Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Gym Class: AntiGravity Yoga
By KAREN BARROW
Did you ever see an interesting class at the gym that you were too intimidated to try? Or maybe you need to freshen up your current workout routine?
The new Well video series Gym Class is here to help. Each month, I’ll take on the role of fitness guinea pig, trying out new and unusual exercise classes and rating them for difficulty, intimidation factor, intensity and fun — all from the point of view of an easily bored, slightly klutzy treadmill runner.
For my first Gym Class I tried AntiGravity Yoga, a fitness class that adapts the poses of traditional yoga for a large silk hammock raised off the ground. Sometimes called suspension or aerial yoga, AntiGravity Yoga was developed by Christopher Harrison, a former aerial acrobat and gymnast who found traditional yoga too hard on his injured wrists. The weightless poses can be used to strengthen the core as well as relieve aching joints and stretch tight muscles.
“People show up because it’s fun, but they come back because they feel healed afterwards,” he said.
To see what happens during an aerial yoga class, watch the video, taken at the Om Factory Yoga Center in midtown Manhattan, and check out the Gym Class ratings below.
What is AntiGravity Yoga? Yoga moves performed in nine feet of silk that is suspended from the ceiling like a swing.
Who’s it for? Moderate thrill-seekers. Bored yogis. Dancers and gymnasts looking for something new.
What’s the benefit? AntiGravity Yoga is great for stretching, working the core muscles and relieving stress — as long as you remember that it’s nearly impossible to fall out of the hammock.
Is there a learning curve? Be brave during class and you’ll be surprised at how you can follow along. After a few classes, you’ll be monkeying around with the pros.
Where does it hurt? The next day, you’ll feel it in your lower abs, upper arms and shoulders. Your upper hip area just plain hurts (or, in my case, is black-and-blue) from dangling upside down.
What should I bring? Wear long pants and a T-shirt with sleeves (to protect your skin from rubbing against the fabric). This is a “no socks necessary” kind of class, but be sure to pack a sense of adventure.
Best in-class review: “Ahhhh,” uttered by someone in the back of the room as she stretched out her lower back. (I was too disoriented hanging upside down to pick out who it was.)
Gym Class Rating (from 1 to 5):
Intimidation factor: 4
Workout intensity: 1
Fun quotient: 5