A gravity-defying workout

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As published in The Jakarta Post
Wed, June 3 2015

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These days, workout aficionados are taking their fitness into the air.

One new twist called PowerSwing combines antigravity yoga (AGY), gymnastics and Pilates into an exercise program ‘€” all while using a multifunctional suspension device.

The woman behind the new discipline in Jakarta is Simone Kusuma, who has been teaching PowerSwing since 2010.

‘€œAfter I gave birth and had two kids, I suffered from lower back pain. At that time, I was searching for the best workout to cure the pain and bumped into yoga swings and AGY,’€ Simone said at her studio in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. ‘€œThen I took an AGY teacher-training program in New York, and came back to Jakarta to open a studio.’€

However, something was missing, she said. So, as a certified aerobics and fitness trainer, Simone created a comprehensive program called PowerSwing. ‘€œIt includes strength and core training, flexibility ‘€” and inversion, which is the main benefit in yoga swing and AGY.’€

The technique trains the entire body, as opposed to lifting weights and only working specific muscle groups, Simone said. ‘€œWe are able to lift and move our body optimally based on the way that they work.’€

Andini, a 21-year-old college student, said that she benefitted from the workout. ‘€œI wanted to improve my posture, which has been poor for years, because of the way I’€™m standing or sitting. After a few weeks, PowerSwing has helped me straighten my posture.’€

Initially, however, Andini was afraid of the suspension device. ‘€œIt took some time for me to hang down on the hammock swing, but now I’€™ve learnt to trust the swing and the instructions. Slowly, I gained confidence to perform the movements.’€

Simone says that it’€™s easier to move through a range of motions while physically suspended during a PowerSwing class. ‘€œWhen we do inversions supported by the swing, our joints and bones are stretched slowly and are made more flexible.’€

She also claims that the classes have had some positive effect for some of her students who have suffered from back pain or scoliosis.

Wildaniah, a 31-year-old civil servant, said that after one year of workouts she was leaner and more tone. ‘€œI didn’€™t have an athletic basis before joining the class and got bored with gym workouts. PowerSwing was love at first sight. It was energetic, fun and effective.’€

Simone said that regimens could be adapted to meet specific problems. ‘€œPeople with health issues, such as heart conditions, pregnancy, glaucoma and high blood pressure, can modify their PowerSwing movements.’€

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Aerial silks at PowerSwing Studio Jakarta

Simone just opened a new class called Aerial Red Silks, offered along with 32-year-old aerialist and instructor Marina Martam, who said it was the best workout a person could get without ‘€œworking out’€.

‘€œIn the beginning, figuring out how to wrap your body around the fabric can be a bit confusing, but practice makes perfect,’€ Marina said. ‘€œThen, you will notice how your body is challenged to adapt the upside-down situation effortlessly.’€

The silks class is an artistic form of aerobics performed using two strips of fabric hung from a 7-meter-high point. It requires a combination of climbing, twisting and hanging moves. Basic levels of strength and flexibility are helpful.

‘€œWe suggest that people try PowerSwing or AGY first before joining Aerial Silks to get used to the flipping and swinging movement,’€ Simone said.

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