The science of gratitude


The science of gratitude

Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.


We’ve just finished Grateful April at the Lab and are still feeling the effects from all the love you shared with us. We feel so privileged to hold space for and be a part of this inspiring project with you all. To wrap up the month, here are some musings on the science of gratitude and why an attitude of gratitude is so important to living an elevated life.

Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield tells us that “gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small, an appreciation of the moments of good fortune that sustain our life every day.”

What does gratitude mean to you? In our busy lives we are so often rushing to the next milestone of our lives, getting one promotion at work and hungrily lusting after the next rung on the ladder. Our eating habits are a great example of how we forget to give thanks. Many cultures sit before a meal to give thanks to the earth for providing something that has been lovingly cooked and prepared, traditionally we sit around a table with loved ones to enjoy our food. Nowadays we are more likely lazing on the sofa or leaning over the kitchen bench, texting or trawling Instagram with one hand, casually munching on something convenient like toast and suddenly we’re at the last bite and just realised that we don’t remember eating the rest. Like where’d it go? 

Gratitude is a practice that slows us down to notice the joy in life. We are constantly comparing our lives to others, coveting the perfect Instagram outfits, life style, holidays and bodies. But if we take a moment to look at our life through the eyes of gratitude, we have the opportunity to see how spiritually, socially and materially wealthy we really are.  It might just be peanut butter on toast, but its fuel for your body and when you stop and be thankful for that you might notice the texture of the perfectly baked sourdough bread and relish in the crunchiness of the natural peanut butter that will give you protein and energy for the day. And you might appreciate the moment of calm before you rush out the door to start your commute to work, taking in your living space, admiring the environment you’ve created and smiling at a photo or something that reminds you of someone you love. And you realise how lucky you are, to have this comforting food, this welcoming home and the people you love. This is what Gratitude in our daily lives does; it brings you closer to everyday things and lets you really see them, to appreciate every aspect of your life, no matter how small. 




Jack Kornfield also reminds us that it creates wonder in life. He says that “Gratitude is confidence in life itself. It is not sentimental, not jealous, nor judgmental. Gratitude does not envy or compare. Gratitude receives in wonder the myriad offerings of the rain and the earth, the care that supports every single life.”

There is a lot of research going into the power of gratitude, it isn’t just something Yogi’s and Buddhist teacher talk about. The science of gratitude and its effect on our lives is being studied in depth by doctors and researchers all over the world. In a study conducted by the University of California researchers found that higher levels of gratitude were found to be associated with better mood, better sleep, less fatigue and less inflammation. This study was conducted with hospital patients, which shows that gratitude is especially important in times of hardship and discomfort and it can make a perceptible difference. 

Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that intentionally developing a grateful outlook helps us both recognise good things in our lives and realise that many of these good things are “gifts” that we have been fortunate to receive. Seeing life this way means that we put more value on the things good things we have, and it makes them even more important for us to cherish the things that we are grateful for, whether it’s that promotion at work or our peanut butter toast. In her work on gratitude, Dr. Juliana Breines writes that by making gratitude a habit, we can begin to change the emotional tone of our lives, creating more space for joy and connection with others. Grateful April at the Lab was about pausing, observing and integrating gratitude and making it a daily habit, so that you can feel these positive benefits not only in the studio but in all other aspects of your life. 

Many celebrities follow a gratitude practice, like Salma Hayek who says that “I feel so bad for people who are not grateful, they are missing some of the most sublime sensations in life.”

And Oprah is a big advocate for gratitude, famously stating that “opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”

But we don’t have to look outwardly for evidence of the power of gratitude. It is all around us, in our very own studio and we were inspired and overwhelmed by the response of our yogis who shared with us the things they were grateful for. The simple things in life. Here are some things people shared that shoes how we can find joy and beauty and love in everything. 


“Free soft serve from my friend” 

“Holding my grandmothers hand” 

“Watermelon on a hot day”

“Freedom of flying high”

“The ocean”

“Believing in myself”


Gratitude improves our overall wellbeing, it gives us energy and make us more empathetic. We are so grateful for you, our Sky Lab community, and that you chose to share and experience your gratitude with us.  



We want you to keep the momentum of Grateful April flowing, so here are some ways to continue the practice of gratitude outside the studio: 



Take a few deeps breaths. Think about your lungs and your body and how invigorating it is to be alive. Appreciate the work your body does to keep everything ticking and to allow you to practice Yoga, run along the beach and enjoy delicious sensory experiences. First and foremost you need to feel gratitude to yourself, this will cultivate self-love and enrich so many aspects of your life. 


