Anti Gravity Yoga @Area Magazine – 19 Desember 2012
Kim Simone struggled through her first yoga classes. “I just didn’t feel comfortable,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I had the balance and strength to do the postures properly.”Her personal trainer suggested she try aerial yoga: If she didn’t like yoga on the ground, how would she like trying the same poses while dangling from a hammock suspended in the air? Ms. Simone was hesitant, but she gave it a try and discovered that aerial yoga was enjoyable. “It was actually quite easy to pick up,” she says. “It was like a playground activity.”
Aerial yoga classes utilize a soft fabric hammock connected to the ceiling like a giant swing. Various poses are performed sitting, lying or even spinning upside down in the hammock, which acts like a trapeze. (Some newcomers feel a head rush after class, though Ms. Simone says she has never felt dizzy.) Proponents of the workout say the force of gravity helps realign the body.
Ms. Simone, a 45-year-old vice president for the information-technology department of Verizon Wireless, first signed up for a one-on-one session of AntiGravity Yoga to learn the basics. AntiGravity Yoga is a brand of aerial yoga developed by dancer Christopher Harrison in the ’90s as a training technique for gymnasts. The practice incorporates elements of yoga, Pilates and dance.
Ms. Simone was surprised to find it easier to balance. “In traditional yoga, the balance is all on your own,” she says. “Having the hammock there actually makes it easier to do [inverted poses], plus it’s really fun.”
Ms. Simone, who is married and has two children, got so hooked on aerial yoga that she bought a silk hammock for her home. “I don’t try any postures I haven’t perfected in class, but I work on postures I am confident in—and my kids have even tried it.”
Ms. Simone attends group classes two to three times a week at a fitness studio near her home in Basking Ridge, N.J. Class begins with meditation and transitions to stretching activities and traditional yoga poses that have been modified for the hammock. For example, in traditional yoga, the “warrior three” pose entails balancing on one foot and leaning forward so the torso is parallel to the floor, while the opposite foot is extended back in midair.
In AntiGravity Yoga, the back foot is supported in the hammock. To do a yoga handstand, the legs are twisted in the hammock to support the body, rather than lifting the legs up into midair. The practice includes many inversions, which are poses that flip the body upside down, usually putting the feet above the head. “You do have to learn to trust the hammock. Once you learn to trust that it has you, it’s much easier to let go,” says Ms. Simone. One position, known as “cannonball,” entails hugging the knees to the chest and swinging upside down in arcs. “It really requires a mind-body connection. You have to concentrate on what you’re doing,” says Ms. Simone. “It took me four classes to be confident enough to do a reverse somersault into the hammock.”
While practicing the various movements, students are exercising and toning their muscles. Simply swinging in the hammock without hands, for example, works the abdominal muscles. Like in traditional yoga, class ends with a savasana, or a resting pose, but instead of lying on the floor, students cocoon themselves within the hammock. Ms. Simone also has a very disciplined cardio routine. Every morning, as early as 5 a.m. during the week, she heads down to the treadmill in her basement and logs 30 minutes. She takes a ballet barre-based body sculpting and core strengthening class two times a week. “The class is based on doing high repetitions of exercises with low weights,” she says. “I thought my legs were strong from my treadmill workouts but they were so sore after my first class.”
Ms. Simone starts her day with a green smoothie made from spinach, almond milk, fruit, ground-up flaxseeds (for omega-3 fatty acids) and stevia (a natural sweetener). Ms. Simone brings her lunch to work: a salad with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers and either feta or mozzarella cheese with a vinaigrette dressing. She says her family cooks nearly every night and “doesn’t do fast food.” A typical dinner might be grilled salmon with asparagus. For snacking, she turns to walnuts, almonds or apples.
Cost & Gear
Ms. Simone spent about $4,000 on her commercial-grade treadmill. “I’ve used the same treadmill every day for five years, so though it seems like a lot of money, it really was an investment,” she says. “Most treadmills wear out after a year of that much use.” Her family’s membership at a fitness club costs $175 a month. Her Core Connection Studio membership costs $200 a month and includes unlimited access to ballet barre, AntiGravity and traditional yoga classes. Her home yoga swing cost about $200.
When Ms. Simone has only 15 minutes to exercise, she walks up and down her basement stairs with three-pound dumbbells, skipping every other step, for five minutes. She’ll then alternate between push-ups (completing a total of 70) and holding an abdominal strengthening pose. Last, she jumps rope for five minutes and then holds a standing wall squat until her legs shake.
Correction & Amplification:
The Core Connection Studio offers ballet barre fitness classes, not Bar Method classes. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Kim Simone took Bar Method classes at the studio.
ref : Area Magazine