Aerial Yoga: What It Is And Poses For Beginners

Have we, not all dreamt of being able to fly when we were kids? Aerial Yoga can make this wish come true. 

Often beginners are too intimidated to start Aerial Yoga, because looking at photos of it, makes it seem so acrobatic. However, the good news is that Aerial Yoga has a lot of beginner-friendly poses and is too much fun not to give this type of yoga a try.

It does not mean though that Aerial Yoga won’t challenge you. You will benefit from a good workout, increased flexibility, feeling weightless, and also a calm mind.

Aerial Yoga Inverted Bow Pose

What is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial Yoga is a combination of acrobatics, dance, pilates, and traditional yoga poses. Instead of doing the yoga poses on your mat though you practice them in a “hammock”. 

Even though BKS Iyengar was one of the first yoga teachers that used props to help his students hang upside down and make inversions easier, it is said that Aerial Yoga really originated in New York. 

It was created by a former gymnast and broadway choreographer, Christopher Harrison. He is the founder of Antigravity Fitness and was choreographing aerial performances for athletes as well as artists like Britney Spears.

Later on, when Mr. Harrison discovered the benefits of yoga, he combined yoga poses into his aerial acrobatics and made it part of his Antigravity fitness program. 

This is when Aerial Yoga was born as we know it today.  

What is the difference between Aerial Yoga and traditional Yoga?

Although Aerial Yoga grew out of a significant amount of inspiration from traditional yoga, the two are definitely not the same. 

One of the obvious differences between the two is that traditional yoga is practiced on the mat, whereas aerial yoga is practiced in a hammock. In the air.

Traditional Yoga also comes with the aspect of grounding yourself, and calming the mind and is also often a spiritual practice, whereas aerial yoga does not really include the spiritual aspect.

Another big difference between the two is that, although aerial yoga might look more challenging, it is actually often easier to get into the poses.

What do you need for Aerial Yoga?

To practice Aerial Yoga you need an Aerial Yoga hammock or swing. 

The yoga hammock is made of a sturdy fabric, that is designed to support a person’s weight while they are practicing yoga poses in the air, off the mat.

The hammocks are usually mounted on a ceiling or a tree. For safety measures, it is important to adhere to the distance it needs to be hung up away from the ground.

You can also hang up your hammock on an aerial yoga stand. This is especially convenient if you plan on traveling a lot and still want to practice aerial yoga.

The three Elements of Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga, aswell as traditional yoga focuses on the Asanas together with breathing, additionally balancing is a very important aspect.

The many benefits of Aerial Yoga

Traditional Yoga already has a lot of positive effects on our bodies. Aerial Yoga comes with the same benefits, aswell as helping you improve your traditional yoga practice.

Practicing aerial yoga takes away a lot of the challenging parts of some of the traditional practices as the hammock supports you and serves as a prop.

Here are some of the amazing benefits that Aerial Yoga has on your body:

  • Improves Flexibility
  • Total Body Strengthening
  • Improves fitness and aids in weight loss
  • Decompresses the spine
  • Aids in digestion
  • Improves circulation
  • Strengthens the core
  • Improves your mood
  • Boosts confidence
  • Low-impact exercising
  • Improves balance
  • Reduces stress
  • Simplifies more difficult traditional yoga asanas
  • Increases coordination 
  • Improves focus
  • Increases pulling strength
  • Reduces Anxiety and depression

Who can perform Aerial Yoga

The whole idea of aerial yoga is actually to make traditional yoga poses easier, as the hammock allows you to enjoy a deeper stretch. Thus it makes this type of yoga very beginner friendly.

Even though it looks intimidating, you do not have to be an acrobat or even an advanced yogi to try it.

Another great part of aerial yoga, especially for beginners, is that it is so much fun that you forget that you are working out in the first place.

Aerial yoga picks you up, wherever you are at. 

Who should not perform Aerial Yoga?

Even though Aerial Yoga is great for beginners, seniors, and almost everybody, it is advised not to practice Aerial Yoga when you are, or have, one of the following:

  • Pregnant
  • Suffer from vertigo
  • Glaucoma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Diseases
  • Recent Abdominal Surgery

Aerial Yoga tips for beginners

  • Trust the sling. It is made to hold a couple of kilos. 
  • Don’t eat a big meal beforehand.
  • Keep breathing, especially through the difficult poses. When things get challenging, relax and go at your own pace.
  • Modify when necessary and ask your instructor for help. Don’t be shy. 
  • Most importantly though, enjoy the journey of your aerial yoga practice.

8 Aerial Yoga poses for beginners

Aerial Yoga Floating Savasana Pose

If you would like to start your Aerial Yoga journey I advise you to take classes with a certified instructor, before you try it on your own.

If you do however have some basic knowledge, regarding the safety of performing aerial skills, here are some beginner-friendly poses for you to try.

  • Downward Dog
  • Aerial Lunges
  • Aerial Planks
  • Inverted Bow Pose
  • Aerial Butterfly Pose
  • Cross Position
  • Star Inversion
  • Floating Savasana

Safety Tips 

All in All practicing Aerial Yoga is safe. The rate of injury is quite low compared to other sports. However, it is important to know some of the safety measurements, in order to prevent unnecessary injury.

Consult your Physician

If you have any health-related issues, please consult your physician before you give Aerial Yoga a try. 

Wear proper Clothing

It is ideal to wear a tight-fitted top and leggings. Nothing to lose. Do not wear perfume or jewelry as these can weaken and/or tear the hammock. Wearing jewelry could also result in injuring yourself. 

Check whether your swing or hammock is secure

Before starting your aerial yoga session make sure that the hammock is secure. Check all of its anchor points and press down with your hands.

Also, ensure that the hammock can support your body weight. Different hammocks support different weights.

Adhere to the safety instructions

For some poses, like inversions, you need to really make sure to wrap the hammock around you properly to avoid falling and injuring yourself. Therefore it is also advised to first take a couple of classes before you try to practice on your own.

Final Thoughts

Aerial Yoga has caught the attention of a lot of new yogis, mostly because of the amazing and stunning Aerial Yoga Photos on Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media platforms. 

Aerial Yoga does not only look impressive and beautiful, but it also comes with a lot of astounding benefits. 

It might look too challenging to try, but don’t let the doubt keep you from trying this amazing yoga “style”. It really is beginner-friendly, most hammocks are made to endure a lot of weight and it is easy on the joints.

So, if you ever wanted to fly and overcome gravity, whilst at the same time having fun getting fit and improving the health of your spine, give Aerial Yoga a try.



Is Aerial Yoga good for beginners?

Yes. Especially those new to yoga benefit a lot from aerial yoga as you get into the pose more easily and is easier on the joints.

Can I do Aerial Yoga at home?

Yes. If you have a ceiling that is high enough to mount your hammock on, or if you have an aerial stand and you feel comfortable enough to practice at home, then you can give it a go. However, it is advised that you either have some experience in aerial yoga or that you join an aerial yoga class before trying it all on your own at home. Just so you can learn about how to enter certain poses safely. 

What do you wear for Aerial Yoga?

Tight-fitted tops and leggings. Do not wear any jewelry as those could damage the hammock or injure you.