Switch off

Slow down. Look up from scrolling Instagram and take in your environment. Do you see how pretty those flowers are? Feel the sun on your skin and hear the sounds around you, instead of blocking everything out with headphones. Being grateful for the earth and our environment brings a new perspective to our lives. It brings more pleasure to the small things, such as a nice cup of ginger tea, or maybe you can even appreciate your morning commute a bit more when you change your mindset and admire the scenery. It’s a long shot, we know but it can’t hurt to try, you might surprise yourself and even start to enjoy that time before work. 


Simplify situations

Use mindfulness to break down an event or situation. Be grateful for your latest meal, the roof over your head, your friends. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, gratitude can be a powerful tool to bring you back into a calm space. When things seem too much, just notice the most basic things first, and let it grow from there.


Write it down

It sounds cliché but it really does work! Put a notepad beside your bed and write down the top 5 things that you are grateful for each week.  It can be the main things that you’re grateful for in your life over all, the bigger picture stuff like friends and family and the things you love about your life or even the tiniest moments, like you were grateful to make it to your Yoga class or for a really delicious pizza or a pretty sunset. 


Surround yourself with like-minded people

It’s true that your vibe attracts your tribe, and the happier and more thankful you are, the more you need to be around positive people. Those friends who are always putting others down, making judgements or have a negative attitude will pull you down into that headspace too. It’s important to be around people who make you feel uplifted, when hanging out feels as good as flying in the Lab. 


Write thank you letters

You don’t even have to send them, although we always recommend sharing the love! We all have people in our lives who we are grateful for. Our family, besties and even our pets! It might go a bit deeper, was there a teacher at school who inspired you or taught you something valuable? Maybe someone has passed away and you never got to tell them how grateful you were for them being in your life. Write it down. Express how thankful you are for those moments. 




We’d love to hear your feedback about Grateful April, and please keep sharing with us all the things you are grateful for or how you practice gratitude. You can comment below or reach out on Instagram @skylab_skywalker


How gratitude can change your life


How gratitude can change your life


The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ingrate into action. But if you’re anything like me, this motivation lasts about three days until writing in my gratitude journal every evening loses out to watching stand-up comics on Netflix.

Here are a few keys I’ve discovered—and research supports—that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.

Freshen Up Your Thanks

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or "My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn't have to cook after a long day." And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.

Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives us the kick we need to start making changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. When we want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting—being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be – leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude in the morning instead.


Make Thankfulness Fun By Mixing It Up

University of Rochester partners in crime Edward Deci and Richard Ryan study intrinsic motivation, which is the deep desire from within to persist on a task. One of the biggest determinants is autonomy, the ability to do things the way we want. So don’t limit yourself—if journaling is feeling stale, try out new and creative ways to track your grateful moments. (Happify offers an endless variety of gratitude activities to choose from.) My fiancée Michaela decided to create a gratitude jar this year. Any time she experiences a poignant moment of gratitude, she writes it on a piece of paper and puts it in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, she’ll empty the jar and review everything she wrote. When a good thing happens, she now exclaims, “That’s one for the gratitude jar!” It immediately makes the moment more meaningful and keeps us on the lookout for more.

Be Social About Your Gratitude Practice

Our relationships with others are the greatest determinant of our happiness. So it makes sense to think of other people as we build our gratitude. Robert Emmons suggests that focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience. And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? One Happify activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.


Original article by: By Derrick Carpenter, MAPP | For Happify Daily 

Derrick Carpenter, MAPP, coaches individuals on living engaged and inspired lives, runs experiential corporate leadership programs, and trains US Army personnel on resilience. He's researched what makes people great in psychology labs at Harvard, Yale, and UPenn, where he received his Master of Applied Positive Psychology.


Surfing icon Laird Hamilton shares his 10-point plan to live forever - Including Aerial Hammock Inversions!


Surfing icon Laird Hamilton shares his 10-point plan to live forever - Including Aerial Hammock Inversions!

 Jennifer Cawley / One&Only Palmilla

Jennifer Cawley / One&Only Palmilla

"I’ve had back issues and injuries over the years. When your back goes out, you’re out of commission. I give it relief with stretching and inversion, and strengthen it with core work and stand-up paddle boarding. Someone once said, ‘If you did 20 minutes of headstands a day, you probably wouldn’t age.’ Gravity is always pulling us down, and inversion fights it. I do it on a teeter board or on an upside-down hammock, not gravity boots, which don’t allow your legs to relax and decompress." - Laird Hamilton

Full article here by: Roy M. Wallack

Perpetual youth is a whimsical notion suited to screen writers and 16th century Spanish explorers but a career requirement for Laird Hamilton.

In the ocean as many as five hours most days, the inventor of tow-in big-wave surfing, modern-day stand-up paddleboarding and hydrofoil surfing uses a unique diet and training regimen to maintain a chiseled fitness that astonishingly belies his 51 years. Here, the father of three explains why he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol in a decade, heartily devours fat, hangs upside-down with regularity, pals around with an 83-year-old for inspiration -- and keeps searching for the Next Big Thing.

