AntiGravity Yoga: The Ups & Downs
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nope, it’s me–hanging completely upside down, being supported by a 10-inch-wide piece of cloth and wondering how on earth I decided this was a good idea.
AntiGravity Yoga is the newest trend amongst the pricey “glam” gyms and has been catching on in a big way. Combining yoga, pilates and acrobatics, it promises to realign and release your joints from the pressures of gravity. I decide to try it out because it looks, for lack of a more adult phrase, super fun.
Walking into class, I get the impression that this will be easy. Guess again. Fifteen white “hammocks” are suspended from the ceiling, each supported by two large hooks so that they form a type of swing. We start out easy with our feet on the floor getting used to the support of the hammock. The goal, our instructor assures us, “is to decompress.” A lofty goal, it turns out. No stranger to yoga, I have a moderately advanced practice but this begins to quickly kick my ass. Supporting yourself while the floor assumes the brunt of your weight is one thing—supporting the entirety of your heavy, shouldn’t-have-had-that-extra-taco-at-lunch body is quite another.
“So much of our lives are spent tight and tied up in knots,” the instructor says. “The hammock allows you the freedom of release.” Ha! Freedom? I am in pain. Every part of my body is engaged—tightly gripping the hammock so I don’t fall on my head. “Trust yourself, “ he says. “You won’t let yourself fall.” He stays with me for a bit, and with his support I begin to let go.
Forty-five minutes later, I am facedown, my stomach supported by the hammock and am swinging in a controlled arc like a trapeze artist, flying through the air. The realization hits: I am playing. This is great.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it “yoga” but you do achieve a certain meditative benefit from your focused concentration. And if you’ve ever wanted to run away and join the circus, AntiGravity Yoga is definitely for you.