What is AntiGravity® Fitness?

AntiGravity® Fitness is a unique fusion technique utilizing the Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock to allow one to play with the forces of gravity. Created by Christopher Harrison over the course of 8 years to increase one's overall health, open up the body and mind, make lives happier, and physical agility while having fun and creating beauty.

The technique was originally created for athletes and gymnasts and has since been modified and perfected for the everyday athlete. Incorporating components from yoga, gymnastics, dance, Pilates and calisthenics, AntiGravity® Fitness offers a complete workout that is certain to get you in shape while helping to realign your spine. 

Origin

Christopher HarrisonChristopher was initially drawn to yoga in the early 1990s while traveling in India. As world-class competitive gymnast, then later as a professional dancer, his body had experienced its share of abuse and was ready for healing. In his quest he discovered just how much of that healing was connected to his state of mind and positive attitude. Yoga revealed itself as the portal for that growth. 

It is now years later and he is indisputably considered the quintessential authority in aerial yoga. The AntiGravity® Fitness technique originally emerged from his experiences in the physical world—his yoga practice combined with the artistry he created as a choreographer for his aerial performance team, AntiGravity® whose daily workout utilizes the Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock.  AntiGravity® Fitness was born as a fusion technique. It became the necessary tool for Mr. Harrison to continue healing his body in order to continue to create his art. 

The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock

The AntiGravity® Hammock acts as a soft trapeze and as a support while you master simple inversions and finally progress to more advanced poses and sequences. Connected from two overhead points, it acts like a swing or soft trapeze. Utilized to change one's dynamic relationship to the ground, it allows the participant to better understand their body and its relationship to physics, and is revolutionary in relieving compressed joints and aligning the body from head to toe.

Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock
The technique of working on fabric as a performance apparatus is fairly new in the aerial arts, emerging in the mid-1990's. As far as we know, AntiGravity® was the first company to use the apparatus looped as a hammock or swing rather than like a rope. This was actually because the original AntiGravity® company members were not circus performers, but athletes and dancers. It was much safer to have a seat at the bottom of the hanging fabric. The performers found that working this apparatus gave them a great core and upper-body workout—it shredded their abs. They also found that there were other hidden benefits from hanging upside down. They would relax in inversions only to discover it would revitalize the entire body. Aerialists who work on this apparatus tend to be a very positive and upbeat group, and many they have performance careers that continue well into their forties. In essence, AntiGravity® Fitness is a technique that developed organically and naturally as a logical result of their work. 

Programs

AntiGravity® Fitness has several programs such as AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga, Suspension Fitness, AIRbarre, Restorative Yoga, Fundamentals and Kids. All programs utilize the Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock, and the technique is approved by Yoga Alliance, ACE (American Council on Exercise), AFFA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), and CYQ (Central YMCA Qualifications).

AntiGravity® Fitness is now available in over 60 countries with more than 3,000 instructors all over the world.

What are the benefits of AntiGravity® Fitness?

  • Decompress tight joints
  • Strengthen your core and increase flexibility
  • Relieve pressure while aligning the vertebrae
  • Increase kinesthetic awareness & agility
  • Fine-tuning balance & increased proprioception
  • Low impact cardio-vascular conditioning
  • Perform advanced yoga & postural inversions without neck or back compression
  • Hold challenging yoga postures longer and in correct alignment
  • Stretch further with less strain
  • Muscular tension release through self-massage techniques
  • Self-esteem enhancement through conquering fears
  • Refresh the lymphatic, digestive and circulatory systems
  • Release “happy hormones” i.e. serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine
  • Increase the neuro-plasticity of the brain (one’s ability to learn)

 

Questions & Answers

Q: Can anyone do AntiGravity® Fitness (AG® Fitness)? 
A: Generally, yes! Except for the contraindications listed below and barring any physical abnormalities, anyone who can do at least 3 consecutive sit-ups can do AG® Fitness. AntiGravity® Restorative Yoga is the most accessible and therapeutic technique we offer. To do all of the exercises in AntiGravity® Fitness, it is easiest for someone who maintains a consistent fitness regime and has a strong core. 

Q: How challenging is it? 
A: First of all it depends on which AG®Fitness class you take and which instructor you have. No matter what, YOU monitor your own resistance so each class is as hard as or as easy as you choose to work. AG® Restorative Yoga is easier to execute than AG® Fitness. If you can do 3 consecutive sit ups, you can do AG® Fitness. 

