This isn't the latest fitness craze.. well it is, but I believe its here to stay, and for very good reasons. Aerial has been available at ENERGYBODi nearly 10 years now and we are not surprised to see the growth and interest due to the huge benefits.
Over 10 years ago, I saw a FB profile of my good friend, Amanda Franklin, hanging upside down and immediately said 'I want to do that!' . Now that might not be your reaction but it does look cool and there is a lot more to it than acrobatics and hanging upside down.
12 months later I was qualified to teach Aerial Yoga. Apart from the fact it looked fun, I remembered my back pain from my late teens and twenties and finding anywhere to hang upside down. I used to thread my legs through 'open' steps, I used to find parks, I bought strange contraptions to suspemd myself from a pull up bar! All ease my back pain. I found was as good as the traction the physiotherapists gave me. Aerial is tremendously therapeutic; it decompress the spine, strengthens and mobilizes the shoulders, stabilizes the spine, challenges your balance and core strength, not to mention the confidence building and the camaraderie in a session!
Over my time of teaching Aerial I was surprised at the number of people who who were 'off centre' and wobbling, many from a Yoga background, while using the aerial hammock. Why was this, it confused me? What I came to realise was that many people who are attracted to Yoga are already super bendy and continue to develop this flexibility and mobility. This wobbling is a lack of stability and awareness of the centre of gravity which is vital to the support of our spine, joints and our posture. If you already have a regular Yoga practice , adding Aerial can really add another dimension and help balance and grow your practice.
Understanding where our centre of gravity is beneficial to everyone, it is what keeps our core strong. If you do any sport at all I would highly recommend Aerial. When working with a moving Aerial hammock, we learn to choose how much or little weight we put in the hammock, finding centre and moving in to it or away from it, means our centre of gravity constantly changes and hence increased need for stabilization. In other words, great core workout, great for spine stability and flexibility.
It is the play of finding our centre that makes Aerial such a great practice.
It heightens our self awareness and propreoception. You really get to find that out when your upside down!
So, getting back to you super bendy Yoga people.
Back extensions, used in many popular yoga photos, are great for your back, IF you have first relaxed and lengthened the muscles AND you have equal stability and strength around the spine/core; otherwise a spine extension can cause a lot of compression of the inter-vertebral discs and perhaps problems further down the line. Aerial will really help create some stability which is so important for your joints and spine. The balance between stability and flexibility is crucial to optimal, fluid, efficient movement. However, if you are sat there laughing saying , 'well that's certainly me out!' That's not true. For all you Stiff and inflexible people e.g. to much stability, resulting in aches and pains, Aerial is for you!
A tight muscle is a weak muscle.
Tight muscles on either side of your spine can often happen when your body is 'protecting' your spine, from an injury or continual bad movement posture. Over time it becomes chronic and causes all sorts of back and joint problems.
This brings us to the core. That modern fitness craze word. So lets blow away a few misconceptions. Core is not 'your six pack' or your stomach. This six pack is the icing on the cake (and six pack has eight sections), meaning it is a surface muscle and it's only a small part of the bigger picture of your 'core'.
Our core as defined at ENERGYBODi, comprises of our pelvis, rib cage, head and the spine plus the integration of muscles throughout all these structures extending into our extremities of the arms and legs. Hopefully at this point you are now thinking 'That must be a lot of muscles and seems like most of my body! ' Yes, one fully integrated whole structure, rather like a basket weave of opposing compression and tension, flexibility and stability, to find complete balance and harmony. Another way to translate core, is finding your centre!
Where have all the monkey bars gone?
When was the last time your was hanging around like this?
I love this picture, isn't he cute? This is what the shoulder was designed to do. Children's playgrounds once upon a time were full of monkey bars, its a great shame they are rare now. Children's bodies, as they are developing are missing this very important movement. Not only does it build a strong and stable shoulder, it releases a lot of tension around that area. We would have far less incidence of frozen shoulder and impingement if people were using their shoulders more in this way. What do you do in your daily life or exercise routine that requires you to reach over head and release your body weight down? This alone would ease so much tension in the neck and shoulders.
So there is more to this acrobatic swinging in a hammock. Its not all glamour and fancy yoga shots and its not all upside down, but everyone loves an upside down shot!
We have only begun to touch on the benefits of EMBODi Aerial, and if all that hasn't tempted you, how about the relaxation, soothing music while curled up in a the hammock to finish your session.
We would love you to join us.
Check out when our next EMBODi Aerial Fundamentals is happening. HERE
Creator of The ENERGYBODi Sensation