Aerial Yoga

Swing vs Trapeze vs Hammock

Handles vs no Handles

What is best for aerial yoga? – an aerial hammock (sometimes referred to as a sling) or a yoga swing (also called a yoga trapeze) .

This will mostly depend on what your background is I guess. We’re going to start our article on looking at the origins of both apparatus and the origins of aerial yoga. We commence with looking at the Iyengar yoga and the props used historically by Iyengar.

B.K.S. Iyengar used a variety of props including  including sticky mats, blankets, belts, blocks, chairs, benches, wall ropes, sandbags, and other objects in the practice of yoga. These props allowed all practitioners to access the benefits of the postures regardless of physical condition, age, or length of study. The props aided asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (breathing patterns) – they could be completed with greater effectiveness, ease, and stability. The props provided support for the body and allowed the mind to relax and allowed the student to receive the benefits of the yoga to a greater depth than without the props.

In modern day aerial yoga and suspension fitness the hammock or swing is being used like the rope that Iyengar used. The material provides support for the body, aids balance in standing postures helping to create optimal body alignment and increase the length of time a posture is held for. It can also enhance the restorative or therapeutic qualities of a posture.

There is some debate between those that practice and teach aerial yoga whether the swing or the hammock came first and which is best.

Hammocks were first introduced in 1991 in antigravity fitness which fundamentally included many yoga style moves but wasn’t formally called yoga until much later. Swings and later trapezes appeared in around 2001 and was called a yoga swing. 

Aerial Hammocks (slings):

Christopher Harrison, a gymnasts and aerial artists developed AntiGravity – a hybrid of: artistic sports, performing arts, circus acrobatics, aerials, contemporary dance and hip hop, to embody a philosophy that nurtures creativity and emphasizes the joy of movement. In 1991, AntiGravity emerged to become America’s premier aerial acrobatic entertainment and suspension fitness company. Then in 2007 antigravity yoga was launched. There are 8 groundbreaking fitness and wellness techniques developed by Christopher Harrison. 

There are now lots of schools teaching instructors of aerial yoga using a hammock or sling.

Some think that yoga using a Hammock (or sling) is more geared up to those with a gymnastic, circus or aerial arts background.

Some claim that you get better grip using those with handles and better wrist stability. This maybe true but wrist strength can be developed for gripping the hammocks.

>> Take a look at the Best Aerial Yoga Hammocks available today. 

Aerial Yoga Swings

The swing was developed in the US by the Physical Therapist, Antonio ‘Tone’ Cardenas, in 2001. It was originally called the the “Yoga Swing”, but is now known as the “Omni Gym”. This swing has gone through constant evolution and improvements leading to the latest innovation in yoga swing technology in our star products: the Omni Swing Pro™ and Omni Gym™. Omni gym have developed a range of wall supports and omni stands that the swings can be hung off. In 2003 the “Gravotonics Yoga Swing & Exercise System” was created on the island of Bali in Indonesia.  The Gravotronics swing is slightly bigger than the Omni swing. 

Yoga Trapeze

>> Take a look at the best yoga swings and trapeze’s available.


  1. When using the yoga swing/trapeze you can use the handles and swing to support both arms and legs for example in Warrior III – the hands can hold the handles and elevated leg can be in the swing or another set of handles.  When performing the same move in the hammock you can only support one limb, either the arms or the leg.
  2. The hammock you can laydown inside and take a shavasana – you can’t do that in a swing.
  3. The hammock lends itself well to those who may in the future like to learn aerial silks, trapeze, hoop or other aerial skills.
  4. The height of a swing/trapeze needs to be low to the ground at waist height. The hammock can be set low to the ground for restorative postures, waist height for grounded moves or higher for inverts and tricks.
  5. Some sites list that the swing can be used as a suspension trainer but this in our experience is true of the hammock as well.
  6.   The swing is made out of nylon material which is non elastic. The Hammock is made of low stretch fabric.

In our opinion, because of our background would always choose the hammock over the swing or trapeze – but ultimately this is a personal opinion


Sophie Green has been pole dancing and aerial arts at home and in studios around the world for over 13 years. She’s taken a number of instructor courses in pole and aerial. Plus attended a course on rigging. She takes part in lots of exercise.