Why Getting Upside Down Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Body

Written by Tatiana Sokolova
Tatiana Sokolova is an advanced Ashtanga Yoga instructor and retreat guide. She completed her 200-hour teacher training with the Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Paris, and has since made it her mission to share the Ashtanga practice and all its physical and mental benefits.

Image by @lilchillipadi / Twenty20

 

It wasn't until I left a stressful career in video production in Paris and moved to Costa Rica that I discovered aerial yoga—and I'm so grateful that I did. Aerial yoga has improved my strength, helped me through heartbreak, and given my body the relief it needed from years of working in a stressful, high-pressure environment. 

Before I found aerial yoga, I was a pretty ardent adapter of traditional yoga, as many ashtangis are (and I still am)—I thought aerial yoga was just a fashionable trend. But in my experience as a teacher and practitioner, aerial yoga can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Here's why I love it, and why you should try it.

Aerial yoga is the best stress relief I've ever experienced.

Yoga has been known to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension, but there's something about aerial yoga in particular that sets my body free and gives me the ultimate stress release. Aerial yoga forces you to be in the moment since you're often inverted or trying poses you haven't done before.

Do you remember the last time you forgot your seriousness and self-importance and started laughing relentlessly, captured in the excitement of the moment? 

That's why I experience (and encourage my students to experience) while doing aerial yoga. It frees us from being hard on ourselves and relieves the stress we've built up in our lives. I love the feeling it gives you—a sensation of lightness, flying, and fun. I walk away from every class and practice feeling relieved, open, and with a beautiful sense of calm.

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Aerial yoga takes pressure off your body.

Even if you've never done aerial yoga before, you've probably seen photos of people doing it. It's a type of yoga that uses a hammock or yoga swing that's suspended from the ceiling. Yogis love it because it lets them get into postures that they may not be able to on their mats, and it's great for decompressing the body.

Suspension in the hammock allows you to engage in postures without compressing the spine or putting pressure on your joints. The poses strengthen your shoulders, arms, and abs, without placing undue stress on your body. Many people I've worked with have expressed remarkable results when they added aerial yoga to their routine to heal their back pain.

Aerial yoga can even help our bodies function better.

Yoga has a plethora of benefits, both mental and physical, and aerial yoga is no different. According to a study from Western State Colorado University, regularly practicing aerial yoga can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness and positively affect cardiovascular disease risk factors. Yoga has also been used by experts like Robin Berzin, M.D., and Will Cole, D.C., to prevent and treat symptoms of adrenal fatigue. 

There are so many reasons I love aerial yoga. It allows you to reap the benefits of yoga and exercise, with the added bonus of being upside down and feeling weightless. Aerial yoga literally makes us see our lives and actions from a different perspective—it challenges us and brings out our strength. If you haven't tried aerial yoga yet, I hope this encourages you to give it a shot. It has changed my life and my health, and it's sure to improve yours too.

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