I love vacations! It always gives me a chance to take a break from work, training and teaching fitness. However, when on vacation, I always try to find a different fitness option, something out of the ordinary and an activity or workout that is fun. I definitely found it when I wondered into a beautiful yoga studio in Florida overlooking the water equipped with a magnificent ocean breeze. I always wanted to try Aerial or Antigravity yoga, and I was certainly in luck when I found they offered this class in such a beautiful environment.
I must say that hanging upside down did frighten me a bit, but the instructor was excellent and took me and 6 others through an amazing experience – safely! AntiGravity or Aerial Yoga is a new workout invented by aerial performer Christopher Harrison. It involves a series of exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus. The goal of this workout is to create a total body workout while moving into different positions in the hammock – think Cirque du Soleil.
I would have to say that anyone that has back issues should consider this class. It gives you the chance to hang freely, allowing your spine to lengthen. In addition to decompressing the spine, AntiGravity yoga can help to increase strength and flexibility, decompress tight joints, help perform advanced yoga inversions without neck or back compression, increase overall core strength and create better mind body awareness. The class was challenging but there are several modifications for any level of fitness, even if you have never taken a yoga class.
The class blended typical yoga postures with aerial movements. A typical AntiGravity or Aerial yoga class begins with a warm up – either on the mat or in the hammock. Then, students are guided into the different inversion movements and all that encompasses from being upside down in short segments. The hammock allows for deep stretching and healthful benefits such as decompression of the spine.
At first this type of class can be a little scary, but by listening carefully to the instructor and trusting the hammock – each hammock can actually support 2,000 lbs.(970 kg.). Also, the hardware that attaches the hammocks to the ceiling are all mountain-climbing rated so very secure. I found the hammock very comfortable and felt my body work with the hammock as a natural assist to promote and increase strength and flexibility.
Due to the nature of this type of yoga class (flips and inversions), AntiGravity or Aerial yoga is not recommended for women who are pregnant. Also, it is not advised for anyone with recent eye surgery or those who suffer from vertigo. Most importantly, be sure that the instructor is qualified with AntiGravity or Aerial yoga certifications and has at least a 200 hour yoga certification.
Happy hanging -- Suzanne
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