Aerial Yoga: Progressive Flow

Follow along with this high swing aerial yoga progressive flow tutorial from Jessica of @heartofanaerialist.

In this aerial yoga progressive flow guide, Jessica covers basic progressive flow movements, including hamstring stretches and inversions. This aerial yoga progressive flow how-to video is safe and obtainable for any aerial yoga instructor or student.


About Our Aerial Yoga Progressive Flow Tutorial

Progressive-based aerial yoga practice is very helpful for both beginner and advanced aerialists. The following poses can help relieve stress while building strength in core muscles and improving postures.

As you would in all aerial classes, begin with a good stretch. It is always important to warm up your body before practicing to avoid unnecessary injury. Starting at the backside of your hammock, grab onto the fabric like a rope separating your hands to create a small space. Lift and trap your left knee over the material, reaching up high, tug and hop forward with your standing foot. Make sure you're centered below where the hammock hangs.

Begin to bend your elbows as you draw your hands down toward the crown of your head. Next, lean forward with your left knee and gently pulse forward with your knee as you pull the hammock back toward your body, drawing the elbows back and down. Remember to breathe as you slowly deepen the stretch.

If your heel begins to rise from the mat, gently press the heel back down to get a nice lower hamstring stretch along the right side. You can also pulse the hammock further back, drawing the left thigh toward your abdomen and engaging the hamstring along the back of the left knee. Slowly come back to the center.

From here, lift onto the ball of your right foot and begin to lean forward with your bent knee. Drawing your hands back and down toward the shoulder, pull forward, leading with your knee, hip, and pelvic bone. Once again, pulse the fabric back toward you with elbows bent to steady yourself and further deepen the stretch.

Returning to the center, take the fabric and track the arch of your left foot. Slightly turn your toes diagonal on your standing foot to avoid overextending the ankle. As you reach up high on the hammock, extend the left leg. Begin to lean forward with your left foot as you draw your hands down closer to your head. Once again, begin with gentle pulses. Press down and forward with your pelvic bone, hips, and left trapped foot.

Remember to keep your heel down on the mat for this part of the stretch. Slowly come back to center, reach up high as you can, lift your right heel off the ground, and begin to lean forward with your left trap foot.

You may start to sway or lose balance here. Use your right hand to simply draw the fabric back and down toward your head and shoulder. As you extend your left arm high above your head, manipulate the hammock to help steady your balance. Once again, begin pulsing forward using your hips and left leg. Don't forget to take deep breaths here.

Drawing the body back to center, bend your knee, bring your heel toward your body, and find the back edge of the hammock underneath the arch of your foot. Draw the edge all the way up your leg to the top of your thigh and keep your toes out the front edge of the material to anchor the fabric in place.

As you hold on to the back edges of the hammock, slowly start to open up your hips as you sway your trapped leg back and forth. After a few large sways, stop with your left leg open to the left side of the room and hold the hammock. Grabbing onto the two edges closest to you, hop with your standing foot to center yourself with the hammock.

You can continue holding on to the back edges of the hammock to help you with your balance. As you begin to lean toward the left, open up into a nicely supported standing straddle. It helps to keep the toes of your standing foot outwards towards the right side of the room. Once again, begin to sink your hips down toward the mat. Slowly bring yourself back to the center and bend your right knee.

Place your right hand on top of your thigh, grabbing the front sail of the hammock with your left hand. Begin to deepen your straddle as you extend your right knee slowly. Draw your right hand down toward your shin, ankle, or the top of your foot. Here, you can take your gaze up to the ceiling straight ahead or down towards your standing foot. Continue with those deep breath cycles.

Slowly begin to bend your knee once again, drawing it over the ankle and bringing both hands down to either side of your standing foot with tented fingertips to the mat. As you rotate your chest and abdomen to the thigh, turn with your left trapped leg, and rotate your knee down into the hammock. You can stay where you're at, gently pulsing the trapped foot back or fully extending that right knee.

Slowly drop your nose toward your knee for a full side straddle stretch. Gently bend the knee back over the ankle, walk your hands to the top of your knee to study your body as you slowly raise up. Grab onto the back edges of the hammock once again with both hands and release your trapped leg.

Let's go ahead and do that again on the right side, this time finding a little more fluidity with our movement as we pair our breath with these stretches. Trapping that right knee over the hammock, take a big breath in. As you exhale, slowly begin to lean forward with the knee. Once again, keep the left heel on the mat from reaching that point of resistance where you want to lift the heel.

Begin to slowly pulse forward from there, breathing into the tightness you feel in your legs, hips, and thighs. As you exhale, release tension sinking further forward and down.

Resetting ourselves back at center, lift your left heel as we inhale, then drop your right knee forward as you exhale. Inhale pulse forward a few times, driving your pelvic bone and hips forward and down. Exhale as you press the right knee forward and hold for a breath.

Dropping your heel, as you come back to center once again, track the arch of the right foot in the fabric and grab up high as you turn your left toes out. Inhale as you begin to lean forward with your right foot, exhale as you gently press forward and pulse with your hips toward the mat. Take a couple of breaths here before coming back to the center to readjust.

Now, lift your left heel off the mat as you inhale. Exhale and begin to press the right foot forward. Remember to use the hammock in your hands to manipulate your balance here, adding pulses with your breath to deepen the stretch.

