If you’re looking for a new way to move, a yoga swing might be what you are looking for. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about a yoga swing and how to use it.
What’s a Yoga Swing?
A yoga swing is sometimes called a yoga trapeze or a yoga hammock. As the name suggests, it is a swing made of a particular fabric suspended in the air. You use it to suspend yourself while doing yoga asanas (postures).
Brief History of the Yoga Swing
A yoga swing is relatively a new tool in yoga. Photographs from 3000 B.C.E show yogis swinging in ropes and trees as part of their yoga inversion practice. B.K.S. Iyengar also uses ropes and everyday household items as props for inversion and other yoga poses. But it seems like it was only introduced to the Western side of the world in 2001 by Antonio Cardenas.
Antonio “Tony” Cardenas is a physical therapist who uses a tool to suspend patients for spine decompression, calling it the yoga swing. The name was later changed into swing, “omni gym.”
In 2003, Gravotonics Yoga Swing and Exercise System started in Bali, Indonesia. After a year, the system started gaining traction, which led to Lucas Rockwood designing the yoga trapeze.
How to Use a Yoga Swing
There are many ways to use a yoga swing for your practice. Here are some of them:
Inversions can be scary. After all, we’re not used to standing with our hearts above our heads. But with the support of a yoga swing, inversions will be less scary. Here are the steps on how to do it:
To use a yoga swing for inversions, the first thing to do is to warm up. Inversions are intense, so you shouldn’t do it without a warm-up. Make sure you prepare your shoulders, arms, buttocks, back, core muscles, and joints.
Once you are adequately warmed up, you are ready to approach the yoga swing. Stand with your back in front of the yoga swing. Reach for the edges of the swing with your hands to open the “seat” part. Some yoga swings will have handles, and some will not.
Wrap the edges around your knuckles and pull yourself up to sit on the swing for those without handles. For those with handles, grab the top handles and do the same thing. If the swing is too high, use a stool. Make sure the seat is open wide, so your whole buttocks are supported.
Once you’re comfortable in the swing, grab the second top handle or the middle of the swing with your hands.
Make sure you are holding tightly, and then slowly lean back until your shoulders and hips are in line with each other. Then, open your knees wide, extend your legs, and wrap the swing from the outside around your shins, then your ankles.
Here’s an excellent video tutorial on how to do this:
Backbending on a yoga swing is very effective for spine decompression. Here’s how you can do it:
Make sure you warm up first and do some beginner backbends on the mat, such as Sphinx Pose or Low Cobra.
Same as step 2 on doing inversions in a yoga swing, you sit on the yoga swing. The seat of the swing should support the whole part of your buttocks.
Then, extend the arms up so you can grab the top part of the swing. Now, slowly lean back and lower your back down while simultaneously sliding your grip down. You may stay here still grabbing the swing or, or you let your arms relax down. You also have the option to do Bow Pose.
To do Bow Pose in the yoga swing, let go of the swing and grab your ankles.
Doing backbends and inversions on a yoga swing can strengthen your body. But there are also other exercises you can do with a yoga swing that strengthen particular parts of the body.
Since a yoga swing is similar to a TRX band, you can practice most TRX exercises using it. You can also use the yoga swing to make common asanas more challenging. For example, you can bring your ankles on the swing for a plank.
If you have a yoga trapeze, you can make your planks more challenging by bringing the ankles on the swing while the long handles support your hands.
Benefits of a Yoga Swing
Practicing yoga on the mat has proven to be very beneficial. It improves flexibility, strength, mobility, blood flow, and overall health and wellness. But practicing yoga on the yoga swing amplifies these benefits and more. Here are the benefits of a yoga swing:
Improves Your Flexibility More
There is no doubt yoga can improve flexibility. But when you do it on a yoga swing, your flexibility can improve faster. That is because you have more space when you’re up in the air. Also, there is less gravity to fight with your strength. So many poses, such as backbends, are much more accessible.
More Core Engagement
When you’re practicing yoga on the ground, your point of stability is the part of the body that’s closest to the ground. For example, the feet are what stabilizes you in standing poses. In a yoga swing, the point of stability is your core. So, when you do it, even without realizing it, you activate your core, so you don’t fall.
Help with Back Pain
Doing yoga on a swing is a form of inversion therapy. According to a study, inversion therapy helps with back pain and back injury by decompressing the spine. When you do backbends in a swing, you take the spine’s gravitational pressure, creating more space in each vertebra and reducing the tension.
Makes You More Mindful
It’s easy to become aware when you’re on the ground. However, to improve your awareness, you need to challenge it regularly. For example, being on a yoga swing challenges your awareness. Thus, improving it. It basically enhances your proprioception or your ability to recognize where you are in space.
3 Basic Yoga Swing Poses You Can Do
Now that you know the benefits you can get from practicing yoga on a swing, it’s time to do it finally. If you’re a beginner and still afraid, you should start with these basic yoga swing poses.
Chair Pose on a yoga swing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with a yoga swing. Also, it’s ideal for improving your core strength.
Here’s how to do Chair Pose on a yoga swing:
- Sit on the swing with all your buttocks and sacrum supported by the swing. Your feet should be dangling.
- Grab the edges of the swing first. Once you find your balance, extend your arms overhead. If you want to make this pose more challenging, cross your legs.
- Stay here for five or more cycles of breath.
Downdog is a common yoga asana that you can also do on a yoga swing.
Here’s how to do Downdog on a yoga swing:
- Stand facing the yoga swing. Pull the yoga swing in front of your hip crease.
- Slowly fold forward and bring your fingertips or palms down on the ground.
- Once comfortable, slowly bring the legs up. You have the option to keep the legs floating, or you can wrap the swing with your ankles.
- Now, shift your weight toward your legs so that you can stretch the chest just like in a regular Downward-Facing Dog on the mat.
You can also practice Low Lunge in the yoga swing to improve the mobility of your hips.
Here’s how to do Low Lunge on a yoga swing:
- Stand with your back toward the yoga hammock or swing. Bring your arms inside the swing and grab the edges of the swing. The swing should be supporting your shoulders by now.
- Step the right foot to the back and bring the right knee down to the ground while bending the left knee.
- Stay in this pose for a few rounds of breath. Repeat on the other side.
Safety is crucial when doing any movement system, including aerial yoga or yoga on a swing. Here are some safety tips you should always keep in mind:
- Start at beginner level. Don’t do yoga poses your body is not ready for.
- Seek the help of a qualified instructor.
- Wear full-length yoga tops and tops. The swing can slide into your body and will cause a burning sensation if your skin is exposed. Also, avoid nylon clothing, so you don’t slide off the swing.
- Always hold tightly onto the swing, whether you’re holding on with your hands, elbows, or back of your knees.
- Don’t keep things in your pockets, and don’t wear a necklace.
- Avoid practicing yoga on a swing with a full stomach.
A yoga swing is an exciting new tool to use in your yoga practice. It amplifies the benefits of yoga, but it can also heighten the risk. So, make sure that you always practice mindfully and with caution to avoid the potential risks.