Saturday, July 13, 2024

Hanging out

Delray resident Lisa Midlarsky is opening a yoga studio in Delray’s Downtown this month. But Defy Gravity Yoga, at 88 SE 4th Ave., is not your everyday yoga studio.

In a Defy Gravity Yoga class, students use both a hammock and the floor to immediately feel the improvement in their flexibility, strength and alignment. Generally, when there is a corresponding name in traditional yoga, that name is also used for the aerial yoga poses with the terms “flying,” “floating” or “suspended” in front. For example, there is the “flying down dog,” “floating boat” and “suspended pigeon.”

All the swings are made out of 100 percent silk and washed after every class. Every portion of the Defy Gravity Yoga swing is able to hold more than 2,000 pounds.

It’s yoga, with a twist. I asked Lisa to describe the concept for Fit Life readers.

Boca Mag: What kind of yoga do you do at the new studio?

Midlarsky: At Defy Gravity Yoga, we practice aerial yoga. [It’s] a new type of yoga that uses a fabric hammock as a tool to help students achieve the traditional yoga positions. The weight of the body is either partially or fully supported by the hammock.

BM: Describe those hammocks and what they do.

Midlarsky: That is the Defy Gravity Yoga silk hammock (pictured above). The hammock is a yoga prop that gives the student a safe and fun way to strengthen each posture. You are able to try any yoga posture with this prop. You will find the fabric to be a wonderful tool to ease pressure and to give you the opportunity to distribute your weight into various muscles in a gentle efficient way.

BM: Do people need to get their own swings or are they provided?

Midlarsky: They are provided for each student and come in lots of fun, bright colors! You can choose your individual color preference before you take a class.

BM: What is the advantage of being suspended?

Midlarsky: Besides the advantage of being able to get deeper into your yoga poses, being suspended helps you decompress tight joints, relieve pressure while aligning the vertebrae, perform advanced yoga inversions without neck or back compression, and stretch further with less strain. [Being suspended] decompresses the spine, increases muscular flexibility, fine-tunes balance and agility, increases joint mobility, stimulates hormones, enhances self-esteem through conquering basic fears and [helps students] feel lighter, improve posture and grow taller.

BM: Are there people who shouldn’t do the upside down poses? How about people with high blood pressure?

Midlarsky: If one has a strong propensity for dizziness or a “hips-over-head” spatial awareness style dyslexia, this is not the technique for them. Those with certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma and high blood pressure or someone who is pregnant, are advised not to undertake this practice.

BM: Are there variations to the poses for those who feel they can’t do certain poses?

Midlarsky: Yes. There are many variations to help make the poses easier or harder. We offer classes for all fitness levels. Provided one does not have any physical abnormalities, anyone who can do at least two consecutive pushups can do Defy Gravity Yoga.

BM: What can people expect after one of these yoga classes? Is this meant to relax? Tone? Help with heart health?

Midlarsky: Defy Gravity Yoga offers five different types of aerial yoga classes, including: restorative classes, which include meditations, zero-compression inversions, and joint openers; strength classes, which include arm, leg and core strengthening exercises; and fitness classes, which improve your cardio and can burn anywhere from 400 to 600 calories per class.

BM: Why did you get involved in this kind of yoga? Have you been trained in any specific technique?

Midlarsky: Throughout my life, I have explored many different systems of wellness with the intent to find that which helps myself and others maintain strength and vitality – physically, emotionally and spiritually. During my journey, I received multiple certifications in personal training, group fitness training and yoga practices. One day, a yoga instructor (and good friend of mine) told me about a new form of yoga where you are suspended in air. … I decided to take her advice and try something new. After experiencing my first aerial yoga class, I knew right away I needed to share this with others.

I traveled to New York, Sarasota and Colorado to learn and master this new yoga technique. I combined my fitness and yoga experience with my in-depth aerial yoga training to create classes that are suitable and beneficial for everyone. I am technically trained in aerial yoga through Circusoul in Sarasota, Fla., and AntiGravity yoga in New York.

BM: When is the actual opening of the studio? Are you going to have a grand opening?

Midlarsky: Our soft opening is Sept. 23. I will have a limited number of classes offered. The grand opening party is set for Oct. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. This event is open to the public. We will have lots of food, wine and music, and people will get to see how the studio is set up.

BM: What about cost?

Midlarsky: The first class costs $20, but you get the second one free. I also have a Groupon coming out soon for $29 for three classes, but I will honor the Groupon price to any new student that comes in.

For more information about Defy Gravity Yoga, call 561/866-6001 or visit


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