1. Forget age. Just keep driving the car: 

I take better care of myself today not as an accommodation to age but to maintain continual high levels of performance and just to feel good. I have a friend Don Wildman who's 83 years old - and the guy's an absolute stud who works out with weights, mountain bikes, paddles, surfs every day. Don’s a living example of what it’s like when you just keep driving the car. I think what happens is that we decide we're old and everything stops working. There's so much stigma and weirdness around being older. Don and I were watching a tennis match and the announcer was saying "He's 34 years old!" Get over it - and keep moving. Don't wait until you have a health scare or collapse. Get off your [butt] and feel better now.

 Jennifer Cawley / One&Only; Palmilla

Jennifer Cawley / One&Only; Palmilla

2. Take care of every day priorities:

The stuff you do every day — your sheets and towels, the food you put in your body — these are your priorities. Not a fancy car or fancy clothes or fancy watches. For instance, I used to drink red wine every day — nothing like a good Bordeaux — but haven’t had a sip of wine or beer in nine years and have no desire to. I realized that sugar is not good for your body and that alcohol is one of the biggest culprits.

The fact is that alcohol doesn’t taste good anyway. The reason people drink is to have some sort of sensation, right? So if you’re not into that sensation, it’s a waste of time. It’s a discipline thing too. My mom once said to me, ‘If you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to anyone else.’ As proof to myself that I had the willpower, I don’t do it. Bottom line: If you want your rocket to fly, you put rocket fuel in it. I want to be able to do certain things at a certain level. I like the way I feel. On a daily basis, I feel better not drinking.

 Getty Images

Getty Images

3. Be a fat-burning monster: 

I don’t eat energy bars when I’m out on the water all day. In fact, I don’t need to eat anything. My body runs off its body fat. That’s because I’m Paleo. I consume hardly any refined sugar (only if it’s in a salad dressing), a few raw dairy products and almost no wheat or grains. I eat plants and animals. I actually grew up that way in Hawaii. [Paleo researcher-kineseologist] Paul Chek taught me that your body has enough fat on it to run for days ... and that sugar fouls up your machinery. So after I cut alcohol, I began eliminating sugar and sugary fruit. I refined it over the last two years listening to [Primal lifestyle guru] Mark Sisson and other Paleo people.

If you’re eating right, a triathlete can go for hours and hours on a couple tablespoons of almond butter and your own body fat. But if you eat refined carbs, your blood sugar spikes up and down and you’re sucking down gel packs to get it back up. I love espresso. … You could give me five shots of espresso, a quarter stick of butter, a quarter stick of coconut oil and other fat, and I’ll drink that. I could go for five or six hours and not even be hungry at the end. Because I’m burning fat.

4. But don’t be a zealot: 

I have a saying: 'Everything in moderation, including moderation.' I make it achievable, not stressful for me and people around me. I’ll use a little coconut sugar. … I’ve got friends who have to stick [to a particular diet] at all times, and the stress of that almost overrides the quality of the way you eat. My eating is not such a hassle that I can’t go anywhere.

5. Golf-ball your bare feet: 

I grew up barefoot in Hawaii and didn’t give a thought to walking on gravel, but I’d notice some people who’d been in shoes their whole life couldn’t even cross the driveway. The feet are loaded with nerve endings and are the key to balance — and I’m in the balance business. In fact, we all are.

I also believe the Earth is charged with an electrical frequency that matches your nervous system and immune system. So the bare feet allow us to absorb that energy and is a critical part of your wellness. Having them trapped in a boot, toes squeezed together, affects your whole system. To restore dexterity and balance after I’ve been in shoes too long, usually at my home in Malibu, I warm up a couple days a week by standing with one foot on a golf ball. I roll it around, poke it, put weight into tender spots. It’s amazing how your system will be stimulated through working your feet.

 Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

6. Watch your back: 

I’ve had back issues and injuries over the years. When your back goes out, you’re out of commission. I give it relief with stretching and inversion, and strengthen it with core work and stand-up paddle boarding. Someone once said, ‘If you did 20 minutes of headstands a day, you probably wouldn’t age.’ Gravity is always pulling us down, and inversion fights it. I do it on a teeter board or on an upside-down hammock, not gravity boots, which don’t allow your legs to relax and decompress.

Since your power comes out of your core, which supports the back, you have to fix tight psoases and weak abdominals. I do planks and rotational exercises with medicine balls and kettle bells on a Swiss ball. Any natural pick-lift-twist-drop movement pattern, like picking something off the ground and putting it on a shelf, builds core stability. The best one of all? Stand-up paddleboarding. It flexes the back and the stabilizers — and cured me.

