<p>Your Complete Guide to Aerial Yoga for Beginners&nbsp;</p> (2023)

Yoga has been the most popular virtual class booked on the Mindbody wellness service app this year, making up 32% of virtual bookings with an average of nearly 22,000 yoga bookings per day. But not every class requires you to get on a mat. In fact, if you're a fitness enthusiast, you may have seen beautiful Instagram-worthy shots of a different type of yoga that defies gravity.

Aerial yoga is quickly gaining popularity worldwide and provides a slew of physical and wellbeing benefits. We chatted with top aerial yoga instructors to find out everything you need to know before heading to your first class.

What is aerial yoga?

Instead of performing yoga poses on a mat, aerial yoga utilizes a silk hammock or sling that is suspended from the ceiling to perform those same movements. The purpose of the hammock is to provide support through your yoga flow, while also improving flexibility and range of motion. The hammock also takes pressure off certain areas of the body like the head and shoulders, allowing you to reach those more challenging poses like headstands with greater ease. Although most aerial yoga photos you'll find seem to showcase a yogi fully suspended in air, many aerial yoga poses only require you to take one body part such as your foot or leg off the ground.

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Aerial yoga tips for beginners:

If you're new to aerial yoga fitness, Michelle Li, Co-Owner of AIR Los Angeles and AFTT Certified Aerial Yoga Instructor, says that you can expect a fun and transformative experience. But, the practice can definitely be challenging and your body might need some time to calibrate. Li says that you don't have to have any prior yoga experience to take an aerial yoga class, but being well versed in floor yoga beforehand can certainly be beneficial. Here are some tips to remember before you head to your first class:

  • Trust the sling: "This is a body-inclusive practice, as the sling can hold up to a couple thousand pounds. No matter your shape, size or ability, you can enjoy aerial yoga," says Mindbody Holistic Wellness Expert and Certified Yoga Instructor Dani Schenone.
  • Wear the right gear: For an aerial yoga class, you'll want to wear tight yoga pants or leggings as opposed to loose pants or shorts, says Lea Walker, Owner of Aeriform Arts, Levity Aerial Yoga Certified and Grounded Aerial Bungee Certified Instructor. A sports bra is needed, as well as a fitted workout shirt that ideally covers the underarms if you have sensitive skin as the slings can sometimes cause chafing. Walker also suggests wearing a tank top and bringing a long sleeve shirt with you to wear for some of the moves.
  • Don't eat a big meal beforehand: You'll want to avoid eating a large meal for at least an hour before class, but Walker also notes that you don't want to go into the class with low-blood sugar, so a small snack like a banana beforehand should be fine.
  • Leave the jewelry at home: Schenone says that jewelry can get easily snagged in the slings, so it’s best to be jewelry-free during your practice.
  • Just relax: Walker adds that the more difficult moves can be intimidating and people can often get in their own head. Breathe through the poses and go at your own pace.
  • Speak up: If you need help handling the sling, or you’re uncomfortable in a pose, Schenone and Walker both agree that you shouldn't be afraid to speak up and ask the instructor for help. That is what they are there for, and they want you to enjoy yourself during the class.
  • Modify when necessary: Walker stresses that even though a movement may look difficult, there are tons of modifications that make aerial yoga classes accessible to anyone. Go into the class with an open mind and make sure you have an open communication line with your instructor.

<p>Your Complete Guide to Aerial Yoga for Beginners&nbsp;</p> (2)

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Physical benefits of aerial yoga:

  • Increase full-body flexibility and strength: Schenone says that this practice is a full-body type of movement, so it strengthens all muscles. The hammock itself allows you to go deeper into the stretches and poses, further enhancing full-body flexibility.
  • Alleviate back and neck pressure: Li says that sitting or standing all day long allows gravity to weigh down the spine, but being upside down in certain aerial yoga moves she claims can help lengthen and decompress the spine.
  • Promote circulation: Given the nature of the poses and breathing through the movements, Li says that aerial yoga is great for promoting circulation throughout the body as well as digestion.
  • Improve core strength: In order to maintain stability throughout the different poses, Li says that it's important to keep the abdominal muscles engaged throughout the practice.
  • Boost confidence and mood: In addition to the opportunity to learn something new, Schenone says that aerial yoga makes more advanced yoga poses accessible to beginner yogis by the support of the sling which can boost confidence in the practice and provide a sense of accomplishment.
  • Low-impact exercise: Because of its low or zero-impact nature, Schenone says that aerial yoga is an excellent option for those who want to move their bodies, but experience joint issues. "Using gravity and suspension, aerial yoga allows you to create space in the body without compressing the joints. There are even joint-relief-focused aerial yoga classes that specifically target joint pressure and pain," she notes.

