'AntiGravity Yoga' low-impact workout

LOS ANGELES While it sounds like nap time at the gym, it's actually the cool-down portion of a new workout called AntiGravity Yoga.

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Flying, jumping, hanging upside down. And believe it or not ... "It's very relaxing."

Saharah Ali has been teaching yoga at Crunch for 15 years. She says it's a blend of many forms of exercise all wrapped up into an antigravity hammock. Which, by the way, can hold 2,000 pounds.

"We work the core, we do arm work, we work leg strength, we do a Pilates movement, we do traditional yoga moves, we do gymnastic movement, we do aerial movements," said Ali.

Designed by a company that performs 30 feet in the air, this modified workout for Crunch is for those who need to feel more grounded.

"As an adult, it's like, 'I don't know about swinging,'" said Ali.

Yet Ali says it's the swinging and hanging upside down that helps keep our senses sharp as we age.

"It's all about building the senses in the body -- the proprioceptors, which kind of go a little haywire the older you get," said Ali.

The proprioceptors help us to balance, have hand-eye coordination, and assist in stimulating the spine to elongate it.

Inverting your body 180 degrees has lots of benefits. Not only does it increase blood flow, but it increases upper body strength as well.

"The whole mechanics of your arm, your biceps, your triceps. Everything is included in a handstand," said Ali.

Handstands, and a move called "the monkey," provide less pressure on arms and shoulders due to the support of the hammock. Yet it's challenging to the core.

Handstands are especially beneficial for those with weak wrists and shoulders, says Ali, but those with glaucoma, diabetes, high-blood pressure, women who are pregnant, should not take a swing at it.

It may seem like it takes a lot of coordination, but it doesn't. Even novices feel grounded and all that blood flow makes it easier to stretch.

"It was much easier on my joints than regular yoga," said one client.

Crunch allows SoCal residents to try a workout once for free. After that it's a $25 guest fee if they don't wish to join the gym.

Here is some information about an upcoming event at Crunch, open to the public to try AntiGravity Yoga for free:

AntiGravity Yoga: Wings Workshop at Crunch

Stretch further and hold challenging postures longer using a flowing fabric hammock as your only prop. This class was created in conjunction with the aerial performance company, AntiGravity, which headlines aerial shows around the world. You work with a fabric hammock hung from the ceiling to get yourself into positions like hanging upside-down and headstands that you couldn't do on your own. Flexibility, strength and agility are the goals of the workout.

The workout is free and open to the public, to Crunch members, friends, and anyone looking for a good workout.

Crunch - Sunset
8000 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Saturday, July 12, 2008
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
45-minute sessions are at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.

For further information on the free day of classes, click here to visit Crunch


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