity, of course). 

Wear the Proper Attire

Taking Aerial classes at a yoga studio means coming to class wearing the proper yoga attire. Remember that what you wear to your classes can make or break your practice, so it is essential that you invest in high-quality yoga clothes.

When attending an Aerial yoga class, it is best to wear leggings or tight yoga pants when compared to shorts or loose pants. 

Also, you can wear a sports bra, tank top, or a long-sleeved shirt if your skin is sensitive, as the yoga swings can sometimes cause chafing.

Avoid Heavy Meals Before Class

As you’ll be balancing in the air, stretching, and performing poses, eating a heavy meal before your Aerial yoga class is not recommended. Instead, have a light snack like a power bar or a banana.

Don’t Wear Jewelry

Since you’ll be using fabric all the time, your jewelry might accidentally get snagged as you transition into different poses. To ensure your safety, don’t wear any jewelry when attending your Aerial yoga classes.

It would also help you concentrate, as you wouldn’t have to worry about your earrings dangling in front of your face when you make inverted yoga positions.

Final Thoughts

With the right equipment, proper attire, and a knowledgeable yoga instructor at your disposal, you can get your feet off the ground and start defying the laws of gravity in your Aerial classes.

Just remember to practice this under the supervision of an expert (preferably in a yoga studio) to ensure that your body is appropriately aligned and that you are hanging safely above the ground. 

No matter your size or level of proficiency, Aerial yoga is something you can enjoy worry-free!


Are aerial yoga classes suitable for beginners?

Yes, Aerial yoga classes are suitable even for beginners. We suggest taking an introductory class so you can be well-versed in the basic wraps and yoga poses. 

How many times a week should I do aerial yoga?

You can do Aerial yoga once a week if you are just starting out. 

Then, as you get the hang of it, you can increase your practice to 3 times a week, or you can even go to the studio and attend classes as much as you want.

How safe is aerial yoga?

Aerial yoga is 100% safe as long as the poses are done correctly and under the supervision of a certified instructor. 

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