Imagine yourself for a moment hanging upside down from a silk fabric suspended from high ceilings. You could be in either one of two places: on stage performing in a Cirque du Soleil show on the Las Vegas Strip, or in Rebecca Perrick’s Anti-Gravity Yoga class.
At Shine Alternative Fitness, the path to wellness, healing and strength means more than the traditional treadmill and elliptical.
If, like me, you have been practicing yoga for some time, Perrick is unlike any other yoga instructor you may have come across. As a board certified occupational therapist, Perrick translates her in-depth understanding of the body, body mechanics, and sensation into her yoga practice. “Therapist turned Yogi” is how Perrick describes herself.
Knowing very little about me before our class, including the fact that I have a few years of yoga and Pilates experience under my belt, Perrick treated me as a beginner.
When Perrick and I entered the studio, I found myself questioning whether or not this thin, silk hammock-like contraption could support my full body weight during inversions. Perrick recognized my initial uncertainty when we got into our first “zero gravity” pose, but with her ability to analyze body movements, I was flying with confidence by the second exercise.
“I think beginners tend to feel safe in my class because of the way I can break down information,” Perrick later explained after class.
The neon green silk hammocks hang a few feet above the ground, customized for each student’s height. The silk contraption truly moves with your body whether you are in an inversion or utilizing the silk to deepen a stretch.
By eliminating outside factors, including the floor, Anti-Gravity Yoga lets your body move in a manner that is difficult to achieve while on a yoga mat. The “zero gravity” element of Perrick’s class allows for full decompression of the spine and limbs—a feature, I realized only after taking this class, that is missing in traditional yoga practices.
I experienced a very different, but rewarding type of mind/body connection with the zero gravity inversions. There was also a calming familiarity of childlike curiosity I came across while upside-down.
While Perrick is not the only anti-gravity instructor at Shine Alternative Fitness, her classes are one-of-a-kind. Honing in on her occupational therapist skills, she also successfully incorporates essential oils in her practice for deeper restoration.
There is no question that essential oils make a room smell great. But when put in the right hands, such as Perrick’s, they contain effective healing properties. If, while reading this, your stomach was turning at the idea of swinging around upside-down, do not let your motion sickness sway you from taking Anti-Gravity Yoga.
After a number of inversion sequences, I was hooked on the practice. And though I wanted to try more moves, my stomach was begging for me to stay right side up. That is, until Perrick freed herself from her hammock and dug around in her bag of essential oils. One drop of peppermint essential oil on my tongue had me back on the silks.
Anti-Gravity Yoga may be intimidating, especially for those completely new to the yoga practice or to inversions. But this new “trend,” however unconventional it may seem, is truly a holistic and natural approach to wellness and healing—similar to medicinal cannabis.
Whether you are looking for a way to relieve chronic pain, reduce stress, or just want to feel like a Cirque du Soleil aerialist for an hour, Anti-Gravity Yoga with Perrick offers healing through deep stretches, refreshes blood circulation with zero gravity inversions, and provides a therapeutic component through the use of essential oils.
Rebecca Perrick teaches a variety of classes at Shine Alternative Fitness, located at 6415 Tenaya Way, that includes: Fundamentals, Aerial Yoga, Suspension Fitness, Restorative and, of course, Anti-Gravity Yoga. The full schedule and list of classes can be found at shinealternativefitness.com.