Photo Credit: antigravityfitness.com
Christopher Harrison is a Kinetic Explorer and Discoverer. In his explorations he found a new way to move the body, different than mankind has ever had before. Moving the body freely in all directions of open space was once only accessible underwater or perhaps to the most elite specialty athletes for a limited period of time with great effort.
His Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock and related techniques changed all that. What was once only vertical can now be experienced horizontally and inverted. What was once only explored underwater can now be experienced safely in your own living room or in a class environment. Ailments that once required a highly-trained professional to provide relief can now be fixed easily with minimal guidance on The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock. Bodies and minds that have grown rigid and closed have a new joyful method for discovering the freedom of openness.
All of his AIRful creations are meant to inspire and provide wellness through safe methodologies and lighthearted philosophies.
What led you to the creation of AntiGravity® Fitness?
I originally founded AntiGravity® Entertainment as a dance company that utilized acrobatic arts as a movement vocabulary in 1991. I’ve been an aerial choreographer for over 20 years now, and I realized that beyond professional performance, aerial arts had vast fitness and health benefits when applied in a consumer-friendly way. Drawing upon warm-ups and conditioning exercising created for my performance team, I launched AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga in 2007. The technique created an entirely new genre.
How did you come up with the idea for The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock?
As a choreographer I am forever exploring movement. I originally came up with the idea for The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock (the foundation of AntiGravity® Fitness classes) as an aerial art form. While in a hammock in the tropics I envisioned being above the heads of an audience. I later made that vision real first in the late 1990s in a New York nightclub with 40’ ceilings. We discovered that by using a stretchy piece of fabric we could experience 3 dimensional movement, not just vertical, but also horizontal and upside down. A new aerial art form was born.
A second discovery emerged when I lowered the apparatus to 3 feet off the floor and began transferring many traditional floor exercises from dance, yoga, and Pilates. The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock supports your body weight, lifting you up while gravity is pushing down, creating traction and forcing proper alignment in a myriad of poses. We used my “silk hammock” invention and movement innovations as a company warm-up for years before I chose to share them with the public.
What are the main benefits of taking your workout off the ground?
AntiGravity® Techniques are both evolutionary in concept and revolutionary in terms of benefits. AntiGravity® is a full body workout — especially targeting core strength & mobility. It unifies body and mind through well-calibrated sequences, plus our zero-compression inversions relieve back and neck pain and make you measurably taller. Best of all, it’s fun!
What are some of your favorite fitness tips?
- Muscle surprise — If you’ve been doing the same workout for over a year now, chances are that the strengthening exercises are no longer effective. Muscle tissue adapts to the forces we exert upon them and once no longer challenged, stop growing. Unless you challenge your body in new and different ways, you are only maintaining.
- Find balance — If you want balance in your life, find balance in your workout. If your workout is primarily COMPRESSION based, and your life is primarily compression based, chances are you’re releasing too much cortisol hormone from your adrenal glands and are stressed out. No matter how strong your heart is from all of your running, you are actually at greater risk for a myriad of ailments based on the fact that you don’t know how to DECOMPRESS and relax.
- Avoid grimace lines — The biggest tip that I love to give people about working out is applicable to every exercise ever invented. While exerting energy, focus your attention on the muscle being worked and become conscious of others that think they are helping — especially in the face. Zygomatic muscles are to be contracted for smiling, not grimacing. If you leave the gym with a toned body having exercised your grimace muscles, your body will be younger, but your face will look older.
- Lighten up to lighten up — If you are exercising as if preparing to survive the apocalypse consider this: what the world needs to survive are not greater warriors for battle, but human beings who are more aware. The term “working out” needs to be reinvented. Whether boxing or yoga, in the floor or up in the air, let your “work out” become a “play out” instead and don’t forget the importance of laughter!
How can we make the most of a workout?
- Consciously synchronize your breath with your movement. Not only does it oxygenate your blood, bringing fresh nutrients throughout your body, but it also quiets the mind and nurtures focus (and who doesn’t need more focus in our busy world).
- Include an inversion in your exercise regime. When you send fresh blood to the brain it tickles the hypothalamus to release neurotransmitters that help regulate the body. During an inversion the pituitary gland alone will release nine hormones (serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, etc.) that keep your metabolism in check. If you want to lose weight, keep your bodily functions operating optimally by doing inversions.
- When I do any long distance training is when I study new languages. There are terrific downloads you can listen to and repeat. You’ll be surprised how much you will grasp after a short amount of time. I learned to communicate basic Portuguese in 3 months (approximately 5 times per week).
What’s next for AntiGravity?
We just launched AntiGravity® AIRbarre, a head-to-toe dance-conditioning workout that transforms The Harrison AntiGravity® Hammock into a suspended ballet barre. The classes combine dance, strength, and movement to give you that coveted long, lean dancer’s body. You’ll burn up to 650 calories while developing grace, power and poise!