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Aerial yoga poses:

Some aerial yoga poses require only a bit of support from the hammock for balance purposes, while others require you to place 100% of your bodyweight on the sling itself. A beginner or introductory class can get you well-versed in basic wraps and poses. Some of Schenone's favorite aerial yoga poses include:

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  • Vrksasana (tree pose): This pose is excellent for individuals with tight hips and anyone who has a hard time with external rotation of the hips. Your body is supported by the sling, making it a more restorative variation of the posture.
  • Matsyasana (supported fish pose): This is an accessible pose that is great for people with different abilities, and it opens the chest and aids in spinal mobility.
  • Ardha Kapotasana (half pigeon pose): Your bent leg is on the ground, and your lengthened leg is in the sling. This pose helps open up the hip flexors.
  • Supta Konasana (reclined angle pose/inverted star pose): Getting your heart above your head is so beneficial – yes, you are upside down for this one, but it can be done!

Aerial yoga classes to check out:

Li teaches at AIR Los Angeles and Walker teaches at Aeriform Arts in Los Angeles as well. Here are some examples of studios where you can book aerial yoga via Mindbody:

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Is it safe to do aerial yoga at home?

Li says that many companies sell free-standing rigs that you can place in your backyard to do aerial yoga, but she advises to avoid hanging one in your home unless done by a professional since indoor setups can damage your ceiling and also can be very dangerous if done improperly. Walker does not recommend home aerial yoga unless you are keeping a grounded base, which means at least one foot on the ground for the movement. If your heart is set on buying an aerial yoga hammock and installation set, Walker suggests investing in a top quality brand. You can also look up local studios and see if you can get in for a one-on-one session. Whether you try your first aerial yoga class tomorrow or a year from now, go in with an open mind and make the most of it.

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Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.O., C.D.N., NASM-CPT

Nutrition Lab Director

Stefani (she/her) is a registered dietitian, a NASM-certified personal trainer and the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, where she handles all nutrition-related content, testing and evaluation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. She is also Good Housekeeping’s on-staff fitness and exercise expert. Stefani is dedicated to providing readers with evidence-based content to encourage informed food choices and healthy living. She is an avid CrossFitter and a passionate home cook who loves spending time with her big fit Greek family.

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How do I prepare for my first aerial yoga class? ›

Here are some tips to help you get ready for your first session:
  1. Wear the Right Clothing. Since you'll be hanging suspended in a hammock, you don't want to wear anything too loose, because it might get tangled. ...
  2. Get There a Few Minutes Before the Class Starts. ...
  3. Eat Before Class, But Not Too Much. ...
  4. Relax.
Aug 1, 2019

Is aerial yoga suitable for beginners? ›

Aerial yoga is suitable for anyone and everyone. With a swath of soft fabric bolstering your body and keeping you off the ground, whether you're totally inexperienced, a beginner or advanced yogi, aerial yoga is an effective way to challenge and improve your strength and flexibility.

Can you do aerial yoga with no experience? ›

Can anyone do Aerial Yoga without previous knowledge or do you need experience in traditional yoga? No prior experience is required. The fitter you are, the easier the exercises will be. The following athletic abilities are helpful: good coordination, strength and flexibility.

Can I learn aerial yoga at home? ›

You can absolutely do aerial yoga at home!

Am I too fat for aerial yoga? ›

The beautiful thing about Aerial Yoga is anyone REALLY can do it. No matter your age, weight, fitness level, etc.

Why do I feel dizzy after aerial yoga? ›

Causes of Dizziness During Aerial Yoga Training

When there is too much carbon dioxide in the blood, it may become less acidic, thus triggering a chemical alteration in your body's nerve function, leading to a feeling of light-headedness.

Who should avoid aerial yoga? ›

It is recommended to avoid aerial yoga if you suffer from heart disease, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma or severe arthritis, to name a few. 2. Some with a propensity towards dizziness may not feel comfortable hanging upside down.

Is aerial yoga harder than yoga? ›

For some, aerial yoga may be easier than traditional floor-based yoga as the support of the sling fabric means removes any pressure on your wrists and knees, if these are sensitive areas. On the other hand, if you're not a fan of inversions (i.e. being upside down), you may prefer floor-based practices.

Is aerial yoga good for losing weight? ›

A study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that a single 50-minute session burns an average of 320 calories and participants who took three 50-minute aerial classes a week for six weeks lost an average of two and a half pounds, 2 percent body fat, and about one inch from their waist.

