by Jordan Anderson (Unnata Aerial Yoga teacher and course leader)
Yoga has always been a very grounding experience for me. Something about feeling the ground underneath my feet, feeling every bit of connection to the floor, and experiencing the play of inhale and exhale… I have always left a yoga practice feeling very centered. I wasn’t sure what to make of aerial yoga when I first heard about it. I figured it would just be a fun novelty practice, worth trying because it looked like fun. I was surprised to find that using the hammock for yoga actually enhanced my connection to the earth and to my breath in new and interesting ways that carried forward.
As someone who spends a great deal of time working against gravity in my everyday life as an aerial instructor and performer, the way we use the hammock in aerial yoga provides a nice balance. When the hammock is used to its full advantage, the upward pull of the aerial yoga hammock enhances our appreciation for the downward pull of gravity.
I constantly have students tell me how surprised they are that they can feel so grounded after an aerial yoga class. There are a few things I incorporate into every aerial yoga practice that allow for this groundedness to occur. For anyone who’s ever practiced aerial yoga and felt a little too floaty, or even dizzy, I recommend trying these tips for grounding the next time you practice.
Use your breath! Concentrate on feeling the upward pull of the hammock as you inhale, and the downward pull of gravity every time you exhale.
Find places to relax and let gravity provide a nice downward pull to your body while you are hanging in the hammock. In many postures, the more you are able to relax in the right places, the more grounded and extended you will feel.