NETWORK INCREASINGLY FLICKERING IMAGES CELEBRITY , performing a variety of exercises in the air on long multi-colored tissue flaps, and news about the open studio and aeroyogi aerostretchinga appear one after another. Back in 2013, Gwyneth Paltrow, known for her love of a healthy lifestyle, shared on her portal a story about practicing “anti-gravity” (that is, denying the force of gravity) yoga. It was then that America was captured by the widespread love of exercises on aerial silks – literally “air silk”, that is, a long piece of fabric suspended from the ceiling at both ends. We figure out what it is, why it is needed and where to go for it.
For the first time “air silk” appeared in the late fifties in circus schools, but gained wide popularity only in the nineties, thanks to the American dancer and gymnast Christopher Harrison, who gathered a troupe of acrobats called AntiGravity. Then Harrison began experimenting with exercises in the air and realized that with the help of a hanging hammock, you can perfectly stretch your back muscles. Gradually, he developed a whole system of exercises for his troupe, and in 2007 presented it to the general public. The practice was named AntiGravity Yoga, and it was Harrison who invented aerial yoga in its current form.
Of course, the American gymnast is not the only one who thought that a cloth suspended from the ceiling could help to take a fresh look at the usual exercises: one of the most famous modern yoga masters Bellur Iyengar also practiced a similar technique, only he performed asanas not in a hammock, but on the ceiling with ropes.
Despite the fact that AntiGravity is a patented technique, many athletes and instructors, inspired by the idea of training in the air, create their own exercise sets, using a silk hammock as their main tool. The AntiGravity company has a number of directions, but the most popular is aerial yoga, which we know as “yoga in hammocks” or “aeroyoga”.
The peculiarity of this yoga practice is that all exercises are performed either completely in a hammock, or with partial support on it, which allows you to align the asanas and support the body. Constant balancing loads muscles that are inactive in everyday life, helping to quickly master complex asanas, including inverted poses – they can be performed in a hammock without resting on the floor. The advantage of aero yoga compared to classical yoga is that it develops flexibility much faster, because the hammock itself helps to increase the tension and stretch the muscles.
It is important that yoga classes on a silk hammock almost completely relieve tension from the spine and allow you to maximally stretch the paravertebral muscles, which is very difficult to achieve when practicing on the ground. And of course, aerial yoga promotes relaxation and tranquility like nothing else: slow swinging in a cocoon-like hammock promotes stress relief and deep relaxation.
In Moscow and St. Petersburg, a number of studios, in addition to air yoga classes, offer programs in some other areas of air silk training, such as aero stretching. The main goal of these exercises is to stretch muscles, increase their elasticity and develop joints. As in aero yoga, the load is removed from the spine because tissue is used as support. Due to the fact that the hammock is constantly balancing, you can constantly “lower” the point of fixation of the body; for example, you can gradually sit on the split deeper, standing with one foot on the ground and resting the other on a silk ribbon, which will take your leg farther and farther. Plus, the hammock helps you hold your poses longer.
The most interesting direction of air sports, probably, is still aerofitness – strength and cardio training on a hammock (not to be confused with flying in a wind tunnel). This is an intense workout that can be compared to training on the TRX, only the body does not use the loops as support, but the hammock. Due to the unstable position of the tissue and a fairly fast rhythm, the hammock helps to work out more muscles in a short time and put a load on the whole body at once: for example, performing an exercise for the buttocks, you simultaneously use your arms, torso, shoulders and back.
Despite its fragile appearance, the hammock is able to withstand a weight of up to 200 kg, which makes it an almost universal simulator for both experienced athletes and beginners: everyone can try themselves in this type of training, regardless of the level of training. Lessons in hammocks are also great for the rehabilitation of people with disabilities, after surgery and injuries, or for children with cerebral palsy, since a hammock reduces the load on the spine. The ability to perform inverted poses has a good effect on the cardiovascular system, and the unstable position of the hammock allows you to quickly strengthen muscles, improve posture, stretch joints, and improve overall well-being.
This is not to say that anti-gravity exercise is a revolution in the world of fitness. In the end, this is just an opportunity to diversify the routine or get carried away with something new. Any physical activity is beneficial and makes you feel better. It is important that you like it and improve your mood, so it is better to choose the type of load that you like; for some it is long walks with the dog, for others badminton or swimming, for others – fitness on silk ribbons.