Confessional. I’m an upside down junkie. I have to admit, there is nothing quite like it. At first, when you go upside down, it’s uncomfortable, because every drop of blood flows to your head, in a most explosive way. If you stick with it, that sensation goes away, and is replaced with the only word I can come up with……BALANCE. Inversions are work, but they are also incredibly relaxing, particularly after coming out of them. After an aerial hammock class, I’m just balanced is such a wonderful way.
My love of inversions came from practicing headstand and shoulder stand in yoga class. I was intrigued by the Iyengar yoga method, of using ropes or a sling attached to the wall, and inverting from there. Some of you remember my old studio in Maineville, where I had a sling hanging from the ceiling. People would come early, and get a quick hang in before yoga. As my practice of inversions became more steady, I began to look for other methods of hanging upside down. In New York, they had some classes using a sling type of hammock, and using those to invert. I quickly ordered one, and hung it up. Aerial yoga, in it’s infancy, was really born from a gal named Rebecca Leach. She was a dancer, arobatic performer who started playing around with nylon fabric suspended from a ceiling. People would tell her, well, that pose is just like pigeon in yoga, only upside down. She wrote books, and began to teach it, using yoga as a vehicle to promote it. I ordered her books, and with my background in yoga, and in yoga therapy, began to notice some really interesting benefits practicing with the hammock.
When I inverted, the fabric wrapped around my deep core line. We have many lines, (Chinese acupuncture) or meridians running through and around the body, but this deep core line, was harder to access. I began to notice my sciatica went away, back pain eased, and felt a deep core strength like I haven’t felt in regular yoga. When you invert using a hammock, it puts pressure on a main juncture of the hip crease. This pressure forces the hips to work in a symmetrical way. Often even when we are in regular yoga, the hips are not square, or even, the way they should be. This is due to tightness in the psoas muscle, which is a hip flexor muscle. Anytime you lift your leg, you are using your psoas muscle. We have 2 hip flexor muscles, one on the right, and left. Usually one side becomes tighter, and sets up problems revolving around that tightness. The hips, the whole back, neck, knees and ankles are all affected in some way by tightness in this muscle. Sitting for long periods, any activity such as running, or ab workouts can all tighten the hip flexors, which ironically weakens the abs from doing their postural work keeping us upright. In fact, our thoughts also can contribute to tightness in the psoas. These activities make the psoas tight, and it throws the thigh bone (femur) forward. This also creates problems in the back body, because the hamstrings cannot work the way they were meant to, causing sciatica to flare up. Knee problems arise, and can stem from the thighbone being too forward, causing tightness in the piraformis, a muscle in the butt, which aids in external rotation.
I love the way aerial hammock opens lengthens, and extends me. I also love the new found strength and postural symmetry that aerial yoga offers. Just coming up out of an inversion is like an upside down plank pose. Come, and try this amazing work out, and tell me you don’t love it!! Give yourself time to adjust to using the hammock, and feeling comfortable with it. Try one of our beginner friendly classes, or a specific workshop using the hammock. I’m sure overtime, you will love it just like I do, and especially love when the pain disappears for GOOD!
See you upside down,