IMAGE courtesy of Solar Entertainment and 2nd Avenue
Not all moms like to sweat it out. And sometimes, they simply don't have the time and energy for it. But what if there is an exercise that not only promises to take care of your mind and body, but also gives you the beauty benefits of botox?
Anti-gravity (or aerial) yoga lets you execute various yoga poses while suspended in mid-air through a special hammock. Men, women, and even kids can practice it. Don’t worry. You're not going to be suspended high up in the air -- it's just a few inches off the ground. Plus, you don’t need any previous yoga experience.
"This exercise helps in many different ways, regardless of a person's size, height, or age. It is for weight loss, recovery from surgery, or even just for a boost of confidence," says Michelle Lana Brown-Araneta, who teaches anti-gravity yoga at her yoga studio, I Go Beyond Yoga Alabang.
Except for pregnant women, people who have heart disease, very high or low blood pressure, easy onset vertigo, osteoporosis or bone weakness and other serious medical conditions, anyone can do aerial yoga. It's a good exercise routine for those who are not too flexible because the hammock will help support your poses. If you're worried about falling, the special hammock is certified to hold over 2,000 pounds -- that's roughly the size of a baby elephant.
One class lasts for about an hour and a half and will help you burn 600 calories. It's the only yoga practice that lets you do a headstand without putting pressure on your head, neck or your back because you are suspended in air. These inversions are the reason why some women say anti-gravity yoga will leave you with a natural glow, similar to the effects of Botox.
Anti-gravity yoga is perfect for moms who are working towards reclaiming their pre-pregnancy body because it strengthens the core muscles. You work at your pace, and teachers can help modify poses to work within your body’s limits. It also helps in decompressing tight joints, relieving pressure while aligning the vertebrae, and lets you be more aware of your body while increasing overall agility -- just what you need for running around with kids and playing rough with them.
If you're a mom who has given birth via C-section, you can still do aerial yoga as long as you get clearance from your doctor. You may have to wait longer to start, and there may be certain poses you won't be able to do right away. However, Brown-Araneta stresses that regaining your fitness after childbirth is a journey. "You just have to be patient with yourself. A lot of people want to get the benefits immediately, but it's a journey with yourself and about rediscovering what your body can do," she says.
Apart from its physical benefits, there's another plus factor to doing anti-gravity yoga: "It involves trust, in a sense [that you are] able to trust yourself at all times while you're in the hammock. It helps you trust yourself and your decisions," explains Brown-Araneta, who is also a mom to two girls. And that kind of confidence can help you a great deal in parenting.
"Aerial yoga combines everything in one. You want to be able to work towards your health and fitness, and at the same time, you feel graceful, feel beautiful, feel sexy, and build confidence," Brown-Araneta swears. It's like ticking off your me-time checklist in one go. It's just what you need, especially if you're a mom who has been running around with the kids the whole day.
If you're not too keen on being away from your children (but we urge you to carve out time for me-time), there are also classes for both parents and kids. As long as your little one already knows how to follow instructions carefully, aerial yoga can be another great bonding activity for you and your child.
I Go Beyond Yoga has branches in Alabang, Quezon City, Makati, San Juan, Taguig, and Pasay Cities. For more information about AntiGravity classes and rates, visit its igobeyondyoga.com or on Facebook and Twiter.
Special thanks to Solar Entertainment and 2nd Avenue. Catch their new fitness reality show Work Out New York, on Mondays, 9.p.m.