The Two Review: ‘Melbourne from A to B’ – Anti-Gravity Yoga
Experiencing Vibes AntiGravity Yoga in Fitzroy was an interesting start to The Two’s Wednesday morning this week. After all, how often do you get a chance to defy the laws of physics before lunchtime? Situated in a loft-style building behind Brunswick Street, we weren’t surprised to smell incense, spot a few wandering cats and hear a trickling water feature as we walked into studio class.
Aerial Yoga is a combination of yoga, pilates, suspension training, calisthenics, gymnastics and stretching and lengthening of the spine. It was created by American choreographer and broadway dancer Christopher Harrison. It has been found to decompress tight joints and alleviate possible pressure in the vertebrae. The majority of the class revolves around a suspended silk hammock, which is used to support and hold the body in various positions. A strong level of trust in yourself and your abilities is essential given most of the class takes place above the ground.
Our instructor Margie greeted us warmly upon arrival where we had to fill out some forms and remove any make up or jewelry. Then we learned the basics.
A: As a regular yoga partaker, I was excited to approach the exercise in a different manner. There was something quite exciting about the feeling of levitating above the ground, which was experienced as we cocooned ourselves in our hammock at the end of the hour class for relaxation. We were all brave enough to try a pose that flipped us upside down called ‘The Vampire', which was very exhilarating once completed.
Margie was very helpful with explaining the movements although the class moved reasonably quickly. One of my only criticisms would be that we didn't hold some positions long enough. This could be due to my inability to balance in a hanging position for very long, though! Don’t forget to indulge in some sweet treats and water provided during the break in the class. Your body will need some sugar after being suspended upside down and flipped around.
B: As someone whose gymnastics career ended anti-climatically at the age of seven (I just wasn't very good) and has never done yoga, to say I was a little bit nervous for anti gravity yoga would be a massive understatement. An hour of attempting to contort my body into positions it physically repelled against? Not quite my thing. So it was rather reassuring when walking into the studio; we
were immediately met with the smell of calming incense and music. The studio inside was light, bright and colourful and my nerves settled down a bit. Then I saw the instruments of torture themselves: the hammocks. Our routines would rely on these for support and were ultimately the only things preventing us from breaking our neck falling to the floor. Lovely.
Our instructor was great. Sensing our nerves, she reassured us that we weren't to do anything we weren't comfortable with. She moved quickly through the moves, urging us to keep up for our own safety. If we missed a cue, we were told to stop, wait and she would help us. Although it took me a while to get started (it’s important that the hammock is on your pelvic bone NOT your hips), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself and that it wasn’t totally impossible. It was certainly challenging but the structure of the class meant that we built up to each move, increasing the difficulty step by step. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and confidence. I’m even thinking about taking another class. And this is coming from someone whose main idea of exercise is running for public transport as a cause of poor time management!
As well as being challenging, due to the novelty nature of the class – so unlike anything either of us had done before – it was also extremely enjoyable. Everyone in the class was very supportive of each other, and plenty of time was spent laughing at how ridiculous we all looked. Hint – it’s very hard to look attractive when all the blood is rushing to your head as you hang upside down.
The only downside to the class (and probably due to my lack of regular exercise) was that for the next few days my body was very, very sore. Anti-gravity yoga is designed to give you a deep tissue massage which can leave bruises until after a few classes when your body is more accustomed to it. I bruise very easily (poke me and I’ll have a bruise a few minutes later!) so I still have a number of bruises on my legs and hips. It was totally worth it.
The verdict: 4 Namestaes
Anti-gravity yoga is quickly becoming more popular in Australia. Prices for classes vary from $15-25 depending on the time and size of the class, but cheaper bundles are available for booking classes in bulk. If you're a beginner wanting to give it a try, we highly recommend Vibes Anti-Gravity Yoga in Fitzroy (www.vibesyogamelbourne.com.au)