Woah, I think hammock yoga changed my life! I tried it for the first time yesterday and cannot believe I went this long without it! It felt like nothing I’ve ever done before and was incredibly approachable. Here’s the lowdown on why this is a workout we all owe it to ourselves to try…

WHAT HAMMOCK YOGA IS

An incredibly restorative 60-75 minute class focused on lengthening the spine, improving flexibility, and creating an overall sense of balance. Technically, it’s a type of aerial yoga, however the focus of this class is much more on body alignment and mindfulness, not so much choreography.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A CLASS

  • EQUIPMENT: Each student uses a mat, a soft athletic hammock with handle attachments, and a firm body rolling ball to get deep into yoga stretches and invert the body to decompress the spine.
  • SEQUENCE (of the class I took):
    • Warm up/wake up the spin with 6 types of spinal movements
    • Build bodyheat with core exercises like plank and lots of sun salutations
    • Myofascial tissue release on your mat using the ball
    • Alternations between inversions on the hammock and stretches. The goal is to build up enough endurance so you can remain inverted for 15 minutes.
    • Close with a modified Savasana (corpse pose) in which your knees are hanging over the hammock so your back in completely flat on the mat and supported.

WHY IT’S SO DAMN GOOD

  1. RELEASES MUSCLE TENSION AND PAIN – Working on targeted areas with a firm rubber ball quickly loosens knots in myofascial tissue. This is surely one of those ‘hurts so good’ activities, but so important to prevent injury, chronic body pain, and poor posture.
  2. LIGHTS UP YOUR BRAIN – Gravity pulls blood downward, so when our bodies are inverted, tons of oxygen-filled blood rushes to the brain. It’s not uncomfortable but it is an unfamiliar sensation to sit in for a couple minutes at a time. When I brought my body upright, the rush I felt was incredible and like a wave of energy. Your body is still supported by the hammock, which was nice since I felt a little out of it. That sensation passed within 20 seconds and was replaced by sensations of immense calm and warmth.
  3. IMPROVES RANGE OF MOTION & STRIDE – The spinal extensions, hip openers, tissue massage and movement components of class made me feel 1 inch taller after the workout! The release and opening of the back, glutes, hips and leg muscles enables a wider stride, which makes walking and running feel lighter and more energetic.
  4. PROMOTES IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTH – Inversions (going upside down) widely touted as great ways to stimulate your lymph, which helps detoxify and support immune system vitality.
  5. REALLY FUN! Felt like playing in a gymnasium, or like I was ready to join the circus! Laughter and smiling are so healing and the light-hearted nature of this class promoted that without effort.
  6. HELPS HANGOVERS – This is not advertised as a benefit of the class but woah, it was so helpful! Flushing blood to my brain and moving my stiff body did wonders to counter the damage I’d done the night before celebrating with my 21 year old cousin who graduated college.

ABOUT THIS PICTURE

  • THE STUDIO – I took this class at Define in Boulder with a ton of individualized attention from the amazing owner/instructor Ally. This studio is a part of a chain, so check your area and note that they also offer barre and rebound (mini trampoline) classes, so definitely worth a visit.
  • THE OUTFIT – I’m wearing Fabletics.  The leotard is a piece I love for classes like yoga that include a lot of upside poses, because I never have to worry about pulling my shirt down and the thong eliminates weird buttcheek cuts. It’s no longer in stock, but this is a very similar option from Nordstrom. The leggings are Fabletic’s High-Waisted Solid PowerHold Legging – my favorite style they make. Very high compression and available in tons of colors and patterns.

Images by HonestlyFIT