On a recent Friday afternoon, members gathered at a Midtown gym in Manhattan—not to get in a calorie-torching lunch-hour sweat session, but to lay down in hammocks and wind down (and maybe fall asleep).
The class was AntiGravity Cocooning, introduced this season by the team behind AntiGravity Fitness in collaboration with Crunch Gym, which is known for its ever-changing roster of out-of-the-box workout classes.
At a time when meditation is growing more popular and an emphasis on recovery as an important aspect of wellness is building, the class—offered at select locations in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—taps into the zeitgeist by bringing your heart rate down instead of up.
“The main benefit is that mind-body connection, and actually tuning in to what your body is craving,” said instructor Joyce Wong. “A lot of us, especially in New York, we don’t realize how much rest our body is actually craving until you stop and actually do it, and then it feels amazing.”
AntiGravity Cocooning is 45 minutes long and starts with a slow flow version of AntiGravity Yoga, where you move gently through poses like cat, cow, and chair using the hammock, stretching multiple muscle groups and opening up the chest. Then, you hang upside down for an inversion, which the AntiGravity team says is beneficial because of the lack of compression while lengthening the spine.
Hanging in space supported by the cocoon of fabric (Crunch calls it “levitating meditation”) adds to the feeling of letting go.
Finally, nap time. The last 15 minutes of class is an extra-relaxed version of savasana, where you lay on your back in the hammock, spreading your body out in a long, straight line. The sense of hanging in space supported by the cocoon of fabric (they call it “levitating meditation”) does add to the feeling of letting go, and after a little bit of guided meditation, the instructor lets soft music take over.
When I went, I had been through a tough workout week and was feeling sore and wiped out. After class, my back and chest felt super open, a lot of my muscle tightness was gone, and I definitely felt calm and refreshed.
Before Wong sent us back out into the world, she said it was time for “10 loud claps” to wake up. Believe me, we needed it.
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