Q: What are the contraindications (aka precautions) for AG®Fitness?
A: Pregnancy, glaucoma, recent surgery (esp. shoulder, eyes, back, hips, hands or wrist), heart disease, very high or low blood pressure, easy onset vertigo, osteoporosis / bone weakness, recent head injury, cerebral sclerosis, propensity for fainting, carpal tunnel syndrome, severe arthritis, sinusitis or head cold, hiatal hernia, disc herniation or acute
discogenic disease, recent stroke, artificial hips, radiculitis (inflammation of nerve root in spine), severe muscle spasms, botox injections (within 6 hours).

Q: Will I be successful in my first class?
A: Yes! Everyone leaves the class a success! Since this is a suspension YOGA class there is no competition nor ego encouraged. Everyone works at their own pace.

Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear workout wear that covers armpits (sleeve) and legs. Cotton or cotton blend fabric is best (non-slippery). Tops: sports bra for females. Not too loose for guys. Remember, you will be upside down.
Bottoms: If wearing tights make certain they are opaqe (non-see through). If wearing sweats, tight around cuff of legs is best. No socks (unless they are sticky). You may need sticky gloves if you have weak grip. Note: You will be asked to remove any jewelry at the beginning of the class.

Q: What should I bring?
A: Water, a sweat towel, an open mind, and NO JEWELRY!

Q: Do I need to be a yoga practitioner? 
A: No. But you will need an open mind. 

Q: Do I need to be physically fit?
A: Not necessarily. AG®Fitness is easier than regular yoga because the AG®Fitness Hammock supports you in your poses. However, AG®Fitness is easiest for someone who maintains a consistent fitness regime and has a strong core.

Q: Which AG®Fitness class is best for me?
A: This depends on your fitness level. We recommend that everyone start with a Beginners level group class, Immersion Workshop or Beginners course. AG®Restorative Yoga is less challenging than AG®Fitness.

Q: How do I find an AG®Fitness class in my area?
A: We will post all AG®Fitness licensees on our contact us page. Their links will be our website. Class schedules should be available via their link.

Q: Should I come on an empty stomach?
A: We recommend having something in the stomach to stave off dizziness, however, we do not recommend a big meal.

Q: Will I get dizzy?
A: If one has a strong propensity for dizziness or a “hips over head” spatial awareness style dyslexia this is not the technique for them.

Q: How will I feel after? 
A: You will feel taller and lighter. Your muscles will have a pump and you will be refreshed!

Q: Are all aerial yoga classes alike? 
A: AG®Fitness is the original aerial yoga technique. Over 7 years went into the development of the technique after Mr. Harrison created the apparatus. He created a very specific nomenclature and sequencing that can be done safely. AG®Fitness is the only aerial yoga technique certified by the AFAA. Any other aerial yoga technique is a knock-off from the original and should be considered risky.

Q: Are you sure the Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock will hold me? 
A: Every portion of the AG®Fitness is rated for over 2000 pounds (22kns). The points in the ceiling in an AG®Fitness studio have been placed by a professional contractor and certified by an engineer.

Q: How similar is yoga to AntiGravity® Fitness?
A: This depends on your instructor. Although it is a hybrid technique, the class is a perfect formula for a body/mind/spirit class that brings about awareness. AG®Fitness classes in fitness gyms do not tend to be as spirit based as they are in yoga studios.

Q: What if I am afraid?
A: The difference between fear and excitement in the body is relaxation. In AG®Fitness we bring ourselves to presence before we begin class. During an inversion you are only 3 inches off the ground. Remember, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” —FDR.

Q: What if I am afraid of heights?
A: During an inversion you are only 3 inches off the ground.

Q: Can AntiGravity® Fitness make me taller?
A: Yes! Our promise to you is that by the time you finish class you will be stretched to your maximum height, varying between ¼" to 1 ½" taller, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your perspective!), the effects are not cumulative.

Q: Can AntiGravity® Fitness heal my back pain?
A: Our licensees, instructors and practitioners around the globe all have amazing testimonials of healing through zero-compression inversions. We are currently having studies commissioned in order to gather concrete evidence, until then you will only know by coming to class.