7. Do the water workout from hell: 

To me, swimming laps in a pool is like punishment — being in a cage. Out of my disdain for lap swimming, I developed what in my opinion is the greatest exercise routine you can possibly do: a bouncing, no-impact, high-intensity strength and cardio workout that is a cross between swimming and weightlifting.

Holding small waterproof dumbbells in your hands, jump into a fairly deep 10- to 12-foot-deep pool and sink to the bottom. Then jump up as hard as you can to pierce the surface and gulp some air. As the weights pull you back, blow it out. Get in a rhythm; exhale as you fall, inhale [after] you blast up. The exercise blasts your legs, which consume five times the oxygen as your arms. It‘ll make you a better, stronger swimmer without having to swim laps.

 Associated Press

Associated Press

8. Be innovative in all aspects of life: 

Coming up with new ideas keeps me young and excited. [Hamilton and wildman invented the GolfBoard a kind of skateboard for golfers that won the PGA's New Product of the Year award in2014. He also has lines of stand-up paddleboardssuperfoods, and clothing and fitness wear]. I think travelling to unique places gives you an opportunity to be active. 

 Laird Apparel

Laird Apparel

9. Get role models: 

It’s monkey see, monkey do. It’s hard to be the monkey that doesn’t see. We all need an example, a road map, to tell us what’s possible, a Jack LaLanne. Am I going to fret that I’m old and washed-up when I’m mountain biking and paddling alongside Wildman, who’s 83? He lives, wears and eats a youthful lifestyle. And, by the way, who does Wildman use as his role model, since all his friends are dead? Me! So get younger buddies too!

When your friends get older and say, “I want to go play some bridge, you say, ‘I don’t think so — I want to go jump off the bridge.’”

10. Make it fun: 

Having as much fun as humanly possible is one of the keys to staying young, so find fun, physical activities you love. I forget about the time when I’m out there on a [stand-up paddleboard]. Activities are better than the gym because you’re not looking at the clock.

You’ll do more reps in nature than you’ll ever do in the gym. You’ll go for hours and hours. And you’ll be thinking healthy thoughts -- not about how old you are.



Sophie Benbow tests the lab

aerial yoga: skylab

AUGUST 14, 2016

On the night of the Rising Social Star party where I won the Fashion category Bonds handed me a large bag filled with their latest activewear range. They had a challenge for me and it needed to be completed within a week so that they could use it in their e-mag. Of course I happily obliged and when I got home to read the brief I couldn’t have been more excited!

They had asked me to take part in some unusual ways to keep fit and review how I felt the class was. Unusual included trampolining fitness (Skyzone), 80’s themed Dance Cardio (Retrosweat) and AERIAL YOGA (Sky-lab)!!! Now….as you know I don’t really consider myself much of a yogi, my hamstrings are always so tight and I can barely touch my toes so the thought of doing all this ‘flexi-stuff’ while ‘flying’ as the website put it left me somewhat nervous! How on earth would I be able to do the moves, let alone get a good photograph of it!

Anyway, I turned up at 6.45am on a Wednesday morning unsure what to expect. I had such a warm welcome from Shari the studio owner and she showed me around her beautiful space. The white walls and almost warehouse style vibe had my attention instantly and I immediately felt at peace. My photographer said it was ‘like stepping into heaven’ and I wholeheartedly agreed.

I was in a small class and we were straight into using the hammock and getting used to different grips and placement within seconds. Before I knew it I was hanging upside down and swinging like a pro (at least I felt like it!!)…I even did a back flip..I mean, seriously?! I cannot explain the amazing release I got from this class but it left me feeling so light, at peace and actually fuzzy inside! I LOVED this class so much 

If you are thinking of trying Aerial Yoga but you are a beginner yogi you should definitely give it a try! To be honest I had seen pictures and I had made the assumption you had to be an advanced yogi to do it! Not the case at all!

If you have had an aerial yoga experience that you would like to share with me or if you have any feedback I would love to hear from you! Just let me know in the comments below 

Sophie x x

Wearing: Bonds

Photography: Aristo Risi

sophie benbow

Sophie is a true advocate for health and wellness. Her conscious eating and regular fitness regime has given her knowledge that she wants to share with all of her readers. From her personal recipes to her personal style and training tips you can find it here at





For Sophie's first assignment, we sent her out in our women's Bonds Sport range to road test Sydney's must-try fitness classes that have been attracting loads of buzz lately. Scroll on to see what she thought.. 



Skylab Aerial Yoga

“I find yoga extremely challenging and I am not that flexible so the thought of doing yoga in ‘the air’ made me a little nervous. As soon as I arrived at the studio I had such a warm welcome from Shari. I absolutely loved this class and I couldn’t believe I was doing backflips and hanging upside down. Being in the hammock was so exhilarating, I’m really excited to go back.”








So who is Sophie? Well, she’s a true advocate for all things health and wellbeing. As a passionate foodie, she shares everything from her favourite recipes to her fitness regime all on her blog and via Instagram, where you can find her at @sophieluxe.




