NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine an exercise that suspends you in the air and is beneficial to both body and mind.
Well, it exists, and it’s a key part of a workout that even ends with a nap if you’d like.
It was so intriguing CBS2’s Kristine Johnson had to give the “cocooning” craze a try.
Johnson found herself hanging in the air, cradled in a cocoon. She said it was delightful.
But the cocooning payoff actually comes at the end of an anti-gravity yoga class at Crunch Fitness. It’s a series of yoga moves that uses a hammock as a support for someone’s own body weight, letting that person completely surrender into each pose.
Johnson asked Joyce Wong, Crunch’s anti-gravity instructor: “My first observation in this class is just being able to open up your limbs and your muscles even more so than if I was standing trying to do this stretch on my own. Is that right?”
“Absolutely, the hammock is there to support you and to facilitate that openness in the body,” Wong answered.
The pose that really opens you up is a suspended inversion, Johnson said.
That pose and about a thousand others were created by Christopher Harrison.
“People often look at it and think, oh my gosh, this is harder than regular yoga. But in truth, it’s actually a little bit easier and safer because you’ve got something that’s actually pulling you up while gravity is pushing you down,” Harrison said.
Harrison initially developed anti-gravity techniques to relieve back pain. He eventually designed the moves to fit a variety of fitness programs.
“You’re working flexibility,” he said. “You’re working strength. You’re working mobility. You’re working cardiovascular. And you’re decompressing.”
And depending on the class, you’re working virtually every part of your body.
“I just tell gravity, like, ‘OK, I’m here. Do your thing,'” said participant Kristi Schopfer.
As for the cocoon, don’t be fooled, there’s definitely a workout component to it. But you can’t ignore the comfort at the end.
“I feel mentally more relaxed,” said participant Chaitanya Ravi.
Wong said it’s not only beneficial fitness-wise, but also mentally.
Crunch offers a free pass to first-timers, and classes at the anti-gravity studios are $22.
And for those of you wondering, the hammocks are washed regularly.