In today’s blog post The Mazé Method Emissary, Sarah Bohairy, who lives and teaches in Saudi Arabia, speaks about why you she practices Aerial Yoga. Sarah will be teaching an Aerial Yoga Intensive at the The Mazé Method Studio in Los Angeles May 15-17.
What is Aerial Yoga?
It is a form of yoga that uses a soft, fabric aerial hammock suspended from the ceiling. The hammock is hung at hip height and allows you to let go into gravity and explore new and traditional yoga postures with your body weight partially or fully supported.
Why I Practice Aerial Yoga:
1. It’s a lot of fun! Remember being a kid at the playground? Remember how much fun the swings and the monkey bars were? Aerial yoga can take you back to that playground fun — it is a yoga playground for adults!
2. Aerial yoga works on balance and proprioception. The hammock challenges and improves balance and proprioception as the hammock swings and moves freely from the attachment points above. This requires me to be perfectly aware of my body in space, and be mindful about how I use my body in relation to the hammock. I practice Aerial Yoga regularly and have experienced significant improvement in my body awareness and ability to balance.
3. Practicing Aerial Yoga along with regular yoga (on my mat) has strengthens my body in a very balanced and sustainable way. A few years ago I read an article on how a hatha yoga practice involves a lot of push action with our muscles. The title of the article is “Too Much Push in Your Yoga? You May Need Some Pull.” In this article, Todd Lavictoire discusses how a traditional mat yoga practice involves a lot of push action, especially at the shoulder joint. Chaturanga Dandasana is a good example. Yoga practitioners may do many, many rounds of Chaturanga Dandasana per week without ever complimenting it by working a pull action at their shoulders. The pull action can be found in aerial yoga as many of the movements require a climbing, pulling up action at the shoulders. I personally found adding in aerial yoga helped me heal and strengthen my shoulders.
4. Aerial Yoga also offers the benefits of spinal realignment and the opportunity to invert with zero compression. Due to problems with my cervical spine, I am unable to practice sirsasana (headstand). I had given up on being able to invert safely and without doing further damage to my neck. With aerial yoga I am able to receive the benefits of inversions and help heal my neck. The hammock is placed securely on the pelvis so that inversions in aerial yoga create spinal decompression and length. I now get to spend more time upside down than most yoga practitioners do while practicing sirsasana. I love the effect inverting gives to my physical, mental and emotional health!
Sarah Bohairy, a The Mazé Method Emissary,has been practicing yoga on and off since high school. She became serious about her practice in 2005, completing her first teacher training in 2009 with Yoga Arts in Bali, Indonesia. Continuing her studies with the Kripalu School of Yoga, Massachusetts, Sarah received the Yoga Alliance 500 hour certification in 2011. In early 2012, Sarah began studying with Noah Mazé and watched her practice and teaching grow and expand radically. Sarah launched her first very successful The Mazé Method teacher training in January 2014 to an incredible group of Saudi women. Blending her past learnings and ongoing studies, Sarah’s classes are a mix of creative sequencing and strong attention to alignment. With a deep passion for pranayama and meditation as well as asana, Sarah enjoys sharing her experiences and ongoing exploration of yoga with all levels of students. Sarah lives and teaches yoga in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sarah is registered with Yoga Alliance at the RYT500 designation.