Do you wear shoes during aerial yoga? ›

You should wear clothes you are comfortable in. We find that more form-fitting clothing helps to avoid bunching or draping over your face while inverted. You will be asked to remove your shoes for class. You can go barefoot, many of our clients prefer to wear socks, the choice is yours.

Is aerial yoga good for seniors? ›

Considering that yoga swing poses can be modified to adapt to individual needs, aerial yoga provides a safe but effective means for the elderly to remain active, regardless of their ability or fitness levels.

Is aerial yoga anti aging? ›


Aerial yoga is a natural and safe way to effectively get a face-lift and defy the effects of aging. Hanging upside down circulates fresh oxygenated blood to your face and neck, thereby relaxing the muscles and preventing wrinkles and fine lines.

How many times a week should you do aerial yoga? ›

We recommend practising Aerial Yoga at least once a week, three times seeming to us a pretty intense rhythm. However, if you become a big fan, you're healthy and you practise safely, nothing stops you from practising as much as you want.

What are the side effects of aerial yoga? ›

Aerial Yoga is potentially dangerous as you will at times be upside down with your weight fully supported in the fabric. The risks involved are overuse injuries of shoulders and back, pulled muscles, bruises, fabric burns, and dizziness/nausea when hanging upside down.

What do you wear to aerial yoga? ›

A sports bra is needed, as well as a fitted workout shirt that ideally covers the underarms if you have sensitive skin as the slings can sometimes cause chafing. Walker also suggests wearing a tank top and bringing a long sleeve shirt with you to wear for some of the moves.

Is aerial yoga better than Pilates? ›

Aerial Yoga Vs Aerial Pilates: Aerial Pilates focuses on more dynamic and more core strengthening movement, which is more reachable than rehabilitation and development uniforms and healthy bodies. Meanwhile, aerial yoga to ends up in meditating and reaching a more in-depth level of self.

What is the weight limit for air yoga? ›

A: 400 pounds or less is the recommend weight limit for our aerial swings and hammocks.

Is there a weight limit for flying yoga? ›

While some studios may set a 250lb limit, I generally advise students between 250-300lbs that there will be additional pressure from the hammock and thus I'll be there to help them make modifications or add padding.

Why do I feel strange after yoga? ›

When practiced mindfully, your whole body will experience increased circulation and internal massage. This leads to a clean out of toxins in the body. The toxins will be released into the blood stream and may cause headaches, drowsiness and fatigue.

Why does aerial yoga hurt? ›

What once seemed therapeutic suddenly turns painful, often because of the pressure of the fabric tightened over specific joints that the posture targets. This can lead to frustration and further discomfort in the body if not addressed, in particular for beginners new to aerial yoga.

How do I stop my head from rushing during yoga? ›

Yoga Therapy : Head Rush/Light-headedness
  1. Eat a small meal before starting your yoga practice.
  2. Drink water an hour before your practice especially before an early morning practice.
  3. Move out of your forwards folds slowly and never hold your breath.

What is the difference between flying yoga and aerial yoga? ›

Flying yoga marries dance, pilates, aerial gymnastics, and traditional yoga to create a unique anti-gravity yoga discipline. What is this? Instead of a mat, aerial yoga uses a hammock (also referred to as a silk) which hangs down from the studio ceiling.

What people should not do yoga? ›

Let us look at a few common contraindications of yoga and what you should do to manage them.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women should not practice rigorous asanas. ...
  • Sciatica. ...
  • Knee pain. ...
  • Hernia and ulcers. ...
  • Hypertension. ...
  • Frozen shoulder or injury. ...
  • Lower back pain. ...
  • Surgery.

Who Cannot do yoga? ›

If losing weight and building muscles is all you need, it is better to refrain from doing yoga as it is a holistic practicing method that requires time before you see the changes in your body. Therefore, physical gain should not be the sole purpose of engaging in yoga.

What is the hardest yoga style? ›

Ashtanga yoga: strenuous and not just for beginners

Without the support of a professional, this can sometimes go wrong. Ashtanga is considered the most difficult yoga style because you need a lot of patience and discipline.

What is the hardest yoga pose ever? ›

Savasana is believed to be the hardest yoga asana. Some would question why such a simple, motionless asana would qualify as being difficult, compared to more advanced asanas such as the headstand (Sirsasana), the king of asanas.

What is the most powerful form of yoga? ›

Ashtanga Yoga

The Path: The most dynamic and vigorous form of yoga, Ashtanga approaches yoga with a continuous flow of movement. Top athletes who seek a more intense workout enjoy this form of yoga, sometimes called vinyasa or power yoga.

