Sunday, March 26, 2017

Experiences of a First Time Student in AntiGravity Aerial Yoga Class

I've seen demos and photos of people doing AntiGravity Aerial Yoga in the past and, while the performers seemed graceful and flexible, the poses looked very challenging! They made me curious if I'd be able to do even half of what I've seen but I am willing to try to and see.

with AntiGravity Aerial Yoga teacher and classmates
This past weekend, thanks to an invitation by 2nd Avenue, I took on the challenge and attended my first ever AntiGravity Aerial Yoga class at Beyond Yoga Rockwell. It was comforting to know that I was not the only neophyte among our group but I had to concede that they are all very young and probably more flexible than I could dream to ever be.

We were taught by Michelle Brown-Araneta who encouraged us to achieve the poses, especially the inverted ones, as much as possible. Honestly, I was surprised to be able to do the first inversion! 

The second one was harder though because it required a strong upper body, which this runner hasn't developed yet. Still, with Michelle's help, I got to remain upside down using the strength of my arms and core even for a few seconds. 

Doing the many stretching exercises made me realize how much I still need to work on in many parts of my body. But I found this kind of yoga another great start. I've tried doing Vinyasa and Kundalini before and also learned a lot about myself from them.

first two of four inversions
When I posted an inverted photo of myself online, one friend asked if it's scary to do an inversion while others expressed outright that they don't think they'd be able to do it. If your thoughts are like theirs, let me tell you now that you have nothing to worry about. AntiGravity Aerial Yoga may be challenging but it is also fun! Plus, you'll be mighty proud of yourself when you find yourself doing something you never thought you could!

Another thing, AntiGravity Aerial Yoga is a mind/body/spirit class that burns up to 600 calories! It is open to all levels and there are no other class prerequisites. We were told that attending lessons regularly will give you the following benefits:

• Decompress tight joints
• Relieve pressure while aligning the vertebrae
• Perform advanced yoga inversions without neck or back compression
• Hold challenging yoga postures longer and in correct alignment
• Stretch further with less strain
• Add an entirely new dimension to your yoga practice
• Create better body awareness while increasing overall agility

"mountain peak" - one of the stretching movements I like
Here are other things you may be curious about: 

• Every portion of the AntiGravity Hammock is rated for over 2000 pounds. That means it can hold the weight of even a baby elephant so you need not worry if you feel you might be too heavy.
• All Beyond Yoga AGY instructors have been trained and certified by Christopher Harrison to teach the routine. FYI, he is the dancer / choreographer / acrobat founder of AGY. 
• Every student will leave the class feeling good because everyone works at their own pace and, since this is a suspension yoga class, no competition nor ego is encouraged.
• You don't necessarily have to be physically fit and have prior yoga experience to do aerial yoga. In fact, it is a good routine for people who are not too flexible because the hammock will support your poses. However, AGY will be easiest for those who maintain a consistent fitness regime and has a strong core.

more stretching
• As to contraindications, AGY is not recommended for those who are pregnant, have glaucoma, a recent surgery, heart disease, very high or low blood pressure, easy onset vertigo, osteoporosis / bone weakness, and/or other serious medical concerns.
• For those who are afraid of heights, know that the difference between fear and excitement in the body is relaxation. The instructor will help you through your apprehensions. Besides, you'll only be 3 inches off the ground during an inversion. 
• AntiGravity Aerial Yoga is the only aerial yoga program certified by the governing bodies of America and the EU. Christopher Harrison, inventor of the silk hammock apparatus, has put 10 years into developing the technique. Also, AGY is present in over 40 countries.
• When attending class, wear workout outfits with sleeves, preferably cotton or cotton blend fabric and remove all jewelry.

one of the stretches that challenged my flexibility
If you'll ask me if I'd attend another aerial yoga class in the future, the answer is YES. I'd love to conquer the movements I had difficulties with during the first class :)

BTW, you can learn other fitness tips by watching Work Out New York, which premiers tonight on 2nd Avenue at 9PM. For more details, please read:

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