I am not even going to attempt to waste anymore space or time apologizing for my sudden silence on this blog. So, I will say I am sorry once, know that I have been insanely busy with coming back to Los Angeles, starting a new school year, AND now teaching spin AND yoga. Ok, here it is: I am sorry, my fellow yogi’s and friends. Please forgive me and know that I will be working diligently to honor my commitment to you and this blog.
While I was in New York, I tried Antigravity Yoga at the urging of a friend. Luckily for me, the one and only Anigravity studio on all of Long Island just so happens to be Emerge Yoga and Wellness located in Bellmore–the same town in which my parent reside. During my short time in New York, I spent nearly everyday morning of my trip practicing new and exciting aspects of yoga while suspended from a hammock. Yes, a hammock or silk. Fear not friends, this hammock which is suspended from the ceiling is anchored with carabiners designed to each hold 500-1000 pounds. Initially, this type of yoga may appear intimidating to anyone–regardless of their devotion to their practice. I would describe Antigravity yoga as a mix of yoga, pilates, and Cirque Du Soleil all rolled into one. Nice!
Here’s what I learned about Antigravity Yoga and Emerge Yoga and Wellness:
- Antigravity yoga is a great equalizer–no matter shape, size, flexibility, or level: Unlike most yoga which occurs on a mat or other flat surface, Antigravity yoga consists of a meshing of various physical activities with the incorporation of a hammock. This hammock alleviates pressure on joints which is especially useful when inverting and helps elongating the body. Antigravity yoga opens doors for people like me who suffer from lower back aliments since the hammock assumes the stress that would have otherwise been placed on the joints.
- The hammock creates an almost weightless effect: Similar to the effects of weightlessness in the water while swimming, the hammock allows for a much larger physical range of people to practice, feel successful, and move into postures that in a traditional yoga setting would have been much more difficult, let alone possible. It was wonderful to see people of all sizes achieving incredible levels of flexibility. And we’re talking full lotus while hanging upside down–awesome!!
- The hammock is helpful in balancing postures: Maintaining proper form and really being able to deepen balancing poses are challenges for many practicing yoga folk. However, postures such as standing splits or crescent are much easier to move into, achieve balance, and maintain with fervor with the silk. It ever-so gently helps guide participants in finding their center and balance, while still allowing for differentiation of postures for more advanced individuals.
- It’s FUN: Plain and simple. There is giggling and an informality to this kind of yoga. People are really pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones, and silly things happen. Heck, sometimes you just feel silly. People smile, chuckle, and break from traditional yoga-face. Things simply are just more lax.
Lastly, I saved the big one for the end…
- Do not fear the hammock: One must relinquish any fears of falling or the hammock ripping from the ceiling to really practice this form of fitness safely. I say this because during the time I spent there I did observe people fall out of their silk. Often, these people were either precocious teens chatting incessantly during class–completely unaware of yoga etiquette and not paying attention, OR individuals who were terrified of falling. What I noticed is that the people who were afraid of falling radiated insecurity, then panicked as they moved deeper into postures–calling for the instructor, hence landing themselves on the floor because they were scared and over-reacted.
And here is my take: I felt badly for these people. I really did. But also, I was a bit annoyed. Though Emerge Yoga and Wellness is a new studio and finding its way in the yoga world, they do not offer more advanced classes (at least at the time I was there in late July through early August), nor do they offer a strictly novice class for those completely new to yoga. Often, I felt like I would have benefited from a more challenging class and I felt myself yearning to learn more advanced aspects of this incredible facet of yoga. I rarely broke a sweat in class and I felt I definitely could have been pushed harder. After all, what’s a yoga class if you are not working slightly outside of your comfort zone?
To parallel my recommendation for Emerge Yoga and Wellness to add more advanced classes, conversely, beginner classes or even introductory aerial arts classes would greatly benefit new, timid, or fearful individuals allowing them to ask questions and get more personalized instruction from instructors. Again, things may have changed since I was there and perhaps as the studio grows, these additions will be made. Again, my observations are just that–MY observations based on MY experiences.
More about the studio:
The owner Vanessa Cafiero is really personable and also teaches classes. She has a strong personality and is very outgoing. Now, I like those traits in people, since I myself tend to be very excited and in your face about things I am passionate about. Vanessa spoke with me about her business, gave me advice, and is extremely knowledgable. I enjoyed both her and Bec’s classes the most, as these two woman are yoga people, if you know what I mean. They radiate a love for all things zen, and it is beautiful. Though both women are very different in their teaching styles, I appreciated Vanessa’s eagerness to help participants, challenge them, and really just want to share her love of yoga. Bec is quiet in her demeanor, initially inviting (while almost a bit mysterious), wise, calm, and talented.
Emerge Yoga and Wellness is a beautiful gem–a much-needed dose of mellowing for Long Islanders, that’s for sure. Since I have been back in Los Angeles, my sister purchased more classes and attends as often as possible, while giving the gift of yoga to others by bringing her friends. What more can I hope for? Someone passed the love onto me, I in turn shared that love with my sister, and now she is continuing to spread light by exposing others to this unique and innovative practice.
I am looking forward to stopping into Emerge Yoga and Wellness when I am back in town. In the meantime, I remain hopeful Los Angeles will hop on this bandwagon so I don’t have to only practice in New York!
Lessons to be learned from this post:
- Unleash your inner strength–surrender your fears, do not be afraid
- Try something new
- Share something you love with others