Therapy in Flight: Recoup, Recover, and Revive with AIReal Yoga™

By Jenna Cassidy


We’re flying high on revive!

Recently, we had the pleasure of collaborating with the Wanderlust editors on a post featuring the recuperative benefits of AIReal Yoga. In this piece, Carmen shares how everybody and every body can reap the profound benefits of aerial yoga in 6 postures accessible to practitioners of every level. Current AIReal practitioners know this body bliss already! However, for new practitioners, this may be the push you need to take your first flight.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt from the Wanderlust Feature:

Carmen Curtis is no newcomer to either yoga or flying freely through the air. Carmen’s credentials are stacked. A national champion gymnast for UCLA turned aerial artist for Cirque du Soleil and the likesl, Carmen found yoga as a means to heal her overtrained body after years of elite competition and performance. She studied diligently with renowned instructors and pioneers of yoga Gurmukh (Kundalini and prenatal), Shiva Rae (prana vinyasa), and Bryan Kest (power) ultimately, blending her practices into one brainchild, AIReal Yoga and becoming a pioneer of yoga, herself.

Carmen emphatically opens every conversation ensuring you understand ‘the AIReal Yoga hammock makes yoga accessible to EveryBody!. AIReal Yoga is not a tricks or drops based practice, although you absolutely can flip, frolic, have loads of fun, or simply set yourself free and suspend in form.’

Carmen’s ultimate goal is to bring the mental, physical and emotional benefits of the yoga postures to everyone, regardless of age, skill or physical limitation, by using the hammock as a prop. In her latest phase of AIReal Yoga R&D, Carmen has been partnering with professional therapists and trainers to integrate the hammock in their recuperative programs and works with athletes, performance artists, moms and moms-to-be, children, and adults worldwide to ensure they can reap the benefits of her suspension-based yoga practice.

Here Carmen focuses on common pain areas of tension, soreness, and injury — the Hips, Back, and Shoulders — sharing with us her top AIReal Yoga Postures to Recoup, Recover, and Revive, alleviating these discomforts and building ease in movement as you work towards a pain-free way of being.

1. Hips

Pigeon Variation, “Attitude” and Resting Stretch are great for those with tight hips, often a result of Weekend Warrior pursuits: running, biking, skiing, surfing or, jobs that require either extended periods of sitting or standing. It is common to store stress and blocked emotions in the hips causing tension and limiting range of motion. To make matters worse, tight hips are often the root cause of lower back pain.

In Pigeon, the hammock provides added support and helps create additional space for those with tight hips to get into a safe and deep hip opening with proper alignment.

In Resting Stretch with back leg alternating between straight to open the hip flexors and quads. Both of these areas are common places to develop an imbalance in flexibility which can lead to injury and pain.

Balance out your strength and flexibility to reduce pain and be more efficient.

2. Shoulders

The shoulders are a common area to store stress and hold tension especially for those at the computer or sitting at the desk all day. Both Shoulder Stretch in Wrist Wrap and Cat/Cow in Wrist Wrap begin to unravel this tension through concentrated shoulder, chest, and heart opening movements.

Shoulder Stretch in Wrist Wrap while standing creates space around the full expanse of shoulder girdle allowing you to expand the full back body and actively draw the shoulders away from the neck and ears.

Cat/Cow in Wrist Wrap is one of the most effective and accessible shoulder, chest and heart openers. This simple posture helps correct posture, lubricate the spinal column, and relieve tension in the back body. The fluid undulating movement in this posture keeps the spine supple and initiates the release of happy hormones.


Releasing stress in the body removes blockage, both mentally and physically, allowing you to think more clearly and move more freely. The expansion of the rib cage, chest and heart provides profound emotional benefits. Heart openers help release sadness and anger allowing us to be more open to love — love of self, love of others, and allowing others to love us. Expanding the full upper body, from shoulders to chest to back, allows for deeper breaths and more oxygen rich blood to circulate throughout the entire body and invigorate our being.

3. Back

Cat/Cow and Layback in Cross. The back is a common area of pain. Those who do a lot of lifting, twisting, and sitting without core stabilization or employment of other major muscle groups are especially prone to back pain. When the spine is aligned you are more efficient and more resilient.

Stretching the spine in Cat/Cow in Cross can help prevent and relieve pain and can also help restore emotional balance. The hammock offers traction in this posture and creates space for mindful movement.

Layback in Cross allows for the extension and decompression of the spine, a heart and chest opener helping to improve posture and alignment.


Spinal traction and decompression help calm the mind, increase circulation, decrease inflammation and pain, and reduce stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Do these daily to aid in your personal healing process and experience alleviation of pain and strain.

To Sum it Up: Dare to take flight! Try these Hatha based Yoga postures in the AIReal Yoga hammock to reap the benefits of suspension based yoga. In just one practice you will feel the exhilaration of flight.

A closing note from Carmen… I hope you enjoyed learning these AIReal Yoga postures. They are grounded in traditional Hatha Yoga and help expand your mat practice to explore new space, experience deeper sensations in the body, and achieve greater healing. Do them daily to aid in your personal healing process or compliment a therapist prescribed program.

Ready to learn more about the benefits and healing properties of aerial yoga?  The AIReal Yoga YouTube Channel features Carmen’s practice videos. Each one is designed to guide you to pure body bliss. Choose a sequence designed to release tension, alleviate aches and pains, achieve proper alignment and balance in the body, increase flexibility and range of motion, develop strength and durability, recover from and prevent injury, or journey into deep restoration.

Need a hammock to start your practice? Check out the AIReal Yoga SHOP to choose the silk that suits you.

Ready to dive deeper? Start your journey as an AIReal Yoga Instructor by taking our 50, 200, or 300 Hour AIReal Yoga Teacher Training

Catch Carmen Curtis or one of the trained AIReal Yoga Instructors at any of our upcoming Wanderlust Festivals and Wanderlust 108s.

Follow Carmen and the AIReal Yoga tribe @airealyoga FB , INSTA

See you in the AIR!

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