Originating from New York, antigravity yoga is now practiced in several countries, combining traditional yoga poses, pilates and dance with the use of hammocks. As a relatively new exercise regimen inspired by aerial gymnastics, pilates and yoga, antigravity yoga may sound intimidating at first. However, this exercise is actually quite accessible and similar to typical yoga done on a mat. Here’s how it works: You sit on (or hang from) a soft fabric hammock suspended from the ceiling. These hammocks are made out of high density nylon materials, and can usually support over 2,000 pounds, so tearing them isn’t a worry you should have. Throughout the yoga class, you would carry out several aerial adaptations of traditional yoga poses using the hammock for support.
Benefits of Antigravity Yoga
Due to the nature of antigravity yoga movements, almost every body part is required to move and stretch. Muscles are strengthened and toned while joints are regenerated. Overall, antigravity yoga offers many of the same benefits and enjoyments of regular yoga but it also has additional advantages as well.
Psychological benefits: Much like normal yoga (and if anything to a greater extent), antigravity yoga helps rebuild your emotional system by clearing the mind. It also relieves stress due to its meditative state. Some argue that by helping combat this stress throughout your day, aerial yoga indirectly increases your creativity, potentially improving your artistic skills.
Flexibility: No surprise here–antigravity yoga helps you move more freely with less effort than normal yoga by counteracting gravity. In-air suspension releases tension on the bones and muscles, increasing flexibility especially among the spinal and shoulder areas.
Heart benefits: The movements in antigravity yoga improve the circulation of blood, ultimately combating aging and its symptoms. Antigravity yoga also detoxifies the circulatory and lymphatic systems which lowers the onset of cardiovascular issues.
Memory benefits: Antigravity yoga fortifies neural connections most likely due to its upside down nature, rendering better memory power. If you look at it this way, practicing antigravity yoga can make you (arguably) smarter!
Tips for Success
So if you’ve ever liked yoga, even if it isn’t something you do often, you should definitely consider giving antigravity yoga a try! The following lists some tips to help avoid accident and injuries in your first class:
- Remember to still bring a mat!
- Wear form-fitting but comfortable athletic clothes
- Go barefoot
- Eat a light meal beforehand
- Avoid soft drinks and other acidic liquid before class
- Do not use hand lotion
- Remove all jewelry and watches
**Note: while antigravity yoga is open to all age groups, it is not recommended if you are pregnant, have had recent surgery or are suffering from medical conditions like glaucoma and or irregular heart function.