Why swing around doing acrobatics in a hammock?

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

I was surprised at the number of people who did yoga who were 'off centre' and wobbling

This isn't the latest fitness craze.. well it is, just not here at ENERGYBODi.

We've had Aerial here since I opened the Studio 7 years ago.

Ten years ago, I saw a friend, Amanda Franklin, hanging upside down on facebook and said 'I want to do that!'

12 months later I was qualified to teach it. Apart from the fact it looked fun, I remember hanging upside down at any opportunity, through 'open' steps to ease my back pain as an 18 year old. It was as good as the traction the physiotherapists gave me. And this is one of the great benefits of Aerial, the decompression of the spine and intervertebral discs during inversion.

Over the time I was teaching Aerial I was surprised at the number of people who who were 'off centre' and wobbling (and many with a Yoga background) while using the aerial hammock. This wobbling is a lack of stability and is crucial in the support of our joints and our posture. The sometimes apparrant lack of understanding of our centre of gravity (mass) is not just when static but in movement.

Centre of gravity/mass changes when we are moving or carrying things.

As the hammock isn't static, this adds to the dynamic and can be a challenge which often takes people by surprise. Your centre of gravity can change dramatically. It is the play of finding your centre that makes Aerial such a great practice.

The balance between stability and flexibility is crucial to optimal, fluid, efficient movement. Being the super bendy flexible (yoga) person, while looking amazing, is not always that great. Indeed it can come with a host of joint/back problems. Back extensions are great for your back, IF you have first relaxed any tension in the back AND then lengthened and increased the intervertebral space. Otherwise a spine extension can cause a lot of compression of the intervertebral discs and possible impingement. (under an osteopath or Physiotherapist guidance, the technique of extension in the correct circumstances can also shift a protruding 'slipped' disc back into position). Tight muscles on either side of your spine can often happen when your body is 'protecting' your spine. A tight muscle is a weak muscle. Over time it causes joint problems and instability. This is particularly exasperated if your counter supporting muscles of the trunk are weak and not supporting the spine. (eg. Multifidus, T.A. Pelvic floor, Diaphragm) The answer to this is adequate stability in your Core.

Here we go, its that modern fitness craze word.. 'core'. So lets blow away a few misconceptions. Core is not 'your six pack' or your stomach. For a start your stomach is an organ set off to the slight left of your lower ribs, and your six pack, (which has 8 sections) is a surface muscle and like the icing on the cake (if you like that sort of thing) and of only a very small part in the stability of your trunk of your body.

Our core as defined at ENERGYBODi, comprises of our pelvis, rib cage, head and spine along with the integration of muscles throughout these structures. Hopefully at this point you are now thinking 'That must be a lot of muscles and seems like most of my body! ' Yes! The core and your body is a complex wonder that works as a whole integrated structure.

BODi Aerial practices the art of balance while moving through changing postures. This allows you to fine tune your core stability.

To further your knowledge of the core we recommend BODi Pilates to increase your stability and then further your release of tight muscles by pandiculation in BODi Somatic Yoga. ( at The ENERGYBODi Sensation).

And there's yet more benefits.....

Aerial engages the upper body and shoulder girdle in its optimum way, i.e. reaching overhead, swinging, hanging your body weight on your arms and also pulling up from a hanging position. How often do you do that? 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. 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.

Simply holding and hanging on to hammock will -

Improve grip strength.

Improve your range of movement in the shoulder girdle.

Produce traction (spinal decompression) to ease discomfort and contributes for a healthy spine.

Release tension in the muscles around your shoulder and neck.

Improve your posture and spinal awareness.

And that before we even begin to move!

We have only begun to to touch on the benefits of BODi Aerial, if that hasn't tempted you, how about a 10 mins savasana ( relaxation) to soothing music while curled up in a the hammock to finish your session.

Heather Parsons

Creator of The ENERGYBODi Sensation

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