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Aerial yoga delivers heart-healthy benefits, including improved blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiovascular fitness-enough to reduce risk for heart disease by 10 percent after a six-week program. In a study for the American Council on Exercise, researchers were pleasantly surprised to discover these results, because the practice does not include high-intensity movements. Rather, it follows Hatha yoga principles with an innovation: circus hammocks to lift all or part of the body off the floor.
An earlier study of traditional Hatha yoga found that while it improved strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation, it did not burn a significant number of calories or have a marked effect on the heart, because of its low intensity. In studies, traditional Hatha yoga burned 144 calories per 50-minute workout, while aerial yoga burned 320. For more information on aerial yoga and where to find classes, visit aerialyoga.com.