Aerial Yoga Review Urban List Sydney


Aerial Yoga Review Urban List Sydney

The editor for The Urban List Sydney came to the lab to check out an Aerial Yoga session with us. Check out her review below! 


Founded by Shari Veitch in October 2013, sky–lab offers aerial yoga courses, combining methodology of yoga, dance, pilates and suspension fitness to get you looking long, lean and down right awesome. Don't be scared by the anti-gravity part of the yoga - you'll be safely suspended in a soft hammock where you'll learn simple moves all the way to more complicated poses. If you're after a unique way to exercise, sky–lab's anti-gravity yoga is definitely one to try!

Image credit: Federica Portentoso





Ally Burnie from Inspired Adventures sat down with Sky-lab founder Shari Veitch to get the low down on Aerial Yoga, growing taller and all things upside down - Check it out!


  • We all know yoga. But aerial yoga? Tell me more! We’ve recently discovered aerial yoga, which basically is practicing yoga from a suspended hammock. We know hanging from the ceiling in a cocoon of material sounds strange (and quite frankly a little terrifying), but once you learn to “trust in the hammock” there are some amazing benefits of practicing aerial yoga.

We had a chat with Shari Veitch from Sky-Lab AntiGravity Yoga to find out more about aerial yoga. Check it out!

Tell us about aerial yoga. How did the concept originate?

 At its most basic, aerial yoga is a fusion practice. Christopher Harrison, American dancer and acrobat developed it 20 years ago in the USA. It combines elements of yoga (taking its roots in traditional yoga form), so you’re preforming shapes similar to a floor base yoga class but you’ll do them upside down or in the air! Aerial yoga also takes influences from pilates, core development and dance. Its major influence comes from silk trapeze, which is an aerial apparatus. So really you’re combing all those beautiful elements that come together in a really dynamic practice.

How did you come to try aerial yoga for the first time?

Before creating Skylab, I was a professional dancer and doing a lot of pilates. But I’ve always loved yoga and it was my go-to class when I wanted to do something for myself. I started focusing more on my yoga practice, and at the same time I started working in aerial arts as a dancer in a contemporary company. I had a lot of different loves and when I discovered the practice of anti-gravity yoga, I knew I had found everything I loved in one apparatus!

What can someone expect out of an aerial yoga class? What does a typical class look like? 

People are often scared when they first try aerial yoga, because you do spend a lot of time hanging upside down! What you’ll get out of an aerial yoga class, however, is a decompression of the spine – that’s one of the main benefits from an anti-gravity practice. It’s just so good for your body! Another key benefit of aerial yoga is that nothing touches the floor. The hammock is wrapped around your pelvis and is holding you up in space, so you have zero compression happening on the floor. That allows traction through the spine, helping you feel taller and lighter! In a typical class you’ll find we do a lot of pilates and yoga inspired moves, but in a hanging hammock!

Can anyone do aerial yoga?

Yes! Everybody can do it! It is so accessible because the hammock is measured to your body height so it’s at hip height for you. It makes hopping in an out of the hammock like hopping into a chair! The hammock acts like your support or a teacher assisting you through the whole class, lifting you and aligning you from the ceiling. It’s a challenge, but yes, definitely anybody can do aerial yoga and reap the benefits!

How has aerial yoga changed your body and your fitness?

I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life. Aerial yoga is an incredibly balanced practice. After I class, I don’t feel like I’ve overworked or underworked any part of my body. You’re constantly using your core stabilising muscles, even when you’re sitting in the hammock because it forces you to sit upright. You’ll feel more balanced, flexible, toned and overall lighter from practicing aerial yoga, I can guarantee it.

Feeling inspired?





by Jade Hunter, The Juice Daily. 

Aerial fitness is the acai bowl of exercise. Just like the Amazonian berry transformed our brunch game, taking your workout into the air gives it a new edge. The combination of strength/inversions/stretching, plus the thrill of virtually flying is surprisingly freeing for the body and mind. Through a nondescript door in Surry Hills, hidden down an ally splashed with graffiti art, you’ll find Sky-Lab; a quirky studio that is equal measures zen and badass. Not knowing what to expect, I left with a new appreciation for the freeing benefits of aerial fitness.

1. Energise

Aerial fitness is a playful way to get more energy. As the images decorating the walls suggest, you spend a lot of time upside down in classes. In yoga these are known as inversions, when the head is below the heart. This improves blood flow to the brain, which counteracts fatigue and makes you feel physically and mentally revitalised. The classes are designed to give you a full body workout, but without the high intensity burn that makes you tired, so you’ll leave with a spring in your step.

