Antigravity Yoga is an exciting new twist (literally) to your yoga practice invented by aerial performer Christopher Harrison—a former gymnast and Broadway choreographer. Supported inversions provide decompression to your spine, soothe and stimulate your body and mind. Currently available only at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. It involves performing a series of exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus, in order to achieve a total-body workout. Suitable for guests aged 16 and above, and all abilities and body types.
This has proven to release endorphins and to stimulate your pituitary gland. Even celebrities are getting in on the Antigravity action; pop singer Pink used one of Harrison’s hammocks for the daring routine that she performed during the 2010 Grammy Awards (which was choreographed by a member of Harrison’s company). Cirque du Soleil has also borrowed the performers and the technique for their show.
The benefits of Antigravity Yoga
Apart from being a major stress-buster due to its high fun quotient, there are some serious health benefits associated with Antigravity Yoga. Anyone that has back issues should be doing this class, it gives you the chance to hang freely, allowing your spine to lengthen. People who have taken the class always comment on how much better their back feels afterward.
In addition to decompressing the spine, Antigravity Yoga can help to increase strength and flexibility, as well as bring you greater awareness of your body. “It’s a real mind-body-spirit experience,” says instructor Alexandra at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, who has been practicing yoga for the past 10 years and who is well trained by the Original Antigravity Program developed and founded by Christoper Harrison.
More than yoga
A believer in fun as a means to heal the nervous system, it brings laughter, adrenaline, inner peace and awareness together in the Harrison Antigravity hammock. By studying the connection of mind/body/spirit, his intention is to unify people while sharing his knowledge; helping people open their mind to a greater sense of self while giving participants a great physical workout. While you will still find yoga favorites like “downward dog” and “cat-cow“, you will also get to experience new moves like “the awesome possum” and “the chandelier“. And Alexandra notes that every class features inversions so that participants can enjoy a spinal decompression.
What to expect
So how do you prepare to have your world turned upside down? “Drop all expectations,” says Alexandra – Antigrravity Coach. Like any brand new experience, it is important to have an open mind. “Listen to your instructor, and most importantly, trust the hammock. We wouldn’t let people do this if it wasn’t one-hundred percent safe.”
While it may be difficult to feel comfortable doing backflips in a red-coloured silk hammock your first time out, it may ease your mind to know that each hammock can actually support up to 2,000 lbs (970 kg). As for the hardware that attaches the hammocks to the ceiling? “It’s all mountain-climbing rated,” says Alexandra. Once you’re able to overcome that initial fear, you’ll be able to enjoy all that the class has to offer.”
Some cautions about Antigravity Yoga
Due to the nature of the class, with its flips and inversions, Antigravity Yoga is not recommended for women who are pregnant. Also, if you have recently had eye surgery or suffer from vertigo, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before giving the class a try.
But when it comes to your fitness level, there are no restrictions for Antigravity Yoga. Even if you’ve never taken a yoga class in your life, you’ll be amazed at how much you can do. “Different bodies, different fitness levels—everyone gets something different from it.”
Flying high after class
After an hour of swinging back and forth, flipping upside down and pushing your body in a whole new way, it’s hard not to leave the class with a big smile on your face. “You walk out of it, and you just feel good!” – QMIN Team confirms. “It’s the kind of thing you look forward to instead of some workouts you dread and you think of it as work and this is just fun!”