Drop your heel down as you draw your right foot back into the center. Find the back edge of the hammock and extend your leg forward as you draw the material to the top of the thigh. Hold the back two edges closest to you as you rotate the right leg out to the side. Make sure you're centered with the hammock.

Begin to gently sway the wrapped leg back and forth from right to left, taking nice big inhales and exhales as you gently open your hips. After a few full sways, hold with your right leg open, finding the back edges of the hammock with your hands as you lean into the right side and turn your left toes out. Melt your hips down as you breathe deeply into the supported straddle stretch.

Now, bend your left knee, drawing it over the ankle and bringing your right hand to the front sail. As you drop your left palm onto the top of your knee, slowly extend the left knee, sending your hand down the shin toward your foot. Take a few deep breaths here.

Slowly bend the knee back over the ankle as you drop both hands down to either side of your foot, dropping your chest and belly onto the top of your thigh. Remember to rotate the right knee to face down in the hammock. Breathe here as you slowly pulse your right leg back, extend your left knee, drop your nose down toward the knee, and breathe into this side straddle stretch. Slowly bend the knee, drawing it back to the ankle. Bring your hands to the top of your thighs as you slowly come back up to standing.

From here, we'll go right into part one of our sequences. Make sure the hammock is pulled all the way up to the top of the thigh, and now draw your heel toward you as you bring your toes into the front edge of the material. Holding onto the back edges of the fabric, take a hop to the left side of your hammock. Bend your knees out wide as you draw your heel close to the body, similar to a half-crisscross seated position.

Now turn your body to face the hammock as you reach up with both hands grabbing the material closest to you. Give a tug as you lift and kick the standing leg off the ground, bringing it through the center of the hammock. Continue to rotate your body to a full 180 degrees. Make sure your spine lines up with the fabric behind you, and lean your head towards the right shoulder as you press the fabric away from the body with both hands.

Here, you can choose a series of poses to try in your single full-legged wrap. Have fun with it! Bend your knee, extend your leg, pop your fist onto your hip, lean back, and give a little attitude.

As you find your balance, you can even play around with releasing both arms, extending them high above your head, creating a beautiful gazelle pose. When you are through this series of poses, reach forward with both hands, grabbing onto the fabric in front of your face. Take your right shoulder and fall toward the front side of the room as you kick your free leg back through the center onto the ground.

Now let's go through part two of the sequence, also keeping in mind that many of the poses in part two would be considered intermediate and advanced. Watch this video all the way through, and make sure you understand your movements before attempting these poses.

Starting with part one of the sequences, come into your single full-leg breath. Once there, flex your right foot. Grab onto the fabric in front of you and reach up high with both hands. As you start to drop your left shoulder, press out through your right heel, fully extending your leg.

Now kick your free leg through the center, coming into a full 360 turn as you bend the wrapped knee and settle into your pose. Note the first few times you attempt these wraps, they are quite tight on the thigh, but this will lessen with practice.
Begin to pose again by extending and bending your free leg, changing different arm positions, leaning forward, and finding balance as you extend your arms and legs. Next, grab onto the fabric in front of you with both hands as you press away the material to create space.

Slowly lift the left leg and track the arch of your foot. Start to press the hammock away as you extend your leg here, drawing the same side shoulder back and trapping it against the hammock behind you. Once again, take some time to pose here; extend your arms high above your head, gently arch your back, and continue pressing the arch of your foot into the hammock to maintain tension.

Grabbing back onto the hammock above your head, slowly bend the left knee and drop the foot forward. Bring both shoulders on the back side of the hammock as you press your right-wrapped leg out and rotate the body to face forward. Now drop the left hip down in front of the strip of material and begin to lean back slowly, resting your sacrum on the fabric behind you.

Maintain holding your left hand up high on the hammock and further arch the back as you reach your right hand out for the top of your left foot. Take a moment to pose here. You can further invert here by holding onto the hammock as you drop the crown of your head further back and wrap the free leg in a wide circle around the material. Take a moment to hang here in your inversion.

To take this to our final progression, you will grab the fabric with both hands above your left bent knee and pull yourself back up to the center as you drop the right knee back down. Drawing your spine up against the fabric behind you, rest the material in the crook of your neck, and draw your gaze up towards the ceiling. Now fully extend the left leg up by straightening the knee and extending through your pointed toes. Don't forget to fully extend your arms high above your head to finish off this beautiful pose.

Now to come out, bend your knee and rotate your chest forward, bringing both shoulders to the back side of the hammock. Remember, the way you came in is opposite to the way you will come out. So first, lean back to unwrap your left leg and bring it forward. Now bring your right shoulder through the center of the hammock and draw the spine back against the material.

As you rotate, drop the left leg through to the back wall grabbing on with both hands in front of your face. Drop your shoulder to the front side of the room as you rotate your body all the way through and back to the center. Don't forget to do this twice. Make sure your right leg is fully unwrapped before dropping the left foot to the mat.

Thank you for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial, and remember to fly safe and fly high!

In this video, Jessica is using an Uplift Active Ombre Aerial Hammock. At Uplift Active, we have everything you need for aerial yin yoga. Browse our fantastic collection of aerial hammocks and start your progressive flow aerial yoga journey today!


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