2. Lighter mind

Swinging around on silks makes your body feel lighter and has the same effect on your mind. During regular yoga classes you might start wondering what you’ll have for dinner that night or if you turned your hair straightener off, but the concentration required for aerial fitness leaves no room for distractions. The hour class is dedicated to your mind and body working in harmony, listening to your teachers voice (instead of your own inner monologue) and concentrating on coordinating your limbs. The result will leave you feeling blissful and connected (instead of daydreaming about that haloumi salad).

3. Freedom from crunches

Hello abs! I expected to have tired arms from my first aerial fitness class, but man was I unprepared for how much core work was involved! No more boring sit-ups once you discover aerial cycles! The teachers at Sky-Lab will teach you how to support and lift your body using your abdominals, rather than just the guns. Add in the extra core engagement you need to stay balanced, and it’s the ultimate flat belly workout without any of the boring bits.

4. Detox

Being free from toxins is vital for overall wellness. Moving through poses, being upside down and stretching joints and muscles has a positive effect on the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for draining and eliminating toxins from the body; the swaying and moving is like a massage. Suspension fitness uses a combination of gravity and muscle contractions. This boosts the efficiency of the lymphatic system to filter bacteria and fatty acids. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to drink plenty of water after class. The water continues to flush these toxins from the body and keeps you hydrated.

5. Muscle recovery

Free those aching muscles! Aerial fitness allows you to move deeper into poses and release any tension. The combination of silks and gravity improves your range of motion and depth, so you can stretch into areas that are harder to target during regular stretching and yoga. This is especially useful if you’ve had an injury and you’re not ready for high impact exercises yet. Aerial fitness can be tailored to suit limitations and experience level, so you have the freedom to experiment. When I returned to exercise after a torn rotator cuff, I found that many of the postures were useful at releasing the tension in that notoriously hard to reach area.

6. Confidence

Heights can make me kind of nervous. I am completely in awe of any kind of aerial trapeze acrobats. After my time at Sky-Lab, I was smiling from ear to ear. There is something about back flipping in the air using the silks for support that makes you feel graceful and talented (the reality of me heaving into a somersault probably looked much more awkward than it felt). Using the silks for stretches and exercises is unlike anything else, you feel like an aerial ballerina. The freedom of flying and being upside down gives you a confidence that lasts long after the class has finished. I’m still not a trapeze artist, but I am a tiny bit closer to reaching my dream of being a free-flying fitness fairy (a dream I never knew I had until I tried aerial fitness).

Jade Hunter 

30th Dec 2015





by Amrita Hepi 3 December 2015

When it hits the holidays you might be inclined to crumple into an exhausted heap, but the day after that? Glorious, unadulterated spare time. The realisation you’re no longer chained to a desk might make you happy dance through your living room, and that is very good and you should definitely do that.

 the Cusp.

the Cusp.

Dance and physical movement are some of the best ways to work yourself, because when you’re learning a new skill or routine, you’re putting both body andmind through their paces. Plus, a class environment means you’re forced to meet other cool kids, ergo things rarely get boring. So before you get horizontal on the couch, harness that joy and funnel it towards these Sydney spots that professional dancer, choreographer, founder of Hollaback dance classes and Chief Cool Kid, Amrita Hepi, loves.


Aerial Yoga at Sky-lab

Now this may not be for everyone, and when I first did AcroYoga in San Fran I vomited – don’t eat a huge plate of frijoles before class – but Sky Lab’s aerial yoga is gentle, lovely and patient. It’s yoga sans gravity.

Image: Sky Lab


14 Places To Chill The Fuck Out In Sydney


14 Places To Chill The Fuck Out In Sydney

Breathe in, breathe out.

1. Sky-Lab, Surry Hills

If you’re a practicing yogi but feel like experimenting with something new, aerial yoga could be your new favourite thing. If you’re new to the game, don’t worry, because there’s a great beginner’s class that will help you feel comfortable. The ten-week introduction course will cost you $250.







lululemon - found in: sydney, australia

In Sydney’s Surrey Hills, amongst tree-lines streets chock-a-block with cozy outdoor cafés, is Sky-Lab, one of a handful of anti-gravity aerial yoga studios that are popping up around the world.

A combination of yoga, dance, aerial arts, and pilates postures, the practice is done while hanging from silk hammocks affixed to the ceiling. During class you literally heighten your yoga practice—they say you emerge at least ¼” taller by the end of a class. The method was developed in the late 1990s by Christopher Harrison, a former competitive gymnast-turned-Broadway aerial designer and founder of the AntiGravity aerial acrobatics company.

While it’s not yoga in the traditional sense, every class starts with a levitating meditation and ends with a floating savasana. Its benefits include core strengthening, the release of muscular tension and gentle decompression of the spine (which is why you leave class ‘taller’ than you arrived) making it a great option for low-impact cardio training.

Classes are offered daily (except Fridays), check out the schedule here. After all, who wouldn’t want to get into their own silk cocoon and see if they emerge a butterfly?

