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Need a Lift? The Added Benefits of Anti-Gravity Yoga

3 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Medically Reviewed by Eric Leckie, PT

If your regular yoga routine needs a boost—anti-gravity yoga, or aerial yoga, might be the means to lift your workout to new heights…quite literally!

Christopher Harrison, an aerial performer, Broadway choreographer, and former gymnast combined the best of aerial acrobatics, yoga, Pilates, and calisthenics when he created this full-body workout that rivals Cirque du Soleil.

Full Body Exercise

Due to the suspended nature of anti-gravity yoga, each movement targets almost every major muscle group in your body. As you hang, your back will decompress and your muscles and joints will move, flex, stretch, strengthen, and tone in whole new ways. And because there is virtually no impact placed on joints, aerial yoga is safe to do for those with joint injuries (i.e., particularly back injuries) or going through physical rehabilitation.

Decompress Your Spine

As mentioned, one of the prime benefits of anti-gravity yoga is that it lets the body hang, decompressing the spine. This means that the anti-gravity nature of the class will relieve pressure all along the spinal column, providing a safe combination of lengthening and stretching to alleviate all types of chronic back pain (i.e., neural impingement, disc bulge, sciatica, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and isthmic and degenerative spondylolisthesis) in a very similar manner to a therapeutic inversion table.

Promotes Healing Within

As you hang, stretch, tone, and strengthen muscles and joints on the outside—anti-gravity yoga simultaneously works to restore inner balance and healing inside your body as well. For instance, inverted postures trigger blood circulation and reaction from multiple inner systems—like the digestive, circulatory, neural, and respiratory systems—to strengthen waste elimination, lower stress, strengthen immunity, nourish healthy cell growth, and improve memory.

Increases Strength and Flexibility

In addition to strengthening and promoting inner body rejuvenation, aerial yoga also boosts outer strength and overall flexibility.  In particular, akin to regular types of yoga, anti-gravity routines focus on the body’s core (i.e., the area of the belly and the mid and lower back made up of the hip flexors, muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, external obliques, and lower back), making everyday movement much easier.

Soothes Mental Stress

Just like other types of yoga, anti-gravity yoga is a mind-body experience. As gravity works to stretch, strengthen and tone muscles and eliminate physical toxins—it also works to strengthen the inner emotions and eliminate unhealthy stress, depression, and anxiety.

Accessible to Everyone

Unlike many other forms of exercise, anti-gravity yoga is safe for almost everyone, at every fitness level since it removes impact and compression from the spine. Folks of all ages, and all body types will be surprised how freeing aerial yoga is as you are lifted from the ground by a hammock and gravity distributes your weight evenly to assist your workout.

Mood Enhancement

We’re all aware that working out in general is beneficial for our moods, but anti-gravity yoga literally makes your spirit soar! The very act of being upside down, or inverted, stimulates the pituitary gland in the brain, which elevates mood (via serotonin and endorphin hormone secretions) and provides the ultimate, natural high.

Develop Self-Confidence

There’s little doubt that as the hammock in anti-gravity yoga lifts your body it will also boost your self-confidence to new heights. As you enjoy the workout, you will learn to trust your hammock, conquer the basic fear of being upside down, and explore newfound strength and body movement, as well as newfound body awareness.

Eric Leckie, PT

Contributor

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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