The Benefits of Suspension Yoga

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Suspension Yoga emerged in 2005 as a playful enhancement of Hatha Yoga. Inspired by Iyengar’s therapeutic use of ropes and props, with Shiva Rea’s fluid approach to asana, and Cirque du Soleil’s aerial expressions of physical freedom, this rapidly blossoming practice is a must-try for the modern yogi.

Suspension Yoga is performed on uniquely designed suspension systems. They are made of parachute material and include a cushioned yoga sling with 6 multi-tiered handles to help leverage the force of gravity as you move. The mobility of the equipment invites you to explore each asana in a multi-directional manner, easily shifting your postural orientation and weight distribution. The practice immediately enlivens as asanas are dynamically performed both on and off the ground. With your weight comfortably supported, you are able to use gravity to the body’s advantage in order to constructively adjust, modify, and delightfully enhance each pose.

The benefits of yoga are rapidly cultivated when suspension is introduced. The spinal column is tractioned in almost every pose, especially in hanging inversion. The application of spinal/disc decompression offers added sophistication in a yoga practice because the decompressive force can be skillfully applied to back bends, forward bends, lateral bends, and twists throughout a class. For many, this can eradicate pain-causing nerve impingements and greatly reducing unnecessary strain on the joints. Additionally, when the muscles around the vertebrae also have the opportunity to exercise and strengthen in an anatomically corrective fashion, it’s likely to see improvements in tension relief, posture, and body height.

When oscillation or a swaying effect is subsequently introduced, there is a massage-like effect experienced throughout the internal body, including the organs and connective tissue. The gentle, rhythmic pulsation within each asana encourages blood to suffuse even deep ischemic tissue, where blood-flow is least present. The boosted hemodynamics offers accelerated health and healing to the affected areas. Strategically combined bodyweight-support and directed oscillation makes expansion and deepening within the pose feel inviting and often effortless.

Throughout a Suspension Yoga class, students are naturally inspired to attempt poses that might otherwise be, or appear to be, impossible. This induces newly coordinated movement that is performed in an empowering and joyful fashion. Science has demonstrated that learning new motor skills enhances neural connections in the brain, leading to more efficient processing of neuromuscular information. The result is a cerebral re-wiring in which the practitioner’s relationship with the body’s overall ability is naturally boosted, leading to feelings of greater aptitude and confidence, on both conscious and subconscious levels.

The benefits of Suspension Yoga are felt almost immediately. Classes encompass an ample variety of grounded and flying asana, with easy-to-perform inversions having the most profound impact on most, due to the well-known rejuvenating and mentally stimulating effects. The magic happens, however, when the feeling of complete release and lightness brings all of your attention to the joy of the now.

Sarah Kellett, E-RYT-500 is the developer of Suspension Yoga and has personally immersed herself in a healing journey using Suspension Yoga techniques. She now works to help others to receive the great benefits that she has, through the offerings of OmGym International. Learn more about Suspension Yoga at Copyright 2013 OmGym International LLC