Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yoga That Gives You Wings

Photo grabbed from Antiaginghacks.com

As endurance athletes, we've probably all been told or read at least once the benefits of yoga on the body. The improved flexibility and strength of balancing your own weight. The hope for injury prevention and muscle toning. But sometimes, at least for me, I'd take cardio over yoga. That is until this morning when I came across AntiGravity Yoga (thanks Google). The picture alone looks more like Cirque du Soleil (with supports) meets playtime. But if I could stretch and contort my body in those directions, maybe I'll finally feel those benefits of the discipline.

I'll admit, my lack of flexibility--plus a bad experience with a yoga instructor who made fun of running blisters on my feet--turned me off from being a yoga fan. Sorry to all the yogis, but I'm just not keen on stretching my body in ways it doesn't want to move until three steps down the road. Yet even though I struggle through more than half the moves, this class grabbed my interest.

AntiGravity Yoga takes you further into yoga poses and armed with a way to hold challenging poses longer. Crunch, one of the gyms offering the classes, describes it as a class where you learn suspension techniques to move you into inverted poses with only the help of a fabric hammock as a prop. Sounds like fun, but for me, I might be battling with letting my feet leave the ground and go into freefall. Yet the benefits it boasts--relieving compressed joints and aligning the entire body--I'll take those any day.

While I still have to check out the class for myself--definitely something I'm adding to the To Do list to prep for my race season ahead--other news outlets are toasting AntiGravity's benefits. Nike Field Reporter Ashley Johncola recently described her experience at a Crunch in New York. And MSN.com just labeled it as one of the top fitness trends of 2009. The class is offered at Crunch gyms across the country--even watch a video of the moves before checking it out for yourself. Maybe now I'll finally be able to do a headstand without flopping on my back. Posted by Kate

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