Aerial yoga is fantastically fun, and it’s an easy way to help you reach and maintain challenging yoga poses.
You can work every muscle in your body, get fit, and have a great time doing it.
For example, did you know that turning yourself upside down in the air has the same benefits as completing around 20 sit-ups?
That all sounds great… but is aerial yoga for you? What are the pros and cons of using aerial yoga to get in shape?
Some of the pros or benefits of doing aerial yoga include it’s zero impact nature, it’s ability to improve your mind-body connection, and the way it helps build impressive upper body and core strength.
As for cons or drawbacks? Aerial yoga requires a lot of concentration and can be dangerous if you’re prone to your mind wandering. It’s also a lot harder than it looks and may not be the best choice if you’re looking for an easy way to move your body.
There’s lots to uncover as we dive into the pros and cons of aerial yoga, so it’s best to let the experts do the talking.
Here’s what they have to say.
Pros of Aerial Yoga
There are lots of reasons to fall in love with aerial yoga, and the experts certainly seem to think it has its merits.
Let’s look at why aerial yoga might be a great activity for you to enjoy.
1. It’s Low Impact
Yoga is notoriously low impact.
There’s no stress on your joints and far less strain on your cardiovascular system.
(Of course, don’t forget that yoga workouts can be quite intense, too! Especially hot and power yoga classes, which offer an incredible challenge to your muscles.)
Now let’s add in a little anti-gravity:
We’ve gone from low impact to ZERO impact. In fact, your body isn’t even touching the ground, which completely deloads and compresses your spine.
Plus, although aerial yoga is challenging in its own ways, you’ll be surprised what even a beginner can accomplish on the silks.
Smriti Tuteja, yoga instructor, says, “It is ideal for beginners as the suspended hammock makes even the most advanced yoga poses and inversions doable.”
Smriti also states, “It is also easier to perform for the elderly or those with injuries.”
Yoga is beginner-friendly and good for people with mobility issues already, but aerial yoga is even better.
2. It’s Great Fun
Smriti Tuteja describes the fun of aerial yoga as bringing “bliss” and “excitement.”
Kristijana Hillberg, barre instructor and aerialist, agrees.
She says, “It’s fun, low impact, and helps build upper body strength.”
Too many exercises are painfully boring, so anything that has a twist to it is bound to entice you.
And trust me. You’ve never tried a workout like aerial yoga.
How often do you get to hang upside down in mid-air!?
Unless you’ve been to the International Space Station, you’ve probably never done it!
And before you start thinking that fun doesn’t matter, just remember that enjoying your workouts is one of the keys to sticking with them long term.
(Learn more about fun fitness classes you can try if you hate the classics!)
3. It’s Helps You Connect You to Your Body
“Aerial is fantastic for learning mind-body connection,” says Kristijana Hillberg.
And that’s far from the only body-related benefit.
Smriti Tutja says, “Other benefits of aerial yoga include an:
- increase in mobility
- increase in core strength
- stress relief
- increase in flexibility
- improvement in balance and posture
- improvement of sleep patterns
- decrease in blood sugar…”
- and more!
(Learn more about the incredible results you can get from regular aerial yoga classes.)
Brett Edmunds, sports chiropractor, says it helps soothe the body’s joints thanks to the unique positions it places you in.
All in all, aerial yoga workouts help you develop a better connection to your body as your master more and more challenging poses.
4. It’s a Surprisingly Good Upper Body & Core Workout
It takes a heck of a lot of strength to hoist yourself up on aerial yoga silks or hammocks.
You’ll work your core and arms far more than you would in a regular yoga class — and that’s saying something!
Don’t be surprised you develop impressive grip strength, toned arms, and a rock solid midsection after a couple months of aerial yoga class.
The more advanced you get in your practice, the better results you’ll see.
Overall, aerial yoga isn’t the biggest calorie burner for weight loss. But it’s an extremely tough upper body workout.
Cons of Aerial Yoga
The cons of aerial yoga aren’t major.
There’s a lot to love about aerial yoga, but there a few reasons it might not be for everyone.
1. It’s High Intensity
Aerial yoga may be low impact…
… but we never said it was easy.
“Aerial Yoga sessions are very high in intensity and one must warm up before the session to avoid injuries,” says Smriti Tuteja.
So, if you were looking for something that wouldn’t require a ton of physical exertion, then aerial yoga isn’t the best choice for you.
It’s also not the best choice if you have a pre-existing shoulder injury or something similar.
Kistijana Hillberb says, “Shoulder injuries might impact your climbing abilities or if you can pull yourself up into seated harness position.”
Aerial yoga is really gentle on the joints in your lower body, but your upper body needs to be ready to work.
2. It Requires Deep Concentration
There are lots of activities where you can just switch off your brain and copy the instructor.
Aerial yoga isn’t one of them.
