7 Benefits to Anti-Gravity Yoga
You’ve probably participated in classes for yoga, pilates and dance, but many people don’t know about Anti-Gravity yoga and how it incorporates all three of these elements. With the use of a hammock, this form of yoga allows you to perform various poses that may be difficult to do on the ground, but easier in mid-air. It’s fun and acrobatic, so for those of you who dreamed of being a trapeze artist as a kid, this can give you a taste of what it’s like. But, what’s even more important, is the fact that Anti-Gravity yoga has great benefits for your golf game.
A few weeks ago, I decided to try it for myself at Raffa Yoga in Cranston, RI. After I arrived, I quickly realized I’d accidentally registered for an open level session. In other words, I was going to have to do some pretty intimidating hanging-upside-down poses. As someone who has never—not once, not even almost—done any kind of inversion in a regular yoga class, this was a big deal for me.
But, after the session began, I caught on very quickly with the support of my encouraging acrobatic instructor. It took a few tries for some of the poses, but once you get it right, it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. I left class feeling extra-stretchy — my instructor says this type of yoga stretches your back so much that you are an inch taller when you leave the class (no worries, it doesn’t last long but it’s just a fun fact.) I felt extremely happy and energized, maybe thanks to all the blood that had rushed to my face from hanging upside down for so long.
The health benefits that come along with aerial yoga actually do improve your golf game, because I tested it myself. After a month of attending regular Anti-Gravity yoga classes, my scoliosis (which was negatively impacting my backswing) has gotten increasingly better. I don’t have as much pain and I’ve noticed a difference with my muscles.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Total body workout: Due to the nature of aerial yoga movements, almost all the body parts are forced to move and stretch. Muscles are toned and redefined, and joints are regenerated and strengthened due to these movements. Although strength isn’t the only component to a golf swing, it’s still an element that can be important and can improve your distance.
- Psychologically beneficial: Just like almost any other workout, aerial yoga helps rebuild your emotional system because it clears the mind and relieves stress due to its meditative state. It also helps you combat stress throughout the day and increases your creativity, which can help clear your mind and improve your focus when you’re on the golf course.
- Improves flexibility: Aerial yoga helps you to move more freely, with less effort, by counteracting gravity. Suspension in the air releases tension on the bones and muscles, increasing flexibility. Suspended yoga strengthens core muscles and increases spinal and shoulder flexibility. Since having a good amount flexibility is so important in terms of your golf swing, this is definitely a beneficial effect.
- Heals back problems: It gives you the chance to hang freely, allowing your spine to lengthen. With less strain on your back while doing the exercises, it eases tension in the spinal cord and hip joint, which can help you with your backswing and the moment of your hips during the downswing (this was the best health benefit for me personally.)
- Increases strength: Aerial yoga improves strength and flexibility, which carries over into other daily activities. The core workout is a beneficial cross-training, as it helps runners increase stamina and be able recover faster.
- Puts you in a great mood: Another key benefit of doing aerial yoga is that it gets your adrenaline going while going against gravity. It also releases “happy” hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, which boost your mood and help you feel more energetic. As most of us know, your mental game can make or break your scores. If you have a bad day, you’re not going to do so well. Aerial yoga will help you gain the sense of peace and happiness that you can transfer when you’re golfing.
- Improves balance: While going against gravity can be exciting, aerial yoga also helps with balance and stability in daily activities. Balance is a key component in golf and aerial yoga helps maintain a good balance both inside and out.
(However, it’s important to note that some people should skip aerial yoga for anyone that has heart failure, defined spinal problems, or glaucoma.)