28 October, 2013
Health & Wellness

Flying high with AntiGravity Yoga at Bodywize

28 October, 2013

When I first mentioned to my friends that I was trialling an AntiGravity Yoga class, there were many puzzled faces. Reassuring them that I wasn’t flying up to space for my weekly yoga session (although hey, how fun would that be?!), I headed over to Bodywize Yoga in Happy Valley, instead!

Conveniently located next to the racetrack (right above the Happy Valley Tram Depot) and spread over two floors, Bodywize definitely feels more like a spa than a fitness studio – a calming sanctuary up and above the hustle and bustle of Happy Valley. Thanks to PrettyBooked (the online directory and booking service for all things health and beauty in Hong Kong!), I was lucky enough to snag a private AntiGravity Yoga session with Daniel – a super-friendly yoga and dance guru hailing all the way from Venezuela! As someone who desperately struggles to touch my toes, I’m normally a little intimidated by yoga classes with their ridiculously flexible instructors, but Daniel put me at ease with his huge smile and infectious charm!

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His explanation of AntiGravity Yoga was made all the more interesting by his fabulous Spanish accent! Judging by the muscle tone in his legs, AntiGravity Yoga is definitely more than just the latest fitness fad – it’s one hell of a workout! Invented by Christopher Harrison (an American Broadway aerial choreographer and gymnastics specialist), AntiGravity Yoga is based on the concept of aerial arts (think Cirque Du Soleil) combined with traditional yoga practices, all done while suspended in a silk hammock.

The class began with Daniel setting up our silk hammocks to the correct height; pulling down on them with force, he reassured us that each U-shaped hammock could hold up to 1,000 pounds (453 kilograms) safely, so there was no need to worry about the large Italian dinner I had the night before! Daniel then demonstrated how to set up our first pose of the day, the Cocoon. Finding the edge of the hammock, we swung the white silk fabric from side to side, tightly gripped the material with two hands above our heads and then jumped somewhat gracefully into a seated pose. Swinging back and forth inside a cocoon-like blanket of silk was the perfect way to start the class.

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Alas, we were there to do exercise after all, and the moves gradually got harder as the class went on. Upper body strength proved to be pivotal as just gripping the silk fabric itself was tiring! Following Daniel’s instructions, we moved onto more difficult poses including “Inversions” – signature AntiGravity Yoga moves where you basically hang upside down. Let’s just say Daniel made these inversions look far too easy… Taking A LOT of faith in my silk hammock, I leant back and let myself dangle upside down, first with my legs in a V-shape, then with the soles of my feet touching each other as my head and hands touched the floor.

I have never really been a fan of hanging upside down, so at first didn’t enjoy the sensation of blood rushing up into my head, but I could really feel my back stretching and strengthening as I tensed my torso. Trying to get out of this pose was a workout in itself; after quite a few attempts (and a lot of laughs), I was able to muster up the strength to pull myself upright and return to the “Child’s Pose” sitting in my hammock.

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After a couple more Inversions and yoga-esque poses, we moved onto abs-work (ohhh the pain!). Daniel instructed us to lay back almost parallel to the ground with our silk hammock supporting our lower backs, while we then moved our legs individually up and down. Let’s just say I now understand how Pink has such rock-hard abs after all her aerial arts feats! These exercises were both super challenging and somehow relaxing at the same time.

We finished the class with some Superman poses (just as fun as they sound!) and then returned to the Cocoon position. I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite part of any yoga class is the last five minutes where you get to have a bit of a nap… oh, sorry I meant “meditation moment”… so I was pleased to find out that AntiGravity Yoga lets you grab a few minutes of shuteye after your hard workout too!

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The class lasted for just over an hour and I can honestly say I was aching all over by the end of it. While most of the poses and stretches weren’t too strenuous at the time, I knew my body would be aching all over the next day, and my prediction proved correct! I would definitely take an AntiGravity Yoga class again as not only was it challenging, but I found the poses and exercises to be far more interesting than your average yoga class. Flying through the air in a silk hammock is way more fun that holding a Tree Pose on the boring old ground!

Sassy Tip: Make sure you wear a sleeved shirt and full or ¾ length yoga pants (we love the hut & berg environmentally sustainable range available at the Bodywize boutique), to prevent getting silk rope burns on your arms and legs!

Check out more of our aerial antics with our review of the Aerial Arts Academy here

AntiGravity Yoga classes cost $480 each with discounted long-term packages available; see the full schedule here

BodyWize Yoga  G/F, 1 Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong
2838 5686  www.bodywizeyoga.com.hk


Top photo from AntiGravity
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