Ever wonder how does it feel to fly? Or how does it feel to be suspended up in the air with nothing but a piece of cloth to hold on to?
Well, look no further!
Anti-Gravity Yoga(r), or AGY, the newest thing in Yoga practice, has now come to Philippine shores and is exclusively partnered with Beyond Yoga studio to bring the flying experience to fitness enthusiasts in the country.
AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga is a unique fusion technique, revolutionary in relieving compressed joints and aligning the body from head to toe. The AntiGravity® Hammock acts as a soft trapeze and as a support while you master simple inversions and finally progress to more advanced poses.
AntiGravity® Yoga is a fitness regimen designed by Christopher Harrison to increase one’s overall health and physical agility while having fun and creating beauty. AntiGravity® is an acrobatic performance company whose daily workout utilizes the AntiGravity® Hammock. The technique was originally created for athletes and gymnasts and has since been modified and perfected for the everyday athlete. Incorporating components from dance, Pilates and calisthenics, AntiGravity® has created a complete workout that is certain to get you in shape while realigning you from the compression of gravity. AntiGravity® Yoga works to manipulate physics while staying lighthearted.
~ Taken from http://www.antigravityyoga.com
I’ve heard all about AGY through the Beyond Yoga facebook page and one of my officemates Mia has been asking me to try it since it was offered to newbies two weeks prior starting last April 10.
And finally I did last Monday, April 30. I figured it was a relatively light week, and I’ve been wanting to try out a new fitness routine. I knew I would be taking something like yoga, but I was having trouble looking for a studio that could accommodate my schedule.
But I just said, what the heck, I’ll just go for it, and work things out as I go along the way. That Monday I scheduled myself for some hot yoga and signed up with Mia for the AGY class after.
Beyond Yoga offers a 3 day trial package for beginners which is great trying it out.
Since it was my first time on the air, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. If it wasn’t for Mia’s coaching and enthusiasm I wouldn’t have survived it.
Unlike regular yoga, AGY makes use of special hammocks for its exercises.
The AntiGravity Hammock is a structural fabric that is connected from two overhead points. It acts like a swing or soft trapeze. The AntiGravity® Hammock is utilized to change one’s dynamic relationship to the ground, allowing the participant to better understand their body and its relationship to physics.
These hammocks can carry as much as 3000 lbs, thats like a baby elephant (so for those worried about their weight, no need to fret).
Before each class, each hammock is adjusted to each student. The lowest portion should be at your hipbone and there is tension when you extend your arms. The instructor opens with an introduction to what is AGY and some tips and other instructions needed in the class.
The first thing you should always remember is TRUST. Trust the instructor, trust the system, trust the hammock and trust yourself.
Then the instructor takes you to a series of exercises using the hammock, including inverted poses, that even newbies can do on their first class. I had a bit of trouble at first, but the instructor was always there to assist you if you have trouble doing the poses.
In my first class, it took a while for me to follow the poses because these weren’t exercises I was used to and I had trouble looking for the best positions for the inverted poses. I’ll be honest to say it hurts! You know when you watch behind the scene shows where actors say it hurts when they are harnessed for stunts? Its something like that. That’s probably because I never actually had use for my hipbones before so I found the situation uncomfortable.
But by my second class, which was the next day, I was already doing some of the poses with less assistance already. My body was getting used to the exercises and found my spots for the inverted poses that was comfortable.
This is from my 3rd and last class. I can already hold poses and follow the instructor at most times already. That’s me at the end of the middle row.
There are two types of AGY classes being offered in the studio – the FUNdamentals class and Flying Fitness. FUNdamentals is the ‘lighter’ one of the two, which focuses more on stretching, while Flying fitness is more intense with more weight exercises and poses. FUNdamentals is more like regular yoga but with a different orientation, while Flying Fitness can be compared to TRX (another type of workout exercise). Both classes do the inverted poses, so no escape there!
These are some exercises done during Flying Fitness. Imagine inverted crunches. You can’t see me, but I’m directly behind the guy in black. You can only see my legs.
- Do not eat right before class or you mind end up seeing your food again. Or taking something light about 1-2 hours before.
- Wear shirts with sleeves to prevent fabric burn
- Advisable to also wear sticky socks (but not a requirement)
- Call to reserve a slot or come early. There are a limited number of hammocks in the studio per class.
- Keep hydrated beforehand.
- Remove any type of jewelry.
From my experience, this is very prone to be dizzying so I don’t recommend it to people with severe motion sickness or vertigo. I have suffered dizziness because of it from the rocking motion of the hammock and the inverted poses. I have yet to try it, but maybe I could take some bonamine before class, as the symptoms are just like motion sickness. Usually I am fine after a quick nap in the car or sipping diet soda or water after. I am also not sure if its because I took back to back fitness classes as well that left me really dizzy during my third class so I didn’t complete the last inverted pose (the vampire). I had to get off the hammock to stop my head from spinning.
Don’t worry about falling as well. Remember when I said trust? But not everything is perfect and guess what? I did fall of the hammock during my second class during an inverted pose and got a slight bump on my forehead (thankfully it didn’t show an ugly bruise). It wasn’t so bad because you are just hovering 3 inches from the ground. The lessons here is to 1) listen to the instructor for instructions; 2) wait patiently for the instructor to come to you; and 3) keep calm.
For beginners, Beyond Yoga offers a 3-day trial package at P1,500 good for one week. I think this is a perfect way to start because it takes a while to get used to with poses without overwhelming the students to commit to the lengthier package, and will get your moneys worth.
AGY classes is costed separately from regular yoga and is priced higher as well (1x AGY drop in class is P1000 versus a 1x regular yoga class at P450).
From this experience, I was just amazed at the results. I felt my stomach tighten and my muscled worked out almost the same when I go to my regular gym, but this is like a variation of that if I am tired of the same of gym routine. I also felt my body really stretch and improve on its flexibility, even if I’m already a gym goer to begin with. The fitness workout is intense and I find myself really sweaty during the sessions.
The most amazing thing ofcourse is I really surprised myself at what I am capable of. Never in a million years did I imagine I can fly on a piece of cloth, hang upside down or do an assisted headstand. It was what made me come back for more. I was really motivated and determined to be able to do those poses. Even with my fall, I was eager to get back on the hammock to try again.
I recommend this to anyone who is up to try something new. I will be definitely doing the class again in the coming weeks. I already miss it.
Check out the AGY class schedules and updates:
3F Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Madrinian St., QC
Like their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter.
Photos courtesy of Cara De Ocampo of Beyond Yoga (my classmate) and AGY Facebook Page.