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Aerial Yoga Challenges


Posted by Cags R under Yoga on 23 May 2012 at 7:25 AM

"If I were king for the day I would ban swivel chairs in offices - everyone would be sat in a yoga swing and you could just flip upside down when you want some fresh blood to your brain!"

Richard H is our resident aerial yoga instructor and has created some amazing Challenges for you to take on as an introduction to aerial yoga.

If you've never heard of it before, aerial yoga is a form of yoga which uses a swing to allow easier inversions which continuously engage your core.

'The principle of being upside down has been very central to yoga for thousands of years - they call it the king of the asanas to be inverted. It provides so many health benefits; it rests your cardio vascular system, it feeds your brain, it brings space to the digestive system as it releases us from our usual hunched up posture and brings space to the body.'

So here they are, 5 Challenges from Richard to show off the different fitness aspects of aerial yoga!

push up cobra aerial yogaThe Strength Challenge

  • Richard says this one does tend to favour the men but we'll see about that!
  • This Challenge requires you to do the Superman, starfish, push-up cobra, 360 roll and ride the bull.
  • Your core will be engaged the whole time and your strength and balance put to the test .
  • Riding the bull will test your stomach too as you spin around in the swing!

Image: Rose K performing the push-up cobra

The Endurance Challenge

  • Hold your balance with your thighs rested on the swing and your hands on the floor. 

  • Similar to using a foam roller, this is one of those exercises which may hurt but Richard describes it as a 'deep tissue massage'. 

  • Increase the pressure on each quad by shifting your weight from one leg to the other and pushing down into floor with your hands.

  • 'It's like the big brother of the foam roller!'

Image: Richard H demonstrates the Challenge

The Perception Challenge 

  • This Challenge tests your perception of time whilst being inverted.
  • Richard chatted to Rose as she hung upside so she couldn't simply count time as it passed.
  • Unlike a normal timed static position, (you know - when that 2 minute plank feels like 5 minutes!) Rose held the inversion for 4 minutes thinking it was only 3. 

Image: Rose K inverted for 4 minutes

The Creativity Challenge

Richard is setting you the Challenge to use your imagination. How does he get from the first position to the second?

See if you can work it out and replicate!

The Flexibility Challenge

  • It's pay back time girls! We may struggle with the Strength Challenge but here is where we excell; the Flexibility Challenge!

  •  Box split, mountain, side-split, mountain, side-split, mountain - 3 minutes total and see if you can hold each position for 30 seconds each.

  • You needn't go into full splits, just as far as you can; 'People make it a problem about whether they're flexible enough 'am I not bendy enough?!' - it's rubbish, just bring space to your body!'

Image: Rose K in the box splits

So who can do aerial yoga? Pretty much anyone! However, if you suffer from very high blood pressure, have issues with your eyes under pressure or you are pregnant then aerial yoga isn't suitable for you and it should be avoided during menstration too.

Other than that you're good to go! If you're based in London be sure to check out Richard's studio, it's truly a relaxing form of yoga which also leaves you grinning from ear to ear!