Instagram is a dangerous thing. If your feed is anything like mine you scroll down daily and see fitness aficionados engaging in every activity imaginable. Anti Gravity Yoga is one of these activities that became tempting to try thanks to social media. Beautiful images of strong and toned bodies hanging from crisp and colorful hammocks, swinging gracefully through the air had been flooding my vision. It seemed like an exclusive activity, reserved for celebrities and the fitness elite.
Although I was curious, I was not convinced that I would ever really give it a shot. I enjoy Vinyasa yoga but most other ventures into yoga have been as pleasant (Bikram, I’m looking at you). I was happy when friend asked me to join her for a class at Anya Studio (24th and 6th in Chelsea) this week. I certainly wasn’t willing to delve into this on my own but with a friend? Why not? How bad could it be?
A few hours leading up to the class I experienced something that I have never experienced prior to a fitness class; anxiety. Usually I look forward to my class after work as a form of stress relief. Instead, this one was the stressor. It was so far out of my comfort zone and a stray from my usual routine of boxing, spinning and barre. But you know what they say right? “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It’s great for your body to mix it up in order to avoid a plateau. Classpass has so many options that it would be cheating myself to only go to a few studios. So off to aerial yoga I went!
The studio was nice and welcoming and so were the staff. Many of the people in the class were also first timers which made me feel better immediately. The instructor Laura was incredibly nice and attentive to insure that we were all performing the exercises safely and correctly. She demonstrated everything before giving us a chance to try it ourselves and provided a spot for us if necessary. The class involved multiple inversions (upside down) and more traditional vinyasa sequences involving the use of the hammock.
While it was intimidating, I was actually surprised at how simple it was to get my body into the correct upside down formations. My body was definitely capable of more than I gave it credit for. The class involved some forwards and backwards flips which were challenging at first but were easier once you got the hang of it. I was able to complete most of the positions although I did need help with a few. It left me feeling pretty accomplished. I had conquered my fear successfully.
I will say that this workout was not all roses and butterflies for me. Besides it being physically challenging to hold your body upside down for long periods of time, it also was uncomfortable. I did not love the feeling of having the blood rush to my head for an extended time. I consistently felt nauseous and dizzy throughout the class. Although the instructor assured us that this is normal, it is never fun to feel that way. Towards the end of the class I was antsy to get out of the hammock. I was left feeling dizzy for about 45 minutes after the class ended.
Overall, I was pleased with the instruction at the studio as well as my body’s ability to keep up with the class. Still, I am not sure I would explore another class due to the physical toll that the inversions took on my body.