Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing rooted in the Vedic culture of India. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda stems from the root words ayuh, meaning “life” or “longevity,” and veda, meaning “science” or “sacred knowledge.”
Aerial Yoga is a form of yoga asana practice that utilizes hammocks suspended from the ceiling. It allows a practitioner to both strengthen and lengthen the body in ways you perhaps could not while being on the floor.
The harmonic balance between aerial yoga and creativity can be summed up in one word: ojas. This is an Ayurvedic term used to describe the vitality in the body. Ojas is the subtle, substantial energy that strengthens and encourages you, and stimulates body, mind and heart. There’s one belief that when we’re born, all of our ojas resides in the brain. As we get older, the ojas moves down the body, creating our most vital and vigorous self between our teens and thirties. As we age, the ojas continues to flow downward. The theory is this is why we begin to sag and shrink, and our energy — including metabolism —
Some yogis celebrate inversions as a way to reverse the ojas physically. If you have an inversion practice, you know firsthand how being upside down translates physically, mentally and energetically throughout your whole being. Although inversions are a beautiful offering that asana provides, they’re often inaccessible or perhaps even too risky for some students to practice without bearing weight.
Aerial yoga offers opportunities to all levels of students in asana to go upside down in a relaxed and restorative way, and reverse the ojas from the toes to the mind, stimulating creativity, energy and youthful vitality. As a teacher, it’s fascinating to watch a practitioner become full of life after just a few moments in a passive aerial inversion — totally unearthed with release, returning to one of the most creative times in his or her life.
When we contemplate sparking the creative force within, stimulating ojas is essential. Ignite this radiance so you can confidently and authentically share your expression of art and truth into this world.
This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Summer 2017 issue.