“Life requires balance. For every down there is an up; for every outside, there is an inside. Yoga also requires balance.” Bernie Clarke

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

There is a reason that you feel so light and limber when you leave the Lab

An aerial yoga practice is great for building strength, increasing mental clarity and allowing relaxation, but it also helps to lengthen and massage our body creating access to greater flexibility, through whole body traction and fascia hydration (connective tissue) leaving us feeling like we are walking on air.

Yoga is a practice of searching for union and balance within movements. In Sanskrit this is known as sthira and sukha, the state of effort and ease. There a difference between engaging muscles and releasing them. Engaging muscles can help to develop strength, define the aesthetics of the physical body and increase our Yang, more active energy. Flying in the Lab builds strength, agility and coordination, while relaxing into passive inversions creates a sense of melting into the practice, releasing tension, loosening muscles and working into the deeper layers of the body, the connective tissue, ligaments and joints. In classes like our Aerial Yoga Melt class we experience longer poses allowing softening of muscles and working into these deeper layers. By relaxing and letting go of tension, we encourage our body to release, encouraging our softer Yin energy to flow.

© Medium

© Medium

Physical movement and massage (tension and release) helps to hydrate our fascia, the thick web of connective tissue that keeps your skeleton in shape, guides movement and stabilises posture. Our fascia is made up of up to 70% water so it is important to keep it hydrated. A sponge is a common analogy used to describe how our fascia absorbs water, by massaging it, we release water and in turn it can absorb more, fresh water that brings lots of good proteins with it. Although it is important to drink plenty of water, drinking alone won’t actually help to hydrate our connective tissue.

Research has shown that while stretching initially decreases the water content of your connective tissue (like squeezing a sponge), after 30 minutes of rest the water content increases beyond the pre-stretch quantity and remains higher for up to 3 hours afterwards.

Our fascia is made up of cells, fibres and the gel-like hydrating fluid known as ground substance.  Ground substance is up to 70% water and it is a source of nutrition for our tissues, helps to eliminate waste products and lubricates our collagen fibres which ultimately leads to increased flexibility and happy, hydrated connective tissue.

Collagen is what makes our connective tissue strong, while the elastin gives it elasticity. If the collagen fibres aren’t lubricated enough they stick together, making the area stiff and inflexible. Lack of movement is one of the main reasons that fascia becomes dehydrated, which is why physical practice helps to keep us supple and flexible. Foam rolling compresses and massages the tissue to increase the water that is absorbed and prevent the fibres from sticking. It creates space in the fibres and prevents knots in muscles. Movement and massage is vital to tissue hydration because it is needed to feed and cleanse the ground substance, like a sponge absorbing fresh water.

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

Try this simple experiment to see the benefits of releasing connective tissue and the impact that it has on everyday life:

Stand up and try touching your toes, observe how it feels and see how far you can reach. Got it? Good.

Now use a tennis ball or small muscle release ball and roll the sole of your foot on it for about a minute (if you don’t have a ball handy you can give the underneath of your feet a strong massage with your hands, really pressing in)

Once you have done both feet for about a minute, try touching your toes again. See? There is a considerable difference in how far you can reach and how comfortable and flexible you feel.

This is because by massaging or rolling underneath your feet you’ve released the plantar fascia that begin there. This connective tissue runs all the way along the back of your legs, over your buttocks, your back, shoulder, neck and finishes just before your forehead. This is how we begin each Aerial Yoga Melt class and work through the whole body!

Releasing and hydrating the connective tissue through massage and movement has endless benefits for your posture, strength, flexibility and mobility.

Aerial Yoga Melt in the Lab allows us to stretch entire lines of superficial fascia at the front and back of the body, from your toes and feet, all the way to the side of your neck and back of your skull. The postures are designed to challenge the lines of your body and add different pressure and release so you can intuitively find balance and hydrate connective tissue. When you discover this balance during Yoga, you will notice how stress in the fascial web begins to release and bring a lightness to your limbs so you can continue to open energetic lines, and build strength and tone the physical body. 

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

© Sky-lab / Stephanie Simcox Photography

As we delve deeper into our practice of Yoga using the philosophy of sthira and sukha and the awareness of how everything is connected, it creates space and lightness in the body, helping us to move and feel better.

Written by 

Jade Hunter 

Our Aerial Yoga Melt class has a new time now on Sunday mornings at 10:15am

Come join us and book your space here

Aerial Yoga Melt is designed for you to move freely in all directions of open space as your body floats through a series of gentle gyro-kinetic motions. Using both the aerial hammock and foam roller to allow flexibility of the entire spine, hips, and hydrating fascia. Incorporating foam roller for deeper muscular and fascia release, trigger point release, neuromuscular activation of the nervous system, partial and full zero-compression inversions, deep hip flexor release, levitating meditations and best of all floating savasana. 

Here’s what our clients have to say:

"The most amazing and important class you didn't know you needed!" 

"If you have muscle pain, you can skip physio and come to this relaxing class. my body feels amazing after the class."

"Use the roller to get into those sore points, then the hammock to stretch into serenity"

This theraputic combination works as a portal into deeper spinal flexibility, muscular and myofascia release and mind/body connection.

Book your space here