I have a really short attention span and I get bored very easily, which makes sticking to an exercise routine quite difficult! Typical routines of running/cycling/gymming just don’t do it for me, so I’m always on the look-out for fun new fitness fads or trends. AntiGravity yoga (AGY) was something that instantly appealed to me. I had never had any interest in doing yoga before because it had always seemed very serious and rigid, but the addition of silk hammocks gave it an element of playfulness and fun! Developed by former Broadway dancer and international gymnast Christopher Harrison, it involves yoga poses and inverts performed with the aid of silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling.
AGY classes are not all that common in Sydney, so I was fortunate to find Yoga Pavilion only a 15 minute drive from home. Classes start with a gentle stretching sequence to open up joints and loosen tense muscles, and finish with a relaxing cocoon sequence, which to me, is a chance for a quick power nap! The rest of the class will depend on which course you’re doing – various AGY classes are offered in six week courses, most of them taught by the lovely Alanna Chan (owner of Yoga Pavilion), and each offering something different:
As the name suggests, it is for newcomers to the world of antigravity yoga. You learn different grips, how to invert safely and how to move with and within the hammock. This is also the level where you learn to trust the hammock to hold you. I remember my very first beginners class where I almost immediately got a headache and felt light-headed after inverting, and to be honest, after that class I wasn’t sure if AGY was for me. I’m so glad that I went back though, because from the second class I began to feel much more comfortable being upside down for long periods of time. One tip for beginners – bring plenty of water to drink; I get headaches when I’m dehydrated and inverting just magnifies the discomfort.
This course of classes builds on the basic skills learnt in beginners, and introduces more advanced poses and inverts. It was this class that really cemented my enjoyment of AGY. I loved learning the new inverts and flips and sequences and even though I usually did not perform them perfectly (or at all!) first go, having a goal to work towards was extremely motivating.
I’ve done a few terms of suspension fitness, and let me tell you, it’s definitely a workout! From doing stomach crunches while hanging upside down with the hammock twisted around your legs to doing push ups with your feet tucked in the hammock, these classes will significantly improve your core and upper body strength. Anything you can do in a TRX training system, you can also do with these hammocks, with the added bonus of being able to lie in them when you need a break! Acrobatic flips forwards and backwards are used to develop your body awareness and control, and even more advanced swings and sequences require you to have a lot of trust in your hammock and your arms! I am always incredibly sore the day after an AGY fitness class!
I have only tried this class once, and it was super relaxing. In fact, I’m quite sure I fell asleep during the last cocoon sequence! It’s a great class for people who are recovering from injury or those who are not quite up to doing a fitness class. It is full of gentle stretches, with many of the movements performed from the floor, using the hammock for support.
I would recommend antigravity yoga at Yoga Pavilion to anyone who is looking to mix up their workout routine, try something new or pretend they’re in Cirque du Soleil. Prior yoga experience is not required, and when I first called to book my beginners course, Alanna mentioned that it might actually turn out to be an advantage because I would not have picked up any bad habits. Speaking of Alanna, she is a wonderful teacher, so very patient and relaxed; and she has a great sense of humour which makes classes a lot of fun.
15 Elizabeth Street
Artarmon NSW 2064
T: 0422 907 018
W: Yoga Pavilion