Images via: sky-lab

Posted on posted: April 7, 2015 by Alicia-Rae Olafsson - Editor, lululemon



8 Luxe Yoga Studios in Sydney

As you dedicated Sydney yogis will know, the city is full of fantastic yoga studios to stretch, pose and find your centre. However, for those of you who know your bikram from your vinyasa and aren’t afraid of a little trapeze action, you want a studio that offers more than just your standard up-dog.

Well, you can stop the search because we’ve already found the best luxe yoga studios in Sydney and they’re bringing some serious yoga game.


Surry Hills

A totally unique way to practice yoga. Suspended in the air using antigravity® hammocks, it may look intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it (pun intended) it’s a fantastic workout. The hammocks at sky-lab relieve compressed joints and align the body properly using the power of gravity. A true mind-body experience (and very Instagram-worthy!).

Images via: Urban List Sydney

Posted on 12th August 2015 by Jessica Rayner - Urban List Sydney




There are less than 100 days left until summer and most people are thinking – how are they going to reach that goal to be healthy? Some people are hitting the gym – but if you are anything like me, the gym can sometimes feel a little more like work rather then pleasure. Research shows that if you want to be healthy, you need to find a fitness regime that you enjoy. You need to find ways that your body likes to move and feel. And just as no one body is the same, neither are our activity preferences. Luckily enough for us,  and Australia being as health conscientious as it is, there are hundreds of options for us out there to introduce us to a community that will invite wellbeing, happiness, and get you ready to hit the beach this summer.

 A vibrant entrance to a yoga oasis at Sky Lab.

A vibrant entrance to a yoga oasis at Sky Lab.

Below are a few places in Sydney that may welcome to you a newfound and healthy passion that beat the traditional gym any day…

  1. Sky Lab – Surry Hills

Come fly doing aerial yoga, airBarre, and airPilates in one of the most unique yoga studios Sydney has to offer. Prior to entering the studio you walk through the building with vibrant street art literally all over the ceilings and walls which gets you stoked for what you are about to experience in the studio. Sky Lab has access to a rooftop that is also accessed for acroyoga. The studio itself is fresh and relaxing. Soft music vibes while you begin a journey that will exhilarate you as well as relax you beyond belief. There is something fun in hanging out in suspended hammocks that can also make you feel more relaxed then when you were a baby rocking to sleep.

  A relaxing ambiance greats you at Sky Lab.

A relaxing ambiance greats you at Sky Lab.

Images via: Really Sydney

Posted on  September 1, 2015  In LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY  By Natalia, Really Sydney


Pedestrian - Do The Seven-Day Yoga Challenge Help Fight Breast Cancer


Pedestrian - Do The Seven-Day Yoga Challenge Help Fight Breast Cancer


As you may or may not know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a time to respectfully feel yourself (or a consenting significant other) up. With this in mind, two Aussie yoga enthusiasts have come up with a bloody ripper idea to get you limber as hell, while also supporting the fight against breast cancer.

The 7-Day Instagram Yoga Challenge is happening right now, and it could not be easier for you to take part.

Challenge founders and stellar individuals Leah Simmons and Sasha Taylor will post a different yoga pose each day, for you to recreate, and then post to Instagram with the hashtag #yogabreastcancerchallenge.

Here's the real kicker - for every pose that gets posted, Leah and Sasha will donate $1 to the McGrath Foundation, which aims to place breast cancer nurses in communities across Australia, and raise awareness among young people.

The challenge started on Saturday October 25, but if you're worried about being late to the party, then go ahead and chill - you can join in and post your poses any time until Friday November 14.

Just follow @yogaone1 and @leah.simmons on Instagram, then post an image of your own unique take on the daily poses, making sure to tag them and add the all-important hashtag #yogabreastcancerchallenge.

Easy done. You'll increase your flexibility, and be satisfied that you're displaying your mad yoga skills - or embarrassing lack thereof - for a damn good cause. Get amongst it and get #blessed for breast:

Image via Instagram

Posted on: October 28, 2014 9:02AM by Pedestrian.


Lululemon - 5 things you didn’t know about antigravity yoga


Lululemon - 5 things you didn’t know about antigravity yoga

Antigravity yoga… It’s more than just hanging upside down in suspended silk hammocks. Owner of sky-lab aerial studio Shari Veitch tells us more about this unique practice. 

1. it all started on broadway

Antigravity® yoga originated in the US during the late 1990’s by Christopher Harrison, former competitive gymnast turned Broadway aerial designer and founder of the AntiGravity® aerial acrobatics company. The unique apparatus the Harrison group developed for performance was modified to lend itself to the everyday athlete, and through a hybrid fusion of yoga and aerial arts the practice of antigravity yoga was born, allowing the experience of flight and levity to all.

