“Safety is always the most important aspect of aerial yoga,” says Balch. “We must always be aware of our bodies and the risks as we move.” It’s also important that newcomers learn to trust the hammock, LoFria explains. “In an aerial hammock, students are only three feet off the ground. Even with the slight elevation, there’s a natural fear of falling.” Of course, with time and practice, these feelings eventually subside.
Once a student has established a safe and trusting relationship with the hammock, the real fun begins. LoFria’s favorite poses are backbends. “The hammock gives me the support and freedom to explore backbends fully with confidence,” she explains. As for Balch, it’s the inversions that bring her the most joy. “Something about being upside down just makes me happy,” she says. “Most students are amazed at what they can do after an aerial yoga class,” Balch adds. Even the simplest poses impart feelings of grace and beauty upon students.
As with traditional yoga, the more you practice, the more you’re able to push yourself. “The progress is not only beneficial for your physical health; it increases your mental health by building self-confidence, inner peace, and a complete sense of satisfaction,” says Balch. Echoing similar sentiments, LoFria touts the many physical benefits she has gained from her aerial yoga practice, including an increased range of motion, relief from back pain, and an overall openness across the body. “Mentally,” she adds, “the cocoon-like feeling of the hammock offers me a sense of peace and tranquility. It has allowed me to show myself grace and resilience through some challenging times.”
Aerial yoga has a little something for everyone. As LoFria explains, classes can be designed as relaxing and restorative or super challenging. “The beauty of aerial yoga is that what you really need seems to find you!”