How to Select an Aerial Yoga Teacher and Class Gear

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein, Sherri Baptiste, Doug Swenson, Stephan Bodian, LaReine Chabut, Therese Iknoian

Decide what kind of experience you want in the practice and choose your teacher accordingly. Because Aerial Yoga is a hybrid style of practice, teachers may come to it through backgrounds in Pilates, pole and other aerial forms of practice, or traditional yoga.

Unlike conventional yoga practiced on a mat with the teacher in clear view, you can’t always see what’s beyond the cloth when you’re in the hammock, which means the instructor, other students, and your own reflection (if you’re in a mirrored room) are out of view for some of the positions.

Thus, the teacher’s ability to clearly articulate precise instructions is particularly important for the students’ safety. Your ability to listen and follow directions is equally important. Listening carefully and following the instructions given— where to grasp the fabric, how tautly to pull it, how many handfuls of fabric to grab, and so on — is what keeps you safe.

Although you may equate hammocks with naptime, don’t zone out during practice. Inattention and lack of focus may lead you to tumble out of the hammock. That’s not a huge problem, because beginners’ hammocks are close to the floor, but it’s still one you want to avoid.

Be comfortable in setting your own limits. If you’re an adventurous sort, go for it. But if you tend to be more cautious, take your time and allow your sense of trust to grow. Regardless of the form of practice, any good teacher will respect your limits while encouraging you to find your own individual edge.

One way to make your practice a little more comfortable is to put some forethought into your workout clothes. The last thing you want to worry about is inadvertently giving the class an eyeful while you’re twisting and turning. Here are a few tips:

  • Close-fitting tops are important for modesty because you’re upside-down at some points.

  • Cotton or cotton blends are preferable to synthetics because synthetics may be slippery and make staying in position difficult.

  • Sticky gloves help your grip.

  • Leave the valuable jewelry at home; you’ll be asked to remove your jewelry before getting into the hammock to avoid damaging the fabric, so don’t bring anything you don’t want to let out of your sight.