Lots of people, and especially lots of moms, swear by the powers of yoga; we all appreciate the flexibility, strength, and energy a regular practice gives our bods, not to mention the stress-reducing properties of a single class. Plus, yoga is one of the easiest forms of exercise to get in no matter what your physical capabilities (or schedule) may be. While any form of yoga (doctor’s permission pending, of course!) is highly recommended for pregnant women, new moms, and longtime moms alike, aerial yoga is also a great fit for moms in particular.
I had some hesitations about it at first. While I’ve practiced yoga on a mat for several years, I didn’t know what to expect at an aerial yoga class. But after taking the AIReal Yoga class at the Spa Anjali in Avon, Colorado, I’m convinced that nearly every mom would benefit from this class. Here are five reasons to try the mom-friendly practice.
1. It helps you reconnect with your inner kid. Mom stress is legit, and we could all use a break. Remember being little and hanging from the monkey bars, or sitting upside down on the couch? An aerial yoga class will have you feeling like a kid again as you swing from the silks and experience the world upside down. It was probably the first yoga class I’ve ever been to where it felt more like play than practice. I giggled when I’d get into a pose I didn’t expect would be so easy. Most practices feel very internalized, but as it was an all-levels class, many of us exchanged looks of glee when we’d finally get something right (and also because you’re often not looking down at your mat). Once I finished, I returned to see my kiddo and felt much more mellow and ready to play.
2. It’s great for your back. Moms carry babies (and toddlers, and big kids). Moms reach down and pick up toys and socks and books. Moms bend over to clean up spilled milk and potty accidents. If we’re not careful, our backs are constantly sore. Aerial yoga helps to decompress our spines and stretch out from our hips better than many other forms of exercise. I happen to live with sacroilitis (a condition that affects my spine and hip joints), and I definitely felt better afterward. Of course, if you have any specific conditions, you’ll want to discuss your practice with your doctor first.
3. It helps rebuild core strength. For those of us who birthed our babies, it can be daunting to redevelop our core strength postpartum, even years later. Between diastasis recti and the general lack of time to dedicate to doing crunches, rebuilding our core tends to take a backseat. But aerial yoga emphasizes core strength more so than many other forms of yoga, without the need to do any sit-ups. If crunches and planks aren’t your thing, try building back those ab muscles in this much more exciting way.
4. It will help you get over motherhood-induced fears. Motherhood can make a scaredy cat out of many of us, but it doesn’t have to be forever. I am constantly worried about my son getting hurt, but I’m also scared of getting hurt myself (and being unable to care for my kiddo). My first time doing aerial yoga was a bit daunting, especially when I saw I’d be dangling from the ceiling. Fortunately, I didn’t give in to the fear. It’s a hurdle for many mamas to jump when they do this initially, but your teacher will help you get there, and you’ll soon realize it’s not as scary as you thought — an excellent lesson for moms who are constantly thinking about all the ways their kids can get hurt in the world.
5. You’ll have a great playdate conversation starter. Seriously, playdate conversations that are not about potty training or picky eating are a breath of fresh air. Drop a mention that you just had a great aerial yoga class, and you’ll definitely be asked a million follow-up questions. I have had so many people ask me about my own experience, and I always tell them it was an absolute blast!
Have you tried aerial yoga yet, mamas? Why or why not? Tweet us about it @BritandCo.
(Photo via Marc Piscotty/The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain)