There’s something about going upside down that changes your perspective of things. Suddenly the whole world looks different from down there. Things that were unnoticeable as they were close to the ground now take on new meaning. However, more than just seeing the world with different eyes, inversions are actually good for the body.
The other night, I was introduced to a whole new way of doing yoga poses – in the air. AntiGravity Yoga, designed by Broadway aerial choreographer and former world-class gymnastics specialist Christopher Harrison, will soon be offered in the Philippines. His company has done 3 Olympic opening numbers, has performed at the inauguration of US Pres. Barack Obama, and worked with Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and other celebrities in creating their gymnastics-dance numbers. Christopher’s visit is timed with training some yoga teachers from I Go Beyond Yoga where AntiGravity Yoga will be offered beginning 2012.
When we entered the room, I saw this silk cloth suspended from the ceiling like a hammock when it’s opened.
Ria and I gave it a try. To be honest, while I used to love swinging on swings before, this one felt more scary. Swings have thick interlocking chains and a wooden or metal seat. Solid! This one? It looked just like a wide piece of silk cloth held up by only 2-4 hooks. Would this hold me if I swung upside down from it? Could it carry someone a lot heavier than me?
Apparently, it can. The cloth we were trying out was rated for 3,400 pounds! Whoa!
Christopher, throughout his talk, kept emphasizing how important safety was in all his performances. The silk cloth is specifically made for his company and no other. He says, if you find other people using what looks like silk hammocks in their shows, those cloth are not certified for the kind of safety and weight that is required by Christopher in his own performances.
When his team of performers would get kinks in their bodies, he would let them hang upside down and the inversions always worked. This discovery has made him realize that there are a lot of benefits to AntiGravity Yoga. Even in the first class, a student can already expect to do at least one inverted pose.
Just imagine, every day, your body is weighed down by gravity. Your whole being is constantly being pulled towards the center of the earth, even when you’re sleeping. That takes a toll on your whole body including your organs. But when you are inverted, suddenly the weight is taken off your organs. The heart is given relief from that constant pulling. So are other organs. Your body pumps fresh blood into the heart and lymphatic systems. It is also great for decompressing your spine. Every day, gravity pushes down on the discs of the spine. The discs are like sponges that dry up over time and shrink us. But when we go upside down, the discs are filled with spinal fluid keeping it spongy for years to come. In fact by decompressing the spine and freeing up the spinal discs, Christopher claims that people have come out of AntiGravity Yoga….TALLER!!!
For me though, it is the thought of being able to “fly” that fascinates me most about AntiGravity Yoga. Being able to invert without having to have fairly strong arms to support you is a liberating idea. It’s like a giant holding you up in the air and suspending you with very little, almost no effort at all. AntiGravity Yoga is able to bring poses to beginners which, if done on the ground, would require more advanced yoga foundation.
Check out some of the poses that Christopher showed us.
To demonstrate how easy it is to do inversions, Christopher got someone from the audience who was in gym wear, did a short demonstration of the pose, then guided her into doing the pose herself. And this is how the pose turned out.
AntiGravity Yoga will be offered starting 2012 at the I Go Beyond Yoga studio in Quezon City.
I Go Beyond Yoga
3/F Il Terrazzo
Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Sct. Madrinian St.
Tel. (02) 921-6070
Mobile (0917) 5-BEYOND (or 0917-5239663)