History of Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga is a relatively new and special type of the sport that uses a hammock or yoga swing which allows students to perform all those postures they are not able to attempt on the yoga mat. It is also thought to be beneficial for people who have back pain on spend a lot of time sitting thanks to the decompressing effect on the body.
The history of this way of yoga is quite confusing and unclear. The late and great yoga master, B. K. S. Iyengar was the first who popularized the using of props in yoga. Although there were many more yogis over the thousands of years who have used devices and hanged upside down from trees but Iyengar created a complete practice that included accessories like blocks, straps or ropes and improvised inversion slings.
In 2001, a physical therapist in the US, Antonio Cardenas developed a device similar to the one that is used today both in Aerial Yoga and Yoga Trapeze and also dubbed the “Yoga Swing”, known today as the “Omni Gym”. In 2003, Kerry Neal created the “Gravotonics Yoga Swing & Exercise System” in Bali while founder of “YOGABODY”, Lucas Rockwood, as a result of three years of developing, created the Yoga Trapeze after he first discovered the inversion slings in Thailand, 2004. To pioneer and develop a deeper understanding of the practice, Richard Holroyd founded “Aerial Yoga London” in the UK by 2011 before he moved to India in 2017 to continue its evolution there.
The difference between Aerial Yoga and Yoga Trapeze literally does not exist. Even though there are two names, it only represents that this type is absolutely new and exciting on the scene of yoga. Some say that Aerial Yoga mostly follows the traditions of Iyengar and has a pinch of spiritual elements, also more static and yin while Yoga Trapeze is more yang. In the top of these, the most confusing thing is that there are other activities who use the same inversion slings similar to the aerial silk hence call themselves Aerial Yoga as well. It is often related to the AntiGravity Fitness created by Christopher Harrison which is instead closer to gymnastics and dance but adapted later into AntiGravity Yoga.
The most important thing is that the use of the suspended hammock allows the execute of movements that help with spinal decompression, and improve flexibility and natural health of muscles and joints. The constant suspension and swinging makes the body engage more muscle than traditional exercises performed on the ground.