I’ve always wanted to be part of the circus. As a child, I used to practice my tight rope act on the back of the sofa, my trapeze adventures on the swing and attempted to train my cat Cindy to jump through a hula hoop.
Crunch Fitness has recognized this childlike love and has brought part of the circus to their gym. Imagine flying while completing a downward dog: your feet and hands are off of the ground and the need to balance has disappeared. Crunch Fitness’s Antigravity yoga class does just this; taking members through a series of yogic moves all while being suspended in the air.
Antigravity yoga was founded and created by Christopher Harrison: a competitive gymnast and tumbler. Harrison originally developed his anti gravity yoga program to enhance the artistic and strength development of athletes and dancers.
Harrison recognized that the individuals that he was training were not circus performers. His athletes and dancers required the benefits from this intense core workout, without the fear of falling and so he invented the antigravity hammock. This hammock looks like a simple piece of white cloth, but the material is strong enough to hold up to 2000 lbs. It is harnessed to the ceiling and the athletes use the hammock to assist them with their movements.
In 1990, Harrison developed the performance group in New York called Anti Gravity . He wanted a venue where individuals who may have ended their professional sports career could transfer their skills to entertain. Harrison was pleased to discover that not only did this workout help strengthen core muscles and build flexibility, but it helped induce a sense of a calmness among the participants. Harrison recognized that these features would be beneficial for all forms of athletes no matter their level of experience. Recently Harrison has developed the Anti Gravity Yoga Wings program for Crunch Fitness and the popularity is rapidly spreading across the country.
Anti Gravity Yoga Wings Program
Each individual in this class has a harness and the exercise class uses this unique vehicle to reap the benefits of the yoga practice. At first glance the class looks extremely intimidating, a piece of fabric is hung from the ceiling and you will rest your body on the fabric suspended in mid air. This process requires trust, a bit of guts and the ability to laugh at yourself. A typical class starts off slowly, the participant uses the hammock to assist with bends, twists and balance with their feet remain firmly grounded. As the class progresses, the participant raises their feet of the ground completing their movements while transcended in the air.
Benefits of Anti-Gravity yoga
- Builds core strength
- Fun innovative workout
- Dynamic energy
- Improves flexibility and strength
- Improves digestion
- Calms the mind
Anti gravity yoga is quickly moving to gyms across the United States. Currently Crunch studios have classes in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. For the rest of us, the trend is spreading rapidly and it won’t be too long until you are able to locate a class nearby. In the meantime, I will be reverting to my childhood roots and practice on the swings and monkey bars at my local playground.