I’m not exactly a fitness buff. I’ve been doing my standard cardio-and-weights gym routine for years with minimal variations and don’t really have plans to switch it up. But a couple recent experiences with AntiGravity yoga made me so happy that I stepped out of the box and tried something different!
I was inspired/invited to try it by my cousin Mary, the self-proclaimed Yogi from Rhody. She’s fallen in love with yoga and all of its benefits over the past year and is eager to share all of the positive energy she’s feeling from it with others. I am so grateful that she prompted me to go with her!
So, what is it?
Developed by gymnast and dancer Christopher Harrison in the early ’90s, this form of exercise combines aerial fitness with traditional yoga. The apparatus used to suspend participants is a hammock capable of holding 2,000 pounds.
Sessions can vary from more acrobatic-oriented to stretching-based. In both scenarios, participants perform adaptations of common yoga poses, while slightly pushing their limits through the use of the hammock.
This type of yoga is pretty sweet because it provides you all of the health benefits associated with more traditional forms of yoga, plus special some perks that can only be achieved from AntiGravity. If you’re looking for a reason to try it, consider the following…
- Increased strength
- Increased flexibility
- Better focus
- Strengthened immune system
- Stress relief
- Improved balance
- Improved digestion
- Improved circulation
I’ve had the pleasure of trying two totally different AntiGravity classes. My first encounter with this special form of fitness was in a standard beginner’s class that was focused on aerial poses. The vast majority of the class was spent suspended in the hammock off the ground. I found myself hanging upside down for minutes at a time, with some spinning thrown in there for good measure.
I have to admit this was one of the most fun and unique workouts I’ve ever done! Hanging from a hammock automatically makes the class a blast. Our instructor took the time to carefully explain and demonstrate each pose and used supportive, constructive language when offering individual assistance.
I loved how stretched-out and calm I felt upon leaving. I was also refreshed from all of the deep breathing which sent extra oxygen to my brain and throughout my body. I’d consider myself fall somewhere close to “average” on the fitness scale, and think that anyone with moderate athletic ability can take this class. My only complaint is that I felt a little nauseous when I left, which I’m attributing to not being used to hanging upside down for an extended period of time plus eating too soon before the class.
The second class I took was “restorative” and focused much more on slow stretching than aerial poses. Unlike the first class, my feet were on the ground almost the entire time. This class was taught by candlelight, making it ultra-relaxing in addition to alleviating my tense muscles. Perhaps the best part of both classes was the culminating position where we quite literally laid in the hammock with our eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Talk about feeling zen.