Benefits of Airo Yoga
Author: Natalie Basch
Airo Yoga is a form of aerial Yoga, combining elements from Vinyasa Yoga, Pilates and Acro-Play. The Airo practice has numerous benefits; some are already known from our Yoga, Pilates, and aerial yoga practice. And here is a list of benefits of practicing Airo Yoga.
1. Connecting to the body through the breath
The element of breath is an integral part of our Yoga and Pilates practice. Especially in Yoga, a lot of emphasis is placed on the breath. Why? Firstly, breathing helps us oxygenate the body and gives the muscles the energy needed to move. And secondly, it helps us stay focused and in the present moment. The mind is a shifty little thing, and it will seek any form of distraction. However, by paying particular attention to the breath, we begin to rein in the mind’s wonderings and we can stay in the present moment. And this is already how we begin to practice mindfulness.
2. Builds Strength and Flexibility
In Yoga, we continuously play with this balance of strength and flexibility. This is called sthira and sukha in Sanskrit. The same applies to our Airo Yoga practice. With the swing, we can easily reach our maximum flexibility, such as the split pose, but this is not the goal. The pose becomes a lot more effective once we begin to move into the pose with ease and control. And while the split pose requires us to have flexibility, it requires us to practice just as much strength to ease into the pose.
Similarly, in Pilates, the aim is to move slowly and with control. These slow and controlled movements are a lot more challenging because it requires a lot more strength and awareness.
This element is also incorporated into the Airo practice, which helps us build optimal strength and flexibility. This interplay between strength and flexibility is a constant factor in our Airo practice, and with the swing, this becomes even more evident and challenging.
3. Building strength in the correct way
At times, we do not engage the muscles correctly and dump the weight into the joints (wrists, shoulders, knees, elbows, hips). This may not make a difference tomorrow or next week, but in the long run, this creates wear and tear in the joints and can lead to injuries.
With the swing’s support, we can learn how to correctly engage the body’s muscles not to dumb the weight into the joints. This is excellent muscular training and will also ensure the longevity of our practice.
4. Core activation
We hear this a lot in class: “engage the core”. But do we really know what the teacher means by this? Let’s explore this.
Engaging the core requires the proper placement of the neck, shoulders, ribcage, and pelvis. And this is where the Pilates principles come into the Airo Practice. By applying the Pilates principles, we align the body correctly to engage the core correctly. In this way, we begin to work with the deeper abdominal muscles that cover the whole torso-like a corset. In this way, the whole body is stabilized, and most importantly, the spine is protected.
5. Spinal Health
Once we have the correct overall core engagement, we have more stability in the body, and more importantly, the spine is super protected. And why is this important? When the spine is protected, and we’re able to generate enough movement and flexibility in the spine, we develop optimum spinal health. And as a rule of thumb, the healthier the spine, the more active we can be and the LONGER we can be active for.
Going upside down – inverting – is also a significant part of the practice and adds to the health of the spine. Inverting allows the vertebra in the spine to decompress. And this is really good to release built-up tension, especially in the lower back.
It also allows the vertebra to be lubricated. And just like a clog in a machine, if it is well oiled, it can run smoothly and move smoothly.
Going upside down also allows us to break away from our daily postural habits. We develop these postural habits from sitting at work, driving, standing incorrectly. We begin to break away from these postural habits by going upside down and allowing the spine to find its natural alignment again. In this way, we are also able to wake up and strengthen the correct muscles in the body.
6. Benefits of Inverting
Inversions – going upside down – is great for the spine, but it has a number of benefits on the whole physiology. Let’s look at a few.
6.1. Stimulates the endocrine system
The endocrine system is responsible for releasing hormones in the body. By going upside down, our hormonal glands are stimulated in the brain, the neck, the pancreas, the kidneys, and the reproductive organs. This can help to balance and regulate the levels of the hormones in the body. It also stimulates an increase of serotonin (the happy hormone from the brain), allowing us to feel that little sunny high after practice.
6.2 Stimulates the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is the body’s drainage system and rids the body toxins and strengthens our immunity. The lymph nodes receive a little squeeze by going upside down, which allows the lymphatic system to pump more effectively. This gives our immune system a boost and ensures that the lymphatic system does its work efficiently.
6.3. Reverses the blood flood
By going upside down, the flow of blood is reversed. This means that more blood is going to the head and the face. It allows the blood to move from the bottom of the body to the top. This blood reversal also improves blood circulation as a whole and acts as an anti-aging agent. This is good for the heart, muscles, and immune system and helps the body heal and recover faster.
7. Mindfulness through Play
This is an awareness we begin to weave into the Airo practice: “Mindfulness through Play”. Once we approach our practice from a space of playfulness and joy, we automatically have a different relationship to our practice. We begin to experience a sense of joy in the body through the practice. Joy is a vibration. And this vibration can also be fostered to become a habit. Once we feel this sense of joy within us, it begins to move through us and into everyday life.
When we begin to approach everything from a space of joy, our whole life starts to change around us. And it simply begins by practicing this state of joy in our Airo Yoga class.
You can now start your Airo Yoga practice at home. Simply order the swing online and move through the Online Foundations course – it will teach you all the basics from home.
You can get additional guidance from me with the Intensive course, or if you’re ready to take a leap of faith, you can also enroll in the Online Teacher Training. Follow the link below to find out more.