Hammocks are not what you would ordinarily expect in a yoga studio, but this is in fact what you would encounter if you went to meet Illaria Cutolo, coordinator for Crunch, the national chain of fitness centers, where the concept of anti gravity yoga is being developed.
Apart from yoga, it is a unique amalgam of calisthenics, Pilates, dance and the aerial arts that comes together in the form of anti gravity yoga, where people hang suspended from a hammock, with their heads hanging down and flipping through the air.
This is a ‘fun’ way to do yoga, claim the creators of this concept.
The accent is on the moves of yoga such as the asanas and the sun salutations, as well as the mindfulness of one’s body and breathing and the mind, which are characteristic of yoga, but there is a whole lot besides and it is the weightlessness that adds a unique element to the yoga practice.
There is also a therapeutic angle to this practice of yoga since there is no cervical spinal compression here.
It is a unique blend of acrobatics and yoga and pilates poses and other exercises, which may be tempt even those who are hesitant or fearful about starting out on yoga, since the presence of the hammock acts like a safety net.
Also when one is suspended a few feet above the ground and swinging about, this has to be a lot of fun as well. What better than a bit of fun, a bit of acrobatics and something new and challenging to spice up a usual workout routine?
Instructor Cutolo, who is herself a dedicated yoga practitioner, clarifies however that the yoga that she performs is very much a discipline, whereas the anti gravity yoga class is a bit of ‘playtime’.