As published in The Jakarta Post
Wed, June 3 2015
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.
‘After 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. ‘Then 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. ‘It 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. ‘We 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. ‘I 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. ‘It 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. ‘When 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. ‘I 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. ‘People with health issues, such as heart conditions, pregnancy, glaucoma and high blood pressure, can modify their PowerSwing movements.’
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 ‘working out’.
‘In the beginning, figuring out how to wrap your body around the fabric can be a bit confusing, but practice makes perfect,’ Marina said. ‘Then, 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.
‘We suggest that people try PowerSwing or AGY first before joining Aerial Silks to get used to the flipping and swinging movement,’ Simone said.