2. it can make you taller

Zero compression inversions allow decompression of the spine through gentle traction and hydration of vertebral discs. Enabling you to extend to your true natural height. This can vary between 1⁄4” to 1 1⁄2” taller (and unfortunately the effects are not cumulative).

3. it can increase your cardiovascular capability without increasing your heart rate

Inversions create a unique environment where the lungs and diaphragm are working harder during regular breath cycles to lift upwards against the additional weight of the internal organs, increasing cardio vascular conditioning without increasing heart rate – cool hey! Who said you need to go for a run?

4. hello happy hormones

Zero compression inversions allow circulatory and lymphatic systems to refresh while stimulating greater cerebellum function. Increasing the release of neurotransmitters from the brain and stimulating the release of “happy hormones” – serotonin, dopamine, enkephalins and endocannabinoids.

5. it can make you more agile

The practice of Antigravity yoga can increase your kinaesthetic awareness and develop a more astute proprioceptor response allowing a fine tuning of balance, coordination and greater agility.

Shari is our visual merchandise trainer for Australia and New Zealand as well as an AntiGravity yogi, dancer, designer, artist, visionary and pioneer of the aerial arts. She’s the founder of sky-lab aerial studio in Surry Hills and co-creator of the artist collective Soldiers rd Studios. You can find her travelling the world, dancing on ceilings and sharing her creative passion to live an elevated life. Follow her on instagram and facebook, and come fly at the lab:


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Pop Sugar - Surry Hills Sky Lab: What Is Anti Gravity Yoga?


Pop Sugar - Surry Hills Sky Lab: What Is Anti Gravity Yoga?

Would You Go Upside Down For This Fitness Trend?

by Stephanie Ayre 18/7/14

Picture yourself suspended from the ceiling, all wrapped up in a cloth-like hammock, putting those circus and trapeze skills to good use. You there yet? We recently discovered anti-gravity yoga and seriously can't stop talking about it. It's incredibly fun (but, not easy) and while it draws from traditional yoga styles, it's like nothing we've ever tried before. Think tighter core, strength and the chance to cleanse and refresh your entire body. We hear you can even grow a little taller.

We caught up with the founder of Surry Hills' Sky Lab, Shari Veitch, to get an inside peek at this fun, new fitness trend.

POPSUGAR AUSTRALIA: What is Anti-Gravity Yoga, and why do you think it has become one of the biggest fitness trends in Australia?

Shari Veitch: Anti-Gravity Yoga has been in the US for about 20 years, so I think we’re finally starting to switch on and realise the importance of these styles here in Australia. I also believe it's because it's something new and different, and not a workout you can do at home or online. With the yoga community blossoming, people are starting to understand the necessity of health and well-being — we’re starting to really integrate this into our social dialogue.

What is it? Well, it really is a fusion technique. It mixes yoga with Pilates and aerial arts, as well as other basic dance and calisthenics. It’s incredibly fun and light-hearted! It allows you to have a complete work out from head-to-toe, while having the best time doing it.

PS: What are some of the biggest health benefits?

SV:  One of the key benefits of this type of yoga is the zero-compression inversion you get. Essentially, that means being upside down. You get the same benefits as you would with a headstand or basic inversion techniques in a mat-based or floor-based class. But, being completely encased in a hammock and suspended (which is fun!) allows you to be in these positions at ease, for a longer period of time.

So, when it comes to your health, it can help with spinal alignment (to lengthen and elongate), spinal flexibility, as well as allowing the circulatory and lymphatic systems to refresh while stimulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. It’s this reason, that this method is great for rehabilitation purposes, cardiovascular endurance, muscular tension, core strengthening and meditation purposes.

PS: How does it compare to traditional styles of yoga?

SV: In some ways, it’s not that easy to compare it to traditional mat or floor-based yoga styles, because of the extra-fusion influences. But, it definitely has roots from yoga, as well as drawing from Pilates, aerial arts, and meditation styles. One of the main differences is the apparatus, it's different to anything you've probably ever tried. Just imagine doing some of the traditional yogic postures and moves, but upside down.

PS: Are there any pre-requisites for your first class?

SV: No, absolutely none! Even if you’ve never done any yoga before, this method is suited for all. It might help to have core-strength established, but you’ll be working at your own pace and can move through the poses as fast or as slow as you’d like.

PS: What should you expect from your first class?

SV: Your first class is just about finding your sense of flight and taking it slow. We just want you to get your feet off the floor, experience aerial yoga, and start to move your body in a three-dimensional space. 

PS: How many classes do you recommend to see results?

SV: By taking one class a week you’ll get to see the benefits in your health and fitness. Some clients will choose to take an Anti-Gravity class alongside another complimentary yoga class, but one class is perfect to see the results — and expect to see them fast!

Photo Source: Stephanie Simcox

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