Is aerial yoga good for back pain? ›

Relieve back pain today with aerial yoga

Decompression techniques are known to help alleviate pain symptoms originating from injury or posture that have resulted in spinal or sciatic nerve compression, disc degeneration, fascial tension, muscular tightness and joint restriction.

Is aerial yoga cardio or strength? ›

Aerial yoga is a low-impact cardio workout that won't put too much strain on your joints. In a study by Western State Colorado University, researchers found that a 50-minute session resulted in cardiovascular effects similar to low to moderate-intensity exercises.

What should you not wear on aerial silks? ›

For attire there are a few things you definitely want:
  • You want tight fitting stretchy pants that will cover the backs of your knees. ...
  • You want a shirt that will cover your midriff without riding up, or that you can tuck in.
  • Don't wear a belt, or any jewelry that could possibly catch on or tear the fabric.

Can you wear socks in aerial silks? ›

You can wear trackies, socks, leggings... anything you like for warmup and cooldown. However, once we get on the silks, you'll need to have your legs and abdomen covered to protect your skin and you'll need to wear flexible, soft, well fitted clothes that allow movement but don't have loose folds that can catch.

Should you wear socks to aerial silks? ›

Can I Wear Socks for an Aerial Silks Class? Sure! But unless you've been climbing your whole life, you'll want your feet bare because your skin with grip the aerial silk better than socks. You'll see top-level aerialists climbing with socks, and it takes a lot more strength to climb that way.

Can a 65 year old do yoga? ›

And it's never too late to begin: You can start yoga at any age. (Just be sure to clear it with your doctor before you get going.) Here are some of the benefits of yoga for seniors: Better balance: Many yoga poses for seniors focus on strengthening the abdominal muscles and improving your core stability.

Can yoga remove wrinkles? ›

Smooth Forehead Yoga

Facial yoga is extremely beneficial for anti-aging including wrinkles and fine lines. It works the muscles around the eyes and forehead.

Does yoga make your face look younger? ›

Face yoga increases skin elasticity, minimizes wrinkles and fine lines, and promotes a young appearance. Additionally, face yoga can aid in lymphatic drainage, healthy breathing, headache and migraine management, and many other physical advantages.

Does yoga prevent wrinkles? ›

"Minimizes wrinkles: Yoga has the ability to reduce stress, relaxing clenched jaws and furrowed brows, apart from easing away the wrinkles naturally. Further it helps in enhancing and maintaining the glow of skin by reducing oxidative stress that reduces skin's elasticity.

What are the injuries in aerial yoga? ›

Aerial Fabric Yoga is a potentially dangerous activity involving acrobatic work at various heights. The most common injuries are overuse injuries of shoulders and back, pulled muscles, bruises, fabric burns, and dizziness/nausea (from upside-down/inversions and spinning).

What do I wear to an aerial yoga class? ›

A sports bra is needed, as well as a fitted workout shirt that ideally covers the underarms if you have sensitive skin as the slings can sometimes cause chafing. Walker also suggests wearing a tank top and bringing a long sleeve shirt with you to wear for some of the moves.

What not to wear to aerial yoga? ›

How Do I Prepare for an Aerial Fitness style Class?** Hammocks do snag. Please do not wear jewelry, belts, or clothing with grommets, zippers, gems, or anything that could potentially snag the fabric. Also trim your finger and toenails and smooth out rough skin feet to prevent fabric snags or wear socks.

What do I need for aerial yoga class? ›

What to Bring to Aerial Yoga Class
  • A water bottle. Bring along a bottle of water so that you can rehydrate immediately after class. ...
  • A yoga mat. ...
  • Toe socks or yoga socks. ...
  • Form fitting clothing. ...
  • A bag to keep it all.
Aug 1, 2017

Is aerial yoga harder than regular yoga? ›

The beauty of Aerial yoga is that 95% of students can do such advanced poses in the Aerial hammock during their first class! Aerial yoga is the easiest, most effective tool to use while building up the strength, stamina and endurance to progress towards a standing floor pose if that is what you are aiming for.

How many times a week should I do aerial yoga? ›

We recommend practising Aerial Yoga at least once a week, three times seeming to us a pretty intense rhythm. However, if you become a big fan, you're healthy and you practise safely, nothing stops you from practising as much as you want.

Can anyone do an aerial? ›

Learning to do an aerial is a challenging skill that requires consistent practice, patience, and dedication. An aerial is a gymnastics skill where hands are not touching the floor or the apparatus. This is one such skill that requires you to use the power of your legs in order to perform the skill properly.


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