AntiGravity Fundamentals Principles
There are 10 basic Principles that one must understand in order to properly cue for AntiGravity techniques and for your classes to be effective.
The first AntiGravity Principle is Trust. Just as in life, without trust little can be accomplished. As long as one doubts, they also resist — making movements more difficult and making themselves more prone to injury. FDR said it best, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself!” Each point of the Harrison AG Hammock is rated for well over 1000 pounds. “Relax, breathe and TRUST that the Harrison AntiGravity Hammock will hold you and everything will come easier.” Team AntiGravity performers fly on this same apparatus 20-60 feet in the air and our aerial safety record over 20 years and hundreds of productions is impeccable, which is one reason why the President chose AntiGravity to perform at his Inauguration.
2. MONITOR YOUR RESISTANCE
The third AG Principle is “Monitor Your Resistance.” This principle is especially important for over-achievers and for those with ligament laxity. There are many ways to say it: “Listen to your body and know that in this class you are respected for working within your boundaries.” “You choose how much hot sauce to put on your burrito, how much wasabi to put on your sushi and how many glasses of wine you drink at dinner, choose how hard you’ll work today.” “Do your best, no better, no less.”
3. WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION
The second AntiGravity principle is Weight Distribution. This principle is the biggest differentiating factor between the silk hammock techniques used in performance versus the techniques created for exercise. Understanding HOW to distribute one’s weight for optimum resistance is the difference between a beginner and a master. If something feels too difficult or unsafe, usually you aren’t distributing your weight correctly. Consider how many points of contact you have, both to the floor and to the hammock, as well as which are primary and secondary for support. Knowing this assists your hammock to pull you into proper alignment.
4. PLUMBLINE RELATIONSHIP
The Fourth AG Principle is Plumbline Relationship. The plumb line is the invisible line going straight down to the floor directly below the center of the two ceiling attachments. It is where gravity always pulls to and never wavers. Understanding where the body and the hammock are in relation to the plumb line at all times is crucial. When hanging, your relationship to the plumb line determines swing. Swinging should only happen when purposeful and this is all about the plumbline relationship.
5. TENSION VS. SLACK
The Fifth AG Principle is Tension versus Slack. Tension is when the hammock is pulled taut between points. Slack is when the hammock is hanging loose between points. Just as you must maintain tension in your muscles in order not to collapse, you must also maintain tension in the hammock for it to support you. As a general rule, bring the hammock to tension and eliminate slack. Creating slack should always be purposeful. Just like a wire-walker needs tension to walk a wire, the success of your work is based on your ability to work with the apparatus at tension so it can provide you support. Ironically, in order for this technique to help you relieve your tension, you must give tension to the hammock.
6. FULCRUM POINT
The Sixth AG Principle is Fulcrum Point. It is also referred to as the “center point”. The fulcrum point of your own body is your exact center of balance and understanding it is crucial for balance. Finding it is a process of understanding subtlety. Like the middle of a seesaw or scale, one teeter-totters according to weight distribution on either side of the fulcrum point. When creating a lever with one’s body, the exact placement is actually in the middle of your sacrum bone at S2, In general the center of gravity for a female is slightly lower than for a male.
7. ECONOMY OF MOTION
The Seventh AG Principle is Economy of Motion. There is a difficult way and an easy way to do everything. It is the goal of this class to utilize the hammock in such a way that you are never without support. Moving between positions should flow, using energy efficiently and minimizing steps. In any given sequence always find the most efficient method in relation to physics. The same should be true for getting in and out of wraps. The experienced instructor also utilizes this principle in creating flow for the entire layout of the class and our course designs are set up to accommodate this principle. When you get it right, the class feels like a dance. Teach your students how to do this in class and it will cue their subconscious to be more effective with economy of motion in life. Moshe Feldenkrais and F. Matthias Alexander have built entire techniques around economy of motion. The Antigravity classroom is a great place to practice this important principle.
The eighth Principle of AG is Presence, also known as mindfulness or referred to as being conscious in the now moment. AntiGravity is not only a workout for the body, it is also a practice of presence that refocuses the busy mind; a philosophy that acknowledges the interconnectedness of body/mind/spirit. This concept is primary in the AntiGravity philosophy. When practicing presence you learn to “check in” rather than “check out” and utilize your senses to become aware. You learn to become your own healer by tuning in with presence. At the beginning and at the end of class, we return to Presence and practice awareness, rocking gently in poses in the hammock that act as a sensory deprivation center, allowing us to be still. This concept is also important while in motion. Absolute presence is what keeps you safe from harm while executing a high level skill. The principle of Presence in AG allows you to fine tune your focus and rediscover this empowering state of being. Work from there and witness how the benefits overflow into your daily life.
9. RESISTANCE VERSUS FLOW
The ninth Principle of AntiGravity is Resistance versus Flow. As long as our mind is awake and thinking we are either in resistance or flow. Like a river, we are either fighting the current or moving within it. Resist, stiffen up and stop breathing and you will be more prone to an accident or injury. Flow, stay cool and breathe and you will be less likely to have a problem when confronting an obstacle, trip or fall. To flow is to laugh at your imperfections and embrace your humanity. To resist is to be frustrated by your learning curve, which only hinders your ability to grow. This is especially important while learning something new. In class, this principle ties in closely with Trust and the challenge is most evident during inversions. What you resist persists. Stay in flow and grow.
10. MOMENTUM & TIMING
The tenth Principle of AntiGravity is Momentum and Timing. Athletes know that brute force is not as powerful as momentum; the product of the mass and velocity of an object. Understanding the timing of movement generates power and propels the body with greater ease. Synchronize the actions of “swing or jump” and “tug or push” and you will create lift. Action is either easy or hard, based on the proper use of momentum and timing and is most crucial during flips and tricks.