Beyond Flips and Tricks (Part 2)

What Students Say About the Benefits of Aerial Yoga…

Way back in 2018, I wrote a blog post about the difference between aerial yoga and aerial acrobatics. Since then, I’ve directed countless people to that blog post, whenever the question comes up about understanding the difference.

As much as we can talk about what the difference should be, the real results come from the students who consistently show up for aerial yoga. Today we’re going to hear the perspective of a small group of long-time dedicated aerial yoga students, and hear what aerial yoga uniquely does for them, specifically.

These students have been practicing aerial yoga regularly for anywhere from 10 months to 8 years. Some of them also take aerial acrobatics classes, and some have never taken that type of class. Most, but not all of them have some ground yoga experience. They range in age from 30s to 60s, and their professions range from college professor to physical trainer, to many unique lives.

Let’s hear what they have to say!

What does aerial yoga do for you physically?

Deanna – “Aerial yoga helps me explore how my body works and all that it can do. The sling empowers me through support and balancing, creating opportunities for me to learn and grow my movement practice. At the same time, aerial yoga teaches me how my breath and body movements work together. It’s also great for my shoulder flexibility … because I get to practice things that are hard without the sling and because it teaches me healthy shoulder movement.”

Susan – “Aerial yoga has helped me to grow my strength, especially in my core, without straining my back or shoulders. I have past injuries in both those areas, and aerial yoga doesn’t exacerbate them. (Much of that is because of Jordan’s excellent guidance. She’s very good at helping us find the poses correctly, so we won’t hurt ourselves.)

Stacey – “At the beginning, I just kept coming back for the savasana at the end! It was so relaxing! But it didn’t take long before I realized how much aerial yoga elongates my spine with all of the inversions, and really helps open up my tight hips. And even though I had a strong core before, I’ve found different ways to strengthen it with aerial yoga. I know my body craves and is dependent on some quality, consistent, hang time now!”

Leslie – “Aerial yoga gives me a deep stretch since the silk is able to support different parts of my body in ways that can’t be done on the floor. And as a bonus I often feel like I’m getting a good core workout while I’m at it.”

Laquosha – “Physically I’ve strengthened my core and gained flexibility.”

What does aerial yoga do for you mentally?

Susan – “Aerial yoga does a lot for me mentally. It’s a time for focus, which gives me tools to focus in the rest of my life. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And despite all the work and focus it still feels like playtime, and who doesn’t need more productive playtime?”

Leslie – “Aerial yoga is mentally challenging in that I often attempt things I’ve never done before, didn’t think I was strong enough to do, or make me a little nervous. Even when it takes me a couple weeks to get it right – it’s a good sense of accomplishment.”

Deanna – “For me, aerial yoga is very grounding. It calms my mind.”

Stacey – “Being a personal trainer, I’m constantly telling others what to do, creating unique programming, and always just THINKING. Aerial yoga is my only time where I don’t have to do that! I trust Jordan and follow her instructions, and end up leaving the studio so much calmer, and with a more relaxed body.”

Laquosha – “Aerial yoga helps me to quiet my mind while moving.”

How would you describe the difference between aerial yoga and ground yoga?

Susan: “Aerial yoga lets me build my strength steadily. In ground yoga it always felt like I was straining too hard to do difficult poses. Flexibility isn’t much of an issue for me, but strength is, and aerial yoga gives me support to work my muscles. In ground yoga I would just fall into position and let my joints do the work that my muscles were supposed to be doing. Plus, aerial yoga is so much more fun. It never feels like something I ‘should’ do.”

Stacey: “Being hypermobile and strong, ground yoga was always very easy for me, and I never found a real challenge with it. Once I discovered aerial yoga, it was a game changer. Gravity was the key to adding the difficulty that I needed into a yoga practice!”

Laquosha: “With ground yoga I sometimes struggle with trusting my body to execute certain poses. In my experience with aerial yoga I welcome the challenge to try difficult poses without fear.”

Leslie: “Aerial yoga is more challenging, in a good way. Aerial yoga is simultaneously a stretching exercise and a strength building exercise.”

How would you describe the difference between aerial yoga and aerial acrobatics?

Deanna – “Aerial yoga has a greater attention on breath and a slower pace. It’s easier for me to move slowly and intentionally in aerial yoga, with a good focus on form and on breathing into movements and positions.”

Laquosha – “Aerial yoga centers mindfulness! Its flow is slow and steady!”

Susan – “I really think that Jordan’s leadership in the class has a lot to do with why it works so well. She has both circus and yoga aerial skills, and she knows a lot about the body, so she is able to help everyone do poses correctly and to progress at their own pace.”

What is the biggest benefit you get from aerial yoga?

Laquosha: “Both the gain in flexibility and the excitement of learning new poses in the silks. I’m so happy that I decided to take aerial yoga! I started this journey to experience something new, the experience has been so refreshing that I will practice aerial yoga long term.”

Susan: “Hanging upside down! I don’t get to do that anywhere else, and it’s so much fun. I’ve done a lot of different physical activities in my life, but aerial yoga is the only one I’ve been consistent with for multiple years.”

Deanna: “Body awareness, body confidence, and better everyday breathing practices. There is so much in it that is soooo good for my body, spirit, and mind.”

Leslie: “I like that aerial yoga is a challenge for me (physically and mentally). Equal parts stretching, strength training, and mental fortitude, it’s time well spent.”

Stacey: “I can’t say there is one specific benefit to my aerial practice. It’s a mind/body thing collectively. It’s an essential part of my self care routine and I truly look forward to it every week.”

What did we learn?

Even in this small group of students, there’s a lot of variety in what aerial yoga does for them, specifically. The interesting thing is, these students all take the same aerial yoga class! Because aerial yoga works below the surface, its benefits (and challenges) can run deep.

What’s the biggest benefit YOU get from aerial yoga? Let us know in the comments!

Students in Photos From Top to Bottom of Article
Photo 1: Stacey, Photo 2: Laquosha, Photo 3: Susan, Stacey, Deanna, Photo 4: Deanna, Photo 5: Stacey

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