At any given time in our lives, whilst watching the birds gracefully play with the wind, most of us must have wondered how it feels to be up in the air, floating around weightlessly, enjoying the many beautiful views the Earth has to offer from another perspective.
The thought is completely unrealistic, of course. We all know humans do not and are unable to resist gravity (on their own).
We are, nevertheless, creative beings – a part of nature itself; inspired by it and its gifts.
We are also extremely good at taking care of our health, well- being and finding innovative ways to reduce the stresses of our day- to- day lives on a holistic level.
The 21st century is an abundant one, never before have we been so connected, well- informed, educated, productive and efficient. On the other hand, never before have we been living in such busy, consuming and stressful conditions.
As a result, a vast percentage of our society is struggling with stress- related conditions. Research nowadays shows that being exposed to excessive and constant stress overtime is linked to diseases in most body organs.
According to a well- known website WebMD, the following health problems are related to stress:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Gastrointestinal and Digestive problems
- Accelerated ageing
Additionally conditions such as Asthma and the Alzheimer disease can be worsened by stress.
Naturally, there are many techniques to manage stress and reclaim our well- being. Most experts recommend deep breathing, being in the present moment, meditating and undertaking regular exercise as means towards a healthier and better feeling ‘You’.
And then there’s flying. Flying must be a great way to deal with stress. But, we all know humans are unable to fly, right?
Aerial yoga, a yoga style developed in the early 2000s, ticks all the boxes when it comes to successfully managing stress, boosting mood and aiding us to experience the feeling of weightlessness.
Just as in traditional yoga practice, aerial yoga, improves general health, keeps us fit and offers much needed stress- release, however both experiences differ completely.
Whilst practising aerial yoga, we are suspended in mid air, our bodies supported by a specially designed hammock or sling, which keeps us safe and prevents us from falling down at all times.
This fun activity is especially therapeutic for the back and can be recommended to all of us suffering from (chronic) back pain. The exercises performed in an aerial yoga class put less stress on the back and give us the opportunity to fully lengthen the spine. Hanging upside down reverses the pressure of gravity and decompresses the spine, which causes significant reduction in back pain and improves overall joint health. Inverting stimulates our nervous system in a positive way, helping us relax, breathe deeper and ‘letting go’ of our worries.
Additionally, most yoga postures are much more accessible when using the hammock as a prop. Being suspended in the air lengthens our ligaments and relaxes our muscles which overtime increases our flexibility. What distinguishes aerial yoga from the other yoga styles is how fun it is. The activity challenges you to develop new body skills, get out of your comfort zone and learn how to trust yourself, resulting in improved mood and increased self- confidence.
A regular practice lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, aids digestion, improves balance, core strength, memory and concentration.
Aerial yoga is a beginner friendly practice, accessible to all. It’s a great way to reduce stress (as it literally lifts the weight off our shoulders) as it combines deep breathing, being in the present moment and mindful movement.
This form of a moving, levitating meditation allows us to enjoy weightlessness. A feeling quite unique in itself. A feeling that brings us closer to that sense of flying.
Aerial yoga classes are available outdoors at La Donaira through Spring- Autumn.