“It’s truly for all body types, but requires concentration unlike other classes such as HIIT, barre or kickboxing,” says Kristijana Hillberg.
You’ll be suspended and trying to get your body into unusual poses.
Naturally, you’re going to have to focus hard on your form, safety, and how much your body can handle.
If you wanted an activity where you could just relax and switch off your mind, then you’ll have to look again.
After all, one slip could lead to a nasty fall.
But, if you want to use your mind as well as your body, then feel free to hop into aerial yoga if you can.
3. It Can Be Uncomfortable to Be Upside Down
Being upside down, known as an inversion, isn’t a great feeling if you’re not used to it.
Your blood rushes to your head, and you feel like you’ve been drinking for 12 straight hours or have suddenly developed severe vertigo!
Although it becomes easier as your body adjusts to it. It just takes a little time.
Plus, learning to hold poses upsidedown isn’t easy.
Brett Edmunds says, “Other cons are that if one is trying to do inverted postures but can’t stay up, it becomes counterproductive as gravity pulls them down.”
You’ll have to really push through that discomfort and those difficulties if you want to succeed with aerial yoga.
It’ll get better as time goes on.
4. It’s Not For Everyone
Kristijana Hillberg points out that if you’re scared of heights or flipping upside down, then you may wish to reconsider aerial yoga as an exercise option for you.
It’s great if you want to overcome your fears, but it’s probably not the best idea to do that while exercising.
Practicing aerial yoga during pregnancy isn’t safe either, and people with high blood pressure or heart problems should also steer clear.
Regular yoga is perfectly fine for everyone who fits into this category, though.
And speaking of alternatives…
Main Alternatives To Aerial Yoga
If aerial yoga isn’t for you or you fit into one of the categories that can’t safely do these workouts, then don’t worry.
There are a few other workouts with similar benefits. However, most of them aren’t suspended in the air.
1. Aerial Silks
Aerial silks workouts are great for people who dislike the yoga aspect of aerial Yoga.
You’re still in the air, but the poses and moves are very different.
You enhance your muscles by doing aerial silks workouts, and you improve your grip, leg strength, arm strength, and core strength.
Although, keep in mind that this activity is low impact and high intensity like aerial yoga.
It’s essentially just aerial yoga but without being married to specific yoga poses. It’s a freestyle type of exercise while in the air.
2. Regular Yoga
We’re coming back to the ground now—maybe you didn’t like the aerial aspect of aerial yoga.
That’s fine! Regular yoga may be a great option for you.
You can do yoga alone or in a class environment, at the gym or in a studio.
Beginners may wish to take a class, as it will help you learn the different poses involved.
Advanced poses are a little trickier on the ground, but you can start slow and work your way up.
Help from a great yoga teacher will ensure that you climb your way up the yoga ladder until you’re highly skilled.
Pilates is a lot like yoga, except there’s a little more focus on strength, and it’s more active than yoga is.
If you wanted a yoga-adjacent activity that has more movement in it, then this may be what you’re looking for.
Unlike yoga and aerial yoga, pilates doesn’t focus on holding poses.
Instead, it’s all about moves like toe taps, leg lifts, and other strength-building “pulsing” movements.
You stretch your muscles, strengthen your muscles, and work on your agility and flexibility while you do it.
4. Assisted Stretching
If you had trouble with yoga poses and thought aerial yoga would make those poses easier, then assisted stretching could be your way to work out.
It’s not hard on your body at all — in fact, it’s incredibly relaxing.
Jorden Gold, Founder and CSO (Chief Stretch Officer) of Stretch Zone recommends assisted stretching for people who can’t quite get into and hold certain poses on their own.
Assisted stretching may be a relatively new concept, but it’s one you should consider.
Check out a stretching studio or work with a personal trainer who specializes in this kind of activity.
Swimming is a low-impact but high-intensity activity that you may be more comfortable with.
It’s a little less daunting than aerial yoga, as you won’t be in the air, and you don’t have to hold any poses.
You’ll feel weightless in the water, which emulates the spinal decompression of aerial yoga without the danger of heights.
Swimming will likely be less of a strength workout and more of a cardio challenge, so get your heart and lungs ready!
Mini-trampoline workouts, also known as rebounding, offer a lot of similar benefits.
You’ll deload your spine, flush your lymphatic system, and get an extremely fun workout out of the deal!
Rebounding is more of a lower body workout than aerial yoga, and it burns far more calories.
But when it comes to fun and getting a little airtime, these two activities have a lot in common.
Aerial yoga can be the adventure of a lifetime for some, and a total nightmare for others.
And that’s fine! Not everyone sees the appeal of hanging several feet in the air.
Find an activity that makes you feel safe and comfortable, and ensure it aligns with your fitness goals and limitations.
If you’re looking for some other workouts to try, check out the:
Hope this helps!