A Guide to Aerial Yoga Hammocks for Kids
In recent weeks, many families who frequent the Play to Grow studio have asked about installing an aerial yoga hammock at home. After 8 months of kids bouncing around the house parents are eager to acquire some new tools to work out excess wiggles as colder weather forces kids indoors.
The aerial yoga hammock is an excellent tool, but there are a few things to consider when purchasing and installing one In your home. In this post I will highlight some of the features and additional hardware you may need to ensure a fun and safe home experience.
The number one point I want to make is that an aerial yoga hammock requires some common sense rules and supervision. In my years of using this tool, I’ve seen kids make less than stellar safety decisions (spontaneously letting go, trying to loop a hammock around their neck, and taking flying leaps without planning the landing.) These are totally normal things that kids do! But, it’s the reason I keep the size of my kids' classes small, and structure classes in a way where I can be on standby to spot a child as they explore new movements.
I also want to warn against letting your child search YouTube for new poses and tricks to try at home. While they look really cool, the person demonstrating often does not highlight the “how tos” or precautions to take. I myself am guilty of this and suffered the resulting strained hamstring! Learning new movements in the aerial yoga hammock should always happen with the support of a knowledgeable instructor.
You'll also need to hang your hammock in a location where your child can swing safely. I would encourage you to hang your hammock in an area where there is a clear radius of at least 5' in all directions. The method you choose to hang your hammock will depend on your home setup and ceiling height. Depending on the poses we are practicing, I like the hammocks to hang anywhere from 12-30 inches from the ground and I alway provide a padded mat underneath.
If you aren't eager to start drilling holes or want to put your hammock outdoors, a portable hammock stand may be the choice for you, though it is the priciest option.
Another option is to utilize straps or daisy chains. Look for those rated for aerial arts or climbing sports. These can be looped over a wood joist or steel beam.
Last but not least is a beam installation kit that mounts to the side of the ceiling joist. I recommend this one from Southpaw, a company that supplies therapy gym equipment.
Selecting a Hammock
I ordered a couple of hammocks from Amazon to compare them to the ones I use here at the Play to Grow studio. Without boring you with all the details, some of the features I considered were overall width, fabric length, texture, and ease of hanging.
The clear winner was this hammock by Aum Active. It is sufficiently long enough to allow for standing poses and basic wrap poses, and has a similar stretch and silkiness when compared to the studio hammocks. Another win was that it is super simple to tie using the included loop straps which leaves less room for user error. You will need to purchase a couple of locking steel caribiners to attach this hammock to a hook or hanging strap.
Are you considering a hammock for your child this holiday season? Will you be utilizing it to practice skills learned in aerial yoga classes at Play to Grow or as a sensory or therapeutic intervention for a child with special needs? Be sure to post your comments and questions down below!