Whoever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” was wrong. I, (a baby boomer so how young could I be?) for the first time in my life, took an anti-gravity yoga class. The young instructor, Eve, told us – by way of hoping to make this alien experience less so – that this class combines yoga, Pilates and a host of other techniques with the use of a large piece of material hanging from the ceiling in the shape of a U, attached by bolts and chains. Just the idea of this class was daunting.
I was apprehensive and curious. I purchased the opportunity to attend these 5 classes as a Living Social deal, so I wasn’t too concerned. If I hated it I reasoned, I’d take the monetary loss and move on. I was (happily) not the oldest person there nor was I the only first timer.
The young instructor was impressively competent. She was careful to explain and demonstrate every move in advance. She was able to see and monitor our very full class in the mirror, which was the entire front wall of the room. I was surprised at what I was able (and willing) to do, my lack of paralyzing fear about hanging upside down with only my legs around the silks to hold me, and my flexibility and strength. Challenging ourselves is usually, if not always successful, an interesting learning and self awareness exercise. The class participants, who ranged in age from late teens to late 60’s, were adventurous. Nobody followed every move of the instructor, this group respected their bodies and their capabilities, but we did push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. I took the groans, yelps and whoops I heard as clear evidence of this fact.
I’ve read articles stating that hanging upside down is good for us, and I did enjoy the freedom this position bestowed. When enough blood rushed to my brain, I simply sat up. This is one of the aspects of yoga I love, the concept of honoring yourself and your body. You work toward a pose with the understanding that each class, and each day, is different.
The last 10 minutes of class was sublime. We lay flat, held horizontally in place by strong fabric, mid-air. If I had ever experienced being cocooned, this is how I would imagine it feeling. The material surrounded me tightly, supporting my entire body from head to toe. I felt safe and peaceful as we began the meditative part of class, which would correspond to resting on one’s mat in mountain pose in a more traditional setting.
Eve walked around the room, massaging the temples and forehead of every horizontally resting, closed eyed, student with a lemon scented essential oil. Anti-gravity yoga, (should it interest you) is worth incorporating in your workout routine because it calls upon not only the strength of your body, but a mental/emotional capacity to conquer fears as well.