| Aimee Phillips

Aerial Yoga: The New Fitness Craze Shaking Up Holiday Wellness?

Aerial yoga, or Antigravity yoga, hit the UK just a few years ago, taking budding yogis on a fun new journey of practice. Beyond city studios, the innovative new fitness yoga is taking off further afield and in balmy new locations, offering a fun and challenging new dimension to your holiday wellness.

The chic Canary Island retreat of The Ritz-Carlton, Abama has introduced ‘Fly Yoga’ to the glamorous Tenerife beach-hideaway. Calling beginners and advanced yogis, its new classes provide an open-air experience overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and with awe-inspiring views capturing the volcanic island of La Gomera.

Antigravity yoga was created in the US in the late nineties by athlete and former Broadway dancer and choreographer, Christopher Harrison. A Broadway star and regular face on our screens, notably cult 80’s dance movie Flashdance, Harrison was an advocate for experimentation, committed to seeking out innovative new methods to both train and alleviate the stresses and strains suffered by professional athletes and dancers.  

Through his own experimentation, Harrison discovered that by suspending his body from silks and manipulating his frame through choreographed positions, working against gravity, he could help to improve his posture easing aches, pains and stiffness in his lumbar, spine and joints. By incorporating this method with yoga, Harrison introduced a revolutionary method now seen practised across the globe.

The dynamic class consists of a series of ‘asanas’ or yoga postures, practised one metre from the ground using fabric hammocks. The slings, made of a technical cloth and suspended from the ceiling, provide support to the body, acting as a swing or trapezoid, which allows movements to be safe and healthy. Handles or stirrups can be added at different heights to increase the challenge.

Image result for aerial yoga

The impressive health benefits of aerial yoga start with improved joint health, alignment of the vertebrae, from the spine to the head, and at an emotional level inducing deep relaxation, elimination of stress and mood enhancement. The long list of benefits not to be dismissed include:

  • Ictus prevention
  • Improvement of the circulation (preventing the appearance of varicose veins)
  • Improvement of vestibular apparatus (related to balance, blood pressure, dizziness)
    Development of flexibility and increased muscle tone
    Revitalising the spine and relief from lower back pain, sciatica and lordosis

Brand new to The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, resident aerial yoga instructor Yana Cohen teaches ‘Fly Yoga’ from the serene Persian Garden, tucked away on the 6th floor of the resort’s Moorish-designed Citadel building. Colourful hammocks hang from the garden’s reinforced Zen pagodas, offering students breath-taking ocean vistas and a liberating sensation of flying under sun-drenched skies.

Jana, a professional Russian acrobat and gymnast, brings an inspired approach to her practice.

Adding to the resort’s exceptional wellness facilities, ‘Fly Yoga’ is set to offer expert coaching, exploring, refining and advancing the traditional asanas, working against gravity to relax and realign the body, centre the mind and uplift the spirit.

Stimulating a ‘yoga high’, encouraging physical release, refined strength, energetic flow, and heightened awareness of breath, body and bandhas all under the African sun – what more could we ask for?

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