Yoga Chronicles: AntiGravity Yoga

28 December 2013

A few months ago, I was sent a press gift that contains two day passes to Beyond Yoga. I gave one to my officemate/ friend Rica, and we were finally able to use them earlier today. We went to their Bonifacio High Street branch and attended the 9:30 AM Vinyasa 1 and 11 AM AntiGravity® Yoga FUNdamentals classes.

First up: Vinyasa. Vinyasa yoga "incorporates basic poses with detailed alignment cues and instructions that give us a foundation towards taking our asana practice further, as well as restorative poses to calm the mind and body." Today's class focused on arm strength. I was so glad to be back on the mat after more than a month, and I felt so accomplished because even though I wasn't able to practice for quite a while, I found my stride quickly enough and was even able to push myself to do more complicated poses that I hadn't been able to do before! Yay, me!

It's a completely different story for me and AntiGravity®, though.

Before I left the house this morning, I even checked Youtube for AntiGravity® poses as a brief backgrounder. I remember thinking, "Oh, this looks easy, I'm sure I can do it." One of the BIGGEST misconceptions of my life, ladies and gentlemen.

AntiGravity® Yoga is done off the ground, using a silk hammock as a soft trapeze to support you as you perform yoga poses while suspended. Some of the benefits of AntiGravity® Yoga include decompressing of tight joints, relieving pressure while aligning the vertebrae, performing advanced yoga inversions without neck or back compression, and creating better body awareness while increasing overall agility.

I was able to do the basic aerial poses without any hitch; I was even able to do the Happy Baby pose. My problems started when we started with the inversions...

This is Rica doing the Hanging Bound Angle Pose flawlessly:

And - please understand how embarrassed I am about this, but I know I need to post it here so you can visualize how difficult it was for me - here is a photo of me attempting to do it again for the sake of a photo op:

Mind you, I was able to do it okay on my first attempt through the guidance and encouraging words of our trainors Mark and Aldrick. I was even able to last for more than ten breaths! The problem is, we were facing the mirror while hanging upside down and there I was trying to listen to Aldrick enumerate the benefits of that pose, when suddenly I lost my concentration and ALL thoughts ceased to exist. Instead it was replaced by a panicky voice saying, "I AM SUSPENDED MID-AIR! UPSIDE DOWN! I WILL MESS UP AND FALL DOWN AND MY HEAD WILL HIT THE FLOOR AND MY SKULL WILL CRACK OPEN AND I WILL DIE WITHOUT HAVING BEEN ABLE TO WATCH THE MOCKINGJAY MOVIES!" Priorities, right? All hope was lost and there was nothing else for me to do except to whimper that I couldn't focus and I NEED to get in an upright position stat. How ironic that I was wearing my Batman shirt, of all shirts. Tsss.

I tried to do the Shoulder Stand but panic and paranoia crept in again before I got to ten breaths. I didn't even attempt to do the Mosquito and Vampire poses anymore although they looked really cool.

I've talked myself into doing a number of brave things in my life: I have rappelled a steep cliff twice, had two impacted wisdom teeth extracted and undergone one minor surgery, had braces for four years, moved out of my parents' house, had a pixie cut for the first time, ran a 5K marathon, let go of a high-paying job to pursue something more suited for me, survived a couple of heartbreaks, had a Brazilian wax, and stood up for things I believe in even while losing friends in the process - but nothing prepared me for AntiGravity®. Can you imagine just how frustrating that was for me, considering I have been so excited to try it for so long?

In yoga, you constantly communicate with your body and acknowledge when you cannot sustain a pose any longer. You have to know your limits and be humble enough to not force yourself when you can't do it yet. Today, fear took over as I realized I am terribly scared of being inverted mid-air. Nevertheless, I am still glad I was able to hold it for quite a while before I needed to give up. Mark and Aldrick were very suppotive and even talked to me after class to say that it's normal and I will get through it after a few classes. I think so, too. And yes, maybe I can get the courage to try it again, but for now I guess I will stick to yoga classes where at least two of my limbs can stay put on the floor permanently.

I'm happier when I'm not hanging upside down, thankyouverymuch.
I hope I did not scare you out of trying it, though! Rica and our other classmates were able to do the more challenging poses, and I highly encourage you to try it, too. Visit Beyond Yoga's website to check their schedule of classes and rates.

Experiences are best when shared, especially with someone who won't laugh at your inability to hold an inverted aerial yoga pose, instead encourage you and take your photo as per your request LOL.

Thanks for coming with me today, Rica!
Aside from the AntiGravity® incident, I can honestly say I have considerably improved my asanas. No handstands or headstands yet in today's Vinyasa, although it's my personal goal to be able to do those by next year. Little by little, I will get there!


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