Taking yoga to a new level, dancer, choreographer, gymnast Christopher Harrison created AntiGravity Yoga, which is catching on in a number of health clubs around the world, according to a recent Voice of America report.
Silk cloth hangs from the ceiling in the shape of a hammock to assist practitioners in the yoga poses, and while at first glance it looks strange, many who try it enjoy the practice.
“When I first saw people hanging upside down from hammocks and calling it yoga I thought they were crazy,” Marie Bice told Voice of America. “But it ended up being a lot of fun and just swinging it felt very playful. I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my back and doing this work has really helped my back with that.”
Harrison first created this form of yoga for athletes, and then modified it so it could be taught to the public in the U.S. in 2009, the report stated. Now, several countries offer the practice, including China, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil.
“I created it so even my mother can do it,” said Harrison, who explained the practice still offers the same benefits as traditional yoga. “You can expect still to be studying yoga because it is a practice of awareness, of body, mind and spirit,” he said. Each class ends in meditation, where practitioners relax in the cocoon of the cloth hammock.
Heather Blair, an AntiGravity instructor told Voice of America that hanging upside down helps the body in a way that regular yoga does not offer. “You actually have spinal decompression so when you’re upside down your vertebrae actually open up so the space in between the vertebrae opens naturally and gently,” she said. “You literally can be of any fitness level. You can have injuries. It doesn’t matter how old you are – anyone can take the class. So it’s been a huge draw for us.”
She also explained the practice is a combination of yoga, pilates, aerial arts and suspension training, “so it’s not just yoga,” she said in the report.
For more information, visit www.antigravityyoga.com.
Watch the below video of a Good Morning America report on AntiGravity Yoga: