Is “Fly Yoga” Worth It? Science Says It May Yield 6 Major Health Benefits (The Healthy)

Posted: Jul 13, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in The Healthy on July 13, 2023.


Is “Fly Yoga” Worth It? Science Says It May Yield 6 Major Health Benefits

By Leslie Finlay

Few things stand the test of time like yoga. For thousands of years, this meditative movement modality has helped individuals practice mindfulness while keeping their muscles limber and their bones and joints healthy.

These days, scientists are continuing to discover how yoga promotes total mind-body health. Research shows us that yoga is connected with better sleepimproved digestion, and better back pain, and. According to experts from Northwestern Medicine, a regular yoga practice has even been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, enhance lung function, and help treat stress, anxiety, and depression.

But especially if you're a seasoned yogi who's looking to get more from deepen your practice, aerial yoga can help take you to new heights. This modern spin on traditional flows combines classic yoga philosophies and asanas (poses) with the playful physical conditioning of aerial arts. A few different options can give your practice wings—and they're all suitable for complete beginners and seasoned experts alike. 

Aerial yoga

Kevin Bigger, the Teaching Training Director at Om Factory School of Yoga, says when you join your first aerial yoga class—sometimes called "fly yoga"—the first thing you’ll notice is a fabric hammock rigged above each mat, explains . “We do many of the same poses that you would find in a typical [yoga class], but some part of your body will be interacting with the hammock in some specific way,” he says. Aerial yoga brings its own flair to the ancient practice, too. Bigger says that instructors often include aerial conditioning exercises, as well as elements of Pilates, Barre, and Dance. “We also like to include cirque tricks inspired by aerial acrobatics—wind-ups, drops, and more!” 

The fabric easily adjusts to your goals as well. It can work to support your body, allowing for deeper poses and alignment adjustment. That can be especially helpful for new yogis learning correct form. The hammock support can also aid in building strength and flexibility as you work toward more advanced positions, like handstands or other inversions. 

No matter your level, this balancing act makes for a serious full-body workout. Bigger says that aerial yoga moves strengthen certain muscle groups more effectively than comparable “grounded” yoga classes. “Students find that almost every pose in aerial yoga requires a bit more effort from your abdominal core,” he adds.

And the physical effects go beyond great muscle toning. A small study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that participants who practiced aerial yoga over just six weeks lowered several common heart disease risk factors, including their blood pressure, body fat percentage, and resting heart rate. 

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