AntiGravity Yoga a fun approach to fitness

Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:41am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - An AntiGravity Yoga class looks more like circus play than an ancient practice, as people dangle head-first like bats or flip weightlessly through the air.

But if the anti-gravity component stands yoga on its head, as an exhilarating group fitness experience, it has legs.

"AntiGravity Yoga involves a mix of yoga, Pilates, calisthenics, aerial arts, dance," said Illaria Cutolo, AntiGravity Yoga coordinator for Crunch, the national chain of fitness centers. "People come for the flying effect, and the playground aspect."

The concept grew out of AntiGravity, an acrobatic performance troupe founded in 1990 by Christopher Harrison, an aficionado of yoga, who designed the fitness regimen around hammocks.

Suspended about three feet (one meter) off the floor and attached at two overhead points, the fabric hammocks act like a swing or soft trapeze.

"Christopher wanted the spirit of yoga to shine through," Cutolo said. "We remind students to come to place of presence in their breath, bodies and mind. A lot of the moves we do come from yoga."

Gentle warm-ups, sun salutations, breath awareness techniques and strength training comprise the pre-flight protocol of most classes.

Unlike traditional yoga the inversions, going upside in an AntiGravity class is weightless.   Continued...

<p>AntiGravity Yoga Wings class at Crunch fitness center, New York City, 2009. REUTERS/Crunch</p>