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Fitness & Health


t’s like something born out of Cirque du Soleil. Aerial
acrobatics, toes-above-head inversions of the body and
full suspension in the air. As theatrical as those

movements sound, it’s just another Saturday afternoon in
the studio for Tonka Cascais, owner and head wellbeing
guru of Pro Pilates Lifestyle Solutions.

Inside her 3,500-square-foot studio in the Harbor Shops,
Cascais offers Fort Lauderdalites the nation’s latest workout
craze, AntiGravity fitness. The idea and movements are
similar to today’s popular group classes of yoga, barre
method and Pilates – just suspended 4 feet up in the air.
Fans of the workout include fitness and wellness advocates
Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman. Even Madonna
has bought into the rage, adopting it into her Hard Core
Fitness global gyms.

To perform their aerial moves, exercise-goers utilize
massive, specially made AntiGravity hammocks, which are
firmly hooked into the ceiling, that are soft to the touch but
capable of holding up to 1,000 lbs. The 55-minute class
goes through a series of seated poses, stretches, resistance

movements, balance postures, meditation, and, yes,
complete body inversions.

Since holding her first AntiGravity workout class in
October 2014, Cascais says the unorthodox sessions have
become a hit. And after a chat with her, it’s no surprise
why. Originally developed to further the movements of
gymnasts and acrobats by professional acrobatist
Christopher Harrison in 1990, AntiGravity fitness has
appealed to the masses mostly because of its minimal
impact on the joints. Because most of the workout is
performed without even touching the ground, knees and
hips remain free of shock.

“Anybody can do this workout,” says Cascais, whose
AntiGravity clients have ranged from professional athletes
to septuagenarians.


In addition to stretching and strengthening muscles, this
full-body workout has multiple health benefits. By
incorporating inversion therapy, AntiGravity fitness takes

AntiGravity Fitness

By: Nila Do Simon