What Is Aerial Hammock?
A Creative Origin Story
Aerial Silks originated in 1959 when a French Circus school asked the students to make a difference by performing an acrobatic act. One student used a long piece of fabric for her act. Since then, this piece of fabric has shape-shifted in so many incredible ways!
Aerial Hammock, which is what we will be working with, is a long LOOP of fabric. Unlike the silks, which are two separate pieces of fabric, the hammock provides many of the same benefits as the silk with additional restorative support.
Aerial Hammock actually became its own apparatus because silks performers were tying the two pieces of fabric into knots so that they could use the loop to stretch and restore their muscles. I love sharing the history of the Aerial Hammock because it just goes to show that trust in one small idea can turn into reaping more abundance than ever!
Read more about classes, restrictions & benefits of aerial hammock classes below.
Aerial Hammock Benefits
Aerial Hammock integrates stretching style exercises, pilates based core moves, fun aerial challenges, fluid movement as if dancing, myofascial release, strength training, balance and posture work, to help create new brain body connections.
This is for those looking for something creative outside of the normal gym workout to stay fit or for those who are looking to restore fascia and take rest in the hammock.
Aerial Hammock allows for freedom for a different design of body types, personality types and in different levels of challenge for reviving or restoration.
Aerial Hammock has a special focus on inversion therapy, fascia release and relief, strength training, conditioning and joint rotation and mobility.
Aerial uses a soft hammock that supports 1,000lbs and works with various body types. Read more below to see possible reasons to join or NOT to join an aerial class (contraindications).
BENEFITS (but not limited to):
myo-fascial tissue / adhesion release
fun mental acuity
upper body development
lower body stability
strengthen postural alignment muscles
improve spatial awareness
joint rotation and mobility
muscle toning and strengthening
create community with others
increased circulation to the pituitary gland
safely experience more advanced positions and deeper poses
working with and against gravity creates length or strength
lessen pressure on joints to improve range of motion
Types Of Aerial Hammock Classes
There are many different ways that the aerial hammock can be used to benefit the mind, body, and soul. As an instructor, I like to offer Aerial Arts, Aerial Yoga, and Restorative Aerial classes. These are all very different based on pace and purpose of the class. Please read the description of current classes to see what style fits you best! For now, here is a brief overview of the differences between each class.
These classes utilize the aerial hammocks for circus arts purposes. These classes are offered to both adults and the youth. These classes involve strength and conditioning, inverting, flipping, twisting, dropping, spinning and much more! We also learn how to add grace and ease to our transitions in aerial arts in order to create a choreographed routine. This class benefits the mental and emotional health by providing a creative outlet that also benefits the physical body.
These classes utilize traditional yoga poses with the support of the hammock. They are usually slower paced classes as they focus on singular asanas (poses) but they still involve supported inverting, standing on the hammock for poses, and using the hammock in various ways. This class includes a floating meditation at the end. As of right now, you can receive an aerial yoga experience by attending any of my Intro to Aerial Hammock Workshops or "Aerial Hammock Beginner Series."
RESTORATIVE/YIN AERIAL YOGA:
These classes are ultra slow paced as poses are mainly done seated, on the back or on the belly and with props. The hammocks are hung lower to the ground (about 6-12 inches off the floor) for additional support and myofascial release. Restorative Aerial is more gentle than Yin Aerial so please note the difference when you are reading specific class descriptions.
YOUTH AERIAL ARTS:
All of my aerial classes offered to the youth are AERIAL ARTS based. Please read the description above labeled "Aerial Arts" to better understand if this class is best for your child.
When You Might OPT-OUT
You might avoid traditional aerial yoga if you have any of the following conditions. Use your best judgement and COMMUNICATE with me beforehand.
bone and joint disorders, such as osteoporosis, herniated disk (can attend after several months of healing), fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, severe arthritis or spinal injuries
cardiovascular disorders, such as very high or low blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease
diseases or infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), ear infections, glaucoma, vertigo/labrythitus or cerebral sclerosis
Recent Back or Shoulder Surgery
Recent Eye Surgery
Botox within 48 hours
If you suffer from any of the below it would be best to check with a Doctor before you take part:
use of blood clotting medications
Shoulder/Rotator Cuff injuries
Chronic Back Issues – bulging/herniated/slipped discs
YOU MAY CHOOSE TO TAKE A RESTORATIVE AERIAL OR PHYMAT CLASS INSTEAD!
**SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT MENSTRUATION: It is advised NOT to go upside down when you are menstruating if it feels uncomfortable to YOUR body. Please use your best judgement when attending classes and menstruating.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CLASS
Wear a shirt that covers your underarms and leggings that cover knees. This will help protect the silk from deodorant stains and protect your underarms and knees from the possibility of “silk burn” which doesn’t happen often. Avoid wearing extra baggy clothes as it’s hard to maneuver the hammock when the fabric is getting caught in a shirt. Please do not wear jeans to class.
Eat a small amount of food about 1.5-2hrs before class but do not eat a large meal. Too little food and you could get dizzy, too much food and you could end up in the bathroom for all of class! BRING WATER! NO JUICE RIGHT BEFORE CLASS ( THE ACIDITY WILL NOT LIKE THE MOVEMENT). NO ALCOHOL 24HRS BEFORE A CLASS–STRONGLY ADVISED!
NAILS, HAIR, SKIN:
NAILS: Please trim your finger and toe nails before class to protect the silks! IF YOU HAVE FAKE NAILS, you can still take class but please be EXTRA careful!!! Let the instructor know that you have fake nails before class so that they can show you HOW/HOW NOT TO grip the fabric.
HAIR:Feel free to wear your hair up or down. It’s best to wear it up if you’re a beginner and with a headband!
SKIN: Try to refrain from using lotions before class as these could stain or get onto the silk.
ARRIVE TO CLASS AT LEAST 5-10 MINUTES BEFORE!
Hammocks are put up PER person’s height. Everyone’s height is different and it takes some time to rearrange the hammocks so please be respectful of student and instructor time.Arrive early enough to get your hammock measured and ready to go.
You’ll probably be nervous your first class–I was for mine! Just know that everyone in the class once started where you are OR it’s also everyone’s first class! You only have to do what YOU feel comfortable doing! You will be fully supported by the hammock and the instructor who offers spotting throughout class.