What is Aerial Yoga? History, Benefits and Precautions

What is Aerial Yoga?

Popularly known as antigravity yoga, aerial yoga is a type of yoga that uses silk hammock or yoga swing to perform the various postures which we usually perform on a yoga mat. The hammock is used as a prop to support the various flows of yoga pose while improving your flexibility and overall strength. There are many advanced poses in yoga that beginners find difficult to perform, silk hammock gives the ability to perform the difficult poses without hurting your backbone, shoulders, and head. One of the biggest differences between aerial and other types of yoga is the use of hammock for all yoga postures including Surya Namaskar, inversions and meditation from the beginning to end of the yoga class.

Aerial yoga combines the traditional form of yoga with acrobatics, dance, and fitness. It was started in New York and slowly became popular all over the world due to its decompressing effect on the body which helped people suffering from back and joints pain.

In Aerial yoga, hammocks created from stretchable fabric ( minimum 6 meters long and 2 meters wide) are used and kept at 1 meter above ground level. It acts as a swing supporting the hips during the forward and backbends. When the body is in mid-air, it becomes easy to perform advanced yoga poses without any tension on the joints and spine. Aerial yoga improves flexibility, aids in digestion, helps in decompression of the spine, strengthens the core, legs, and acts as a full-body workout. From beginners to experts, aerial yoga is for everyone. Women with pregnancy should avoid this.

History of Aerial Yoga

There is no clear evidence when aerial yoga was developed. If we trace back the history, during the 90’s renowned yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga was the very first person who taught his students yoga inversions with the help of ropes in order to attain the posture easily, without any pressure on the joints and to help them with alignments. At that time this was not considered any unique form of yoga.

Christopher Harrison, a dancer, and gymnast is one of the teachers who gave birth to aerial yoga. He was a gymnast and a dancer who combined the anti-gravity principles with acrobatics, pilates, dance, and yoga during the early 2000s. Harrison developed an aerial yoga routine which later gave birth to antigravity fitness programs. Michelle Dortignac (founder of Unnata aerial yoga), Rebekah Leach (author of Aerial Yoga Manual ) and Carmen Curtis (founder of AIReal Yoga) are also credited for the foundation of aerial yoga.

Benefits of Aerial Yoga

  1. Improves flexibility
    It provides you freedom of movement. The hammock in the air helps to lessen the pressure on the bones and muscles which increases your overall flexibility including spinal and shoulder flexibility. It also helps to relax muscles and lengthen ligaments. You can move your body in all positions which will really help you to go deep into your practice.

  2. Heals Back Pain
    It helps in decompression of the spine and puts less stress in the back and hip joints while performing poses. It works like a charm to get rid of bad back issues. As you hang freely, it also helps in the lengthening of the spine.

  3. Puts you in a great mood
    As you go against gravity, aerial yoga keeps the adrenaline running in your body. Regular practice of aerial yoga keeps you in a great mood as it helps in releasing a happy hormone called serotonin including dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. It also releases stress and tension from the body keeping you positive and stresses free throughout the day.

  4. Aids digestion
    It helps in eliminating problems like improper digestion and constipation because of various stretches, poses, and movements involved in aerial yoga help in improving our digestive system. All the different stretches provide great relief to your abdomen as well. 

    See Also: 11 Instant Stress Busters for Students and Adults

  5. Combats Heart Problems
    It helps in detoxification of your circulatory and lymphatic systems which ultimately helps in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases like improper heart rhythm and heart attack. It also improves blood circulation which helps to fight heart diseases.

You must take care of a few things while doing Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga is safe if you learn and practice it under the guidance of Yoga teacher or yoga school instructor. An instructor will help you to perform the yoga poses in the correct way and save you from unwanted injuries while doing yoga. while doing aerial yoga alone you should make sure that you don’t suspend yourself too high form the ground as you will be alone you can avoid injuries from falling and getting hurt yourself. you should make sure you don’t spend a lot of time while hanging upside down as it might cause complications.

  • While doing this exercise you should be barefoot and wearing loose cotton clothes as it will help you to move freely while doing the exercise and get to its end without any trouble.

  • Always take a light meal and drink a lot of water before practice. It will help to prepare for an intense workout.

    See Also: How to Build Healthy Habits

  • Always avoid taking or consuming alcohol, smoking, and other drugs before doing any yoga exercise.

  • Don’t apply any slippery lotion to your hands as it might cause your grip on the hammock.

  • Remember to trim your nails, remove all your accessories and tie you hair before starting this yoga to avoid any damage to hammock or yourself.


Yoga must avoid aerial yoga if you are pregnant, underwent surgery, bone problems, high or low blood pressure, etc. It is best to avoid these exercises if you have any of these problems.

See Also: 10 Good Source of Protein to Include in your Diet

Also, if you are suffering from these problems you must avoid the exercise. suffering from inner ear conditions, vertigo, head injury, obesity, wound or tendency to faint, if you are taking medication that can cause light-headedness.


Aerial yoga is the best way to understand about body dynamics with the ground and when you are suspended in the air. Doing this workout is fun, which gives you an experience of flying that you have never felt before.

There are many yoga school in Rishikesh where you can learn about aerial yoga. the Perfect course to learn it in full detail is yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. It is best to learn from one of the yoga teachers.